Last month The Clever Hounds made the trip to Tulsa, Oklahoma to attend the AKC National Agility Championship. Spice, Gromit, CC, and Silk had all met the qualification requirements, so we had a really busy weekend with 4 dogs in three jump heights. Qualfying for the NAC requires a certain number of double Qs and championship points within the qualifying period. This year’s requirements were modified to allow for all of the cancelled trials last year.

People attend National events for a lot of reasons.  Some go with aspirations of winning or making finals.  Others go to show off really awesome dogs of uncommon breeds (I can relate to that).  For some, like Dave, qualifying for the event was a goal in itself. Others may be there to enjoy one last big event with a dog who is ready to retire, which was the case for me and CC.

Nationals is a huge event, even in this very weird time. There were six rings spread out over a huge Expo Center.  Without a rented golf cart I don’t think we could have made it through, especially on the day when 8 inch preferred dogs were in Ring 1 at the same time that 12 inch dogs were in Ring 6. The live feed and remote check in options made things easier, but managing multiple rings was a challenge.

Speaking of challenges, this year’s courses were also quite a bit more challenging than in the past.  I’m ok with this- it’s a National Championship and the winning teams should have strong skills and not just speed.  I think going forward people will expect to see more premier style challenges on NAC courses, which has been the case at the Invitational in most years already.

Overall, the Clever Hounds had a great weekend.  Gromit, who is usually more of a crowd favorite than serious agility dog, really came through with clear rounds on all three courses.  Silk and CC had 2 clear rounds each and CC placed 7th in Premier Sweepstakes on Friday.  Spice struggles a bit with focus when she runs on dirt, but she was fast and happy all weekend.

The next adventure for the Clever Hounds will be the  PBGVCA National Specialty.