Jackie and Ziggy, the formidable duo

Jackie and Ziggy, the formidable duo

Jackie grew up on the competition field. In the world of canine sport, this 17-year-old girl and her toy Poodle Ziggy form a winning team.

March 6, 2020

Even when she was a little girl, Jackie was already following her mother on the agility competition fields. This canine sport occupied a huge part of her mother’s life so it’s no surprise that Jackie grew up surrounded by dogs and grown-ups. "At first, people lent me their dogs to compete,” says Jackie. “When Ziggy arrived, I was ready to compete in the adult category. Ziggy’s mother was a gold medalist so I knew he had potential. From her litter of just 2 puppies, I chose the most determined.”

Despite Ziggy’s promising pedigree, it was not so easy for Jackie. Perhaps it was the little dog’s boundless energy that made training difficult. "Ziggy was irritating! He would nip all the time, run around everywhere and quarrel with the other dogs. I spent a lot of energy training Ziggy, but working with a dog like him has taught me a lot. We became a really good team and we’ve travelled to competitions all over Canada. It’s impossible not to build an incredibly strong bond when you work so intensely with a dog.”

Training forges character. Agility sports require a lot of patience and mental flexibility. Jackie has learned to let go and adapt to each situation as it arises instead of trying to control everything.

Whereas Jackie can be grounded and focused, Ziggy can be a real terror–but an extremely well-trained terror (at least!). There’s no doubt that Ziggy is a skilled agility competitor but there’s more to this little dog. Jackie has also taught Ziggy to perform funny tricks, such as sneezing on command.


"Ziggy is very small, but clearly no one has ever told him," says Jackie. "He’s convinced that he’s a big, intimidating beast. He’s determined to be the boss at home and constantly tries his luck with humans. Ziggy even dominates Duster, the other dog of the house, a Golden Retriever who is physically more imposing."

This successful team has earned plenty of honours, including a prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award. They were also national champions in their category in 2018, and three-time Canadian junior champions and provincial champions for 2 consecutive years. Jackie estimates that Ziggy will retire in 3 years, freeing up Jackie to pursue her studies in business administration. And Ziggy? He’ll be able to take a well-deserved rest.

Cover: Jackie and her toy Poodle Ziggy in action.
Cover: Christine Gardner
Photo credit: Catherin Arsenault


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