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2018 Top Agility Dogs

Top Agility Dogs - Official 2018 Results

Meet Canada's Top Agility Dogs

After three years in the Top 3, all breeds, Brenda and Mission have finally reached #1! A trainer for over 35 years, Brenda bred and raised Mission, who showed great promise at a young age, also earning titles in obedience, rally, conformation and water trials. At the age of eight, this multi-talented Portie is at the top of his game. According to Brenda, “Mission is a joy to play with any day.” 
 
We had a chat with each of the ten TOP DOGS who shed some light on their most memorable victories and training tips – here are their interviews:  
 

#1 – GCh., AgMCh. & AgMChV Baywood Sask River Mission CGN, JTV, IP, CDX, RE, AgMX3, AgMXJ3


1TAD_003.jpgCall name: ‘Mission’
Portuguese Water Dog
Breeder/Owner/Handler: Brenda Brown

How did you first become involved in agility trials?
I showed horses all my life until an injury prevented me from riding any longer. I was thrilled when I discovered dog agility where the dog did the jumping!
 
What do you think is the most important thing to remember when training for the agility ring?
Make it fun! As it is for most people, dog agility is my hobby. I have my training criteria, but it has to be fun, especially when practising repetitive sequences. Be sure to reward your dog to keep him engaged.
 

Have you ever had a major setback or misstep, and if so, how did you work through it?
Often the weather can be a challenge, so I just have to plan for the heat and the cold. In the winter of 2018 I had a full knee replacement, which set us back, but I’m working hard through recovery to return back to the agility ring in 2019.
 
What was your most memorable moment in 2018?
Mission and I went on a huge road trip in August! We flew to Ottawa for the Agility Association of Canada Nationals and then drove to the Portuguese Water Dog Club of America National Specialty in Frankenmuth, Michigan. There, Mission entered the Super Dog competition where he competed in rally, obedience, conformation and, of course, agility. He also picked up two levels of his Trick Dog titles. Closer to home, I always love competing at the Fort Saskatchewan and Area Canine Association trials. They are so welcoming and always a great day!
 
If you were to give advice to someone new to the sport, what have you found to be the most important place to start?
Be sure to review trainers and find someone who can help you with your dog! Every dog, even in the same breed, is different.

(Photo credit: Chipperfield Photography)

 

#2 – AgMCh. Marolou Highway XP, JTX, AgMX3, AgMXJ2


2-TAD_001-edited.pngCall name: ‘Highway’
Soft-Coated Wheaten Terrier
Owner/Handler: Diane Guillotte

How did you first become involved in agility trials?
After seeing teams running agility courses, I was dreaming of having such a magical connection with my dogs.
 
What do you think is the most important thing to remember when training for the agility ring?
Fun for both the dog and the handler. Together, we are a team and it is important for both parties to be happy and enjoy the activity.
 
Have you ever had a major setback or misstep, and if so, how did you work through it?
We all have missteps. In my mind, when there is a mistake, it’s my fault. So I take a moment to analyze what happen and then try to find a way to train that will have an impact on the result. I try, I watch, I analyze.
 
What was your most memorable moment in 2018?
Each course we run is a victory in itself. But what Highway has accomplished at only four years old impresses me greatly.
 
If you were to give advice to someone new to the sport, what have you found to be the most important place to start?
Pick a breed that agrees with your lifestyle rather that a breed whose performance is impressive. One has to realize that we spend more time with our dog out of the ring than in the ring. This way, the team will be more balanced, happier, will have more fun and will perform better.


 

#3 – AgMCh. Hyperhounds All Fired Up CGN, XP, AgSC, RM, CD, AgMX3, AgMXJ4


3TAD_002.jpgCall name: ‘Spark’
Shetland Sheepdog
Breeder/Owner/Handler: Kim Boyes

How did you first become involved in agility trials?
I started in agility with an American Eskimo Dog about 18 years ago. I was always very interested in dog sports and training in general. I started taking classes from a local instructor and was quickly hooked on agility.
 
What do you think is the most important thing to remember when training for the agility ring?
Keep the sessions fun and motivational. Have a high rate of reinforcement and keep the sessions short. You want the dog loving every minute of the session and end with the dog wanting more.
 
Have you ever had a major setback or misstep, and if so, how did you work through it?
Spark went through a period of being afraid of the teeter. I just took it slow and let her set the pace, never forcing her to do something that scared her. We did lots of the teeter bang game, low teeters and shaping games on wobbly surfaces until she was confident again with teeters.
 
What was your most memorable moment in 2018?
Spryte, Spark and I were part of the 2018 team sent to the FCI Agility World Championships in Sweden to represent Canada and the CKC. It was an exciting trip! It was inspiring to watch so many talented teams tackle very technical courses. Both girls gave me some really nice runs and moments on course that I’m very proud of.
 
If you were to give advice to someone new to the sport, what have you found to be the most important place to start?
Find an instructor that has a lot of experience in the sport. Their guidance will help you get things right from the beginning and help you navigate training challenges that will pop up along the way. 


(Photo credit: Chipperfield Photography)
 

#4 – AgMCh. Dynstar Mythical Creature CGN, MXP, AgSC, CDX, RAE, AgMX3


4TAD_002.jpgCall name: ‘Spryte’
Shetland Sheepdog
Owner/Handler: Kim Boyes

What do you think is the most important thing to remember when training for the agility ring?
Have a very clear idea of what you want the end behaviours/skills to look like. That way you can be consistent in your training and avoid confusion and frustration in the dog, which can lead to a lack of motivation.
 
Have you ever had a major setback or misstep, and if so, how did you work through it?
I can’t really remember any setbacks with Spryte. She was always super keen to do agility.
 
What was your most memorable moment in 2018?
Travelling to the FCI Agility World Championships in Sweden with Spryte and Spark.
 
If you were to give advice to someone new to the sport, what have you found to be the most important place to start?
Spend a lot of time teaching the basics. Don’t be in a rush to start sequencing, trialing, etc. Make sure you have good foundation skills before moving forward with your training. 

(Photo credit: Chipperfield Photography)

 

#5 – Ch. & AgMChV Auburnmist Familiar West Wind XPV, RA, AgNS, AgNJS, AgMXV4, AgMXJV3


5TAD_004.jpgCall name: ‘Zephyr’
Golden Retriever
Owner/Handler: Annelise Freeman

How did you first become involved in agility trials?
A great friend and breeder gave me the help and push I needed to start in agility. Zephyr is my first agility dog.
 

What do you think is the most important thing to remember when training for the agility ring?
Always remember that the bond that develops between you and your dog is worth far more than ribbons. And, of course, have fun!
 
Have you ever had a major setback or misstep, and if so, how did you work through it?
There are always holes in our training, either because we don’t realize we need certain skills or because we have difficulty in training these skills. The best thing is to find a good trainer. They will see what you don’t and can explain why things are falling apart.
 
What was your most memorable moment in 2018?
I don’t know if this qualifies, but Zephyr is always super consistent and surprised me when he ran up the A-frame and stopped dead to look at a gopher! I had to coax him down – quite hilarious.
 
If you were to give advice to someone new to the sport, what have you found to be the most important place to start?
Go to classes even if you are not planning to compete. You will learn things about yourself, your dog and how you interact. The bond between you and your dearest friend will become strong, powerful and wonderful.


 

#6 – AgMCh. Rideauview’s Dawson So Bright IP, JT, CD


6TAD_001.JPGCall name: ‘Dawson’
Golden Retriever
Owner/Handler: Marcia Caplan
 
How did you first become involved in agility trials?
I’ve always had a passion for competitive sports. While training for agility, I heard about dog trials and decided to check a few out. Once I saw how the handlers moved with their dogs around the course, I was hooked.
 
What do you think is the most important thing to remember when training for the agility ring?
Have fun, build a strong foundation, be patient, and reward, reward, reward. Building that important connection with your dog is critical. Take your time and enjoy the journey. Your hard work will pay off.
 
Have you ever had a major setback or misstep, and if so, how did you work through it?
We all have. I like to review and reflect on my progress. I will simply take a step back and see what it is that I am doing that seems to be causing the disconnect. I will ask my mentors for help if I not sure about how to correct a problem. I never have an issue going back to basics. Agility trials help me to identify some of the holes in my training.
 
What was your most memorable moment in 2018?
Every moment is memorable – each training opportunity, seminar... I try to embrace each and every moment I spend with Dawson. Dawson has brought me to places I never thought possible.
 
If you were to give advice to someone new to the sport, what have you found to be the most important place to start?
Find a trainer who is knowledgeable and passionate about training. Someone who is encouraging, supportive and positive. There is a tremendous amount of information and many kind people out there who are willing to help guide you on your journey.

(Photo credit: Photoplay Partners Photography)

 

#7 – AgMCh. Miron’s Enchanting Siren IP, XPS, JTS, AgMXS2


7TAD_001.jpgCall name: ‘Siren’
Labrador Retriever
Owner/Handler: Robin Robbs

How did you first become involved in agility trials?
I started agility classes in 2000 with my first yellow Labrador named ‘Chimera.’ My sister Pam was taking classes with her chocolate Lab and wanted to know if I would like to join her. Chimera loved the sport and achieved many titles.
 
What do you think is the most important thing to remember when training for the agility ring?
When training I think it is important to it be consistent and make it fun.
 
Have you ever had a major setback or misstep, and if so, how did you work through it?
I’ve been fortunate not to have anything major happen to any of my dogs or to myself.
 
What was your most memorable moment in 2018?
We had a few memorable moments starting with the announcement of the CKC Top Dog achievements for 2017. Siren was Top Labrador Retriever, Top Sporting Dog and #4 all breeds. In June we won our division at the Agility Association of Canada Regionals, then placed second at Nationals in August.
 
If you were to give advice to someone new to the sport, what have you found to be the most important place to start?
Find a proven trainer to work with. Once the foundation skills are in place, participating in fun matches helps build confidence.

(Photo credit: Photoplay Partners Photography)
 

#8 – OTCh. & AgMChV Dobaella’s Foxsee Le Reveur XPV, AgSC, RE, AgN, AgNJ, AgMXV2, AgMXJV2


8TAD_002.JPGCall name: ‘Foxsee’
Parson Russell Terrier
Owners: Michel Brunet & Claude Paquette
Handler: Rolando Manaog

How did you first become involved in agility trials?
When Foxsee finished his CD, the judge that day, Sandy Briggs, suggested we try agility. I did not start agility until Foxsee had completed his OTCh.
 
What do you think is the most important thing to remember when training for the agility ring?
Never forget that we chose to do agility; the dog did not choose agility. I train and run agility with the dog I have, not the dog I would like to have. I train my dog for his strengths and his flaws.
 
Have you ever had a major setback or misstep, and if so, how did you work through it?
After hundreds of successful runs, Foxsee was very good! I then started taking it too seriously and Foxsee just stopped running. I realized it was not fun for him anymore. I came to my senses and was humbled by that experience. I restarted training with a motto: “If it’s not FUN, don’t RUN!”
 
What was your most memorable moment in 2018?
My friend, Diane Guillotte, convinced us to participate at the 2018 CKC Invitational in July. I was worried about running my 12-year-old dog in the summer heat. The host venue, the Red Barn, had anticipated everything, providing cooling pools and shade. Foxsee successfully completed eight runs with no faults. In the Challenge Invitational, he won the Terrier Group and the 8-inch category, all breeds.
 
If you were to give advice to someone new to the sport, what have you found to be the most important place to start?
Never think about the qualifying legs. When you are running your dog, you are there to have fun, no matter what he does or doesn’t do. Appreciate all the moments – the good and the goofy.

(Photo credit: Jacques Beauvais)

 

#9 – GCh. & AgMChS Lochnquay’s Little Drummer Boy CGN, XPS, JTS, RA, AgMXS2, AgMXV, AgMXJV

9-Drumlin-TAD_001.jpgCall name: ‘Drumlin’
Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever
Owner/Handler: Veronica Evers-Doyle
How did you first become involved in agility trials?
I started trialing with my first Toller around 10 years ago. She was my first agility dog and taught me so much. She is a no-nonsense kind of dog, who expects me to get it right the first time.
 
What do you think is the most important thing to remember when training for the agility ring?
Agility should be fun for you and for your dog. This is a sport we ask them to play with us and we need to ensure that it stays enjoyable.
 
Have you ever had a major setback or misstep, and if so, how did you work through it?
I was asked to run a dog by her injured handler. This is an agility team I have huge respect for. I overheard a (national-level) handler comment, “This will be interesting.” My self-doubt kicked in. Well, I ran that dog. It wasn’t flawless, but we had fun together and her handler was happy. I have to remind myself that I have earned the right to compete at this level and not to let careless comments derail me.
 
What was your most memorable moment in 2018?
Drumlin and I went to our first-ever agility nationals together (AAC). We had an amazing time there, with wonderful friends. It was such a great experience to be part of an event with seven agility rings running all weekend long.
 
If you were to give advice to someone new to the sport, what have you found to be the most important place to start?
Find a trainer to work with who has values that complement your own. A good trainer will see where your weaknesses (and strengths) are and help you reach your potential.

(Photo credit: Karie Elizebeth Photography)

 

#9 – AgMCh. The Swirling Tuula Du Josar CGN, MXP, JTX, AgSCX, CD


9TAD_002.JPGCall name: ‘Tuula’
Belgian Shepherd Dog
Owner/Handler: Wendy Beard

How did you first become involved in agility trials?
It started as a fun social evening at our local obedience club.
 
What do you think is the most important thing to remember when training for the agility ring?
Be consistent. If a dog does something wrong, it’s because you’ve taught the dog to do that!
 
Have you ever had a major setback or misstep, and if so, how did you work through it?
I had to retire one of my dogs from agility at a very young age. He was a very clever, talented dog who wanted to work. In just a few trials over six months he earned his CKC Excellent titles. Suddenly he developed fear issues, noise sensitivity and his jumping deteriorated to the point where he was taking off so early that he was either crashing the jump or stutter-stepping in front of it. Physical examinations didn’t find any cause for this. Obviously there was something wrong, so I made the sad decision to retire him.
 
What was your most memorable moment in 2018?
Tuula was given the opportunity to represent the CKC at the AKC Invitational Championship in Orlando, Florida, in December. I was very proud of her. She placed second, fifth and ninth (out of 130 dogs), in three of her four runs. She also won the Top International Dog award for the 24” category. It was a wonderful experience.
 
If you were to give advice to someone new to the sport, what have you found to be the most important place to start?
Don’t rush the foundation work. Find a good club or instructor to work with. It’s so tempting to rush into doing the obstacles. On the other hand, don’t take it too seriously. It’s only a game!

(Photo credit: Karie Elizebeth Photography) 
 

#10 – AgMCh. G8rcreek Sunsprite Too Far To Walk NS, XP, JT


10-Pixel-TAD_001.jpgCall name: ‘Pixel’
Toy Poodle
Owner/Handler: Leslie Cameron

How did you first become involved in agility trials?
Twenty-two years ago I started classes with my extremely bright, athletic Poodle. He just loved it! I entered a trial to try out our skills and, from the very first run, the feeling of running with my dog as a team was amazing. I was hooked.
 

What do you think is the most important thing to remember when training for the agility ring?
Make sure you establish a strong bond with your dog. It’s a team sport and you both should love working together. Make it rewarding and fun. The one thing that bothers me most about a non-qualifying run is when I don’t feel my dog and I are working as a team.
 
Have you ever had a major setback or misstep, and if so, how did you work through it?
My first agility dog was a natural so he made it too easy. With my next dog I made the mistake of expecting him to learn the same way. I learned far more about training by having to go back to the basics with a more difficult dog.
 
What was your most memorable moment in 2018?
There were four equal highlights to our 2018 season. Pixel earned his CKC Agility Master Champion title, won the Toy Group aggregate at the Summer Spectacular, came in second in the AAC National Championships and earned his AKC Master Agility Champion title, all within two months.
 
If you were to give advice to someone new to the sport, what have you found to be the most important place to start?
Good foundations are absolutely necessary. Don’t rush your dog. The more time you put into your dog’s foundation work, the more confident and capable your dog will become.


(Photo credit: Karie Elizebeth Photography) 

 

#10 – AgMCh. Auldscotia Destn2shyn Aceilidh MXP, AgSC


10TAD_001.jpgCall name: ‘Dazzle’
Bearded Collie
Owner/Handler: Leslie Dawson-North

How did you first become involved in agility trials?
I got my start in agility in 1991 and went to my first trial in 1992. Competition soon became addictive and my passion, which brought me to my first three World Agility Championships with my Beardie ‘Heather’ in Italy (2004), Spain (2005) and Switzerland (2006).
 
What do you think is the most important thing to remember when training for the agility ring?
Have a solid start line and teach your canine partner their job. Don’t be in a rush to enter the ring. Just because your dog is 18 months old and eligible, doesn’t necessarily mean your team is ready. Build for success.
 
Have you ever had a major setback or misstep, and if so, how did you work through it?
This is a great and humbling sport. When you have setbacks or missteps, you need to reassess. Start back where you were last successful, then move forward. You can’t rush training!
 
What was your most memorable moment in 2018?
My two most memorable moments was attending the CKC team tryouts with my three dogs and being selected as a member of the team, competing at the European Open held in Austria, and when Dazzle achieved her Agility Master Champion title and won the Bearded Collie Club of Canada highest scoring agility Beardie on the same weekend.
 
If you were to give advice to someone new to the sport, what have you found to be the most important place to start?
Seek a positive trainer with experience, who competes in the sport, has changed with the sport and offers excellent FOUNDATIONS. Without a firm foundation, your training and trialing will break down. Most importantly, “Always cherish your dog because it’s hard to find a friend so loyal!”

(Photo credit: Chipperfield Photography)
 

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