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"How I Went From Naughty To Nice" by Roo

Click my picture to read about my long journey from being a homeless stray to becoming a champion


Dog Days of Summer, Sunday August 25th

Roo! and Mr. Dash will be demonstrating their agility skills on the field this Sunday, August 25th at AT&T Park for a Giant's pregame show.  The event is to promote dog training classes for the SF SPCA.  

Look for these two on the jumbotron!



First Two All-American Dogs Selected for AKC World Agility Team

AKC Canine Partner News

More history is being made in the AKC Canine Partners program with the selection of the first two mixed-breed dogs to represent the United States on an American Kennel Club world agility team. 

MACH2 Maier's Tuck Everlastin MXS MJG NF (Tucker) and MACH2 Roo! CD MXS MJS (Roo!) are part of the AKC/USA World Agility Team that competed at the FCI European Open. The event took place from July 25-28 in Neeroeteren, Belgium. 

Both Tucker and Roo! had some great rounds at the event. Tucker placed 34th in Medium Individual Agility and 51st in Medium Individual Agility Jumping. Roo! placed 88th in Large Individual Agility. This is out of hundreds of the top dogs from around the world. 

Both Tucker and Roo! are former shelter dogs who have come a long way to become agility super stars.

Tucker's owner, Kelly Maier of Monroe, Wash., had never even heard of agility when she adopted him from a Seattle-area shelter. MACH2 Maier's Tuck Everlastin MXS MJG NF

"I had never trained a dog before, let alone in agility. When I adopted him from the shelter when he was 10 weeks old, they highly suggested I do some training with him because he was ‘a little keg of dynamite' and might be hard to handle. So I started in general obedience. I loved training him. I followed with several more advanced training and tricks classes. My tricks instructor suggested that I try agility. I had no idea what it even was. But I found a beginning class and enrolled. We struggled for some time but I was determined. And here we are." 

Here is a really good place to be. Tucker was one of the first mixed-breeds in the country to earn the AKC Master Agility Championship (MACH) and was one of the two first All-Americans to qualify for the AKC National Agility Championship (NAC). This year, 8-year-old Tucker made the finals of the 16-inch division at the NAC, placing seventh, and had an outstanding showing at the AKC World Agility Team try-outs. 

"I was so proud of Tucker when I learned he and I made the team. I know we worked really hard but you never know how you will stack up against the others. I was so excited that we were even going to be able to go to try-outs that making the team is beyond my wildest dreams." 

MACH2 Roo! was once a homeless dog wandering in a park and now is an agility superstar, and part of the AKC World Agility Team.

The other mixed-breed team member, Roo!, is a 6-year-old shepherd mix who was found running loose in San Francisco as an 11-month-old puppy and taken to the San Francisco SPCA. She was rude, jumpy and mouthy and very dog reactive. Luckily, the shelter workers discovered that she was "really a big mush" and needed a job. 

But Roo! proved to be a lot of dog for a family pet. After her second adopters returned her to the shelter, SPCA trainer Stacey Campbell thought she might be just the dog she needed for her new competition obedience prospect and took her home. 

"She was an out of control, untrained adolescent dog with an endless supply of energy, and for the first six months, we focused on basic house manners and learning how to redirect her enthusiasm for life. Soon we started to train for competition obedience, and Roo! breezed through her Companion Dog title and quickly earned her first 2 CDX legs. While we were training for obedience, we started agility as something fun to do together, and Roo! loved it." 

Today, Roo! is not only a MACH2 but she is one of the top dogs in AKC Agility — all breeds. In the past six months, she won the 24-inch divisions at the AKC Agility Invitational and the AKC National Agility Championship and earned a spot on the 2013 AKC/USA World Agility Team. 

"I think years of training finally came together. I became more confident in my handling and started to trust Roo! more out on course," Campbell said. "Her confidence definitely grew as well as her level of excitement to get into the ring." 

Roo! turned in some winning performances at the World Team Try-outs in early May, which surpassed Campbell's expectations for the event. Making the team was a huge surprise, she said. 

"My goal for try-outs was just to have fun and try something new. I never expected to make the team," Campbell said. "In fact, I wasn't even expecting to have clean runs." 

Both Maier and Campbell had some great runs at the international event on the courses that tend to be tighter and more technical than what US agility competitors experience. 

•     See video of Tucker in action at the world games ► 

•     See Stacey and Roo! in action at the AKC World Team Try-outs here ► 

See the results from the European open ►


European Open: July 26-28, 2013

Team USAOn July 20th, Roo! and I flew to Belgium to participate in our first international agility competition, held in a small town about an hour outside of Brussels.   The European Open (EO) is one of the largest and most competitive agility events in the World.  Nearly 800 of the fastest and most talented agility dogs from over thirty-three countries were represented this year. 

Roo! and I were selected to represent the United States as part of the American Kennel Club’s team of 32 dogs and handlers (8 small, 8 medium and 16 large dogs). The team was chosen based on their performance at the International Team Try-outs competition held in May 2013 and their competition history for the entire year.  

A unique feature of the EO, is that the competition is open to both mixed and purebred dogs, regardless of pedigree, unlike the FCI World Championships.  Out of 800 dogs at the show, there were only 44 mixed breed dogs.  Roo!, along with Kelly Maier’s Tucker, were the first mixed breed dogs to be selected to represent the US.    

Photo by Carrie Elks DeYoungRoo! ran really well, as if she were competing at a local Bay area trial.  She was fast, focused and excited to get into the ring.  We had some good runs, but unfortunately, in such a competitive field, we did not make it into the final round.  European courses are tough and far more technical than what we encounter at U.S. competitions.  Even if you run clean, your team has to be absolutely flawless to do well at this event. 

It was an amazing experience to share with my all-American rescue dog.  She’s come such a long way!  If you had told me a year ago that I would be traveling to Belgium to represent the United States at the European Open, I would have laughed.

Stacey and Roo! at Opening Ceremonies








European Open Practice

Roo and I headed up to Sacramento for three days of nonstop agility training in the heat with some pretty amazing agility handlers.  Twelve international courses completed in three days.  

A few things that I came away with from this weekend...  We can do International courses.  I think heading to tryouts, I wasn't so confident on the courses.  I definitely feel like we have improved after this weekend.  I also felt like I could trust Roo more on the courses.  Micro managing this weekend only seemed to cause bars to come down.  As for the bars, very few came down.  

The real take home from practice was that my dog is not hitting her up contact on the dog walk.  This has never been a problem since in AKC, the up contact does not get judged on the dog walk.  I've only worried about the down portion.  It wasn't on my radar until I got called on it a month ago at a USDAA trial.  I had no idea.  Roo also got called on it at tryouts in the last round.  Well, this weekend, she missed a lot of up contacts.  When she has to turn or collect, she hits it.  Otherwise, my long striding dog just glides right over it.  

Here's me ready to go into panic mode  ...  yep, she's definitely missing it!

Only three weeks to go so there's not much I can do at this point but give it my best shot at fixing it.  Today, hit-it board trianing starts! 





Jump Training

Roo's always been a pretty good jumper.  I can count the number of times she's knocked a bar at a trial and they have been  few and far between.  Three months ago, I moved her from 24 to the 26 inch jump height class.  Since then, I've seen more bars come down.  This past weekend, we NQ'd 3 out of our 4  runs because of a knocked bar.  They were all on a send.  

This morning, jump training began as I am not sure why these bars are coming down.  We did 75 jumps and 2 bars came down.  One was due to my late cue and the other from her over enthusiasm at the startline.  Otherwise, she looked good.  

Here's a video from this morning.

Later on, I came back to work on amping her up at different distances from the startline.


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