Agility Tibbies!

Updated: 11/20/02 Agile Tibbies Brags Title Holders Breed Stats Articles About Agility Agile Tibs mailing List Links

Clem & Jane with the JudgeClem started out as my husband’s "lap dog" when we got him from Susan Lingle in September 1996. He wanted a little dog to hang out with him while he worked at his computer. After awhile, Clem noticed that my Pembroke Welsh Corgi Poppy and I were having an awful lot of fun out in the back yard doing obedience and agility. He caught on to "sit", "down", and "stay" very quickly. "Come" was a different story. So we did lots of restrained recalls with him in the back yard. I started taking him to the agility field at that point, and started teaching him the obstacles. He would do fine up to a point, then would run for the car. I learned to watch him for the first sign of quitting, and be sure to quit before he did. After awhile, he "quit quitting" on me and we started showing in February 1998. He did well in Novice and Open, earning the AKC NA NAJ, OA and OAJ and the USDAA AD title that year. Clem earned his AX and AXJ on the same day in February 1999, completing the 3 levels of AKC competition within one year. At the same time, the MACH became the ultimate goal for a lot of agility competitors. Poppy was still my "main" dog, with Clem as the "auxiliary" dog. As long as he was having fun, we would do agility, but I didn’t want to set my heart on his career. First, he was my husband’s dog, and second, I was just sure he was going to quit on me at some point. (I had never forgotten the times he had run for the car!) So I concentrated on Poppy earning a MACH. Even so, both Poppy and Clem qualified for, and competed at, the AKC National Agility Championships in Denver that year, placing 7th and 8th, respectively. By the time I lost Poppy to Leptospirosis in February 2000, Clem had 8 Double Qs! Clem and Poppy were big buddies, and her loss hit him hard. Four months later, I found another Corgi, Zelda, who Clem adores as well. There must be something about Tibbies and Corgis that is compatible. Anyway, Clem became my "main" dog, never mind that he was still my husband’s dog. He had some big shoes to fill. He rose to the challenge, and got 6 more Double Qs in 2000, despite being chased by a Border Collie while we were training agility in June 2000. He didn’t become afraid of BCs, but he was very apprehensive about this particular facility. Unfortunately, a lot of agility trials in Austin are held in this facility, including one only 10 days from the day he was chased. Needless to say, that was not one of our most fun weekends, but Clem completed all four of his runs like a trooper (even if a little slower than usual and looking over his shoulder), and finished the weekend with a JWW run that was fast and happy. I didn’t show him again until the end of October. At the end of 2000, Clem needed 6 more Double Qs and a good number of points to finish his MACH. (Clem measures 10¾", so has to run in the 12" class, competing against JRTs, Shelties, and Poodles, so it’s not often that we get those double points which are really helpful!) He qualified again to go to the Nationals, but because of the chase issue, I wasn’t sure how he would deal with a huge trial and I decided to skip it. At one of the first trials of 2001, I finally asked a very good handler, Judith Bowers, for some tips in running courses with Clem. I had been training Clem pretty much on my own up until now, but felt that I needed some "professional" help. I had watched her handle her very fast Papillon for awhile and decided that I wanted to handle like that. I felt that Clem ran very similarly to her dog Trey, even though he was not as fast. We began walking courses together and really tightened Clem’s turns and eliminated a lot of off-courses. Clem got his 20th Double Q in October 2001 but still needed about 100 points. At this point, I stopped entering him in JWW, as the weather was hot and, if he made time, we usually only earned about 3 points. I concentrated on our Standard runs, which were usually earlier in the day and were more profitable, point-wise. Plus, we could go back to the hotel and conserve our energy for the next day’s run. At the first trial of 2002, the weather was cold and he ran very fast but NQ’d on Saturday, then Q’d on Sunday with a 2nd place. This put us within 15 points of the MACH! The following weekend, at the Flashpaws trial, on a freezing cold (Clem’s kind of weather) January 26, Judith and I walked the course together as usual and plotted our strategy. I knew Clem would have to really be running fast to get those last points. After Judith ran in the 8" division, she came up to me and said, "The course doesn’t run fast at all. Trey was really slow, I don’t think you’ll get the points you need on this run". So I resigned myself to trying to run clean and getting what points we could and possibly finishing on Sunday. Judith walked out to stand behind the timekeeper, so she could give me the high sign if we were 15 seconds under time. Clem and I set up for the start, and he took off like a shot! He raced around that course like he knew what was at stake! It was a fairly tricky course, and some of the bigger, faster dogs had off-courses and other problems. As we crossed the finish line, I looked back at Judith, who had her thumbs up in the air. Clem’s time was 23 seconds under Standard Course Time! We had done it!! Needless to say, I was in shock, since I recalled what Judith had said earlier about the course running slow. I hadn’t told anyone that this could be Clem’s MACH run, but when those people who DID know started whooping and hollering, others ran over and we did our victory lap and collected our "last bar". During the victory lap, our path took us over the last of the course we’d just completed. It was hilarious to see Clem wondering if he had done something wrong and was having to do it again! Accomplishing the MACH with Clem with a beautiful first-place run after the setbacks we’d had was certainly an incredibly satisfying feeling.