AKC DOG OBEDIENCE
(12 Obedience Trial Champions / 7 breeds)
Her interest was aroused by a series of articles published in Front & Finish in 1984 explaining the British sport. Sandra corresponded with the author, Angela Chuter of the UK, joined their agility club, and constructed all of the obstacles.
She trained her standard poodle and her husband's dachshund on equipment that she redesigned a bit to be able to raise and lower for all sizes of dogs. That flexibility became a part of the sport in the U.S.
In September 1984 she and her dogs put on an agility demonstration at her club's obedience trial. The interest shown led to an invitation for an encore at the Gaines Western Regional Obedience Tournament in Albuquerque in August 1985. By then, there were enough local participants ready to put on a two-team competition demonstration.
That demonstration led to a request for a repeat performance at the obedience Classic event in Houston in 1986. Ken Tatsch (founder of USDAA) came to El Paso following a trip to England where he was researching this new sport. The British obstacles were not adjustable and Ken had heard about Sandra's equipment. Together they planned the demo-competition for the Classic. Ken provided adjustable equipment that he constructed in the meantime, and also a team to compete with Sandra's in the demo. Sandra was inducted into the USDAA Hall of Fame - Pioneers of Dog Agility in 2003.
CANINE MUSICAL FREESTYLE
During this time, Sandra was volunteer coordinator for her local humane society and was putting on obedience demonstrations with her dogs at the society's various functions and fund-raisers. When she learned about freestyle, she thought that might be something new and interesting for their audiences. She and Pepper performed their first dance routine at the society's annual "Beauty and the Beast" fashion show in May, 1995. That same month they also gave a demo at their local AKC dog obedience trial - exactly 10 years after demonstrating agility at that trial.. It was the beginning of a succession of freestyle demos she and Pepper would give around the country. Those dancing demos led to requests for seminars, which created the opportunity for her Dancing With Your Dog videos and book.
In early 2002, Sandra devised a new dog sport she calls K9 Dressage. This new sport combines the discipline of obedience along with freestyle movements presented in a format patterned after equine dressage. She believes that requiring the dog to work both sides of its body equally when performing a variety of movements will produce a more balanced and flexible animal. Her K9 Dressage manual can be viewed by clicking on the yellow star on the home page of this website. A DVD video demonstrating the 3 levels of K9 Dressage testing and how each level is performed and judged is available. A K9 Dressage training DVD video in which Sandra demonstrates how she taught her dogs each of the movements was produced and released in July 2007. Both videos can be purchased from this website on the K9 Dressage page or the ordering page. Sandra is sponsoring K9 Dressage tests through video presentations. For information email Sandra at email@example.com
Sandra is the mother of 3 daughters and a son. She has 9 grandchildren. Her husband, Michael, was a chemistry professor at the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP). He was also active in the local humane society; having served as president for 5 terms. Sandra has a BS degree from UTEP in Secondary Education.