Cuyahoga Valley Golden Retriever Club AKC Agility Trial

January 14th, 2023

Our first trial of 2023, and what a great day it was! I’m only doing one day per weekend at Countryside during the winter because that way if the weather is bad, I don’t mind eating a day’s entries. If I enter a whole weekend and the weather’s bad…it’s irksome.

Anyway! Judge Laura Kuterbach designed some really difficult courses with very low qualifying rates, and I’m horribly out of shape, and the dogs aren’t in great shape either (we’re working on both), and we haven’t trialed (other than Zhora at the Invitational) since November, and we haven’t been training at all…and and and….but somehow, my amazing girlies pulled off a PERFECT DAY!

Zhora earned her sixth QQ towards MACH8, and Alice earned her very first QQ (and it was actually a triple Q, towards her TQX, because she also qualified in FAST). It was a very small trial, and there were only 5 8″ dogs, so I had almost no time to warm up properly, so I was running even slower than usual, but we did it! The courses didn’t have much room to open up and let the dogs run, and they don’t like that, but it also meant that Alice didn’t get high and zoomy and stayed controlled. Not as much fun, but better for qualifying. AND! They went 1-2 both times with very close times. Alice might have edged out Zhora for first place in Standard if we hadn’t had a miscommunication that led to a wrong turn and ate some time.

Alice Saturday FAST (part 1 of QQQ #1):

Alice Saturday Standard (part 2 of QQQ #1, second place):

Zhora Saturday Standard (QQ #146, first place):

Alice Saturday Jumpers (part 3 of QQQ #1, second place):

Zhora Saturday Jumpers (QQ #146, first place):

2022 AKC National Championship

January 1st, 2023

Ruth and Orbit worked very hard in 2022 to qualify for the National Owner Handled Series Finals, and Orbit took Best of Opposite in the Finals! Annie and Diane won BOB.

Orbit is GCHB CH Alkemi Cosmic Curiosity LT RI

BUT! Since we were down there, I also entered him in the AKC National Championship and! He WON BEST OF BREED! Which meant he got to go to group and be on TV on New Year’s Day! What a thrill that was! And the judge gave him a really good look for the final cut too! I got to be the “assistant” and crouch down at ringside with his treats and brush and other goodies.

Orbit – TV star!
Our win pic. Orbit was bored and I was all sweaty from running agility.

Orbit finished 2022 as the #2 Swedish Vallhund all systems, and he has been invited to the 2023 Westminster Kennel Club show!

Ruth and Orbit in the staging area!
The board showing the order we were to go in
Waiting for their chance to shine!
On the fabled red carpet!
Lovely professional shot from the red carpet

Here’s my “from the secret hidey hole” behind the scenes footage (you can see the judge really giving Orbit a good consideration for the cut!):

Here’s Orbit on TV January 1, 2023:

A lot of people will tell you never to co own, that it’s a recipe for disaster for both breeder and co-owner. They say that if you want to keep a dog in your breeding program you should just keep it yourself. I only have so much room and time, and the dogs themselves are often much better off in a home where they can be someone’s whole world instead of just a part of mine. I feel very fortunate that I have such awesome co-owners for several Alkemi dogs. Thus far it has been a wonderful arrangement (I hope for all sides). I am very fortunate that Ruth set such high goals for Orbit, and that she wanted to do all the things she needed to do to get there. To say I am proud of what they have achieved so far would be an enormous understatement!

2022 AKC Agility Invitational

December 23rd, 2022

Zhora has been invited to the Invitational every year since she got into Masters. She’s been such an amazingly consistent dog, and every run with her I am cognizant of what a privilege it is. Anyway, since Orbit and Ruth qualified for the AKC National Owner Handled Series Finals this year, Ruth and I packed up the dogs and headed to Orlando! Orbit and Ruth’s adventures will be in a separate post.

Orbit and Zhora, son and mother, catching some Florida sunshine.

Zhora went 3/4 in the Invitational, and also qualified in Time 2 Beat. The one NQ was my fault. We weren’t our fastest, we weren’t our fittest (I had a foot injury that meant we got way less exercise and practice than usual in the months beforehand), but we showed up and ran! Z finished 66th out of 148 dogs, not bad!

Thank you as always for this experience, Zhora!

Time 2 Beat:

Round 1 Jumpers:

Round 2 Standard (our only NQ because I disconnected, but also my favorite run):

Round 3 Hybrid:

Round 4 Jumpers (Zhora had a reverse sneezing fit right at the startline, she was sneezing and wheezing for the first half of the course, but she just kept going, she has so much heart and so much working drive):

National Dog Show 2022

November 24th, 2022

It’s been a dream of mine for several years now to take a dog to the National Dog Show in Philadelphia. This show is recorded (it takes place on the Saturday before Thanksgiving), and broadcast on Thanksgiving Day.

I’m going to the AKC Agility Invitational this year with Zhora, so I didn’t think I had it in the budget to go to the National Dog Show with Alice too. But then Ruth said she’d always wanted to go, so there you go. She took Orbit (just as well I didn’t enter, since that was the weekend of the big storm), they got up at 3 am and drove to Philly last Saturday. Orbit won best of breed, and that meant he’d make it to group, which is what gets televised.

While he didn’t get featured in the group, they do upload all the judging, so here it is

DOTCORNY AKC Agility Trial

November 6th, 2022

Lots of fun and very challenging courses from Zach Davis and Janet Budzynski. Zhora had a perfect weekend with two more QQ’s (running slower than usual because she really didn’t like these courses), Alice got a very tough FAST send on Saturday, and earned a “moral” QQ on Sunday, with a Master Standard Q AND an Excellent JWW Q to finish her AXJ (on a course I thought we didn’t have a chance of qualifying on). Such great girls.

Alice Saturday FAST (Q):

Zhora Saturday Standard (QQ #144):

Zhora Saturday JWW (QQ #144):

Alice Sunday Standard (Q):

Zhora Sunday Standard (QQ145):

Zhora Sunday JWW (QQ145):

Alice Sunday JWW (AXJ!):

Evie Training

July 13th, 2022

Evie is six months old now. I have done SHOCKINGLY little with her to be honest. Playing, relationship building, a few tricks, conformation handling, but very small amounts of each. This puppy is HUNGRY to learn, she LOVES to work, she is EXACTLY what I wanted out of a Zar/Alice baby. I am so excited about her. She is so smart, she is so willing, she has SO MUCH sticktuitiveness.

Here is a tiny bit of training from yesterday, the good the bad and the ugly. We have done MAYBE three sessions of tiny sequences before this. She’s done a few tunnels, she’s done a handful of “offering the jump” sessions, this is about as untrained as you get. But she figures it out, she wants to play, and she wants to RUN.

Love this puppy!

HABOC AKC Agility Trial

June 26th, 2022

Always nice to have a trial in almost my own back yard! Oksana Syrkin gave us some pretty tough courses. Alice earned her first MACH points and picked up a T2B and AXJ leg and overall ran really well. Zhora went 5/6 and picked up her first two QQ’s for MACH8. Fun time with good friends!

Friday Alice T2B (Q and first place!):

Friday Zhora Standard (Q):

Friday Alice Standard (Q and first MACH points!):

Zhora Saturday Jumpers (QQ #141):

Zhora Saturday Standard (QQ #141):

Alice Saturday Standard (NQ but nice run):

Zhora Sunday Standard (QQ #142):

Zhora Sunday Jumpers (QQ #142):

Alice Sunday Jumpers (AXJ leg #2):

Clarion Canine Obedience Club AKC Agility Trial

June 19th, 2022

Favorite judge and friend Sherry Jefferson gave us some tricky, trappy courses. Friday we managed a single Q (Alice in Master FAST). But SATURDAY! Zhora earned MACH7 (her seventh agility championship) and Alice earned her Agility Excellent (AX) title, she is now in Master Standard and starts earning MACH points. Still two legs to go for her AXJ (Excellent Jumpers) title, she would have had it yesterday but I overhandled a tunnel near the end and she did exactly what I asked her to do, which was the wrong thing.

We’ve had a lot of time away from agility and I can feel it and it shows. We aren’t fit enough and we aren’t in sync enough. Rusty rusty. Still, my girls are working hard and doing what I ask! And it’s still agility!

Alice Friday FAST (Q):

Zhora Friday Standard (NQ):

Alice Friday Standard (NQ):

Alice Friday Time 2 Beat (nice run but NQ):

Zhora Friday Jumpers (NQ):

Alice Friday Jumpers (NQ):

Zhora Saturday Standard (part 1 of MACH7):

Alice Saturday Standard (Q and AX title):

Alice Saturday FAST (NQ):

Zhora Saturday Jumpers (MACH7!!):

Alice Saturday Jumpers (nice run, handler error!):

Best. Show Weekend. EVER!

June 5th, 2022

Conewango Valley Kennel Club AKC show in Dunkirk. In 2019 Orbit and Alice won their first majors, and won BOB and BOS every day to take the majors every day for three days. Then it was cancelled in 2020 and 2021 for obvious reasons.

This year it was back, smaller and only 2 days, but back. And what an incredible weekend it was!

I am so thankful to have such amazing puppy buyers and co-owners to share my dogs with.

Mel (and Rick) and Enzo (Alkemi Desperado LT RATN TKN): he went Reserve on Sunday and shows better and better each time, Mel is working really hard and it’s paying off, the boys take a long time to mature.

Nichole (and Chris) and Jovie (Alkemi Daydream LT): she went Reserve to the major on Saturday and took Winners Bitch on Sunday for her third major. She is looking gorgeous.

Ruth (and Jim) with Orbit (GCH CH Alkemi Cosmic Curiosity LT RI): what can I say? This was a dream weekend. BOB both days for 5 point majors each time. Saturday OH group 4 and regular GROUP THREE. And SUNDAY?!?! OH group 1, regular GROUP 1!! And then?!?! OWNER HANDLER BEST IN FREAKING SHOW!!!

Orbit’s Herding Group 1 loot
Orbit and his loot!

Kat (and Tim) and Ellie (Alkemi Elise At Kleinhaus LT) made her AKC show debut and showed wonderfully in BPUP.

Kat and Ellie watching Uncle Orbit in Best in Show

Alice (CH Alkemi Clear Air Turbulence LT OA OAJ NAP NJP XF XFP) won BOS both days for 5 point majors each day towards her GCH.

And Evie (Alkemi Evija LT) realized that showing is a job, and remembered she is a working dog, and rose to the challenge. She showed AMAZINGLY well, and won Beginner Puppy BEST IN SHOW on Saturday.

Evie’s Best Beginner Puppy In Show Ribbon

Orbit Herding Group 1:

Orbit OHBIS Judging:

Orbit OH Best in Show!!:

Evie Best Beginner Puppy in Show (and AKC show debut):

Border Collie Society of America AKC Agility Trial

May 15th, 2022

We’re starting to get our mojo working again. Judge Frank Gilmer gave us some really challenging tests in his courses. Alice had a Master FAST Q and a Time 2 Beat Q, and some really nice other runs (we were only just starting to really know how to work together when we took the puppy break, and the whole giant COVID break really put such a spanner in the works getting her going initially). Zhora earned her 19th QQ for MACH7 on Saturday! She’s a pro and even she got caught by one of Frank’s evil weave/tunnel traps.

Alice Friday FAST (Q):

Zhora Friday Standard (Q):

Alice Friday Standard (NQ, nice distance and holy crap look at her aframe LOL):

Alice Friday T2B (Q):

Zhora Friday Jumpers (NQ):

Alice Friday Jumpers (NQ):

Zhora Saturday Standard (QQ #139, this run felt great, connected, I trust her so much to do her job properly and independently):

Alice Saturday Standard (NQ but a lot to like her, the opening especially is really good):

Alice Saturday FAST (NQ):

Zhora Saturday Jumpers (QQ #139):

Alice Saturday Jumpers (NQ, but a lovely run. This is a perfect example of how important connection is. I connected with her out of the tunnel, but dropped the connection to check where I was at JUST the wrong time, and she drove out to what was in front of her, as she should. The rest of the run was awesome):