Posts Tagged ‘CPE’

First Shih Tzu Ever Wins C-ATCH Agility Title

Tuesday, July 13th, 2010

Meet Cain, a fiercely competitive athlete, therapy dog, Canine Good Citizen and occasional model.  Raja and I are really proud of Cain and other “Toy Group” dogs like him who are showing their athleticism, smarts and natural companionability while keeping their people as busy as possible. 

Cain is owned by Debora Wheeler, who specializes in showing and training Shih Tzu dogs.  (She and her father have rescued over 200 together and, for Debra, her career began when she fell in love with one small dog!)  What Cain’s title means is that he has competed in successive Canine Performance Events, earning an awesome number of points to become a Canine Agility Team Champion.  

Where does the “team” come in?  The “team” is the dog and human team, since the handler accompanies the dog through all the agility challenges giving verbal and non verbal signals to guide the dog through the maze of size appropriate physical challenges.  Cain also has competed in the division of Teacup Agility.  And this does not mean he’s diminutive or “cute”, but refers to the height at which he jumps.  (Of course, he’s cute too.) 

While canine agility is a competitive sport, at the entry level, most people encounter club classes and events where everyone is extremely supportive of everyone else.  The community encourages dog socialization and makes everyone very much aware of their own dog’s health and personality.  Since the best handlers are patient and kind, dogs benefit hugely from this interaction.  Cain’s success has propelled him to compete in American Kennel Club events only.  But he doesn’t let the pressure go to his head- or does he?  Look at the celebrity duds! 

Toy dogs (small dogs not bred for farm work or hunting) have excelled in recent years in agility because their natural affability and sturdy build make them temperamentally and physically inclined towards seeing agility as playful learning.  Raja wants to send a special happy bark to all Shih Tzu owners who got their dogs off the couch and into the ring for fun and fitness doing what dogs do best- running, jumping, and developing their bonds with their owners. 

Where will Cain go from here?  He’s so talented; we’re sure he’ll find something else to excel in.  Meanwhile, he has an adorable daughter who is following in her father’s pawprints. 

To find a CPE group in your area, just Google “Canine Performance Event “your town” “your state” or “Canine Agility” “your town” “your state”.  Canine agility is a little like golf… you are always competing against your own best score. (But it’s loads more fun than golf… just saying.) 

Many thanks to Debora Wheeler for sharing Cain’s achievements with us!  (Special thanks to agility competitors Carolyn Linsday and Lisa Schwellinger for teaching Raja and me the terms.)