Love for pups: Training canines for competitions keeps McAllister busy

Natalie McAllister, jr., waits with one of her three dogs that she trains for competitions.

Natalie McAllister, jr., waits with one of her three dogs that she trains for competitions.

Leeanne Mehring-Cruz, Writer

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“I like the payoff of training dogs, the reward of watching them learn,” Natalie McAllister, jr., said.

In spring 2010, McAllister started training her dogs and by August 2011 she started them in competing. McAllister’s oldest boy dog had behavior issues and was told to go to a trainer and do sports.

“It’s not the dogs that screw up, it’s the people,” McAllister said.

Today, McAllister balances her own training job at Pawsitive Paws Academy and is busy with training her three dogs for competitions, too. She works once or twice a week and competitions are during the weekends. In addition to these activities and skills, at Kennedy, McAllister is also involved with track and field and the Electric Car program.

McAllister said that at home basic training takes about six weeks and training for sports takes about a year or two.

“My favorite trick is and that’s where the dog plays dead,” McAllister, jr., said. She thinks the easiest thing to teach a dog is to sit, the hardest is to stay or recall in home basic training.

Pups Duke, Bean and Zoey learn their skills from McAllister’s expertise.

“The fun competitions for me are Nationals in St. Louis, Missouri, and the best competitions for the dog are agility trials about every other month,” McAllister, jr., said.

McAllister has no upcoming competitions for the winter, but will be back in April or May 2017 with Bean, her 6-year-old beagle; Duke, her 6-year-old terrier; and Zoey, her 4-year-old border collie lab mix.

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