Top Notch Toys September 2018


Regional and the National Special- ties, and every year since 2004 the club has offered a “Pug only” agil- ity trial. The complete Pug: titles at both ends!

to train. So, even though this facility was very close to my house I made a commitment to drive over an hour, or usually more depending on traf- fic, once or twice a week to a beauti- ful training facility with nice grass. It was for my dog and was the smartest move I could have made. I also gained an amazing trainer! Having a trainer that is flexible and understands that all breeds do not train the same is what you need to find. I have had the good fortune to work with not only top-winning re- nowned trainers, but who also un- derstand that one size does not fit all—we are not all Border Collies. As an example, in Agility it is common to train a “nose touch” on a target at the bottom of the equipment so that the dog has stop at the bottom and not fly off the yellow contact zone. OK, well, that’s fine if you HAVE a nose. When our new trainer said, “That’s ok, just do a running contact—you don’t have to have him stop at the bottom,” I could have kissed her. My first agility trial was at a Pug National Specialty—a great place to start. We ran a good Novice course, dropped a bar toward the end which disqualified us, but what I remem- ber most as that I left the ring feeling exhilaration and saying “WOW, that was so much fun!!” Years later I still

feel that way. Over the years I have experienced and witnessed some Pugs that definitely tested the pa- tience of the owner-handler in Agil- ity. I’ve seen Novice Pugs doing zoomies around the ring and all you can do is stand there and wait, or they decide their own course is way more fun, stopping in the middle of the tun- nel requiring the handler to crawl in and get them, leaving the course to go say “hi” to the judge or the ring crew, leaving the ring to go find their treat bag, and much more. Each of these dogs mentioned above went on to earn Master titles or a Master Agility Champion title…patience and a sense of humor are required. My years with Pugs have been a complete joy. I have been blessed with beautiful sound dogs that could “do it all” and they have. Pugs will generally give and give and give to make you happy…and did I men- tion they like treats? More and more people are looking at Companion Events as a way to enjoy their Pugs to the fullest. According to the AKC 2017 Annual Stats there were 301 conformation titles earned, 19 Obe- dience titles, 32 Rally titles and 126 Agility titles. So, get that Pug off the couch and get going! I would be remiss if I didn’t acknowl- edge the support the Pug Dog Club of America (PDCA) has given to those who venture out into Companion Events. The club was instrumental in getting AKC to lower the Obedience jump requirement for Pugs down to three quarters of their height rather than jumping their actual height. PDCA offers a yearly, leveled Versa- tility Award to encourage participa- tion inmultiple venues, with the high- est level requiring a conformation championship. Obedience and Rally competition are offered at both the

ABOUT THE AUTHOR Donna was born, raised and resides in the San Francisco Bay Area. A retired Elementary School Principal she has been competing in the dog world since the ‘70s. As a firm believer in “titles at both ends”, all of her earlier Great Pyr- enees and for the last 27 years all of her Pugs have been owner-handled Cham- pions and earned titles in one or more of the Companion Events (Agility, Obedi- ence and Rally). Her top-ranked black Pugs have earned Best of Breed at the Eukanuba Invitational and Award of Merit at Westminster along with Specialty Best of Breeds and many Companion Event titles, including High In Trial. She is currently working toward a Com- panion Dog Excellent (CDX) title in Obedience with “Jet”-GCHS Karon’s Moonlite Phantom BN CD RA MXP MJP2 CGCA VL5, and soon will be starting a new puppy in Conformation. Donna has held every office in her lo- cal Obedience club and is a past Board member, Secretary, Vice President and President of the Pug Dog Club of America.

62 • T op N otch T oys , S eptember 2018

Powered by