Excellent and Master’s Level

Who Knew??  The prestigious Westminster Kennel Club dog show is not only allowing mixed breed competitors but it also allowing the sport I practice with my dog, agility. Only 225 dogs can participate so you can image many of us didn’t get in. Like a lottery, the dogs were selected at random. To qualify, you have to be at the “Excellent and Master’s Level”. We were there but sadly didn’t get in.


The first widely documented appearance of dog agility was at the Crufts Dog Show in England in 1978. It was originally designed as an entertainment segment between the conformation and obedience rounds. It was enthusiastically embraced by the spectators. Agility intrigued dog owners with its demonstration of speed, agility, and the enthusiasm of the competitors. It is open to a of a variety of breeds and it had quickly grown into an international and local sport with standardized equipment.


How Agility Training is Making a Difference at Westminster

This year will be the 138th Annual Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show. Westminster Dog Show is the one of the longest-running shows of its kind, starting back in 1877. This prestigious dog show judges canines in categories, such as Best in Group, Best of Breed and Best in Show.

The New York the Championship course will be a hybrid of the qualifying rounds and will be televised. It will be run as a ‘time to beat’ course. The first dog will set the baseline time for the subsequent competitors. Agility has become an exciting canine sport for spectators and it has become the fastest growing dog sport in the country. I am not going to bore with my experiences running my dachshund. I have already done that and if you want to look at my experiences please read: How Agility Training Has Helped Me Overcome Business Obstacles.
Why is this a big deal? For 138 years NO mixed breed dogs have appeared in Westminster and agility wasn’t even thought of.

How can you relate this huge change made by the Westminster Dog Show to your Business Plan?

When you make business plan to you plan for growth and planning for growth is essential. Sometimes it is hard to face the fact that things do change because we go through life thinking that this will never happen, or why try because it will never work. Often we see businesses fail because they are not willing to stay with the plan. Make a plan.

  1. Think about Funding Needs. Do you have the money to expand your business?
  2. Describe your product. What are you really selling. Establish your unique selling proposition. What makes you different from your competitors. This is where promotional products can be used to show how and why you are better.
  3. Organize Your Company. Make sure that everyone in company knows not only what their role but what are the goals of your company.
  4. What are your Marketing and Sales Strategies? Marketing attracts your customers which generate sales. The advertisers at Westminster is big business. There are rows and rows of booths selling items. Many companies donate anything from food, dog treats, and dog bags with their logos items.
  5. Target Market.  Knowing your target market you are able to establish pricing, distribution and what your marketing strategies will be in order to become profitable. This is important as it will give you the indication for the growth potential within your industry.

No one can never say “never”. Having a dog show in New York City was considered nuts. However a group of sporting gentlemen decided that they would hold a dog show in Manhattan and the year was 1877. Look at the growth and how this one show every year has influenced shows everywhere. What is interesting is that Westminster pre-dates the invention of the light bulb, the automobile, and the zipper; the building of the Brooklyn Bridge and the Washington Monument; and manned air flight and the establishment of the World Series.

“You just never give up, no matter how hard the challenges are, and observe this world with a healthy dose of criticism and don’t just follow the herd like somebody else might do.” – Renny Harlin

Create your own path to success, and know that if you’re the only one walking it, you must find the way!


OK I wasn’t selected this year, but I will try again next year. I am sure the agility portion of the event is going to be successful and more dogs will be allowed to compete. Roxie and I plan to be there next year. Don’t forget to look for us.

Have you ever seen the Westminster Dog Show on TV or in Person? Do you have long term goals for you and your business? What have been working on?

44 thoughts on “Excellent and Master’s Level

  1. I had heard about this just the other day. I am so excited about it. I do plan on watching. I agree with your correlation. You just never know, and yes, things do change. It pays to keep an eye out on all the shifting trends, then strategize and make plans accordingly. Oh, and good luck next year with Roxy. 🙂
    Susan Cooper recently posted…We Still Love You: Story (Podcast)My Profile

  2. Just the other day, I was thinking I hadn’t read a post from you in awhile 😉 As always, I enjoy your skill in connecting two seemingly unrelated topics. I do watch dog shows every once in a blue moon. I’m currently working with Susan Cooper as my career coach. Turns out I took the short bus when it comes to making achievable goals. I’ve always been a big-picture person, but now that I’m working on my own, things don’t fall as easily into place as they do when I have no one to answer to but myself. Though my head for business is still in the baby stages, I continue to learn a lot from all of you from BHB in many different ways.
    Jeri recently posted…Writer’s Workout: Divorcing the DraftMy Profile

    • Jeri- I am flattered you wondering where I have been and that you learn from some of my crazy items of business. I got sick over the holidays and with the weather being so cold I haven’t really been in the mood. I am back with my analogies. Sometimes it takes another person to help you move forward. I hired someone from our Linkedin group to get my feet wet with blogging. I have a head for business but writing is far from my forte. It is a work in progress. Now you can write. We all have strengths and weaknesses.
      Arleen recently posted…What is it Big Deal this Year at the Westminster Dog Show?My Profile

  3. I have to say, Arleen, I had never heard of agility training until you wrote about it. How well that transfers to business. We need to be agile in our businesses and be flexible and have the strength to make course corrections when necessary. You always hear people advise to keep trying, keep going until you succeed. It’s just as important to know when to stop, to know when something isn’t working. Admit it to yourself without having a sense of failure. That is very difficult to do.
    I hope you and Roxy make it into next year’s show.
    Jeannette Paladino recently posted…Too Many Members are ‘Responsible’ on LinkedInMy Profile

  4. Hey Arleen,

    This is just like what I keep saying and have for years. Things change, nothing ever stays the same.

    It’s not these poor dogs fault that they’re mix breeds but some of them are just as beautiful and as well trained as any other dog and I’m so thrilled that they’re opening it to showcase them as well.

    I’m so sorry you and Roxie weren’t chose in the agility course but I like that they’re randomly picking them and it’s not by who you know or how many firsts you’ve placed overall. Everyone has an opportunity even though it’s still hard to be chosen.

    It’s the same with our business and you’re so right about that. I mean who ever thought before there would be a position like a social media manager! Things evolve and change all the time so always remain open to the possibilities and never close those doors.

    Adrienne recently posted…Thankful Thursday: Search Traffic, SM Design, Monetizing, Spam, SnacksMy Profile

    • Adrienne- You are right nothing stays the same and if you don’t change with the times you will be left out. Many of the breeders fought having mixed breeds because they didn’t want to endorse backyard breeders that make designer dogs. In agility they also allow mixed breeds under All American Dogs. They get the same courses and awards but they competing against mixed breeds and pure breeds compete against pure breeds.

      I am happy that it was fair and I am not upset I didn’t get into the Westminster Trial. Making it fair for all is what I would rather see than the ones you make the World Agility Team.

      The internet has changed our lives forever. Did you ever think you would buy an ebook, read from a Kindle or Ipad. Sometimes it is important to access where you are in your business model. February 1st is tomorrow and the start of your New Year
      Arleen recently posted…What is it Big Deal this Year at the Westminster Dog Show?My Profile

  5. Hi Arleen,

    I’m really sorry you and Roxie didn’t make it into the show this year, but pleased you’re going to keep trying. I just love watching agility – always try to catch it on the TV when Crufts is on over here. They also have a “heelwork to music” slot, which is very entertaining.

    My main long-term goal is to become a much better writer of fiction. My objective for this year is to write and publish more books on Kindle, which means I won’t be doing so much blogging.

    Good luck to you and Roxie for future competitions – I hope they allow more entrants next year so you can show them what your little dog’s made of.
    Susan Neal recently posted…How Writing Will Help You Keep That New Year ResolutionMy Profile

    • Susan- Crufts is also a big deal. I have seen the heelwork to music and envy those dogs and trainers. That would never happen with a Dachshund. I hope you do not give up on blogging as your posts are worth reading. Blogging will also help with selling your books. I have bought several books from those that I have built relationships with.

      I will try again next year. I would think Westminster would like some entertainment and let me tell you running a dachshund in agility is entertaining. It will give them viewership, more advertisers and more money for AKC.
      Arleen recently posted…What is it Big Deal this Year at the Westminster Dog Show?My Profile

  6. Never give up, except when we have to (I believe that there are certain situations in which it is better to just give up…because trying is simply not worth the time or effort….we could give up and trying looking for another method to achieve the same goal or pursue so other goal).

    I do have long term goals for my business/blog (I have planned it out for the rest of the year….and of course, I have ‘envisioned’ where I should be in 5 to 10 years). I am still tweaking it though 🙂

    Thank you for sharing this, Arleen 🙂

    Good luck to you and Roxie for next year!
    Jeevan Jacob John recently posted…Social Media Strategy, Tips/Quotes and Socializing!My Profile

    • Jeevan- Like anything you need to access the situation to make a good decision. It is great that you have your business planned out for the rest of the year. With so many changes planning to far will have be looked at again. Having the challenges of training and trialing with a Dachshund has taught me the valuable lesson of things change and not giving up on what you want.

      My goal is for next year’s blog to be about Roxie and myself at Westminster.
      Arleen recently posted…What is it Big Deal this Year at the Westminster Dog Show?My Profile

  7. I love this post! I often think of a quote from the movie, “Moneyball” when Brad Pitt’s character, Billy Beane is talking to the scouts about the player market. Having to think about players differently was essential. “Adapt, or die” is how he phrased it. As the Westminster Kennel Club did, and how many business today must react to changing markets. If not, someone else will. Keeping a “Brand” front and center for the consumer is essential for growth. Great post, Arleen!

    Thank you for sharing!
    Mark Brody recently posted…Are you in pursuit of your dreams?My Profile

  8. Hi Arleen,

    Sorry you and Roxie didn’t make it! But only goes to show “never give up” which is my motto to business. Things change rapidly, sometimes I blunder, sometimes things go smoothly for a while. But once we have that mindset not to give up, we can learn from those hurdles we have to undergo.

    Yes, absolutely I ALWAYS watch the Westminister dog show. I’m a dog lover and just love watching all those breeds, doing their job.

    Donna Merrill recently posted…Developing A Social Media CampaignMy Profile

    • Donna- I am sure in the back of our minds, many of us think that could be my dog at the show. It is the same in business. We have a vision that we can do but give up. Things are forever changing. You are the one person I know who will never give up.
      Watch February 8th at 7:00 PM on the Fox Sports network as they are going to have the finalists doing agility.
      Arleen recently posted…What is it Big Deal this Year at the Westminster Dog Show?My Profile

  9. Hi Arleen

    I am sorry your and Roxie did not get chosen but I get you knew the odds. Maybe next year will be your year. I loved the last time I read one of your posts and showed some videos on the training. It is very skillful.

    As far as business as others and you have said nothing stays the same. I sometimes reflect on my start in the working world before computers even. I used to add up in the accounting practice I worked in on a big old adding machine.

    A great post.

    Sue Price recently posted…Baby Boomers : Solution to Retirement ConcernsMy Profile

  10. Hi Arleen,

    It’s interesting how this relates to business. When you look at the Westminster dog show, they are like the customers. Customers that are looking to buy that certain product and you being the manufacturer (Roxie’s owner, of course), showing off a new product which in this case Roxie. Just shows that you may not get every customers but the fact that you took action and you showed up is all that matters. I can’t say that many people are proud dog owners who have this thought come across their minds, have not even considered filling out the application to get started. Great post!
    Nate Leung recently posted…4 Key Points To Remember When Things In Your Business Gets ToughMy Profile

    • Nate- I have learned so much about my business through the experiences of training and trailing with my dog. I was told to go get a dog that I could really train. I know that dachshunds are a challenge, but that is what makes it so interesting with the goal to succeed. Business is the same way when you tackle a challenge and succeed it is so rewarding. I am glad to see that you get it. Thank you for stopping by.
      Arleen recently posted…What is it Big Deal this Year at the Westminster Dog Show?My Profile

  11. Greetings! Very useful advice in this particular post!

    It’s the little changes that will make the largest changes.
    Thanks for sharing!
    Violette recently posted…VioletteMy Profile

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