Handler spotlight – Marie and Joel Staffeldt

Competitor Spotlight – Competing during Covid through the UKI At Home video trials with Marie and Joel Staffeldt.

Marie and Joel are from Wisconsin and compete with Papillons, Charlotte and George.  They have amassed a considerable amount of points and titles from the At Home Trials, so we delved into their lives, to find out how they became hooked on agility.

How long have you been doing dog agility?

I started agility a few weeks after bringing home Charlotte as puppy 3 years ago.  Our previous dog was a French Bulldog that rarely left the couch.  When we brought Charlotte home her energy levels were so much more than we were used to I couldn’t seem to tire her out she was such a bundle of energy.  I searched “papillon energy” on the internet and dog agility came up. I had never known that even existed as a sport and was super intrigued and wanted to try it.  A year later I was so addicted to the agility fun that we added a second dog to our family for more papillon and agility fun and brought home baby George.

What levels and titles have you achieved since starting UKI? 

Both Charlotte and George started as beginners with UKI.  During the At Home trials they have both gained the IAC7, CSS2 and Outstanding Achievement awards, together with all three silver class awards

Any big UKI events you have attended and any results you achieved you’d like to brag about?

As I am not a big travel person the biggest event we have done was the virtual UKI US OPEN in November 2020.  I was so proud of how well both dogs did, accumulating Q’s to enter the National finals. Charlotte placed fourth in the National Finals, and George placed fourth in the Masters Series Heat, he was 10/10 on the weekend.  We were outside in the snow flurries and 50 mph winds, and the dogs really stepped it up and gave us some amazing runs.

 Besides training your dogs in agility, what other fun things do you like to do with your dogs?

We love taking walks in the park, and any kind of training in general we enjoy.  Both dogs have earned numerous trick titles and fitness titles that we work on in between agility.  It’s great for bonding and fun.

Besides agility, what other hobbies do you have or activities do you enjoy.

I watercolor paint animals and pets, and especially love painting animals. My husband is big into sports. We both love cooking and gardening.

What are your agility goals?

My goals are to enjoy every run with my dogs and enjoy the journey. Each dog teaches us so much about ourselves and fills a need and a space in our hearts, I just want to enjoy every moment. Achieving titles is a great motivator for me to keep training, but I love every good run they give me and love watching agility videos of my dogs running with us, it makes me happy.

What do you love about competing with UKI?

UKI has such a high standard for agility that makes us work harder.  Running to UKI standards and UKI courses will make you a better handler and make your dogs’ better at agility. We have thoroughly enjoyed the UKI At Home program it has really shaped our training and has translated into much stronger agility skills in our classes and trialing and has given us something to work on and enjoy as a whole family.