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A Profile of Judge Janet Gauntt

Cynosport is this week! We're thrilled to have Janet Gauntt as one of our judges.


Where do you live?

Columbia, Maryland

How did you get involved in agility and how long have you been involved?

I was first exposed to agility by the Kynologischer Verein Oberwil, the club I was training with when I was living and working in Switzerland in 1988. At the time I had three Shelties who were 12", 15", and 17" high at the shoulder. So I tried it out with my 17" Sheltie Merlin who was the only one large enough to be able to jump the 30" jumps (originally the only option available in the sport). When I got back to the States in 1989, I looked around for agility (which was difficult to do pre-Internet :D) and fortunately the Keystone Agility Club in Pennsylvania was hosting an introductory seminar in conjunction with the USDAA.

Do you participate in any other dog sports or training with your dogs?

I've done a lot of sports over the years (obedience, flyball, disc dog, rally, herding). To keep some sanity in my life I try not to do more than three at a time. Currently my boys are involved in agility (of course!), disc dog, and herding. I'd like to get back to doing some rally next year, but something's gotta give...

What types of dogs do you have and what are their names, ages, and any titles?

My personal dogs have been Shelties, Border Collies, and a Swedish Vallhund. I've also titled some borrowed dogs (a Papillon, a Kerry Blue Terrier, and a Rottweiler who continues to hold the title of top scoring Rottie in NAFA flyball). Dogs I've been competing with this year are:

Romance (Border Collie) LAA-Gold, Performance Top Ten for 2013 and 2014 in Gamblers and Standard. She died of cancer (TCC) at the beginning of October at the age of 12.5 but was still competing well and happily in Veterans (only 15 legs shy of her LAA-Platinum) until about two weeks before her death. Sequel (Border Collie) LAA-Platinum, Diamonds in everything except Masters Pairs (Platinum) and the Challenge classes (Silver), Championship Top Ten in most classes every year since 2010 and on track for this year as well. Sequel will turn nine-years-old next month.

Johnny B (Border Collie) LAA-Bronze (almost, almost at Silver), Gold in most of his titling classes (need to focus on those snooker skills to bring that into line!). Johnny B is almost six-years-old. Sequel's son Legacy is in the wings, but won't start competing until Spring.

What is something unique about your dogs you like to tell people?

I don't have a good answer for this question. The dogs and I are unique - just like everybody else.

What do you do in your "other" non-agility life?

I design and implement computer software to control large scale manufacturing processes.

When you are designing a course for Cynosport, do you have any goals and/or concerns?

I want to see a balance of skills and physical ability in both the dog and handler. A dog that's merely fast is not going to win out on my courses unless the handler is also able to show that they can expertly cue extension and collection, and are versatile in both a number of different handling maneuvers for optimal path management and an ability to work both in close proximity and at a distance from the dog.

Have you competed at Cynosport in the past?

Many times with many dogs - Shelties Lacey and Sam, and Border Collies Legend, Romance, Sequel, and Johnny B. All of them were Semi-Finalists many times (except JB - still working on that :D) and Sam and Legend each got to Finals once.

Have you judged at Cynosport in the past?

Yes, I judged in Morgan Hills in 2014 and have some great memories of that event.

Do you have any tips or advice for Cynosport competitors?

Focus on your mental game, never assume your Team is out of the running, take some time to enjoy some of the other things Cynosport has to offer, make sure you watch some or all of the Finals (they really are thrilling to watch in person), and find some one-on-one time to just walk about the grounds with your dog(s). (Stay to the groomed landscaped areas though - since it's Arizona, remember - There Be Snakes).

What are you most looking forward about Cynosport this year?

It's nice to see it in Scottsdale again -- that has always been the most wide open and visually attractive place for Cynosport. I look forward to enjoying the electric atmosphere and the great performances I will be privileged to again watch.

Photo credit - Kelly Bove Photography

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