Wondering why the blog went quiet for a little while? I was a busy bee getting ready for the 2014 AKC National Agility Championship in Harrisburg, PA!
We started the journey to AKC Agility Nationals by trialing for a few weekends leading up to the big event. I know some handlers feel better if they focus on training, but I feel that my dogs and I do better the more we compete. So compete we did.
The weekend before the NAC, we showed at the LEAP AKC agility trial in Tolland, CT. This was our first opportunity this year to trial on a surface other than rubber mats, which was nice for a change. The facility in Tolland has field turf, which really lets the dogs dig in and run as fast as they can.
It’s March! Time to start getting excited about Nationals! Time for my agility “season” to begin in earnest! Time for it to stop snowing already! (Mother Nature? Are you there? It’s me, Catsie…)
Well, I don’t have any control over the weather, but I have some degree of control over the start of my agility season and my level of excitement about Nationals, which is nearing “through-the-roof” levels for those keeping track at home.
With three weekends of local trials before The Big Event, my focus with Strata is on laying down solid runs with him to make sure we are on the same page.
Last night was the inaugural Westminster Kennel Club Masters Agility Championship. This historic event marked the first time in decades that mixed-breeds dogs – “All Americans” as they are registered by the American Kennel Club – were allowed to compete. One such dog even won his height division!
I had a blast tweeting during the event coverage last night. From the college basketball game that delayed the start of the trial (and caused great consternation among agility competitors nationwide) to the, um, disorganized awards ceremony at the end, it was an entertaining show to watch. I hope it leads to more televised dog agility in the future!
Making the event even more exciting was getting to cheer for local agility competitor Delaney Ratner, who won the 16″ division with Jonesy, her Miniature Schnauzer, and the overall award with Kelso, her Border Collie. Delaney is the perfect ambassador for our sport. She is determined, competitive, friendly, and humble, just the right “blend” of attributes that makes her a strong competitor and a fun person to be around.
Other highlights included the award for “Best Mixed-Breed Dog” which was presented to Roo!, a husky mix from California. He won the 24″ height class. I have had the pleasure of watching Roo! run at AKC Nationals and he is one cool dog!
If you missed it, I have heard that National Geographic’s side channel “NatGeo Wild” will be airing the Westminster agility coverage in the coming days.
Last weekend I attended my first agility trial in three months! I took a much-needed break over the holiday season to give the dogs time off and tackle some training projects, most of which are unrelated to agility. I don’t like entering trials in the winter anyway, due to the unpredictable weather up here, but I wanted to squeeze one trial as a test to see what skills we need to refresh before our main “trial season,” March through October.