Westminster Kennel Club’s 6th Annual Masters Agility Championship took place on Saturday, February 9, 2019, bringing together K9 athletes and handlers from around the world. The competition was fierce, with participants doing their best to win the coveted title of Westminster Masters Agility Grand Champion. This year, the Westminster Masters Agility Champion was Verb the Border Collie and handler Perry DeWitt. After her win, DeWitt was kind enough to talk with 1TDC™ about her experience at this year’s event and provide tips to those interested in competing in agility. Question: Was this your first time competing in the Westminster? How long have you been dreaming about competing at this event? Perry’s answer: No, it was my second time competing. I’ve been dreaming about competing since the first year they ran it and I watched it on TV. I knew it would be an amazing experience to compete in front of this crowd. It is also a nice opportunity to share agility with people who may see it for the first time. Question: What has the journey been like leading up to you and your dog finally getting to compete at Westminster? Did you change anything about your training to prepare for this specific event? Perry’s answer: I am always training my dog and myself for the big competitions. I tend to do better there as I am more focused. I focused my training on running the courses I set cleanly on the first attempt. I set up some courses similar to what I could expect at Westminster in preparation. I knew I would need to run clean and fast, especially as a Border Collie (BC) to do well in this competition. We set up some courses in similar styles. We also trained on 20’ jumps, as it is Verb’s AKC height. I normally jump him at 24’ to prepare for international competitions as that is his international jump height. While it is an easier lower jump height, it also means he is faster and I need to adjust my timing as a result. Question: Were the courses more difficult than other events you’ve competed at? Perry’s answer: The courses were more difficult than average AKC courses; there were more backside jumps than we normally see. Also, it was an international judge designing one of the courses, and he had a different style than typical AKC courses we see. Question: What is the environment like with the other competitors? Perry’s answer: It was pretty friendly. Some people I am close with were there, so it felt like normal. We were helping each other. While everyone is very friendly, we are still being very competitive with each other. Question: Did you have a place to warm up with your dog in advance? How did you warm up? Do you have any tips for warming up and prepping your dog when you are on deck and about to hit the course? Perry’s answer: Yes, they had practice jumps. I took Verb out 20 minutes before his run, walked him for 10 minutes, then went to the practice jumps with a 15-foot space to ourselves. We did some jumps to get used to the footing. I kept him moving until he had to go. It is important to warm up the dog’s body. Mental preparation is really adapted to the type of dog. In the case of Verb, mentally he is almost always ready as he is a naturally calm and focused dog. I will focus on his stretches and movements that fit his biomechanical structure. I want him to compete and stay injury free. Sometimes I will incorporate some tricks for his physical and mental readiness. Question: Did you give your dog any 1TDC™ before the event? What benefit do you see from the supplement as it relates to your dog competing in agility? Perry’s answer: Yes, I’ve been giving him 1TDC™ every day for the past 3 years! I give it to him with breakfast. It’s just the routine to give him supplements to protect joints and muscles and keep him healthy in the game. He has been on it for so long, I use it preventively. He is doing well and running very well. He’s not breaking down, and that’s what matters to me at his age.
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