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Meet Maria Griffin: Parents made the right choice in getting her a dog 

Maria Griffin, 17, persisted with her parents in getting them to let her have a dog. Her persistence paid off, and her All-American Dog MACH Bisquik MXB MJB PJD OF placed fourth in the 16-inch class at the Junior Agility Competition in Orlando in December. She hopes for a career in dog training and has big plans for competing in the future.

Name: Maria Griffin
Age: 17
Hometown: Poulsbo, WA
Grade: high school Senior
Family: Parents, Kelie and Dayton Griffin; siblings, Dayton, Juston, Anna, and Georgia

AKC: How old is Biscuit and how did he come into your life?
Biscuit is 4 years old, and I got him when he was 8 weeks old. I was 12 years old at the time, and my parents had finally agreed to let me get a dog. When we went to pick out a puppy, Biscuit walked right up to us and sat down. He followed us around all afternoon, and we really didn’t have a say in the matter – Biscuit had already chosen us.

AKC: What got you started in training and competing with dogs? Tell us about what dog training has meant to you.
I had wanted a dog since before I can remember, so I was super excited to start training Biscuit. I had read about dog sports as well, and when he proved to be fast and athletic, I began to research dog agility. Biscuit loves to learn tricks and I love to train him, so agility came naturally to him. We started competing because he was good at agility, and why not take it to the next level?

Dog training has meant a lot to me. It has given me something positive and fun to do with my time, and it has encouraged me to be patient. It has also taught me to be a problem solver. Because I am self-taught and I train Biscuit at home, I have often had to rely on my intuition and adjust my training ideas to accommodate him. I have learned to study well and to soak up information wherever I can find it – YouTube, books, eavesdropping – and I have had to learn how to apply those things I’ve learned to my own dog. Every dog is unique and every person is unique, and dog training has taught me how to accept and appreciate that uniqueness.

AKC: Is your family involved in dog training/showing?
Nope! In fact, they aren’t even much of “dog people” – we always had cats growing up.

AKC: What sports does Biscuit compete in and what titles/honors has he earned?
Biscuit only competes in agility, but I have been training him to earn some Trick Dog certificates soon. He has earned the following titles: NA, NAJ, NF, OA, OAJ, OF, AX, AXJ, MX, MXB, MXJ, MJB, PJD, and MACH. He competed in the 2018 AKC NAC in Reno, where he had three clear rounds and placed 22nd out of the 16 inch dogs. He has also qualified for the 2019 AKC NAC, and we attended the 2018 AKC Junior Agility Competition in Orlando, Florida in December.

AKC: Tell us about any other dogs you may have – names, ages and what sports they compete in.
About a month ago, I picked up my new border collie puppy, Pikochu. He’s 13 weeks old, and he dreams of one day being an agility dog like his big brother Biscuit.

AKC: Do you own any “non-dog” pets?
We currently own an old, black cat named Princess. She does not approve of sharing her home with a dog and a puppy!

AKC: What are your goals in the sport of dogs?
My goals are to participate in as many dog sports as possible, and to train my dogs on my own as much as possible. I hope to someday win a National Agility Championship, but until then, my goal is to celebrate every small success.

AKC: Do you plan do to something animal-related as a career?
I hope to someday train dogs as a career. It would be a dream come true.

AKC: What extracurricular activities are you involved in addition to dog sports?
In addition to dog sports I enjoy reading and photography – although I will admit, I end up reading about and photographing dogs!

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