Bitter cold and snow swirled outside, but there were lots of warm hearts at the January 29-30 Pawzazz agility trial where a new wave of young dogs was running in the novice division.

You could not miss the incredible care and positivity of handlers motivating their young dogs to perform in a trial environment.   Of course, there were lots of antics and wild misses, too.

From a front row seat, no one seemed to be enjoying the action more than Pawzazz founder Debi Hutchinson.

“There is nothing in the world I love more than a young dog’s expression the fist time he goes to the line in a trial,” Debi said afterward.

The trial, held at a heated barn in Knoxville MD, attracted more than 40 top handlers from three states and the District of Columbia for competition under NADAC rules.   There were many great teams at the competition. But, novice dogs stole the show.   Check out video of the novice regular and jumper runs on Saturday:

Novice Jumpers

Novice Regular 1

Novice Regular 2

For those who may not yet know them, here is a quick introduction to the current wave of novice dogs (yes….another wave is coming!)

Photo Credits to Ken Briefel. For a complete album, visit here. 

Brit, by Beth Strother

Born: Sept. 27, 2019

Brit arrived from England and started beginner obedience when he was about 9-10 weeks with Terry Wright.  Brit comes from championship herding lines. He was the only puppy and finished his class with the best score.  We continued to do well in intermediate class and started advanced.  Then, Covid arrived and classes came to a halt.  During this time we also started Intro to Agility and we started that virtual. 

Brit has been missing out on the experience of being at trials (being around so many other dogs, being in a crate, staying in a hotel etc.)  I do believe that a lot of his issues are with the fact that he didn’t get the same start as my other dogs.  He’d probably still be as high in the ring but I think he’d be a bit calmer at a trial had he been able to grow up with it! 

Dash, by Kate Green

Born: June 1 2019

Dash is a focused, motivated dog who keeps his bars up unless I don’t give him timely information. The challenges we have are mainly on my side: learning to run a big dog who drives ahead and has obstacle focus. Teaching him to turn and move his focus to me are our challenges, which is the exact opposite of the challenges I had with my first agility dog. He’s a bit older than other pandemic pups and had extensive trial exposure before the pandemic started. I was able to work on his ability to focus on me in many high energy environments and I’m confident in his ability to perform even on the biggest stages.

He’s a very biddable, chill dog so I got lucky that he had latent skills I could build on. However, the pandemic limited our trial options as we started to compete and our coalescence as a team was a bit slower than I expected.

Flash by Judy Whitbred

Born: July 30, 2020

Lemon Luna Flash turned 18 months the day of his debut. He is a “big” dog, 23” maybe, and yes he’s a border collie. This is going to be a wonderful journey. He is loving, goofy and fast. Can’t wait for the things to come.

Hondo, By Jessica Taylor

Born: 2020

I have never competed in agility before but Hondo loves to jump so I thought I’d try it. Debi Hutchinson saw us at a trial and brought us to Pawzazz because she saw that we had potential but needed some more guidance. Hondo was obedience trained 1st so he had a perfect stay at the start line. But since he is so obedience trained we have had to work on our distance handling but we are improving every time we run.

I think the pandemic has helped us actually. Masks keep your face warm in winter months and I have had to learn to use my hand signals not just my voice.  I love Pawzazz! Hondo and I have improved exponentially since we joined and all the other members and competitors are so friendly and welcoming. We love agility!

(Editor’s note: Hondo has moved up to Open. Congratulations!!)

Joker, by Kitty Bowman
Born: April 1, 2019(?)

Joker (aka Jokers Wild) came to our pack in July, 2019 via All Herding Breed Dog Rescue, at 15 weeks. He was delivered to my arms in a parking lot via Pam Schiffleger, who picked him up from Robin Carberry at a NADAC trial in Illinois. It was reported that Joker was live trapped in Texas at 9 weeks old, where he was fostered. He then went to rescue with Robin in Illinois. I had spoken for him before he left Texas.

We started classes with Terry and before we could finish COVID brought everything to a halt. We had just started to work on trial and ringside manners when everything came to a halt. Joker and I continued to train foundation behaviors at home, but in a vacuum. We are now in class with Debi twice a week and we’re slowly improving our trial skills. Many of my fellow Pawzazz members are helping us move forward. I adore Joker and we are working on the socialization he missed. I have great hopes for us as a team, but for now he is a dream to live with at home.


Storm, By Pam Schffleger

Born: 2019

Storm has an amazing work ethic and focus. He learns so fast and loves the game. I am trying to be really intentional about building rock solid foundation skills. Oh, and he is fast! Challenges – he is fast my timing is very much a work in progress but honestly he is a dream partner.

The pandemic definitely affected us. He missed so much foundation training, but I cobbled together some online classes and seminars/workshops whenever we could find them. I am thankful to all who helped us along the way and glad that Storm wasn’t my first agility dog and that he is a fast learner. I don’t know what my goals are for us but I have no doubt he will take me on adventures I never would have dreamed of when I started this sport.

Tucker, By Catherine Christianson.


In the midst of three surgeries, the best medicine arrived: Tucker H. Jones! Tucker keeps me busy, happy, and excited on our learning adventures..