Interview with Viveka Rosenberger
How did you get started in Agility? How long have you been training/competing?
Viveka Rosenberger: I started Agility in 2014 with my Australian Shepherd, “Sadie.” She is a great listener and very eager to please, so I knew I wanted to do something extra with her. We sought out a local dog club and began taking some Obedience lessons, but that just didn’t seem to be quite the fit either of us was looking for. Then, a nearby membership dog park started offering Agility 101 classes and I thought “why not?”.
Sadie immediately did well and excelled quickly! She was a willing and brilliant first dog who quickly turned this side-hobby into a passion of mine!
What about your breed makes it a fantastic Agility partner? Would you choose another breed if you could?
Viveka Rosenberger: While Sadie was still in the prime of competing, I decided to start my Shetland Sheepdog, “Rascal,” in Agility, not really sure how it would go. His enthusiasm and drive were clearly there and I began to fall in love with the work ethic of that breed. After a few years I sought out a fantastic Sheltie breeder to gain a little more of a competitive edge.
“Monty” entered soon after and that changed the course of my career. Now, after owning three Shetland Sheepdogs, I can definitively say it’s a breed I will have forever. They are absolutely a perfect package, albeit a little loud. Shelties are smart, agile, responsive, quick, and above all else, loving. As a mom of three small children (soon four), having a breed that can seamlessly work hard in the ring but transform into a loving member of the family was huge. I’m always open to different breeds, but I do know that a Shetland Sheepdog will always be a part of our crew.
Do you have any tips for anyone who would like to get started in Agility?
Viveka Rosenberger: Come to a competition! Before I even started Agility classes, I came to a competition to see what it’s all about and fell in love with the camaraderie between the competitors and the teams. If you have local dog clubs, look up their schedule and go check it out. Speak to a few people. You can usually find a group that trains together, so just ask some questions. I firmly believe any dog can do Agility. It’s a sport that strengthens a bond between each team and it’s just plain FUN!
What do you find different about competing in the AKC Agility League vs. other Agility Trials?
Viveka Rosenberger: AKC’s Agility League offers a team aspect that you don’t get at other Agility trials. Different handlers and dogs come together to try their best at each course. There was a healthy level of competition we felt that pushed us to try things that made us step out of our comfort zone and grow as handlers and teams. We cheered, groaned, and felt like each run was our own when every team stepped in the ring. It was such a bonding process for everyone!
What do you find most rewarding or challenging about your sport?
Viveka Rosenberger: The most rewarding is, by far, the connection you build with your canine partner. It’s an unreal experience to try and explain to others. It may look like only 30 seconds in the ring, but the trust, the partnership, the mutual respect, the work, the effort, the athleticism… it all combines into such a beautiful example of how truly amazing our canine teammates are.