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Local dog and handler win awards

A local Meadow Valley dog, Harmony Ridge Foxxmo Red Kooper, is the first dog in Meadow Valley to win a prestigious AKC agility award called a PACH, which stands for Preferred Master of Agility Champion. On Nov. 27, Foxxmo won his first PACH.

Foxxmo has been competing for the past four years under the care of his dedicated handler Johnene McDonald in agility competitions in Northern California and Southern Oregon.

He just completed his 35th trial in which he completed the requirements for his PACH and won a very large ribbon in honor of this accomplishment.

McDonald started training her two Australian Shepard puppies, brothers, in March 2012 with Terry Popish of Snowy Pines Dog Training in Blairsden.

Originally, she just intended to learn how to do agility for the experience of off-leash obedience training, but later decided to see what it would be like to enter a competition with her two dogs, Benny Mojo and Foxxmo Red Kooper.The pups were 9 months old when they started working with Popish and needed to be 15 months to compete.

In December 2012, McDonald entered her first agility trial with TRACS at Rancho Murrieta. Her dogs did very well, coming home with seven “qualifications” and Foxxmo’s first title in Novice Standard Agility Preferred.

Through the years, she has continued to compete with her “pack,” which later grew to three dogs when she adopted a local border collie whom she named Harmony Ridge Princess Tango Kizzy. All three dogs have consistently done very well in competitions and McDonald and her dogs typically come home from a trial with 13 to 23 qualifications and one to three new titles.

In order to make it to the level of a PACH, there are many “stairs” of agility a handler/trainer and her dog must climb. There is a Novice Division, 85 percent correct run; Open Division, 90 percent correct run; Excellent Division, 100 percent correct run; and the Master Division.

In the first three divisions, a dog must earn three qualifications in order to receive a title.Once a dog reaches the Master Division however, the dog must receive 10 qualifications with a 100 percent, perfect score (no errors) to receive the title.

There are also different class divisions: Standard Agility, Jumpers with Weaves, FAST, Time 2 Beat, Premier Standard and Premier Jumpers.

In order to qualify for the PACH, a handler and dog must earn 20 double qualifications, which is a qualification in both agility and jumpers classes in the same day.

A team must also accumulate 750 championship points. For each qualifying run, a dog is awarded one (CP) for each full second under standard course time. An example would be if an agility course has a standard course time of 45 seconds and the team completes it with a 100 percent score in 40 seconds. They would receive 5 championship points. These points and double Q’s are accumulated throughout the trials until the team reaches both of these qualifications.

When the goal is accomplished, 20 double Q’s and 750 Points, the dog is awarded the PACH.

In addition to his recent PACH, Foxxmo has achieved the following titles in his four years of competing: MXPB (25 Q’s in Agility Bronze), MXP5/MXPS (50 Q’s in Agility Silver), MJP4 (40 Q’s in Jumpers), MJPB (25 Q’s in Jumpers Bronze), MFP ( 10 Q’s in FAST), PAX (20 double Q’s) and T2B4 ( 40 Q’s in Time to Beat).

The process has been an enriching experience for both dog and handler and is “priceless” because of the bond that is created between the handler and dog. Running with your dog by your side, in an open ring, while completing a maze of 20 obstacles is challenging, but is also a joyful experience. When done correctly it can look much like a dance.

Popish of Snowy Pine Dog Training has had great success with her two Saint Bernards: Hummer and Tundra. They are presently the most titled Saint Bernards in history.

Hummer is the most titled Saint Bernard in history with 102 titles in five different venues: Agility, Obedience, Rally, Draft Work and Barn Hunt. The first Saint Bernard to qualify and compete in the AKC National Agility Championship, he still competes at 11 years old.

Tundra is the most titled female Saint Bernard in history with 35 titles and the top draft dog of all breeds.

Both are rescued dogs from the National Saint Bernard Rescue Foundation.

McDonald said, “We are amazingly blessed to have someone in Plumas County who is as experienced as Terry Popish. In my eyes, she is the best dog/people trainer west of the Rockies. I owe all of my agility accomplishments to Terry of Snowy Pine Dog Training. Without her, we would have never been able to receive this wonderful award and accomplishment.”


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