Welcome to
Paws For Applause
Dog Agility School!

Paws for Applause Dog Agility School


Paws For Applause is located in a scenic and heavily treed area of northeast Garland between Rowlett and Wylie. It is on about 2 acres.

There are two 10,000 foot training fields with both Standard and Jumpers courses. Lights are available at night. Bermuda is overseeded with winter rye.


A graveled parking lot for 75 cars.


A doggie pond for swimming with dogs on long lines.





From Greta Buehrle, May 2014

"Aw, thanks so much Bonnie! I will REALLY miss PFA and you as a teacher. You have taught me SO much not just about being a trainer/handler but about being a partner with my dogs. If I am a good trainer it's because of you! "

Greta Buehrle



From Michele Albright, February 2014

"I have always had some trouble making time at trials. But this weekend, we had a total of 11 runs with 6 Q's and made time every one. I could not be happier with my puppies, and of course Bonnie for all the training, patience and cheerleading she always provides. Cannot wait until my next trial!"

Millie Michele Flossybelle
Clover Blossom
Michele Albright



From Ann Wolf and "Kita", "Maggie" & "Turbo" June 2013

"Agility is FUN! All 3 dogs did great. 1st place Q's in Nov Standard & Nov JWW for Maggie on Friday, 1st Place Q & Title Nov JWW on Sunday. Turbo 1st Place Q & Open JWW Title on Sunday and Kita 2nd Place Q in Open JWW on Saturday!

Big Lesson learned was think about where your dog is going rather than where they might go. Giving the correct directional motion cues lets them know exactly where they need to go. Worked awesome on Saturday after Bonnie reminded me and gave me the titles on 2 dogs this weekend. When's the next trial!!!!!!"

Ann Wolf
Kita, Maggie & Turbo



From Sam and Min Pin "Pomona" Nov. 23, 2012

"Bonnie and her instructors helped me prepare for my first agility trial tremendously and have made dog agility a very rewarding and bonding experience for my dog and me. From teachings about the stresses of trial environments to different handling techniques on course, I felt more relaxed and reassured about my first time running for score."

-Sam and Min-Pin "Pomona"



From Ann and Turbo Sept. 28, 2012

Bonnie - just want to say a BIG Thank You. I used blind crosses, deceleration and lateral motion to get optimal speed and tight turns in T2B today.

Turbo was on fire and spot on just like in class. I had so many people compliment my handling skills after that run.

It felt effortless and I'm so appreciate all your help. I'm still on cloud nine that he had the fastest time for the entire Class, not just 12". There were 27 dogs running in T2B today.

Turbo sends big Beagle kisses too!



From Dee Ann Kilbourne 3-19-12

You are the BEST teacher in Agility in our area - PERIOD! I love how you teach your classes! My son came to your class with me one night and said he had never seen such a professional and structured class. I have taken agility classes elsewhere and never had the foundation training I have received at Paws for Applause. I know it is going to make me much more confident when we are ready to go into the agility ring to compete. I really appreciate how you challenge us and the videos and other training techniques you share with us on the school message board. It also means a lot to me that you have taken time to help me with Daphne's behavior issues and the pep talks that kept me going when I was ready to give up! I never hesitate to tell my friends how thankful & fortunate I am to be able to learn from you. I just can't thank you enough!

See ya Thursday!




I am awfully proud of my little Millie Michele Flossybelle. We have come a long way in the last couple of years with our patient, talented and professional trainer Bonnie. Hopefully most of you do not remember her as the Yorkie that wanted to just stand on my foot and not move. We had two Q's this weekend. Our first run on Saturday was T2B and we Q'd and got 1st place.

Michele Albright




Thank you so much for bringing people in like Daisy Peel. Your teachings, the seminars you host, and all of the support from PFA is like no other school. I want to thank you for everything you do and not giving up on me or Rocky. Rocky thanks you too.

Vonda with Rocky the Springer Spaniel



From Beginner student Eileen Kuhlmann 2/22/11

After Bonnie recommended a switch of collars for our dog that was pulling so hard she was choking, this is just a note for those that wonder if the gentle lead really does work and if it causes any stress on your dog!

I would be the first to not participate if our Aussie were unhappy with it. She took to it right away and only sometimes tries to paw it off, but stops when I distract her from doing so. We now have joyful walks with NO pulling and she can enjoy the world as we go! We used to be the two dragging each other in different directions down the street. Now we are side by side and we can each enjoy the walk. She can pant, breathe, sniff and can even get her tongue hanging out a bit. No distress with it being around her mouth/nose.

I encourage those of you on the fence to try it! It made all the difference in the world for us!

Thanks, Bonnie!



July 2010

For the record – I am extremely pleased with PFA instruction.

You may not know this, but I’m a flight instructor and am very finicky about instructors. PFA does a great job – always fun, informative and not stressfull – a very conducive learning environment.

Elke Hullison



June 2010

By the way, I want to let both of you know just how much I appreciate you. Marilyn- you have been such an asset during these last two classes. We appreciate the effort you make to notice and comment on situations where you see success (walking the board-yeah!!) and your advice on areas that are more challenging.(the barrel that echoes-scary!! LOL)

I feel like both of you are personally interested in our success. This means a lot to me--Thank you.

See you next week!!

Karen Suggs




A comment about Bonnie's Running Aframe Seminar:

I recommend that anyone who want to progress to a new level attend the seminar in the spring. Especially someone who is in the beginning stages, like I am. I learned so much in those 4 evenings about agility, about my dog, and especially about myself as a trainer. I put away my pointing finger last night, hopefully I won't find it again :)

Sharon & Woodrow



October 2009

Hi Bonnie,

I just read your very moving article posted on the PFA site "What Can We Learn from Barbaro?" I had no idea as I started reading that I would be bawling by the end.

I cannot tell you how much it means to me to read the points you made in the article about responsible breeding, and that for horses & dogs, it has gotten worse.

Although your story made me so sad on this gloomy, rainy morning, I am so glad to know that you are an advocate for good practices. That really does a lot for my heart, and gives me hope there are many many more people out there that feel the same. I'm always hoping things will improve for these animals, but in the meantime the ones that I care for will get nothing but the best, and whatever they need to be healthy, happy and balanced... what every dog deserves.

Thank you so much,

Becky (& Luna & Roo)



In a message dated 8/14/2009 1:36:24 P.M., Elaine writes:

Dear Bonnie,

Thank you for this morning’s class! I know you are hesitant to correct me when I make mistakes because you do not want me to be frustrated. Your classes are one of the reasons that I am in a much better place concerning my frustration level than I have been in a long, long time. Your training is responsible for that.

Again ~ thank you so much for your training, patience, humor, and caring about your students!

Elaine & Spirit




Hi Bonnie,

I just took Linda Mecklenberg's Jumping Book out of the shipping envelope and read the first two chapters. I now understand where you were going with guidance you gave us today. It makes sense to me. Really, it is soooo cool and logical. I will be glad when I can stand for the training but I now see the progression that must take place. I, also, can see the importance of calling the dog to heel.

Every time I leave your place, I get lost. You give me so much to think about that I don't pay attention to the direction that I am turning. Thank goodness for my GPS which faithfully gets me home.

Thanks again for today and for recommending Linda's book on jumping.





Posted by: "sangie"
Mon Apr 6, 2009 5:43 am (PDT)


Thanks for encouraging me to try something different in my JWW run. I would have done rear crosses the entire course. But thanks to you, I realized just how fast Lexie and I can run together. Still in awe that I got all 3 front crosses in. I may not have Q'd, but it felt like he best run of my agility career. I can never again say I can not get there to do a front cross ...




In a message dated 3/10/2009, Marylin writes:

How NEAT was it to see my little Toby just lying in his bed smiling out at the course waiting for me to come get him for his turn? That is a picture I will always remember about him. This is probably the biggest and best accomplishment he and I could have ever hoped for in agility.

He’s come so far since those first few weeks of sitting on my foot and refusing to take a treat or play with a toy. I cannot believe what a happy, sparkly boy he is since getting conditioned and building up his confidence. Starting him in agility is just the best thing that’s ever happened to him.

If he wants to, we will still be in your classes when he’s 16, trotting around and hopping over those 4 inch bars and strolling over the baby teeter.




Thank you Bonnie

Posted by: "TC"
Fri Feb 27, 2009 9:50 pm (PST)

Thanks for encouraging me and Shrek at Rendon. We never have gone there. Or any other fun match. You put us in elite jumpers. I was sweating it and Shrek was smooth as as your Ice. Never seeing a jumpers course he aced it. What other surprises do you have for us in the future.

TC in Dallas



Classes this week were a little difficult for some of us. Especially when we get into the int. or adv. classes ... we think we're supposed to blast at every obstacle. I am really glad we did this exercise because, though frustrating, it reminded me of some really good things. My dogs have never been velcro dogs and are more obstacle than handler focused.

Things I re-learned:

1. There is a balance between a dog being obstacle focused and handler focused. I want them to think ... but NOT direct themselves. I need to be the one they look to for the next obstacle.

2. I need to up my rewards and treat more. I think I have a tendency to treat less as my dogs have gotten better. Think about it ... why should they work harder if they get paid less???

3. It is always good to stop and review the basics of anything I want to do well. I have gaps in my training due to Bella's knee surgeries etc. Also, I'm sure I didn't listen to my trainer at times either. My brain isn't always in gear. ha-ha

Anyway ... I want to let Bonnie know that I needed and appreciated that type of class.

Linda/Bella and Alex



kcab20 writes:

I love the way that even though you are already agility queen and have had so much success not only with your own dogs, yet also the dogs you have helped train - you are never just complacent - you are always seeking ways to find new drills that add a little spunk or new systems (whatever APS is) to give the dogs or the people that extra edge - it's like if there is anything out there that can stretch you a little bit more or take us to one level higher - you are determined to FIND IT!!! I know that takes time and actually a passion for the sport and for teaching it to others - so I appreciate that...

that's all - have a great day - we'll see you on the beginner field: )!!!



Posted by: "WiggleButtBleus"
Wed May 21, 2008 4:16 am (PDT)

Bonnie your videos have help me trained Kyan better than Perle and Dallas ever had, but we are also working on new tricks for them as well.

Loved your new tricks with "Ice",




I wanted to let you know that I was so very pleased with how the "Test Drive" went that night.. It was so nice to see people and their dogs that maybe never even considered participating in Agility having such a great time... I heard many nice compliments about the evening.... Thank you for hosting the evening... and I hope to do something like this again....or different... Maybe even a Saturday seminar later in the year...

You have a wonderful facility... I also enjoyed your presentation of your techniques...and your Staff that assisted that night... Well they were pretty awesome...

Thank you for a great evening... It couldn't have been more perfect.....

Kathy Felix
Golden Retriever Club



Sadie at the Vet
Posted by: "Greta Buehrle"
Fri Apr 4, 2008 2:28 pm (PDT)

I just had to write in to tell you all about how well Agility can work outside the agility field.

Sadie had her yearly physical exam yesterday morning. For some reason, every time we go in, she absolutely refuses to get on the scale. Once I have manhandled her onto the scale it is always difficult to get a good reading of her weight because she is trying so desperately to get off the scale. I don't know why she behaves like this, but for some reason she just hates that scale.

So yesterday, as expected, she started putting up an immediate fuss when i was leading her to the scale. Suddenly, I had absolute agility inspiration! Holding a treat in my hand, i got down on her level next to the scale. I tapped the scale once with my hand and told her the command "Table". She immediately hopped onto the scale and sat down, and (of course) was immediately rewarded with the treat. She sat there watching me while the vet tech took her weight. I told her break and she hopped right off. The vet tech told me that was amazing!

So - proof that agility is beneficial in all sorts of weird circumstances, if you're willing to be creative! Hooray!

~Greta and a correctly weighed Sadie



January 2008

Hi this is Greta - a newbie from last night - I was with Sadie the English Setter if you were there. My husband (Russell with Huck the Corgi Puppy) and I had SO much fun and are really looking forward to continuing to learn and train our dogs. I was on such a high going home last night because I just enjoyed class so much - our dogs did too - they slept the whole way home. It was wonderful to meet all the veterans out there - and Bonnie thanks for telling me to get the Gentle Leader again - what a stress reliever for both Sadie and I! Looking forward to next week! GRETA M. BUEHRLE, IIDA



December 2007

Hi there,

I think your name is Kristin with Zoe. I don't know you yet, but I understand how you feel. I felt that way when I started agility with my Pom Bella. She learned everything very quickly and was fast as lightening. I didn't think she would handle the stress of trials though. I thought about quitting so many times that it would take all my fingers and toes to count.

But, I didn't quit and I trusted Bonnie that she would do agility in trials. Now ... she doesn't Q every time, but she and I have a blast. I lost 40 pounds in order to run faster and I would train and go to trials even if she didn't Q at all. You have to remember that agility is an adventure and focus on the little successes along the way. It takes some of us longer...but think of the fun along the way.

I remember one particular time I told Bonnie that Bella would never do a sit stay. She told me to keep working on it. AND, the last trial I went to, I did a three jump lead out with this silly Pom. This may not seem like much to the top trainers, but it was a super accomplishment for my Bella.

Just to let you know...so you can see where you will be ... Bella is in open jumpers, open gamblers and elite tunnelers.

Just trust Bonnie, listen to her, and believe in your dog.

Linda/Bella and Alex



Checking in from the English Setter National
Posted by: birchrun52
Fri Oct 5, 2007 5:14 am (PST)

Hi All,
Wasn't going to write until we had competed on Saturday but last night Tatum "won" everything and regardless of what she does from here on out over the next ten days - all that matters was last night. We are at the English Setter National show in Cincinnati, OH. Showing in two all breed agility trials on Sat and Sunday and then doing conformation the rest of next week.

I've had English Setters for 25 years, and I've done obedience with great recalls in the formal sit-stay-come situation. I have never had an ES come when called in an offlead situation, especially when frightened, strange place, not in a training situation. So THANK YOU, Bonnie!!!! Wish you could have seen it although I have no desire to repeat it! I thought I was going to faint when it was all over - imagining what could have happened. We are right across an 8-lane highway from Kings Island which is a Six Flags type place. And behind the hotel is the Interstate. And I discovered this morning there is a pond outside our room with geese - great!

You always hear how a good recall could save your dog's life and now I'm a believer - thank you, Bonnie!!!
Sue & "Tatum"

Sue & "Tatum"



From: Carolyn Canizaro-Orlowsky D.V.M.
Sent: Monday, November 05, 2007 10:14 PM
Subject: Class

Hi Bonnie,

I hope your trip to the Nationals was fun. Wish we could have been there this year...maybe next!

I'm coming up to work in Rockwall again this Friday Nov. 9th through Wed. Nov. 14th. Do you have any classes Dani and I could attend? We had such a great time at your facility and really enjoyed the lunch out afterwards! I wish I didn't have to work during the day Friday! If that's the only class you have, maybe I could work something out with the owner of the clinic to let me leave for a few hours to attend class/lunch!

Let me know if you have anything for us.

Take care,
Carolyn Canizaro-Orlowsky, D.V.M.
Austin, Texas



From: Rhonda Gelbar
Sent: Wednesday, December 05, 2007 4:42 PM
Subject: Thank You!


What a great note. Diana told me how much I would enjoy agility training. I only did it because it was a chance to spend some time with her. However, in this experience I have found such joy. Fibi and I are becoming a real team. We use to share a couch, bed and a walk and now we play around the house and have such fun. I would be afraid for anyone to see how silly we have become. After a day of patients, illness, diseases and sadness, I so look forward to playing and running around the house hiding her tug or ball. What a companion. I appreciate so much the effort you put into the training and your patience. I looke forward to every Friday so you and Fibi can train me and teach me more.

Merry Christmas,



Published Article by Bonnie Norris


Published in Cleanrun Magazine archived at Cleanrun.com
And the Dallas-Ft. Worth Metro Golden Retriever Club Newsletter
November 2007, Volume 34, Issue 10

What Can We Learn from Barbaro?

Tears came to my eyes and I choked up as I watched the famous bay stallion Barbaro break out of the starting gate at the Preakness, the second leg in the famous Thoroughbred Triple Crown. Barbaro’s power was evident from the start, a fire in his eye and a synchronicity of boiling blood, muscle, and sinew. Even for the horse-racing uninitiated, there was no doubt that this horse was very special. Then just seconds later, the unbelievable; after only a few hundred heaxtpounding yards Barbaro’s right leg flared out grotesquely and he veered sharply to the side.
For those of us who know horses, we could see this was a horrendous injury, most likely a compound fracture. But unfathomably, Barbaro didn’t drop in agony; instead, he continued to gallop forward in a dramatic effort to maintain his lead. Jockey Edgar Prado struggled to pull the horse back and later said that Barbaro practically jogged back to his stall on only three legs.
Along with most of America, I was broken up, and at first moved to sobs. But then, over the next few days, I began to reflect. Was the sadness I was feeling for Barbaro a result of his freak accident or was it because his accident might have been prevented? And was Barbaro just such a gutsy individual that he had continued to drive down the racetrack with 22 broken bones and a shattered fetlock joint? Or did his behavior exemplify something more unusual?
I looked into Barbaro’s life to try to make sense of his terrifying misfortune. Before the Preakness, Barbaro was undefeated in six race starts. Winning the Kentucky Derby, he had the widest margin of victory, a whopping 6.5 lengths, since Triple Crown winner Assault in 1946. The day of his injury Barbaro came bucking to the start gate and was so eager to race that he broke the gate early only to be taken back to a second and successful start.
At first this seemed like the resume of a true champion, but I began to ask myself, was Barbaro bred with such a desire to run, that all other considerations, particularly his self-preservation instinct, took second place to his burning desire for speed?
My research led me to Barbaro’s sire, Dynaformer. Kiaran McLaughlin, Dynaformer’s trainer, said that Dynaformer was the most difficult horse she ever trained. “You couldn’t pull him up after a workout,” she said and “You didn’t turn your back on him:’ It was common knowledge in the stable that Dynaformer had once bitten off a groom’s finger. McLaughlin finished her assessment of the stallion’s temperament by saying, “He was mean, he would bite, he was a monster:’ Barbaro’s half-brother, Holy Ground, had a stakes- winning career but retired as a four year old because he injured his suspensory ligament during his last race. Breeding plans for Holy Ground are, as I write, undecided. But my guess is that if Barbaro can mount a mare, breeders will be standing in line with their mares for both Barbaro and his half-brother, Holy Ground, even though both retired before four years of age due to injuries sustained on normal track conditions.
With my interest piqued, I looked into the breeding practices of the horse racing industry. Over the last 40 years, three times as many race horses have been produced as before but a decreasing proportion are maintaining their soundness through their shortened careers. Huge multinational breeding operations have dominated the Thoroughbred scene, encouraging heavy inbreeding on a single Canadian stallion named Native Dancer, producing Thoroughbreds that are swift, but physically weak.
Recent veterinarian research into the failing health of race horses has uncovered widespread gastric ulcers and bleeding lungs. Shocking rates of injury and death have been blamed on breeding trends that select for speed at the expense of skeletal strength and general heartiness. It seems the pursuit of glory and profit are the forces that have led the racing industry to draw on increasingly narrow gene pools that produce “high status” foals.
So how does this all relate to dog agility? Since I began agility 15 years ago, agility dogs have gone from your basic backyard, family pet, burning-off-a-few-extra calories-type dogs, to highly sought-after and marketed performance dogs with a hefty price tag.
I’ve heard more and more stories of top agility sires and dams with antisocial, inflammatory temperaments chronic unsoundness, epilepsy, deafness, gastrointestinal disorders, and whelping problems. But eager competitors are willing to overlook or are in denial about these problems in hopes that they can get the next World Team contender, and many breeders, as always, are willing to accommodate them.
The research I uncovered suggests that there could be a connection between dogs and horses bred (knowingly or otherwise) for very high metabolism and abnormal adrenal regulation that puts them at risk for these conditions.
I hope that as agility becomes more popular and increasingly competitive, buyers of future performance dogs will drive the market toward the overall sound and durable dog. We should encourage breeders to keep their gene pool large, to breed sturdy-boned, mentally stable, and balanced dogs, and to screen dogs for inheritable defects common to their specific breed. We need to place the importance of this over and above the need for extreme speed. That way, the dogs we love will be able to participate in agility well into their maturity. Yes, speed is important, and on the surface, very alluring. And bless Barbaro’s heart, he did exactly what he was bred to do, with grace, style, and bravado. But that’s my point; maybe he was bred to do more than his body could withstand. We should learn from Barbaro’s sad misfortune. Like race horses, agility dogs bred for good, common sense and physical stamina will continue to blaze in the agility ring for many years to come, long after the “firecracker fast” but inherently weak have fizzled out.

Reprinted with the permission of Bonnie Norris. This article was first published in the March 2007 issue of Clean Run