After a flying leap, Dylan splashed into a special training pool that’s meant just for pooches.
The whippet border collie mix and his owner, Cassi Anderson, had fun in the sun Wednesday at a new canine-based business on North Whidbey. Tracy Dietz opened FluffyButt Dog Training at her home on Wilson Road just north of Oak Harbor earlier this month.
Dietz, a Navy veteran, works a day job as an insurance agent but has been in the dog training world for a few years.
She said it started when she went to a competitive dog show in Enumclaw that had everything from obedience to agility to lure chasing events. She estimated there were over 1,500 dogs in one competition alone and was surprised at its popularity.
She tried seven different events with her Australian shepherd, Sirius, and was immediately interested in pursuing more.
“I got hooked,” Dietz said.
She learned the ropes of dog training from a local mentor and sought out more learning opportunities. Now she offers obedience classes, dock diving lessons and training for competitions. She said she’s found her niche. The closest facilities with similar offerings are at least an hour’s drive away.
Anderson has been friends with Dietz for several years and likes to bring her dogs to the business because her yard at home is small.
“There is nowhere like this to train up here,” she said, adding that the closest places are a long drive away.
Dietz said she loves to watch the teamwork between humans and dogs during competitions. Her own dogs have an important place in her heart, and not just because they’re woman’s best friend.
“They literally saved my life,” she said.
Her red Australian shepherd, Zoran, started “muzzle punching” her when he was about eight months old. She said he used to go up to her and nudge her with his nose until she sat down, and sometimes woke her up in the middle of the night. She didn’t understand why he was doing that until her friend witnessed it happening. Her friend owned a cardiac alert dog and encouraged Dietz to take her blood pressure the next time Zoran got her attention.
“So I did, and anytime my blood pressure went over 180, he lost his ever-loving mind,” Dietz said.
She went to the doctor and began treatment. Now she has issues from time to time, but she said she’s lucky they caught it early.
“If it hadn’t been for him doing that, I probably would have had a heart attack,” she admitted.
It was also around the time she had recently lost some dear friends and family, so her dogs helped her cope.
Now she wants to help others experience the teamwork that can take place between human and dog. Owners and their pets can take classes with Dietz, and she encouraged trainers to come to her property to do their own training — she has plenty of space. The “Field of Freedom” is a large, fully fenced area that can be rented for $5 per 30 minutes and is a good space for dogs who may want a little more privacy than can be found at the dog park.
Dock diving, sometimes called dock jumping, is a competitive event in which dogs are judged on how high and far they can jump from a stationary dock and into a pool. She offers a few classes. For more information, visit fluffybuttdogtraining.com.