Watching the Westminster Finals Gave This Beginning Trainer the Agility Bug

Watching the Westminster Finals Gave This Beginning Trainer the Agility Bug:

This Year He Returns as a Competitor

In February 2015, Raphael Davison was doing obedience and AKC Canine Good Citizen training with his All-American Dog, Ringo. The instructor suggested Raphael watch the Westminster Kennel Club (WKC) dog show, which would be on television beginning that weekend.

Raphael went home after his obedience training class on Saturday to watch what he’d recorded, and the first thing he saw was the WKC Masters Agility competition. Raphael decided then and there that he and Ringo, then 9 months old, would learn to do agility.

Raphael grew up with dogs but knew nothing about agility, or even many dog breeds, and certainly not the AKC Canine Partners program. He asked his obedience instructor where he could learn the sport, and she recommended a trainer. They started training in June 2015, competed in their first trial in June 2016, and now, just three years after they saw agility for the first time, he and Ringo are competing in the Westminster Kennel Club Masters Agility Championship.

Ringo is a family dog and when not training with Raphael he enjoys hanging out with the Davisons and their other dog, Dusty.

“I’m just planning to have fun with Ringo,” said Raphael. “Our goal was to just get there this year, and if Ringo gets overwhelmed, that’s okay. We’re going to just live the moment.

“The best part of agility training is the relationship that you build with your dog,” he said. “I have had dogs all my life and loved them, but there is nothing like the bond you build training with your dog.”

The event takes place on Saturday, February 10, in New York City, but you can watch the coverage of the finals from 2 to 4:30 pm EST Sunday, Feb. 11, on FOX.

Congratulations and good luck to all the AKC Canine Partners competing in this year’s Westminster Kennel Club Masters Agility Championship:

Auggnatious inDisguise owned by Casie Brettell of Princeton, NJ
Bleu’s Precious Sassy, owned by Anne Mosner of Chesterfield, NJ
Cooper Jaxon, owned by Tiffany Roehr of Bradenton, FL
Edward Shmigles, owned by Yale West of Bethlehem, PA
El Jefe De los Milagros, owned by Liza Buckner of Sebastopol, CA
Frejomil II's Rocky, owned by Richard Frejomil II of Rocky Port, NY
Glenhighland's Multiple Choice, owned by Laura Simonelli of West Islip, NY
Jack Morris, owned by Sandy Morris of Reston, VA
Johnson's Sassafras, owned by Sarah Johnson of Nyack, NY
Le Lonnie, owned by Robbin Lembo of West Milford, NJ
Lil' Cherokee Dreamcatcher, owned by Christy Wrede of Eatontown, NJ
Logan Lake Hope, owned by Kimberly Barton of Johnstown, OH
Midnight Lightning, owned by Kira Baugh of Reston, VA
Min Oskarssons Mischief Managed, owned by Karin Patrick of Marlton, NJ
My Adrenaline Rush, owned by Kimberly Barton of Johnstown, OH
On Target's Prison Break, owned by Debra Lazaro of Staten Island, NY
Ries' Brady Bunch, owned by Kelly Ries of Doylestown, PA
Riley Nico, owned by Leslie Holm of Las Vegas, NV
Ringo Davison, owned by Raphael Davison of Wilton, CT
Roscoe Bp, owned by Kiley Bitner-Parish of Columbia, MD
Sadie Mae Of Mine, owned by Lisa Tibbals of Northhaven, CT
Schmutzy, owned by Lisa Topol of New York, NY
Soccodato's Buster, owned by Jacqueline Soccodato of New Rochelle, NY
Stumler's Harley, owned by Erin Stumler of Floyds Knob, IN
Trots for Treats, owned by Kristin Dujardin of Fishkill, NY
Wee Beginnings Dobby, owned by Stefanie Freundlich of Milford, NJ
Zinfandel Hackman, owned by Betsy and Gene Hackman of Santa Fe, NM