MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A local teenager is getting ready to compete in an international event with her merle blue border collie named Lady.
Brooke Knotek started working with Lady eight years ago in the Washington County 4-H program.
“As soon as I got in on the dog project, it kind of became my home,” Knotek said.
This summer, the 17-year-old senior-to-be at Tartan High School has been getting ready for a once in a lifetime opportunity. She’ll participate with Lady as a member of the U.S. team at the European Open Junior Agility championships in Austria this weekend.
Knotek says the feeling she gets of being in sync with Lady while competing is addictive.
“It’s the best feeling in the world,” she said. “Especially when you go over that last jump and you know you completely ran that course perfectly.”
However, that feeling is reserved only for handlers and their dogs, Knotek said.
When coaching Lady through obstacles when they’re on the course, Knotek says it’s mostly done through non-verbal communication.
“She looks at my shoulders a lot,” she said. “Shoulders have a big, big part in how dogs react to certain obstacles.”
Knotek says running the course is often about holding a balance in communication with Lady.
And competition is something that doesn’t have to be taught to Lady. Knotek says her dog performs better on the road – or after a 10-hour trans-Atlantic flight.
“She’s more intuitive to my actions and what I’m doing,” she said. “She’s more aware of her surroundings.”
The championship is held between July 13-15.