By Emma Whitehouse
A college friend introduced Peter and Caroline Williams to dog training while they lived in Texas, and they started training dogs when they moved to Maryland. Their first dog was Apollo, a fluffy, gray Samoyed-Belgian Shepherd mix that had a bad temperament originally, but improved greatly when he started to enter competitions. His first competition was in obedience, in which Caroline and Peter entered him on the spur of the moment. He passed away from cancer at age ten, years ago, but Peter and Caroline, with their daughter Courtney, have been training dogs successfully for many years since then. With numerous awards to their names, they have proven to be some of the best trainers in the region. Currently, they have four Australian Shepherds and a Pembroke Welsh Corgi. Peter developed a fondness for Australian Shepherds when he worked for a geese removal company in Maryland that used Australian Shepherds to round up the geese and was given a dog.
The Williams family and their dogs were invited to the Purina Pro Plan Incredible Dog Challenge in April of this year. Caroline and Peter participated in the event of freestyle flying disc, with Australian Shepherd Steel and Corgi Ziva. “It was awesome!” Peter said. Caroline added, “There’s a competitive nature to it…but it’s also very entertaining!” The Purina Challenge isn’t the only notch on the Williams family belt. Caroline and Steel qualified in the 2011 and 2012 Northeast Regional Disc Dogathon, the 2013 Eastern Open (from Maine to Florida and very competitive with many competitors from Japan even though Japan is not on the East Coast), and in 2014, Steel qualified for seven out of nine events in the northeast qualifier, all for the Skyhoundz World Championship. Steel also qualified in first place for the Ashley Whippet Invitational, the UFO World Cup, and the United States Disc Dog National Qualifier. Peter and his dog Ziva are four-time world finalists in Skyhoundz Microdog, dogs less than sixteen inches, as well as qualifying for Skyhoundz Disc Dogathon with dogs of all sizes and placing fourth in the Ashley Whippet Qualifier. Courtney, an upcoming junior in Poolesville High School’s Global Ecology Studies Program, is Cir-el’s handler. Courtney and Cir-el placed first in Skyhoundz in disc from 2010 to 2013 as well as winning the 2012 and 2013 Junior World Champion in disc for Skyhoundz.
The family will be hosting the 7th Inning Fetch Disc Dogathon on August 2 at Stevens Park in Poolesville from 9:30 a.m. to 4:00 or 5:00 p.m. Five events will be held, and the first-place winner of each event will qualify for the Skyhoundz World Championships. Since Nutrimax sponsors the Williams family, joint and fur supplements for dogs will be handed out as prizes. On September 5, there will be a Bark in the Park Dog Contest at Whalen Commons where the Williams family will do a Disc Dog Demo at approximately 5:00 p.m.
How high can they jump? How fast can they run? Find out at the 7th Inning Fetch in August and Bark in the Park in September.