Posted Date: June 15, 2016
Learn more about one of our excellent judges and course creators for TitleMania, Kama Rueschenberg!
Where do you live?
Queen Creek, Arizona
Tell us about your family?
Everyone in my family loves animals, and my mom also competes in agility.
Tell us about your experience with agility either as a judge or competitor or both?
I started agility at 17, and earned my way into my first USDAA Cynosport World Games that same year. That year, they offered a Junior Handler competition where we could compete to earn our way into a Junior Handlers Finals in the "big ring." It was at that event that I got my first taste of Finals, and after that I was hooked. Since then, I have earned my way into multiple Finals rounds as well as earned my way onto the podium at multiple Regional events. I opened a dog agility training school, and work full-time as a dog agility trainer and coach.
What types of dogs do you have and what are their names, ages, and any titles?
I have Border Collies, Chihuahuas, and a Sheltie puppy. My Border Collies include Crash (13 years - my first agility dog), Nitro (nine years), and Google (five years). My Chihuahuas are Polly Pocket (three yearrs) and Porky Pig (one-and-a-half years - my up-and-comer agility dog). My Sheltie is Emmy (she is seven months and was recently featured in a PetSmart Facebook video for National Puppy Day which has had over 100,000 views!).
Tell us something unique or that you love about your dogs.
Something unique: all of my dogs are professional animal actors and have been featured in print and/or video advertisements!
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?
I dedicate nearly all my time to the pursuit of agility. However, I do own eight sheep so my herding dogs have something to keep them mentally and physically active when they retire from agility. I also actively train my dogs tricks and general obedience behaviors for the animal talent industry.
What do you do in your "other' non-agility life?
Other than training agility, I also work as an animal talent agent. I have worked with a variety of different animal species on a multitude of different projects ranging from simple print ads or social media ads to national commercials.
What goals and objectives do you have in mind when you are designing a course?
Since I am a handler and trainer, when I design a course I typically have handling paths in mind. However, since there are so many options for handling and training, oftentimes it can be difficult to predict the path the handlers will see when they look at the course I designed. For that reason I try to set lines that are clear but allow for some variation in handling. I also tend to like courses that display training and/or handling ability.
Do you have any tips or advice for Titlemania competitors?
My tip is cliche, but HAVE FUN! Having attended many national events myself, the biggest thing that can ruin an event for you (and your dog) is not a fault or scoring error, but instead how you react to the situation. A fault doesn't mean your weekend is over, or that your dog (or you) are failures, it means you were pushing hard ... which is great! A scoring error (or any other glitch at the event) can be easily resolved when calmly dealt with ... there are a lot of people who are at the event ready to help you, just ask.
Do you have any advice for competitors thinking about doing competing, either at Titlemania or local/regional trials, but are intimidated?
The only thing that will help you feel less intimidated is to just go for it! Nerves are part of the game. Eventually that same energy that makes you feel intimidated now will be the adrenaline that powers you later. Talk to your trainer, if they say you're ready, go!
What's your favorite dog in a book, movie, TV show or game?
Beverly Hills Chihuahua! Because I have Chihuahuas, of course.