Posted Date: June 10, 2016
A profile of Meredith Keraga, an upcoming TitleMania Judge.
TitleMania is almost here! Let's meet another of our esteemed Judges, Meredith Keraga!
Where do you live?
Tell us about your family?
I live with my husband, Cody (who is also a USDAA judge). The rest of our human family members live back in Indiana where we grew up. My family and I started agility together in 2004 as a fun activity with our dogs.
Tell us about your experience with agility either as a judge or competitor or both?
Agility has expanded my world! I've met a lot of great people and I enjoy traveling to judge.
What types of dogs do you have and what are their names, ages, and any titles?
Currently we have two German Shepherds. Ryker is six-years-old and has a few titles in USDAA and DOCNA, but injury kept his competition career short. Solstice is four-years-old and has her PDCH, MEX, is close to MACH and has quite a list of agility titles in USDAA, AKC, and DOCNA. For a dog who was afraid of many things when we started, she's come a very long way.
Tell us something unique or that you love about your dogs.
I taught Solstice to wave her paw, and now she uses that trick whenever she wants something. It usually works because it's cute.
Do you participate in any other dog sports or training with your dogs and if yes, have you found these help you with your agility work with your dog?
Ryker is working on obedience since he's retired from agility. I wouldn't say we're obedience stars but the cross-training has helped my training skills. Living in Colorado we take advantage of the many hiking opportunities to stay in shape and get away from it all, which also helps our agility skills.
What do you do in your "other" non-agility life? If you're retired, or a professional dog trainer/instructor, what did you do before?
Agility basically is my life! My current job is teaching agility. Before that I worked various jobs at libraries, restaurants, and pet grooming shops.
What events will you be judging at Titlemania?
Looks like I'll be judging a variety of Masters and Challenge classes!
How does it feel to be judging a brand new event for USDAA?
I'm excited to be part of a new event and see titling classes as the focus!
Do you do anything special to prepare yourself for your judging duties?
Typically I might review the rules, and just try to sleep well the night before a trial.
What expectations to you have for judging at Titlemania? Do you anticipate any challenges?
I expect to have fun watching handlers and dogs tackle the courses!
What goals and objectives do you have in mind when you are designing a course?
I want a course that is fast and safe for the dogs, but with challenges for the handlers. I want to test the handlers' abilities to recognize the dog's path and proactively cue their dogs on the correct path.
Do you have any tips or advice for Titlemania competitors?
Remember your dog's performance on the course is a product of their training and handling, so always praise them for their efforts and keep them happy to play with you!
Do you have any advice for competitors thinking about doing competing, either at Titlemania or local/regional trials, but are intimidated?
Everyone gets nervous sometimes! Just take a breath and enjoy the moment.
What's your favorite dog in a book, movie, TV show or game?