I retired this evening from teaching agility classes. I’m not completely retired of course, because I have a lot of duties and interests outside of the weekly class. I sat down with my students this evening and told them that I will longer be instructing the weekly classes.

By the way if you’re one of my students and weren’t here tonight to hear the fine speech… get in touch.

Teaching agility classes has been an avocation to me, a profession. So, what’s my attitude tonight? Okay, I’ve never abandoned a student, not one, in over 20 years of teaching public classes. I’ve watched every metamorphosis from puppy to retired champion. I’ve witnessed multiple generations of dogs in the sport. And here I am walking away from my current/former students, all of them unfinished projects.

I feel relief; wistful regret. Nothing really earth shattering. It’s just another passage.

My Attitude About Dog Agility

I apologize for not writing a slick, erudite and pithy essay to describe “what attitude means to me”. Today has been a work day and leaves me with only a bit of time to wedge into my office chair to write my rambling blog.

Agility is just a game. We’ve propped it up with really artificial stuff like qualifying scores and titles and plenty of pretty ribbons to hang where we will. But it’s just a game, with a dog, in the park, on the weekend.

As an enthusiast, the only thing I have any interest in, is having a bit of fun with this game. This past weekend I had more fun playing with Kory than you can imagine! My boy is just coming into his own. Every time in the ring is a really fun puzzle. Mind you I was about one third natural-born-killer and about two thirds road-kill on the weekend. And, I was having fun even though I was on the verge of being crippled with an arthritis inflamed knee, and aching feet because it was a “new tennis shoes” weekend.

It’s hard to make a case for being passionate about not giving a damn (it’s only a game) without it sounding slightly discordant. That being said, I’m a student of the game, and a coach in the game. But on a very personal level, it’s just a game I play with my dogs.

I’ll see you out there. And I’ll have a hoot of a time watching you run your dog.

New Pup

Hey tomorrow I am going to pick up my new BC pup. This is another cast off rescue dog. So the household will now officially be: 2 pure-bred AKC registered dogs; and 4 rescued pups.

How do you like the name Django?

Anyhow, we’ve decided it’s a complete crap shoot whether you get a pure bred dog or something from Petfinders. Getting a dog from a breeder is no guarantee of the dog’s working attitude (hey, there’s that word); his overall health, or his mental fitness. So I’m good with the idea of a “rescue” dog.


Synonyms: view, opinion, feeling, mental outlook, approach, belief, bent, bias, pretended behavior.


Questions comments & impassioned speeches to Bud Houston The web store is up and running. I have five volumes (over 100 pp each) of The Joker’s Notebook available on my web-store at an inexpensive price. These are lesson plans suitable for individual or group classes for teaching dog to work at a distance.

4 Responses to “Passage”

  1. katie Says:

    New pup??? Congrats!!

  2. Bernadette Says:

    I have always loved your attitude Bud! I have always tried to be serious yet not serious about agility. Congratulations and sympathies on your passage from teaching class.
    Cheers, Bernadette

  3. my3fundogs Says:

    Any new TDAA sized pups on the Houston horizon?? Hope you wil stay in the TDAA agility game.

  4. Paula Price Says:

    I’ve lurked on your blogs for years, mainly because I have always appreciated your “it’s just a game” perspective. I always thought you had a “teacher’s heart”, generous with information (not everybody is!). I got to come to your place one weekend a few years ago with my friends, and we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves, but I always wished that I could have lived closer to take advantage of your classes. Enjoy your retirement!

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