Home | Flyball | Agility
Laura Lankford

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I have always loved animals.  I grew up riding horses and our family pets consisted of fish, guinea pigs, mice, a cockatiel, cats, and of course - dogs.  As a youngster, I used to try and get our Miniature Schnauzer, Skippy, to jump over jumps made from fence rails propped up on cinder blocks, and I used to walk around the yard with him pretending we were doing obedience commands.  Later on when I was older, I would catch occasional brief moments of agility being shown on tv.  I would watch with intense interest as the dogs went over jumps, through tunnels and up A-frames, and I 'd think "I want to do that!"  When I finally got out on my own and was able to get a dog, the first thing I did was sign her up for obedience classes so we could get started working on agility.

I am currently owned by three dogs - Piper, Gryphon and Cadence.  Piper is a Parson Russell terrier/Beagle mix (but who really knows?), adopted from Happy Hills Animal Foundation in Staley, NC on August 11, 2001.  She is 8 years old and currently competes in flyball tournaments with our flyball team, Go Dog Go.  She has earned several flyball titles, up to Flyball Master Excellent (FMX - 10,000 points).  Agility proved not to be Piper's "thing" but she excels at flyball and is a champion snuggler.  She does dabble a bit with NADAC's Tunnelers and Touch n' Go classes and has earned one leg toward to a TNG title and two legs toward her Tunnelers title.  I am also proud to say that, thanks to Piper's continuing efforts, our back yard is totally free of the pesky, evil toads that have the audacity to enter our yard and hide in small spaces!

Gryphon (Image's Syncopated Rhythm) is an Australian Shepherd.  He was born March 21, 2004 at Image Aussies in Verona, VA.  When it came time for my second dog, I really wanted a dog that I would be able to train from day one, who was intelligent and biddable, with a friendly temperament and willingness to work.  After a lot of research and talking to people and breeders I decided to get an Aussie and I've never regretted it.  Gryphon is a smart, sweet, goofy boy and I just love him to pieces!  He currently competes in agility and is in training for Rally Obedience and Musical Freestyle.  Gryphon competes in AKC, USDAA and NADAC agility.  We may one day try our hand at herding, but for the time being, he has shown more interest in cleaning up after the sheep, rather than herding them.

Cadence joined our family on April 1, 2006.  He is a color-headed white Australian Shepherd born January 27, 2006 and was adopted through Aussie Rescue Placement Helpline (ARPH).  Click here to read more about Cadence.

In addition to the dogs, I also share the household with my husband, Tracy (who would rather spend his time playing computer games or building something with wood and power tools, then spend all day at an agility trial...can you believe it??) and our cata, Harmony and Calliope, who mostly spend thier time keeping the guest bed or couch from flying away and trying to figure out how not to get chased by the dogs.

I started at Teamworks as a student in 2003.  A year later I became a volunteer, then a class assistant, and I took over the Administrative Assistant position in October, 2004 and worked as Admin until May, 2008.  I currently teach the Monday night Pre-Agility, Canine Good Citizen (CGC) and Distraction Proofing classes in North Raleigh; and the Tuesday daytime Beginner and Intermediate Agility classes in Youngsville.   I am the judge hostess for Teamworks' agility trials and twice have been trial secretary for a former agility club.  Although my original training was in audiology, I have left that behind that to pursue my dream of being a vet tech.  I currently work as a vet assistant at Crossroads Veterinary Hospital.  When I'm not at my "real" job, I can usually be found at Teamworks - either taking classes, practicing, or helping out with an agility trial.  There is nowhere else on earth I'd rather be on the weekends than attending a doggie sporting event!

The one thing I love about dog training is it really teaches you to focus not only on your dog, but on yourself.  You have to be aware of what you're doing, what you're feeling, how you do and say things, and what your body language is telling your dog.  It's like learning to speak a foreign language.  And the very best part of training is the bond you suddenly feel with your dog when you both have an "aha!" moment, and you can honestly say that whatever just happened, you did it together.  I am never more proud of my fur-kids than when we have worked very hard at training a particular thing and they finally "get it".  If I could bottle that feeling and sell it on the market as an anti-depressant, I'd make a fortune.

You'll notice that all of my pets have musical names (Gryphon's musical theme is his registered name).  I spent my entire academic career playing clarinet and alto sax in wind symphony, orchestra, jazz band and marching band.  I am very proud to have been a member of the James Madison University Marching Royal Dukes (MRD).  I do miss playing my clarinet and one day I'm sure I will figure out a way to combine running an agility course and marching with an instrument.  But for now I am content just giving my pets musical names.

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Piper in a flyball tournament, March 2005 (photo courtesy of Swift-Bennett Photography)

Professional Development:
1995- Bachelor of Science, Psychology, James Madison University
 
1998 - Master of Science, Communication Sciences and Disorders Audiology), East Tennessee State University
 
2002 - Doctor of Audiology (AuD), University of Florida
 
Licensed, Clinical Audiologist:
Easley Head & Neck Surgery (Easley, SC)
Anderson Eye & Ear Associates (aka, Medicus; Anderson, SC)
Central Carolina Ear, Nose and Throat (Sanford, NC)
Ear, Nose, Throat and Audiology Associates (Raleigh, NC)
Raleigh Ear, Nose and Throat (Raleigh, NC)
 
Veterinary Receptionist/Vet Assistant
Crossroads Veterinary Hospital (Jan, 2007 - present)
 
Administrative Assistant
Teamworks Dog Training, llc (Oct, 2004 - May, 2008)
 
Doggie Dayschool Instructor - June-July, 2005
 
Certified, Titled Instructor for Teamworks Dog Training - Canine Good Citizen, Distraction Proofing, Pre-Agility, Beginner Agility, Intermediate Agility
 
Class Assistant - Pre-Agility, Puppy Agility, Canine Good Citizen (CGC), Puppy Class, Puppy Confidence & Agility and Distraction Proofing (August, 2004 - June, 2008)
 
Test Assistant - Canine Good Citizen Evaluation, Delta Society's Pet Partner's Evaluation
 
Trial Secretary for Agility Addicts and Rover Fanatics (AARF), March and September, 2005
 
Judge Hostess/Coordinator for Teamworks' Agility Trials, 2005 - present
 
Interim Instructor (2006), Teamworks Dog Training - Canine Good Citizen (CGC), Pre-Agility, Puppy Confidence & Agility, Flyball
 
Certified AKC Canine Good Citizen Evaluator (#20255)
 
Trial Secretary for Youngsville Agility Club (YAC), February, 2009
 
Seminars/Workshops:
 
*Beginner Agility Workshop (Lynne and Pete Stevens) - 2005 - Bon-Clyde Learning Center
*Teamworks Chicken Camp - January 6-8, 2006
*Stacy Perdot-Goudy Agility Seminar (Novice/Open Level Workshop) - January 28, 2006
*Terry Smorch, Novice level agility seminar, May 2006
*Lynne Stephens - Novice course handling and analysis, July 15, 2006
*American Red Cross - Pet First Aid class, August 13, 2006
*Private agility lessons with Paulena Renee Hope (Jan - March, 2007)
*TTouch Workshop, May, 2007
*Stuart Mah, Course Analysis and Handling Seminar (June 24, 2008)
*Clean Run Agility Instructor Conference (Ann Arbor, MI; Aug 1-4, 2008)
*Rhonda Carter - Course Analysis and Handling (Aug 29, 2008)
*Patricia McConnell seminar - "For the Love of a Dog" and "The Other End of the Leash" (Woodbridge, VA; Nov 8-9, 2008)
 
 
Certificates and Awards:
 
Teamworks Dog Training Assistant of the Year - 2005
 
 
Memberships:
 
Association of Pet Dog Trainers (APDT)
Australian Shepherd Club of America (ASCA)
Youngsville Agility Club (YAC)
North American Dog Agility Council (NADAC)
United States Dog Agility Association (USDAA)
World Canine Freestyle Organziation (WCFO)
Teamworks Tailshakers Club
 

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Cadence and his all time favorite activity - swimming!

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My wonderful husband and our three dogs.

Titles Earned:
 
Tracy's Piper Princess (Piper)
Canine Good Citizen (CGC) certificate
 
North American Flyball Association (NAFA):
Flyball Dog (FD)
Flyball Dog Excellent (FDX)
Flyball Dog Champion (FDCh)
Flyball Dog Champion Silver (FDCh-S)
Flyball Dog Champion Gold (FDCh-G)
Flyball Master (FM)
Flyball Master Excellent (FMX)
 
 
Image's Syncopated Rhythm (Gryphon)
Canine Good Citizen (CGC) certificate
 
American Kennel Club (AKC)
Novice Agility (NA)
Novice Agility Jumpers (NAJ)
Novice Agility - Preferred (NA-P)
Novice Agility Jumpers - Preferred (NAJ-P)
Open Agility (OA)
Open Agility Jumpers (OAJ)
Excellent A Agility (AX)
Novice FAST (NF)
 
United States Dog Agility Association (USDAA)
Performance I Standard (PSI)
Performance I Gambers (PGI)
Performance I Jumpers (PJI)
Performance I Snooker (PKI)
*Perfomance Dog I (PDI - Versatility Title)
 
North American Dog Agility Council (NADAC):
Novice Agility Certificate (NAC)
Novice Chances Certificate (NCC)
Novice Jumpers Certificate (NJC)
Outstanding Novice Jumpers Certificate (O-NJC)
Superior Novice Jumpers Certificate (S-JNC)
Novice Tunnelers (TN-N)
Outstanding Novice Tunnelers (O-TN-N)
Novice Touch n' Go (TG-N) 
Novice Weavers (WV-N)
 
*Novice Versatility Award
 
Australian Shepherd Club of America (ASCA)
Novice Jumpers (JS-N)
 
 
Carolina Clearwater Cadence (Cade)
Canine Good Citizen (CGC) certificate
 
North American Flyball Association (NAFA)
Flyball Dog (FD)
Flyball Dog Excellent (FDX)
Flyball Dog Champion (FDCh)
Flyball Dog Champion - Silver (FDCH-S)
 
North American Dog Agility Council (NADAC)
Novice Agility - Skilled (NAS)
Novice Jumpers - Skilled (NJS)
Outstanding Novice Jumpers - Skilled (O-NJS)
Novice Tunnelers (TN-N)
Outstanding Novice Tunnelers (O-TN-N)
Novice Touch n' Go (TG-N)
 
Canine Performance Events (CPE)
CLI-H
 
United States Dog Agility Association (USDAA)
Performance I Jumpers (PJI)
Performance I Snooker (PKI)
Performance I Standard (PSI)
*Performance Dog I (PDI - Versatility Award)
 
American Kennel Club (AKC)
Novice Agility - Preferred (NAP)
Novice Agility Jumpers - Preferred (NJP)

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Gryphon and one of his favorite toys.

Contact Information:
 
 
919-855-0422 (Teamworks North Raleigh Building; call during office hours*)
 
*Office hours are subject to change based on my schedule and availability of the building - check the Teamworks website here for the current office hours.  You may also call the office number for current office hour status.

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Me and our puppy Missy, 1977

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