A Welsh Terrier’s Milestone Year in Agility

Clean Runs

AAC
AKC
UKI

Overall

Clean Runs
Titles
AAC Top Q'ing Dog

Here is a photojournal of Miles and my year of competitive dog Agility.

Notes: All ribbons shown are from different events in 2017. No photo shows the same ribbon twice. Instead of getting a picture of every single ribbon, I decided to focus on capturing some of our best memories. All photos of Miles doing agility are from 2017; most are from Regional/National events by professional photographers.

A Welsh Terrier's <b>Miles</b>tone Year in Agility

Our first trial of 2017 began as the PNW was hit with an unprecedented snowstorm. My friend and I decided to brave the roads. On the highway we drove past a highway snowplow that was ditched, and once off the highway, got stuck for a while. Braving the snowstorm ended up being worthwhile. Miles and I earned 8 Qs — all first placements (we had 5 other intense competitors present in our class!), and our best weekend outcome yet! Miles also earned 4 titles: Bronze Jumpers (10 Masters Jumpers Qs), Steeplechase (10 Steeplechase aka T2B) Bronze Award of Merit (10 Masters Standard Qs + 25 Masters Games Qs), and Bronze Versatility (Any 3 Masters Classes in which the dog has earned 10 Qs in each).

A Welsh Terrier's <b>Miles</b>tone Year in Agility

A Welsh Terrier's <b>Miles</b>tone Year in Agility

In 2017, we did 4 AKC trials. We started off the year at the Novice level. It was interesting to run a Masters dog in Novice. You’d think it would be easy, and in some ways it was, but there are also unexpected challenges. Novice courses feature a lot of straight lines and wide curves. With a seasoned Masters dog, the challenge for the handler is to keep up! Miles was also re-introduced to the pause table. I wouldn’t say he relished having to stop mid-course, but given all of our work, he understood and humored me. After a few Qs, I became confident enough to use the table as a rare opportunity to lead-out mid-course. In most venues at the Masters level, a dog ceasing motion for 5 seconds is unheard of. I am starting to like this opportunity!

A Welsh Terrier's <b>Miles</b>tone Year in Agility

A Welsh Terrier's <b>Miles</b>tone Year in Agility

The first class Miles went Silver in (25 Master’s Qs) was Gamblers. Miles excels at interpreting cues from a distance and completing challenging sequences 18-22 feet away from me. Miles is passionate about Gambles, and I think it is because he relishes the audience participation. When the buzzer sounds for final gamble, aka the distance component, everyone goes silent to watch the dog attempt the Gamble (even the busiest competitors and crew stop to observe which strategies work and which don’t). Then, if the dog is successful, the judge breaks the silence by yelling “SUCCESSFUL GAMBLE!” The crowd goes WILD! Miles lives for this!

A Welsh Terrier's <b>Miles</b>tone Year in Agility

A Welsh Terrier's <b>Miles</b>tone Year in Agility

Regionals were a very exciting time for us. For the first time, we tried Friday’s Steeplechase events. Steeplechase (T2B) is a course designed to test accuracy and SPEED. In 2017 Miles and I were new to this game. That Friday, we ended up having one of the best runs of our career! We were totally in-synch and fast. To my shock, we landed in the top in our class and qualified for the Run-offs! From our cumulative weekend scores we also qualified for Nationals. I was honored when One Mind Dogs shared this photo on their Instagram.

A Welsh Terrier's <b>Miles</b>tone Year in Agility

A Welsh Terrier's <b>Miles</b>tone Year in Agility

One of the more unique titles Miles earned in 2017 was Bronze Masters Team Relay (10 Masters Team Qs). Each “team” is made up of two humans/dogs. It is a two dog/people team relay for time and accuracy. The teams enter the ring together, and the #2 dog/person team waits in a corner while the #1 team runs their half of the course. When the #1 team is done, they go to their corner and the #2 team runs their half. This year we competed with six different breeds of dogs: Camilla the Mini Schnauzer, Shayla the Mini Aussie, Kwynn the Golden Retriever, Eberle the Lab, Bella the Sheltie, and Padraig the Wheaten Terrier.

A Welsh Terrier's <b>Miles</b>tone Year in Agility

A Welsh Terrier's <b>Miles</b>tone Year in Agility

Small one-ring trials used to feel overwhelming for me and Miles. Now these smaller trials can seem like a lot of waiting! This hot-weather outdoor trial is always fun, and Miles likes running across the huge sports field with his friends afterwards. A few years ago, instead of chasing his friends, Miles chased thousands of geese across the field… Little turkey. In the photo below, you can see it gets so hot that I soak Miles before each run.

A Welsh Terrier's <b>Miles</b>tone Year in Agility

A Welsh Terrier's <b>Miles</b>tone Year in Agility

One of my favorite local trials is held 25 minutes from our house. It is fun to do agility in the city, and this park features a stunning view of the mountains. Last year, this was where Miles got his Agility Championship, and also where I was invited to be part of a agility club. This year as a member, I both worked and competed. I barely saw Miles, which I didn’t like. Miles didn’t seem to mind snoozing in his cool crate. Do I have separation anxiety? We had a great time on-course, and set a new best of 9 Qs in a weekend! Miles also earned two titles: Standard Bronze (10 Masters Standard Qs) and Silver Snooker (25 Masters Snooker Qs).

A Welsh Terrier's <b>Miles</b>tone Year in Agility

A Welsh Terrier's <b>Miles</b>tone Year in Agility

Nationals came quickly. A week before, I injured my back. I used to think it was suspicious that people would get hurt right before big events; now I recognize the power of pre-adrelinline! I was lucky that my dad stepped in to help. He drove us, loaded and unloaded gear, and stuck around all weekend. At the same time massive wildfires raged across the PNW and the area was under a level 8 smoke alert. The site was surreal: thick grey smoke, no mountains visible, and the sun was a red orb. Thankfully, competitors were okay. And, my back didn’t slow Miles down in distance work! He kicked serious butt in Gambles, nailing both and landing final Gamble times that were among the fastest of around 400 dogs! We also beat our personal best for cumulative score at a Regional/National event.

A Welsh Terrier's <b>Miles</b>tone Year in Agility

A Welsh Terrier's <b>Miles</b>tone Year in Agility

On the hottest weekend of the summer, Miles and I went to a small trial with a judge who is known for highly challenging courses. I used to be a weenie who would avoid such trials. I would’ve struggled to remember the complex courses, and Miles would’ve happily helped himself to many off-course tunnels in the meantime. This trial ended up being the most fun Miles and I had in agility all year! We Q’d 4/4 standard runs (!!!) and 1/2 Challenges. Challenge is an “international style” standard that is more technical. If you’ve been following us any length of time, you know that Standards, even the simple ones, have long been our kryptonite. We felt so in synch that weekend, strategizing together as we ran the tricky courses.

A Welsh Terrier's <b>Miles</b>tone Year in Agility

A Welsh Terrier's <b>Miles</b>tone Year in Agility

At the end of the summer, we did one last AKC trial. Miles made every moment count: He Q’d all three runs, placed first in each, and scored two titles. At the end of the day, someone told me how adorable Miles looks when he is running a course. That was the best part!

A Welsh Terrier's <b>Miles</b>tone Year in Agility

A Welsh Terrier's <b>Miles</b>tone Year in Agility

Seven seemed to be our lucky number in 2017! At this trial, Miles Q’d 7 runs and was first in 6. Not too shabby at a hot summer trial for a dog who used to run slowly in the heat. In 2017, Miles was game for anything!

A Welsh Terrier's <b>Miles</b>tone Year in Agility

A Welsh Terrier's <b>Miles</b>tone Year in Agility

Aside from the constant driving that is agility, we did two dedicated weekends away this year. One of them was a well-planned 3-day trip with our friends Ashley and Benson to an AKC trial. Benson is a Border Terrier (pics here). Miles and Benson both earned a pile of Qs, first placements, and a title each. Ashley and I had a blast, but determined that our hotel had a major downside: it was right beside a top-rated milkshake joint.

A Welsh Terrier's <b>Miles</b>tone Year in Agility

A Welsh Terrier's <b>Miles</b>tone Year in Agility

In September, Miles and I visited my mother on the East Coast. She was nice enough to agree to take us to a trial an hour away from my parents house. The trial was a half-day “run for money” Steeplechase competition. The day before, we had been sunbathing on the lake, and that morning, my mother and I woke up to a power outage and below freezing temperatures. Miles loves the cold, but my mother and I were a tad chilled! Miles ended up winning the small dog category and “bought” us a fancy steak dinner with his winnings! It was our first time winning money, and the steak was delicious.

A Welsh Terrier's <b>Miles</b>tone Year in Agility

A Welsh Terrier's <b>Miles</b>tone Year in Agility

Standard was always Miles and my “one fault” run… Before 2017. This was the year we began absolutely rocking Standards. By the summer, Miles had earned Silver Masters Standard (25 Masters Standard Qs) and Silver Award of Merit (25 Masters Standards and 50 Masters Games). When my friend Christine announced Miles’ Silver Standard at her club’s trial, she yelled out, “And Emma will just a little excited to pick this ribbon up… Silver Standard!” Standard curse no more!

A Welsh Terrier's <b>Miles</b>tone Year in Agility

A Welsh Terrier's <b>Miles</b>tone Year in Agility

Here is a candid shot I took of Miles practicing “sit pretty.” I had been in the middle of filling out ribbon details a Sunday night. By the end of the year, I stopped filling out ribbons. It is amazing how relative things get. After trials, I have always called my mom to tell her about our experiences. In 2017, Miles and I did so well that I could not help myself from going into great detail of the nuisances of the courses, and it it felt like to through them with Miles. My mother began finishing every call with an exasperated, “Well, what’s the tally!?” I’d answer, and she’d say, “I can’t believe it!!! Can you believe how far you both have come?” It is true.

A Welsh Terrier's <b>Miles</b>tone Year in Agility

A Welsh Terrier's <b>Miles</b>tone Year in Agility

4 + 3 + 3 + 3 = what? 13, that is what! This was the weekend we earned 13 Qs. Our top Q’ing trial <em>EVER</em>. I don’t expect to break this record again. I am happy to have achieved this once. It felt amazing to run in synch with Miles. We had a blast. I will forever cherish the memory.

A Welsh Terrier's <b>Miles</b>tone Year in Agility

A Welsh Terrier's <b>Miles</b>tone Year in Agility

A Welsh Terrier's <b>Miles</b>tone Year in Agility

A Welsh Terrier's <b>Miles</b>tone Year in Agility

This year we tried UKI agility. UKI courses are styled on World competitions. The rule is that you enter UKI at the relatively highest level in which you currently compete. Miles and I started at Champ, which I found more challenging than Masters in AAC or AKC. Though the courses took adjusting compared to Masters AKC or AAC, I now believe there are huge benefits to trying UKI. I will cover these in a future post. At the last UKI Friday night of the year, Miles was the only dog at his level to run the Standard clean, and also ran clean in Jumpers. This meant that he earned a highly competitive Masters Series Bye (Q) for UKI Nationals!

A Welsh Terrier's <b>Miles</b>tone Year in Agility

A Welsh Terrier's <b>Miles</b>tone Year in Agility

At the first trial of 2017, Miles earned a whack of Bronze-level titles. So how fitting is it that he’d finish the year with a bunch of Silver-level titles? In November, Miles earned Silver Jumpers (25 Masters Jumpers Qs) and Silver Versatility (The culmination of 25 Qs each in 4 different Masters classes — aka 100 Qs total) to complement the other Silver titles he’d earned throughout the year.

A Welsh Terrier's <b>Miles</b>tone Year in Agility

A Welsh Terrier's <b>Miles</b>tone Year in Agility

The finale to our year of agility was a 3-week stint with a trial each weekend! We have never done that before. Miles was physically toned from all of the conditioning, hiking, swimming, and of course agility that we did this year, and he was raring to go in every run. In this grand 3-weekend finale, Miles earned a total of 28 Qs. What a way to finish of an incredible year. Here he is posing with the last 3 weeks of Qs and first place ribbons.

It is amazing what you can accomplish if you just dont give up.

— One Mind Dogs

A Welsh Terrier's <b>Miles</b>tone Year in Agility

Read about what makes our team tick in the previous post, A Year for the “Different Team.”

19 comments on A Welsh Terrier’s Milestone Year in Agility

  • Jo McLaughlin

    Congrats on a fantastic year! He is simply stunning and looks so happy! Well done, you both are an inspiration!

    • Emma (author)

      Thank you so much for the kind words Jo! What kind of dog do you have?

  • Kelli and Reggie

    So impressive and amazed at all those ribbons Miles and Emma! The best part is that it looks like Miles really loves doing it. His heart, mind and soul are working 100% to do it and please Emma too! You can see the joy in every picture. I could see Reggie as a champion because he is an awesome zoomer as he runs the house, vaults over furniture and stops on a dime! Keep posting and we will keep enjoying.

    • Emma (author)

      Aww thanks Kelli (and Reggie too!). I agree. The biggest thing I noticed all year wasn’t the Qs, but how much Miles and I were connected and loving every minute competing together. I feel so lucky to be able to go to a few events with photographers, since I can’t photograph myself! 😉 I’d love to see videos of Reggie! Reggie — Home Relay Champion! 🏆

  • Susan Gottselig

    Emma & Miles – what wonderful accomplishments and beautiful photos! Congratulations!

    • Emma (author)

      Thank you Susan, Nacho and Indie! What are you guys up to this year? I hope our paths cross!

  • Danielle

    I can’t even. I don’t know what to say!! These photos are A-M-A-Z-I-N-G. What fantastic shots of Miles (and the one with you in the background too :)). So many of the ribbon shots are adorable (his sit pretty only makes him cuter!) but my favorite is Miles rolling on his back in the grass and his tongue out. As others have said, he looks so happy. I can just imagine him waiting for the roar of the crowd.
    And what amazing accomplishments. If you had posted each trial separately, I’d still be like, “Yeah, that’s awesome”, but there’s something about seeing it ALL together and no ribbon appearing twice. The amount of hard work, time, teamwork, blood, sweat, and tears this represents is inspiring! What a year 2017 was! Here’s to 2018!
    Love and hugs!

    • Emma (author)

      Danielle, Thank you our cheerleader!!! I love that picture of Miles being a goofball too! At the time I really felt like it was perfect to celebrate the joy of that hot weekend. I didn’t stop him from messing up the ribbons that I’d posed… I started snapping away! 🙂 I agree about posting every trial separately. I think it would’ve gotten pretty tedious! I don’t want to do that unless there is a story behind it. Same with this post, I wanted to talk about the connection we had. That was what I noticed more than the ribbons throughout the year. And i think it is what shows in these photos, too. Love and hugs right back — maybe we’ll get to go to the AAC Nationals semi-near you this year! 😉 You’ll have to coach me on surviving that heat though…. 😅

  • Keith Bailey

    WOW, WOW, WOW and WOW again!

    Incredible year for both you and Miles. As a breeder of Miles, I am particularly proud. Having bred, owned and exhibited top level conformation Welsh Terriers for over 20 years, I understand and appreciate your hard work, perseverance and dedication. Miles clearly loves his job which is truly a reflection of his training and love from you. Well done, my friend.

    Keith Bailey
    bayleighwelshterriers.com

    • Emma (author)

      Thank you Keith! It is really special to me that I’ve been able to have a close relationship with Miles’ breeders his whole life. I am forever thankful to you and Sharon for Miles.

  • Pingback: A Welsh Terrier's MILEStone Year of Agility - Bayleigh Welsh Terriers

  • Denise, Geoff, and George

    MILEStone year, indeed! These spectacular results from years of hard work, perseverance, and dedication are truly wondrous. You are, without a doubt, a team in sync. We can see Miles’ great respect and love for you in the sparkle of his eyes and smile, and yours for him dedicated in your engaging writing and remarkable photographs. You are a font of knowledge and inspiration for us all. Cheers to Miles, the model Welsh Terrier with personality plus. We are so very proud to know you, Emma. Congratulations Emma and Miles from your greatest fans–Denise, Geoff, and Miles’ great grandnephew, George. Let’s hope, in addition to forthcoming training, some of it rubs off simply because it runs in the great Bayleigh Welsh Terrier family!

    • Emma (author)

      Denise, Geoff, and little George:

      Thank you so much for your support and cheerleading! You’ve perfectly captured everything about our journey to get here in your words, absolutely. And you couldn’t be more accurate — as a handler who is voraciously studying how to be the best handler possible (Constant classes with amazing coaches, seminars, reading reading reading, online courses, video study, etc!)… It was extremely exciting to get the photos back from the professional photographers and to SEE Miles, freeze-frame, reading my cues. I could remember exactly the course, the line, and what he was reading on my body.

      Here’s to the future for Miles and George! 🌈

  • Sanda Schuldmann

    Absolutely AMAZING! GREAT PHOTOS! GORGEOUS DOG! FANTASTIC ACCOMPLISHMENTS! Congratulations!

    • Emma (author)

      Thank you Sandra!!! I appreciate it! I will give Miles a treat from you! 🙂

  • Karen Yeomans

    WOW WONDERFUL and what a handsome boy! Loving reading about your achievements and the pictures are superb. Great seeing your teamwork, channeling all the terrier energy and enjoying yourselves!

    Week 3 of beginners Ruby (11month WT) was so excited to get started. She remembered the tunnel and we were able to extend it with no fuss. She’s learning, logging and her noise sensitivity/confidence is improving week by week. So lovely to see, so much fun to do and as you say our relationship/understanding is growing…, I’m so in love 😍

    Thanks for your email and we will stay tuned and in touch.

    Karen & Ruby

    • Emma (author)

      Hi Karen, thank you for the thoughtful comment. I can’t wait to hear more about Ruby. All of the work you are doing will lead to her trusting you more and more. She’ll trust you to take care of worries, and even if she is still sensitive to sound, she might worry about it less over time! Can you believe Miles wasn’t so sure about tunnels when he started? Then it took me years to teach him that other things are equally exciting! 😉 Go team terrier!

  • audreyschnauzer

    Hey Miles and Emma, you guys are just so awesome. This is such a great blog post. You two obviously have a fantastic relationship and bond and it’s just lovely to see. Congratulations on so much success.
    Audrey & Sarah.

    • Emma (author)

      Thank you so much Sarah & Audrey!

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