Written by: Kabrina R.
Wow! Our lives really changed when we brought home our sweet and beautiful Hava girl Matcha. From the moment we laid eyes on her, she stole our hearts. As she grew, Matcha’s transformation was entrancing. She went from being a sweet, quiet pup to a curious teenager (at about 9 months) to a caring and happy young adult. It is fun to see how she interacts differently with each of us.
As for me, Mom, I am the leader of the pack. We spend the most time together walking, riding in the car and going to obedience and agility classes together. With Dad, Matcha is a wonderful companion. Matcha can often be seen laying on his desk while he works from home, or wrestling with him in the living room. Aurora who is now 16 is the nurturer of the group. Matcha is a great running partner (for about a quarter mile), loves to hang out on the dock, and often settles down for the night by snuggling up to Aurora’s legs.
With 14 year old Zoe, Matcha is all about fun and playing. They will spend hours running around the house or yard together. Zoe likes to throw toys, and Matcha is happy to bring them back for another round. And then of course the whole family loves to get together to cheer on Michigan whenever there is a football game.
The Havanese breed is very friendly and intelligent, but it wouldn’t be the first breed to come to mind when a person thinks about dog agility. I became interested in agility when one of my friends described it as a whole bunch of fun tricks to try with your dog. Matcha and I have been taking agility classes for about 8 months and it has really strengthened our relationship. She trusts me enough to follow my directions and I have learned a lot about patience and how dogs learn.
When you watch agility on television, the dog trainers make the courses look easy. After trying the sport, I will be the first to say that it isn’t easy. A dog isn’t naturally inclined to weave back and forth between poles or walk up a teeter totter and ride it down, but with patience and a fun attitude, the successes are very rewarding! In this video, I strung together the obstacles for half of a full agility course. You will notice that she didn’t go up the dog walk or weave through the poles right away. Both of these errors were my fault as a handler. I didn’t tell her what I wanted quickly enough for her to make her adjustments. Most of the time, I feel as if the classes are more for me than for Matcha! She picks up quickly on what to do, but I need to learn how to tell her what I want at just the right time. When it is time for us to practice agility, I tell Matcha we are going to the gym and she always beats me to the car! We have a lot of fun together and I would encourage other Havanese families to give this sport a try. I can promise that no matter how well your dog does, everyone will comment that you have the cutest dog ever!