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A First Timer's Experience at a Regional

Janet Hennies talks about her experiences attending her first regional with her dog Dasher.


I am a fairly new handler in the world of competitive agility. I have enjoyed various opportunities to compete at local trials. Due to my work and family schedule, I am only able to attend about six to eight trials per year. After doing local trials for a few years, I started getting curious about agility trial opportunities beyond my state boarders. I often heard other handlers talk about regional competitions and Cynosports. I started to wonder, should I try a regional agility trial?

I really did not understand what a regional competition was about. I always thought the regional competitions were for those extremely successful handlers - I am certainly not one of those handler/dog teams.

However, this past August, curiosity got the best of me, and I finally tried my first regional competition. My dog Dasher and I registered for the Central Regional Competition hosted by the Casa De Canine in Gardner, KS. 

In the weeks leading up to the regional, I was full of anticipation for the adventure. We had been working hard during our training sessions and felt as ready as we could be for the regional.

Once I set foot onto the trial site, I was immediately impressed. It was a beautiful facility with plenty of space for crates, vendors and offered two turf-covered rings.  All of this was under an air-conditioned roof. The Casa De Canine crew did an excellent job of planning every detail with welcome gift bags, amazing raffle baskets, drawings for prizes, fun and informative vendors - dog massage, dog chiropractic, video and photography and so much more. The one that I got a good giggle about was the cheater glasses by the maps - thank you!

The most impressive part of attending the regional was the overall positive and supportive environment. Clearly, there were some of the top handlers in the country attending this event. However, I felt welcomed and encouraged by all. I met so many wonderful people. It was truly the perfect first time regional experience. 

In the end, Dash and I had some good runs and some not-so-good runs. We made many new friends from all around the country, and we left feeling inspired. If you find yourself pondering over the idea of a regional trial, my recommendation is to go for it! 

Janet Hennies started her agility training with Rhodesian Ridgebacks. First came her dog Kobi and they trained at Animal Inn in Lake Elmo, MN when she lived in the Twin Cities. Kobi passed away at an early age due to illness. With love for the breed, she got another Rhodesian Ridgeback puppy and named her Miko. Miko is a very strong minded independent dog. Janet and Miko trained at Canine Agility of Central Minnesota in St. Cloud and Full Tilt Border Collies and Agility Training in Buckman, MN  After a few years of training and trialing, it became clear that Miko did not enjoy agility as much as Janet. It was then that Janet decided to try something different with a Papillon named Dasher. This was a big change and it was truly like starting over. With Loretta Mueller's help at Full Tilt Border Collies and Agility Training, Janet learned about the world of agility for a 12 inch dog. Dasher and Janet have been competing at local trials throughout Minnesota since the summer of 2012. Currently Dasher is doing some physical therapy for his shoulders but they hope to be back in the ring very soon. Miko is now 13 years old and enjoys her life as a princess. Janet Hennies currently lives in Pequot Lakes, MN with her husband and two active children. 

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