The Westminster Kennel Club’s 7th Annual Masters Agility Championship came and went, declaring a winner in each of the 5 height divisions, along with the overall Masters Agility Champion and highest-scoring All-American Dog.
Jennifer Crank, the Masters Agility Winner in the 16-inch division and the overall Masters Agility Champion, chatted with 1-TDC® about her experience at this year’s event. Plus, she provided a look at how she prepares for competitions with her Border Collie, P!nk.
Question: How many times have your competed at Westminster?
Jennifer’s answer: I have competed 4 times. This was Pink’s 3rd time and she has won her class every time.
Question: You are the first 16”dog to become the Masters Agility Champion, how does the scoring work?
Jennifer’s answer: They take the top dog from each jump height and then calculate the yards per second. Not necessary the fastest time will win. I never thought a non 20” would win, let alone that it would be me.
Question: What has the journey been like leading up to you and your dog finally getting to compete at Westminster? Did you change anything about your training to prepare for this specific event?
Jennifer’s answer: Each year is a little bit different. The first year was low expectation as P!nk was young and it was her first time at an event of that caliber. This year, being a 2 time winner, there were higher expectations. There has never been a 3 time winner. It gave me something to aim for. The preparation was the same, but clearly, I had to be mentally ready to meet the challenge.
Question: Were the courses more difficult than other events you’ve competed at?
Jennifer’s answer: The courses are trickier than other courses because of the rings size. Westminster rings are 130’ by 70’; so, those long lines make it challenging to keep up with the dog and a bit unusual for USA courses.
Question: As an experienced returning winner, was there anything different you did to prepare this year?
Jennifer’s answer: You have to be prepared to manage what comes up at the event. This year I could hear many people who knew who P!nk was. I really did feel a greater pressure. I tried to keep telling myself that I am here for us and not trying to impress anyone, just to have Pink enjoying doing what she loves which is doing agility.
Question: Did you have a place to warm up with your dog in advance? How did you warm up? Do you have any tips for warming up and prepping your dog when you are on deck and about to hit the course?
Jennifer’s answer: The warm-up area was a usual 10 x 10 section where you also have a practice jump area. She was pretty warmed up by the time I got there doing a lot of stretches and a long walk. I always warm-up her practice jumps at 18” high, so the 16”height seems a little smaller when she is competing.
Question: Did you give your dog any 1TDC® before the event? What benefit do you see from the supplement as it relates to your dog competing in agility?
Jennifer’s answer: Pink has been on 1TDC forever and she now just turned 5. She takes 1-TDC the day of the event and of course every day. My goaI is to be proactive and maintain her health to be optimal. So, 1-TDC is clearly important for us and part of her routine.
Question: Tell what went through your mind as you about to enter the ring
Jennifer’s answer: With P!nk, I don’t have time to think about much else except her. She is so full of energy. I am looking at her and concentrate on keeping her focused on our connection. She wants to go out there. She demands 100% from me and she gives me 110% back. So, I had to focus on our connections to hit the course and have a great run.
Question: How did you get yourself and P!nk mentally ready for that final course?
Jennifer’s answer: We took a little bit of a decompression walk before the final. Off site, having dinner, walking through NYC. There is so much adrenaline going through your body, we needed a reset.
Question: How did you feel your run went? Did you know that you were going to be the Masters Agility Champion Winner?
Jennifer’s answer: The run was spot on! It was the first year where I felt there was nothing I would change about our finals run. She was fully connected, and she was anticipating my moves. When we finished our run, It was announced right away that we had won the class. What I did not know was that we actually won the grand champion, which was announced later.
It was special, as my mother, Susan Crank, was actually in the hot seat in first place with Streak. So, when I even started on-line it was either going to be my mom or me that will win the class…so it was a win-win either way. Winning the Grand champion part was a complete surprise.
Question: How did you celebrate becoming the Masters Agility Champion Winner? How did you reward P!nk?
Jennifer’s answer: That night nothing… we were exhausted ☺, we went straight to the bed. The rest of the family on the other hand went out for dinner. Our family reward was a couple extra nights in New York. P!nk enjoyed doing extra agility at Madison Square Garden and really enjoyed strolling Central Park. I really enjoyed the extra time with family in NYC.
Question: You’re now a Masters Agility Champion Winner—what’s next? What goals do you have for yourself and P!nk in agility moving forward?
Jennifer’s answer: That’s a tough one! She is an incredible dog and she is still so young. All she loves is agility. Try to repeat some our performances is my goal. She has won AKC Nationals, USDAA Nationals. Maybe try to win a 4th time at Westminster? I want to make sure it was real and not just a fluke.
I would like to take her back to WAO and earn another medal or 2.
Question: What advice/tips/steps can you share with other agility trainers/competitors in order to be on the path to competing at Westminster and ultimately becoming a Masters Agility champion Winner?
Jennifer’s answer: Don’t over think it…remember why you are doing the sport. Focus on the trust. Trust your dog and your dog trusting you, it’s about the relationship. Lack of trust creates undesirable results.
The 1TDC® team wishes the best of luck to Masters Agility Winner Jennifer Crank and her dog, P!nk! We can’t wait to see what they do next!