Aubrie Beaty: AKC Junior Handler and Dog Trainer
Twelve-year-old Aubrie Beaty has a unique extracurricular activity. In addition to being a straight-A student, a cheerleader and taking tumbling, Aubrie is an American Kennel Club (AKC) Junior Handler. She trains her rescue dogs and participates with some of them in dog trials. She is ranked in the top 20 Junior Handlers in the nation and has a dog ranked in the top three.
TK: Tell me about being a Junior Handler. What does that mean, and what do you do?
Aubrie: Anyone 9 through 18 can be an AKC Junior Handler. It means training dogs. I train my dog to be obedient and follow basic commands like sit or stay. I’ve taken two obedience classes, and I am currently taking an agility class.
I’ve done Scent Work, meaning the dog has to identify a scent in a timed trial, Fast CAT (Coursing Ability Test), which is a timed 100-yard dash, and agility trials with my dogs. I’ve also helped with releasing dogs at Fast CAT.
You get points for everything and can move up levels as you gain points. For example, the levels for Scent Work are Novice, Advanced, Excellence and Masters.
TK: How did you get interested in dog training and participating in dog trials?
Aubrie: My stepmom, Kieran, trains dogs at Tulsa Dog Training Club. I wanted to be like her, so she signed me up for classes and registered me to become a Junior Handler. I got to train with my dad and his Doberman in the same class. He was also new to it. I trained my mini-schnauzer and passed.
I attend the Mid-Continent Kennel Club of Tulsa and get to meet the other dog owners, who help with advice and resources. I don’t see many kids. I wish there were more. Most people are older, but it’s all ages.
TK: What’s the best thing about being an AKC Junior Handler?
Aubrie: Having clubs like the Mid-Continent Kennel Club is important for the community to learn, share and adopt safe and responsible ways to be great animal owners. I love how I have a lot of privileges to being a handler. It’s fun to meet all of the dog breeds, some that I’ve never heard of. I think dog handling is special. Not everybody loves it, but I think it is awesome.
TK: Have you had any experiences where things didn’t go well?
Aubrie: Yes. One time I was helping with Fast CAT, and I was supposed to release a German Shepherd (to run). I was about to let her go, but she slipped out of my hands. It was horrible. Everyone was saying, “Loose dog! Loose dog!” I was running after the dog to grab the dog safety. It ended up being funny afterwards.
Another time, I accidently thought my dog had found the scent (in a Scent Work trial). It was wrong, and we were disqualified. I worked really hard for that trial where I thought Wyatt was going to title. But he has another chance at a trial this weekend.
TK: What have you learned from participating in dog trials and being a Junior Handler?
Aubrie: It helps me be more responsible. Knowing how to care for the dogs takes responsibility. It helps me be more confident in myself. You know the feeling you get when you pass a test? It feels like that. I leave the ring feeling energized. Even when you have to get up early to get to a trial, it’s all worth it in the end.
TK: How much time to you spend training dogs?
Aubrie: I spend about four hours a week, depending on trials, practices or events. If I have a trial that weekend, I would do more. (Aubrie is currently working on agility training with her teacup schnauzer.) But I always feel like I’m training because the dogs live with me at home. They follow me around everywhere. Basically, I’m always training.
TK: What advice would you give other young people who might want to be Junior Handlers?
Aubrie: I would tell kids not to give up and make it fun. Work hard and make a bond with the dog. If you’re struggling, ask someone to help. Everyone is friendly.
If you don’t have a dog to train, all-breed clubs like Mid-Continent Kennel Club have dogs to borrow and work with. I want to see more kids and new friends.
TK: What’s a fun fact that you can tell us about yourself?
Aubrie: One of my adopted black labs is from a prison program where the prisoners can train the dogs. And my schnauzer, Heidi, was part of state’s evidence in a murder investigation in Oklahoma City. I have 10 dogs (all rescues). They all have a special place in my heart. I’m a dog person.