Q&A With Andrea Samuels on Preparing for Westminster
Last year, Andrea Samuel’s dog Gabby took the Westminster Masters Agility competition by storm and captured the 8″ division title.
Fueled by Honest Kitchen food, Andrea and Gabby are preparing to compete at Westminster, with hopes to take the title again. We caught up with Andrea to learn what preparation and life look like for a reigning Westminster winner.
The Honest Kitchen: First, congratulations! How did you first get started with agility training?
Andrea Samuels: Thank you so much! I kind of walked into agility back in the mid 90’s after I went to a local dog show and they had a demonstration. I then went to the local club for Sunday afternoon drop in classes and my first dog Mikey seemed to be a natural and I got hooked.
THK: What do you do to prep your pups for an event?
AS: For the local shows I don’t really do much once they’re fully trained. We might go and work on a specific obstacle or a specific handling sequence but I don’t generally over train. I bring them to get massages and laser therapy and sometimes chiropractic adjustments especially if we’re going to a big event like a national or Westminster. They’re pretty much normal dogs at home. They play in the backyard they sleep on the couch and they eat a good diet with supplements.
THK: What are some things you do to keep your pups in tip top shape?
AS: It’s always good to get them used to being comfortable in a crate, in a car or an airline carrier when they’re young or when they’re puppies. Small dogs can go in cabin on an airplane, so if they’re used to being in a car or in the carrier they usually adjust well to being on an airplane.
THK: It seems like there’s quite a lot of travel involved. Do you have any travel tips?
AS: Always bring copies of your dog’s vaccination records, especially rabies for every state has different laws. Make sure they have identification with your phone number and address and ownership and microchipping is something I believe in. Bring familiar items that they’re used to sleeping on or playing with, a diet that they are used to eating and bottled water because not all dogs do well when you change their water. Always have a first aid kit available with the essentials in case a dog gets sick and you can’t get to a vet right away. And before you go anywhere make sure you notate where the nearest vet is.
THK: What’s something you wish people knew about agility dogs?
AS: It’s much more than playing with your dog on a playground. There is a lot of training involved to get to the level of competition. But dogs who do agility I think have a very good life and they live a very active lifestyle. They tend to be healthier in general because they are mentally and physically engaged, and It creates a very special bond between you and your dog.
THK: Around Westminster, we always find ourselves watching Best In Show. What’s something that’s very accurate from this movie?
AS: The quirkiness of the movie does ring true I have seen people that represent each one of those characters !
THK: How did you hear about Honest Kitchen?
AS: When it became really popular to start feeding raw food and all the dehydrated diets came out, Honest Kitchen was the first one I ever saw. There was a vendor at the agility trials that used to sell it and I would buy it.