ELISE PAFFRATHElise Paffrath began her dog agility career in the early 1970's when she saved egg cartons and old broom handles to create jumping courses on the front lawn to run with her athletic mixed breed, Amigo. She was formally introduced to the sport 20 years later when she attended her first agility class with 5-year-old mixed breed shelter adoptee, Breeze, who was a natural for agility.
Irreversibly hooked, Elise has been training, competing, judging, writing and instructing in the sport ever since. Elise enjoys teaching dogs and their handlers to have fun while learning agility obstacles and handling skills - all of which can't help but increase the level of communication and enhance the team's human-canine bond. Elise is a very approachable teacher who uses only positive methods in her classes and teaches her students to help their dogs be excited and happy about training.
Elise has been teaching weekly, year-round classes for her own Breeze Thru Agility in southern Vermont since 1995. She has also taught for CATS club in Keene, New Hampshire, as well as for Pioneer Valley Kennel Club, Exercise Finished Dog Training Center, and Hilltown Hounds in Massachusetts. In addition, she gives seminars in the northeast, puts on 2 sanctioned Breeze Thru Agility CPE trials and several show & gos each year.
A writer and journalist by trade, Elise served for several years as Associate Editor for the USDAA's quarterly newsletter, the Dog Agility Report[TM], and was Scriptwriter and Assistant Producer for USDAA Film's production of the 1997 Grand Prix of Dog Agility[SM] video (precursor to Animal Planet's agility productions). She is also a regular contributor to Clean Run, agility's premiere training magazine and is Editor and Publisher of Dog & Handler, her own bi-monthly magazine covering sports for all dogs.
Elise and her shelter-adopted dogs Breeze, Scout and Spryte (see Bios, below), have earned the sports' highest titles, as well as qualified for and competed at numerous regional and national agility championships (USDAA, NADAC, and CPE) where they have been Grand Prix Finalists, Reserve Champion and won classes. Elise's youngest dog Spryte finished 2005 ranked as #2, #3 and #7 in three categories of USDAA's national agility Top Ten standings.
Breeze competed for 7 years, in 1994 becoming the first dog to earn an Agility title (her USDAA AD) in the state of Vermont. She went on to earn her NADAC Elite titles, as well as her USDAA Jumper Master, Relay Master and, at the age of ten and a half, her Master Agility Dog, or MAD, title! During her career Breeze qualified for and competed numerous times as a semi-finalist in both the USDAA and NADAC National Championships. In 1998 Breeze bested the scores of 225 dogs from around the country to win the Time Gamble class at the USDAA Grand Prix Championships in Cleveland, Ohio! The following year, at age 11 1/2, she finished in 6th place in the Veterans Grand Prix Championships! Breeze earned her last Agility title, the USDAA Gambler Master (GM), in November of 1999 only weeks away from turning 12 - beating dogs a quarter or a fifth her age!!
The bounciest, most exuberant dog I've ever owned, Breeze was my soul-mate. She loved everyone and everything, was always energetic, keen and ready to try something new. She was the special partner with whom I made the journey into the incredible world of dog sports and continues to inspire me in everything I do today. I said good-bye to my beautiful and beloved Breeze in July of 2003.
In 2001 Scout was invited to run in the Eastern Regional of the Purina Incredible Dog Challenge and traveled to Liberty Park, NJ, for the event. We had fun despite having to run in torrential rain (not Scout's favorite conditions!). A snippet of her run was included in the event's TV coverage in a now eerie shot of her going through the tire with the World Trade Towers in the background. In 2004 Scout won the Performance Grand Prix at the Midwest Regional earning her a coveted spot in the Performance Grand Prix Finals at the Championships in Scottsdale, Arizona. Despite a dogwalk fault, she ran wonderfully taking a respectable 8th place finish against many top-notch dogs.
Scout also dabbles in Herding (and has earned her AHBA HCT), Skijoring, trick training and small vermin hunting (not yet a competitive sport much to her disappointment!). Most recently she has excelled at Tracking training and we are currently preparing for her TD testing. A highly intuitive dog, Scout was a willing partner with me during my foray into clicker training. She is an awesome tricks dog (one of her specialties being to pull my socks off and bring me the remote) and we are still waiting for the perfect TV or movie role to come along!
At last year's USDAA Grand Prix Championships, Spryte placed 7th in Team Gamblers, 10th in Team Snooker out of over 300 22" dogs, and finished 4th in the Grand Prix Quarterfinals. Her tournament team ended up 20th out of over 200 teams from around the country. In 2005 Spryte earned her USDAA Agility Dog Champion title (ADCH), completed her Lifetime Achievement Award - Bronze (150 Masters legs) won nearly 20 Tournament classes, and finished the year ranked nationally as #2 in Jumpers, #3 in Gamblers and #7 in Tournament Top Ten of Dog Agility.