New Jersey Has Gone To The Dogs Again with 35 Dogs Competing at the 9th Annual Masters Agility Trial at the 146th Westminster Dog Show on June 18th, 2022
The New Jersey Teams will be competing at the 146th Annual Westminster Dog Show to be held at the Lyndhurst Estate in Tarrytown, New York, a majestic castle overlooking the Hudson River welcoming dogs and their handlers to the wide-open outdoor space. Only the second time in its history, that the show will be held outside New York City.
Westminster Week will welcome nearly 3,500 dogs in three different competitions. The weekend kicks off with the 9th Annual Masters Agility on June 18th with 35 New Jersey dogs competing, among a total of 350 dogs entered. The 7th Annual Masters Obedience Championships will follow on June 20th with 8 New Jersey teams. The breed competitions will take place from June 20th to the 22nd with Best In Show on the final night.
For the full schedule and tickets, go to: westminsterkennelclub.org
Dog Agility is a sport in which a handler guides a dog around an obstacle course. The handler cannot touch the dog or the obstacles. The aim is to complete the course as quickly and accurately as possible. The beginning of the sport goes back to 1970 in England, where it was created, to be held as a demonstration sport. The first time dog agility was shown to an audience was at the Crufts Show in 1978.
Dogs are measured for the height class for which they compete, starting at 8, 12, 16, 20, and 24 inches. The dogs featured here, Love Being On The Water and a Day at The Beach – as much as they Love Agility!
BRITTANI KLEIN AND MAZIE
Brittani and her Border Collie, Mazie, train at Shore Paws NJ, and are also a part of JAG (Jersey Agility Group) located in Howell, NJ. The team competed in the AKC Agility Nationals in 2022 at the World Equestrian Center in Ocala, FL! They placed in the top 30% of the 20” class, which had over 400 dogs competing. “Borders are working dogs, so they have to keep busy constantly,” says Klein. Mazie competes in agility regularly but also has titles in Trick Dog and Canine Good Citizen.
They competed at Lyndhurst last year, but their favorite agility venue for Westminster will always be the pier in NYC. Brittani loves walking through the crowds with her exhibitor’s shirt on – feeling like a celebrity for the day, with the crowds cheering them on during the run.
A Fun fact about Mazie, is that she is obsessed with ceiling fans. At a recent competition, the Border was looking at the ceiling fan while on the table (an obstacle in agility) and not at Brittani – turns out, there was an industrial fan spinning. “If you spell the word “fan” or say “Phantom of the Opera” in my house, Mazie runs over to the fan and runs in circles around it!” explains Klein.
“This little dog is my life, she has changed not only my life but has made me a better handler in the agility ring and I wouldn’t want to share this awesome Westminster Agility Championship with any other dog.”
JODI KELLAR AND OBX
OBX is a lemon beagle, a “failed foster.” OBX is a keeper and Jodi’s 3rd agility beagle and 1st male to compete in the sport. He has grown up with beagles and border collies and acts a little like both; eager to work.
OBX has also competed in Rally Obedience, earning 3 Master Championships and in the top 20 in the world. He competed at AKC Agility Nationals for the 1st time and had 4 clean rounds, ending up 28th out of 216 dogs. OBX has also starred in a few ads: Bark Box, American Eagle and a TV show called “America’s Greatest Deals.” His name stands for Outer Banks (OBX), as he came with Jodi, who was on vacation, a day after he was surrendered to her. His official name is Jellybean’s OBX Marks the Spot.
They love playing agility and continue to work on anything that can help them have a better team connection. Jodi would like to see weaves and teeters in trial be as fast in practice. Jodi says the weaves is her “lack of trust” in him being accurate. She thinks OBX could be more confident and faster in tipping – and exiting the teeter. OBX is 2 Qualifying scores away from his 2nd MACH.
On their non-agility time, they swim and hike off-leash. OBX is a beagle that hikes off-leash with a fabulous recall (comes when called.) OBX has his own kitten pal that he rescued on a 5-degree day! He found and alerted Jodi to Fransisco, a six-week-old kitten hiding in the engine compartment of her truck in 2021. Jodi couldn’t tear them apart. Friends for life. Jodi says lovingly, “OBX is the best little man!”
ERIC STRIEPECK AND LIZ
Liz is a 15lb Chihuahua-Terrier Rescue Mix. Eric says, “Liz certainly wants to keep busy. She isn’t the most affectionate dog, but she usually wants to play fetch, tug, or work for food, more than she wants to cuddle. We signed up for obedience and tricks classes initially, as it is our first dog. We found her ability to learn commands and tricks was really impressive as a puppy. As we ran out of training classes we decided to give agility a try.”
The obstacles took some time to train, for Liz. The banging and motion of the contact teeter is scary for a little dog, and hard to keep the weave poles consistent, not to mention trial anxiety. “The bond obtained when you get to the point of running a sequence of obstacles, in sync, and accurately,” Eric admits, “is pretty amazing.” The feeling of the bond created, is what hooked them on agility.
They competed at their first national agility event last year. “It was a major challenge in itself, but I learned a ton,” Eric added. They earned their first MACH title, a huge accomplishment and achievement! They are super excited to compete in their first Westminster in 2022!
For anyone who wants to try agility, Eric recommends signing up for a foundation class at a local training facility, or buy affordable jumps for the backyard. Social media and youtube, are resources with ideas and videos to help start your agility training. “It won’t take long to find out how much your dog loves it!” Eric says, wholeheartedly.