Today, I added the initials AXJ to my dog’s name. Gina earned a new agility tilte (with a first place ribbon) and is now officially Georgina AX, AXJ, NF, CGC (Agility Excellent, Agility Excellent Jumper, Novice Fast, Canine Good Citizen). Her name has more initials after it than mine — and most humans I know.
Dog agility is a team sport and Gina is my partner. In a race against the clock, I direct her to run through an obstacle course with tunnels, jumps, weave poles, teeter-tawters, A-frames, and dog walks, all designed to challenge my training skills. I have learned more about dogs and their behavior from agility than anything I have ever read in a book or online. They are constantly watching us and everything about our body language has meaning to them. It still amazes me that moving my foot, hips, or shoulder just an inch or two will make the difference to them of which obstacle to take.
It’s hard to explain to friends why I set my alarm clock for 5 am on weekends to drive hours to an agility trial. Other times, I’m not even sure why I do it. But, this weekend, I remembered. The feeling of running an agility course with Gina – in sync, rhythm, communication, and partnership – is truly unmatchable. I know that I have made her life better because of this sport, and she has truly made me into a better person, one that is always striving to understand dogs and improve their lives. And I take pride in having a dog who is an athlete in great shape. You can watch the JWW (jumpers with weaves) agility video here, and a recent UKI standard run here.
The following explanation is written by Sandra Mowery. She sums up why to title a dog so beautifully.
Why title a dog? by Sandra Mowery
“Not just a brag, not just a stepping stone to a higher title, not just an adjunct to competitive scores, a title is a tribute to the dog that bears it, a way to honor the dog, an ultimate memorial. It will remain in record and in memory for as long as anything in this world can remain. Few humans will do as well or better in that regard.
And though the dog itself doesn’t know or care that its achievements have been noted, a title says many things in the world of humans, where such things count.
A title says your dog was intelligent and adaptable, and good-natured. It says that your dog loved you enough to do the things that please you, however crazy they may have sometimes seemed.
And a title says that you loved your dog, that you loved to spend time with it because it was a good dog, that you believed in it enough to give it yet another chance when it failed, and that, in the end, your faith was justified.
A title proves that your dog inspired you to that special relationship enjoyed by so few; that in a world of disposable creatures, this dog with a title was greatly loved, and loved greatly in return.
And when that dear short life is over, the title remains as a memorial of the finest kind, the best you can give to a deserving friend, volumes of pride in one small set of initials after the name.
A title earned is nothing less than love and respect, given and received, and permanently recorded.”
Have your dogs earned any titles? Feel free to brag and tell us about them in a comment.
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