Ashley Deacon, one of i Love Dog’s Ambassadors, recently won the 2011 American Kennel Club National Agility Championship with his dog, Luka, in Lexington, Virginia.
This year’s event brought a record 1,100 dogs from around the county to compete for the titles of AKC National Agility Champion and AKC Preferred National Agility Champion. Considered the “Olympics” of dog sports, the AKC National Agility Championship is the conclusion of many competitions held throughout the year. This event allows dogs to showcase their athleticism and adaptability by navigating a challenging course while racing against a ticking clock.
Deacon and Luka, a black Pyrenean Shepherd, successfully completed six double-Qs to qualify for Nationals before moving on to the AKC National Agility Championship. The “Q” in double-Q stands for qualify. A double-Q is when a team qualifies in two courses. In this case, Deacon and Luka qualified in jumpers-with-weavers and standard agility on the same day, which makes their win all the more impressive.
Deacon told i Love Dogs, “Luka is very consistent, so we usually get our six double-Qs in four weekends of agility. I usually do 10-15 days of AKC per year and 20-25 days of USDAA. I compete one or two weekends per month.”
Deacon and Luka started competing in dog agility in 2004. He and Luka started out with obedience classes but kept in touch with Gail Manhood, a fellow Pyrenean Shepherd owner, who also did agility competitions with her dog.
He said, “She encouraged me to do some agility and it turned out to be such a fun activity that we took it up more seriously.”
Deacon and Luka have a long list of wins, but despite all of that, he says winning has not changed him much. “Agility is a fun activity which has allowed me to develop a strong connection with Luka,” he said. “We have gone on many adventures and have met many great people, but beyond that it is just a fun hobby.”
He offered this advice to dog parent’s who might be considering getting into the sport: “Have fun with it and don’t take it too seriously. Try and understand your dog. Listen to, watch and read advice from many different people, but at the end of the day, follow your instincts about what will work best for you and your dog.”
Deacon and Luka will be taking part in the AKC Agility World Team tryouts in May, and says they just want to continue to have fun with the sport they love.
Good luck, Ashley and Luka!