Interview with AKC National Agility Winner Jennifer Crank. After placing first in the 16-inch division at this year’s AKC National Agility Championship in Reno, Nevada, Jennifer Crank took a few minutes to talk about her preparation for the event and how she cares for her three-year-old border collie, P!nk.
Question: How old was P!nk when you first started training her in agility?
Jennifer’s answer: I helped with her puppy training from the day she came home at eight weeks of age, but it wasn’t until right after her second birthday that I started competing with her in agility.
Question: You have your own training program and facility. Do you feel this gives you an edge over other competitors?
Jennifer’s answer: Yes, it helps being able to train whenever I want. I might be able to start really early, like 5 a.m. I can train 365 days a year in a climate-controlled environment. It is a huge advantage.
Question: Tell us a little bit about your facility.
Jennifer’s answer: It’s located 15 miles east of Columbus, Ohio. It is 120' x 80' and stocked with top-of-the-line equipment with the highest safety grade in mind. I am already looking for a bigger facility to meet the demand.
Question: Where do you train when you have to travel for an event?
Jennifer’s answer: Generally speaking, I don’t do much training on the road. I leave fully prepared. Like AKC nationals—I arrived Thursday at 4 p.m., and the competition was Friday morning. But I like to take the dogs on long walks to let them unwind, so I will look for a park where I can let them be off the leash.
Question: Were the courses more difficult than other events you’ve competed at?
Jennifer’s answer: I thought those courses were pretty on track with those I have seen from past events. I felt prepared for the courses.
Question: Was there anything uniquely different about the courses? Something new you hadn’t seen before?
Jennifer’s answer: Nothing unique except that I usually run on turf and not dirt, but the dogs handled really well.
Question: What was it like to show up to the event and get ready to compete?
Jennifer’s answer: Showing up to a national championship, after training all year, will make you nervous and increase your adrenaline. All in all though, the competitors were great and handled it really well. For the most part everyone is rooting for everyone else. They don’t want to see you make a mistake.
Question: Did you give your dog any 1TDC™ before the event? J
ennifer’s answer: P!nk has been on 1TDC™ since before the first of the year. She gets it daily.
Question: Any tips for warming up and prepping your dog when you are on deck and about to hit the course?
Jennifer’s answer: I just make sure we have a direct connection. I keep their attention away from the ring or getting anxious to get in. My dogs are so high energy that I don’t want them to get over the top. I need their focus on being a team.
Question: How did you feel your run went?
Jennifer’s answer: The final runs did not go as I had expected. It was the run where we were the most disconnected. I would attribute it to the fact that I changed the plan of my run and the stress of being the final dog to run for the class height.
Question: What did you do after your run?
Jennifer’s answer: Waited on the results to see how we finished up. Once we found out that we won, we celebrated and did our victory run.
Question: Was anyone there as a spectator that you knew and was there to see you and your dogs win?
Jennifer’s answer: P!nk’s co-owner, which is my good friend Sharon, who made the trip all the way from Ohio just to watch us compete.
Question: How excited was she when you won?
Jennifer’s answer: Beyond thrilled. It was a dream come true. She was ecstatic.
Question: You won AKC—now what?
Jennifer’s answer: We have the WAO in The Netherlands and hope to do well and bring some medals back home.
Question: What goals do you have for you and your dog in agility moving forward?
Jennifer’s answer: To try to become an even sharper and more reliable team and have better communication between the two of us.
Question: What advice/tips/steps can you share with other agility trainers/competitors in order to be on the path to competing at AKC and ultimately being an AKC champion?
Jennifer’s answer: At the end of the day, it is more about the relationship with you and the dog. Tune out the rest and see how far you have come with your dog.
Question: What benefit do you see from 1TDC™ as it relates to your dog competing in agility? Jennifer’s answer: For the shelties, I have seen great results in their gums getting healthier, and I believe that’s an element of value for their recovery.
Question: Do you believe 1TDC™ is helping your dog have a longer agility career?
Jennifer’s answer: The hope is that, by starting P!nk on 1TDC™ early, it can help her have a long and healthy career.
The takeaway: With their impressive training regimen, Jennifer and P!nk will undoubtedly go on to enjoy a long, successful agility career.
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