Jamie, Mr Dynamite, by Esther Niemeijer (The Netherlands)

[An article in a series about dogs that has made their presence felt on the European HTM scene – not necessarily by winning the big championships, but by making the spectators fall in love with them. Dogs that entertain us and make us smile, when we watch them perform.]

Esther NiemeijerHow to describe Jamie… Well… one thing comes to mind ;). But before we start talking about his awesome voice, here’s a little bit more about him: Jamie is my 2nd dog. He came into my life in 2004 when I was 18 years old and I was looking for an agility dog. In the early years Jamie and I only practiced agility, with some nice results, but we wanted more. We started Freestyle when he was 2,5 years old and we never stopped.

I think that Jamie is a one of a kind Sheltie. I’ve never seen another Sheltie with his BIG attitude and high drive. Nothing scares him, he is always at the front of the line when there is something to do, he can work for hours straight, needing no other reward than just the work itself. He enjoys attention and loves to play (with whatever he is presented with) and chase and retrieve. When we play tug of war, I really need to hold on strong, because even though he only weighs about 7.5kg, he is a strong lad.

When we work, he just keeps going and going, with a big smile and his little tail never stops wagging (it also seems to be glued in between his ears ;)). I have to protect him from himself sometimes, because he doesn’t stop and I think he would drop down dead before laying down to rest. Running, jumping, weaving and circling are his favorite moves and the faster he can do them the better. He does not like stationary moves very much and compromises by moving a lot on the spot, which looks very funny.

During HTM he pushes against me and growls and nips my leg because he hates to go slow, which makes me laugh (yes, I’m a bad trainer, haha).

Esther Niemeijer He truly is my Mr. Dynamite and my once in a lifetime dog. I love working with him, he learns quickly and is always motivated. When I put music on and just walk around the room he goes into heel position or does tricks to get my attention, while the other dogs just continue sleeping. At 9.5 years old he is still the same dog as when he was young, but I notice he is getting older because he sleeps more during the day. But when I call him to work, he is always there…

There is just one little thing about Jamie… I said it before: his voice. He really loves his voice. And I do mean REALLY loves it. A lot. I don’t ;). But I have never been able to find the ‘off switch’ at competitions, which was our great downfall when we still competed. As soon as his sound went on, his focus usually went off and he missed cues. Which was too bad, because he knows some pretty difficult stuff and never really got to show it during a competition.

Despite his barking, we became Dutch Champions HTM twice (2009/2010). In Holland the deductions for barking are low and when Jamie would continue to work despite the barking we would still score high. We even made it to Crufts in 2012, where we probably got the highest deduction for barking ever, but we had so much fun in that big ring.

Jamie is on his way to being 10 years old now, and we don’t compete anymore, but we do demos on occasion and we train at home and make videos, in the video below you can see us dancing to Lord of the Dance. And he truly is. I hope to have Jamie  in my life for many more years to come, because he is such an awesome dog. I love him to bits!

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