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Meet Lauren Luckey: Bitten by the Dog Training Bug

Name: Lauren Luckey
Age: 17
Hometown: Georgetown, TX
Grade: 12th
Family: Parents, Mike and Gretchen Luckey; younger sister, Danielle

Photo by Gretchen Jernigan

Lauren’s family already owned a few dogs and other pets, but when Jax came along, his high energy and sniffy ways made it clear that he needed a job. After reading about scent work, Lauren decided to start training the new puppy, and she has become a “training fanatic!”

AKC: How old is your All American Dog and how did he come into your life?

Lauren: Jack Luckey SWN (Jack) is almost 5 years old, and he was born on Dec. 21, 2018. We never settled on whether to call him Jack or Jax, so we use both names. He is half Border Collie, a quarter German Shepherd, and a quarter Siberian Husky.

After one of our Pomeranians passed away, we started searching for German Shepherd puppies. Jack and his siblings popped up, and we fell in love instantly. It sounds silly, but he matched our “theme.” Both our Pomeranians and our older Aussie mix, Dallas, were black and white, so we figured why break the pattern? Little Jack could have been Dallas’ twin, and a lot of people have asked if she is his mother.

When we went to choose our puppy, we looked for a calm pup that would get along well with Dallas. The breeder had driven to meet us, so what we assumed was a gentle, calm puppy was just a very car sick pup. Jack has never completely outgrown car sickness, but it has gotten much better as he has realized that driving to trials means we are doing something fun.

Jack loved to scare us out of our wits as a puppy. He began sniffing out poisonous mushrooms in our yard and eating them. He also loved antagonizing Dallas. Luckily, he grew out of these things and has become a wonderful dog. He has the most personality of any of our dogs. He has a hatred of wheels (vacuums, hamster wheels, rolling chairs, etc.). His meals have to be on time, or he’ll sit next to us moaning and crying. He has a specific bark for when the other dogs are getting into trouble, which is quite helpful. I am so thankful for my dogs!

AKC: What got you started in training and competing with dogs?

Lauren: I got bored and thought I would find something fun to do with our new puppy. After Jack showed he had a good nose through his poisonous mushroom hunting, I stumbled upon an AKC article about scent work after school one day and started training. After a bit, we took him to a pet supply store and tested him in a new environment. He found the hide, and my parents let me register him for his first trial when he was 6 months old. From there, I have become a dog training fanatic!

AKC: Is your family involved in dog training/showing?

Lauren: My mom did a brief stint in conformation and obedience with her Golden Retriever as a young woman.

AKC: What sports does your dog compete in and what titles/honors has he earned?

Lauren: Jack competes in scent work. I love scent work and drive my friends crazy talking about it. He also has a few FastCAT runs as well. With AKC, Jack has his Scent Work Novice title and he took third place Novice in the AKC 2022 Central Regional Scent Work Trial. I hope to expand into agility or a little bit of disc dog. Fitness training has done wonders for Jack. Before, he would never have been willing to even touch an unstable surface, but now he will jump up on things like carts with no worries at all. We have started dock diving too, which is so much fun!

AKC: Tell us about what dog training has meant to you.

Lauren: I have loved participating in scent work. It is great to have something that I can be truly passionate and knowledgeable about. My dogs are a huge aspect of my life, and I love getting to work with them as a team. I enjoy seeing Jack’s intelligence and watching him work out problems. I think people underestimate the intelligence of dogs. Watching Jack learn new skills perfectly shows his ability to problem-solve and learn, exhibiting his personality and smarts.

AKC: Tell us about any other dogs you have – names, ages, and what sports they compete in.

Lauren: I have three other dogs:

  • A Border Collie/Aussie mix named Dallas who is 10 years old. She never asked us to add any puppies to our household, so she holds great disdain for her “siblings.”  She has a few Qs in Barn Hunt and her Canine Good Citizen title.
  • A 2 ½ year-old terrier mixed with “who-knows-what” named Max. He loves scent work too but has not been to a trial yet. He has wild orange hair and is more like a feral raccoon than a dog. Yet deep down, he is a sweetheart.
  • A Great Pyrenees named Willow, who is 4 ½ years old. She’s all fur and drool.

AKC: Do you own any “non-dog” pets?

Lauren: I have two goats, a cat, and a baby box turtle. My sister keeps three hairless rats and a hamster.

AKC: What are your goals in the sport of dogs?

Lauren: I hope to keep competing once I graduate. I want to get my terrier mix, Max, into sports and continue earning titles with Jack.

AKC: Do you plan to do something animal related as a career?

Lauren: My dream would be to run a grooming and boarding business for small dogs. It would also be fascinating to train detection dogs, whether it be bed bug detection dogs, medical alert dogs, or conservation dogs.

AKC: What extracurricular activities are you involved in addition to dog sports?

Lauren: I have taken several canine fitness classes. I sing in my church choir and am in the theater class at school. I am running a scent work dog training club with the local 4-H. I enjoy tubing on the river with the dogs and camping. I like to take the dogs out and see how many people pet them. Fewer people pet Jack than Willow, the Great Pyrenees. I guess his pointed ears and sharp face make him look intimidating, but I know he is the sweetest pup!