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IFCS Team Profile: Melanie Miller

A profile of Team USA member Melanie Miller and her dog Integrity.

Where do you live?

Raleigh, NC

How did you first get involved with agility?

In 1998, when my Cocker Spaniel needed more confidence in obedience. We never looked back!

What made you decide to compete?

Our instructor suggested it.

Do you participate in any other dog sports or training with your dogs?

I have done obedience through utility, Rally, conformation and even a hunt test, but my heart belongs to agility.

Tell us more about the dog you will be competing with as an IFCS Team Member?

Integrity (Grit to her friends), is an incredible partner. She is a solid worker that always does her best. She has amazing focus and efficiency, and is faster every year! We have had many challenges to work through training together, but it has definitely been worth it.

Does your dog have any quirks or unique habits that you love to share?

Grit's #1 passion in life is herding our chickens or our neighbor's cows (through the fence).

Describe for us what you do in your other non-agility life, work life? 

As mentioned, I have chickens (12!). I also love to garden and otherwise keep up with our 11 acres. My "day job" is teaching agility, and I give seminars across the country, as well as teach private lessons and online classes.

How does it feel to be on the IFCS Team this year?

I am honored to represent Team USA, this time at the 20" jump height. I think we have a fabulous coach and a nice, cohesive team.

What are you looking forward to the most at the World Agility Championship event in Spain this April?

I'm looking forward to the test that the courses will provide. Grit and I only know how to run one speed, so we'll be going for it every run!!!

Do you do anything special to prepare yourself for a big competition?

My primary concern is to have a sound dog for the competition, so we make sure that Grit is in perfect shape. Then we focus on the particular courses that the judges have designed recently, along with standard international skills that will likely be required at the event. And finally, I do my best to make sure I'm moving well, and ready to show Grit where to go!

People who enjoy agility with their dogs are often intimidated by the idea of competition  what advice would you give them to encourage them to take the plunge?

Remember that it's a journey and a process. Focus on getting a little bit better, and the outcome will eventually come!

Do you have a favorite dog from a book, movie, TV-show or video game?

I prefer my own ;-)


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