AKC Agility Invitational Winner – Height Category (8″): Dot – Handler: Antonia Rotelle

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Antonia Rotelle with Cavalier King Charles Spaniel "Dot"


Interview with Antonia Rotelle


How long have you competed in AKC Agility? How did you discover the sport?

Antonia Rotelle: I have competed in AKC Agility for 13 years. I got started through my daughter who saw an ad in the post office offering Agility lessons at a neighbor’s house. Turned out that I knew the instructor from Obedience classes, and so, we began our Agility career.


Did you have a strategy for competing with “Dot” at the AKC Agility Invitational this year?

Antonia Rotelle: My strategy for “Dot” was different this year than in previous years. Before, I was always rushing, trying to win every class. I also had many doubts about our ability to ever reach a Finals at a major event and I had to struggle to keep those negative thoughts out of my mind. This year, it was all about being positive and remaining calm and emotionless, as it were.

Dot is a very sensitive dog, especially to me, and if I get overly excited she does too and then everything blows up. So, we had a job to do in Orlando; remain calm and get to Finals. I spent the whole weekend keeping my excitement to a minimum, being very deliberate and not rushing my cues, and letting her set the pace. She is insanely fast whether she is pushed or not, so I was able to run her like this and still win four classes. I had a feeling that if we could make Finals, we would win.


Do you compete in other dog sports? If so, which sports appeal to you and why?

Antonia Rotelle: I really don’t compete in any other sport, although I do take my retired dog to Nosework class. For me, it is all about AKC Agility.


Featured photo: Antonia Rotelle with Dot – Credit: Nancy McDonough


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