Edwardsville teen to attend Agility World Championships in Finland



Allysa Daube will be heading to Finland in July to compete in the Junior Open Agility world Championships (JOAWC) with her dog Piper Grace. Daube is a Junior at Edwardsville High School. 


Daube and Piper Grace have been competing for a few years, and while they have competed in large competitions in the past, this will be their first time competing in the FCI World Championships and their first time traveling out of the country. 

“I’ve never been out of the country so I’m excited to see what’s different about it,” Daube said. She will be traveling with her mother, her dog Piper Grace and a team of junior agility handlers from across the United States to participate in the Fédération Cynologique Internationale (FCI) JOAWC. 



Daube said there is a team practice in Missouri in May that she plans to attend where she will have the opportunity to meet other members of the United States team. 


“For me, agility is not just about running a course with your dog, it’s stepping to the front lines with your teammate, trusting one another, ready and able to change commands when needed to get your dog in the right place,” said Daube. “Competing in a variety of national and international competitions has been immersive, challenging, rewarding and has allowed me to do things that I thought were not possible for my Novice A dog.”


Dog agility is a sport in which a handler guides a dog through obstacles such as jumps, tunnels and teeters. Daube was inspired to join the sport after watching her cousin participate in dog competitions.

“So I saved up my money for Christmas and birthdays and everything else and for about a year and a half and I was looking for a dog,” she said. 

Daube said she searched for breeds that would be smart and fast. Then she narrowed her choices down to Australian Shepherds, Border Collies and Shelties. 

“I was looking and looking and looking, and I was finding some but I was like you know, that’s not the one,” she said. “So my cousin had sent me a picture and she was like, ‘well what about this one? My friend has this dog that is too energetic for her and she doesn’t want her anymore.’ And I fell in love.”

The friend lived in Pennsylvania, so Daube made a 22-hour trip in one weekend to get the one-and-a-half-year-old dog.

Piper Grace is a miniature Australian Shepherd. Daube started training her with simple obedience skills such as sit, stay and down when she was two years old. 

“And then we gradually got into agility,” she said. “We did simple sequences and just three or four obstacles and then we kept building up and got into full courses and stuff like that. And then once you got into full courses you would start competing against other dogs and then you would just go from there” 

Daube said she spends at least three hours a week practicing with Piper Grace. She trains with her coach at Triune Canine Training and Event Center in Wood River for an hour and a half once a week and then also trains on her own at the center a few times during the week. 

She also has some obstacles in her backyard that the pair work with almost daily.

Daube said competitions are usually anywhere from two to three days long. She said competitions start around 8 a.m., and she likes to get there early to set up beforehand. Over the course of a weekend, she said she and Piper Grace will run around 12 courses. 

“I always have a routine before I run,” she said. “So I take her out, I make sure that she goes potty and then we come back in, I put my shoes on, they always have a practice jump in the corner so I get her warmed up on that and then I always go and start to relax her.

“Some people hype their dogs up before they run, but I can’t do that because otherwise my dog will be too excited and then she won’t focus whatsoever. I’m just there petting my dog and she’s all sprawled out and just laying there.”  

Daube said agility training has been “everything and more” of what she expected. 

“My favorite thing was probably when we clicked and found our mojo,” Daube said. “Once we got on that course and we were in sync and everything I was like, oh my gosh, this is it, this is the moment that we’ve been waiting for.

“And not only that but the agility community with everybody else, people are so friendly and so nice, they help you out in so many ways, it is very amazing.”

Daube said she has had dogs her entire life but she never realized how close a dog could become to its owner. 

“You cherish every single moment that you’re out there, she said “You’re hoping that it’s not your last one that you’re running because you don’t know what’s going to happen out on that course and you don’t know what’s going to happen on a day-to-day basis. So you take every moment as you get it.” 

Daube said she thinks it is unique how each person runs and trains their own dogs. She said most handlers have different commands to use while running the course, such as words for left and right. 

Daube and Piper Grace have competed in the Junior Agility Competition in Florida for the past two years, and Daube hopes to go again in 2022. In addition, she and her dog participated in the Agility Junior Open Online (AJOO) last summer.

In competition, Daube said a qualifying, or “Q” is when the dog and handler perform everything perfectly. Courses have anywhere from 19 to 30 obstacles depending on the competition. In addition to running the full course, there are some obstacles that require specific instructions such as jumping a certain way over a hurdle.  

Qualifying scores are then placed based on time. 

“So you have to be the quickest and the cleanest,” Daube said.

“Some people do it just as a hobby, and some people are very competitive. That’s me, I’ve grown up always doing sports, I’ve always been very competitive, and so I try and push myself to be the best I absolutely can.”

Daube said her coaches and co-owners of Triune Canine Training and Event Center, Joan Meyer and Chris Brewer, recognize her drive and push her to the best of her ability. Daube said agility is too expensive of a sport for it to be just a hobby for her.  

“I pay $150 every six weeks for practice,” Daube said. “And then not only that, but you have the dog’s food, the dog’s grooming appointments, vet and everything else, all of those little expenses in there.” 

Daube said while the junior competitions do account for the fact that not all participants can afford the fees and will deduct the rate to run, that still does not account for food or gas to travel to competitions. 

“So it does add up,” Daube said. “But it is so wonderful that I get to be there and do that.”

Daube said she launches several fundraisers to allow her to participate in competitions. These fundraisers normally include selling dog toys, bracelets, cookies and similar items. Her upcoming trip to Finland is going to take a little more. 

The event is hosted by the American Kennel Club (AKC) through Fédération Cynologique Internationale. The AKC will pay for the team’s uniforms and the dogs’ harnesses and the rest of the trip is self-funded. 

“A ticket is like $1,300 dollars so that’s a ticket for me, a ticket for mom, and then they say a dog’s ticket is usually almost that price or at least half the price,” Daube said. 

Daube is hoping to fund some of the trip with the upcoming cornhole and dart tournament and silent auction at the Edwardsville Moose Lodge on April 23. All proceeds will benefit Daube and the other Illinois member of the team, who is from the New Baden area. 

Some items that have been donated for the silent auction include quilts and gift cards. Donations for the silent auction must be collected by April 20th. 

“I went around to some local businesses and did get donations so I’m very excited to have those up there, because I love all of the businesses in Edwardsville,” Daube said. 
Those interested in donating items for the silent auction or participating in the event can contact 618-979-7761 or email Daube at ally.daube29@gmail.com for more information. 

Those interested in donating to Daube personally can do so through the PayPal link, PAYPAL.me/AKCEOJ18 but must include “Allyssa and Piper” in the comments. 

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