Strong, fit and well prepared for the challenging courses this year’s European Open

By Mark Laker

ML

Agility Team GB dogs and handlers looked strong, fit and well prepared for the challenging courses this years European Open (EO) presented. We came home with a silver medal in the team relay final, a class win in the medium individual agility and overall top medium dog. This was a fantastic result for the team.

This years championships attracted over 800 dogs from 37 countries. The attendance grows each year establishing the EO as one of the top FCI competitions. All the current FCI World Champions attended and the competition builds over the three days to a thrilling Sunday final.

Thanks to the ongoing support from our sponsors particularly CSJ, Streamz and First Contact, Agility Team GB were able to send one of our largest teams this year, 25 dogs across all three height categories. The team was selected from this years squad of 50 dogs who have trained and prepared together since December.

As Team Manager I’m very proud for the opportunity to work with these top handlers and support them as they compete with the best in the world. The Coaching team work tirelessly in the background helping prepare the dogs and handlers with their course skills, fitness, mental preparations, strategy and game plan. Coming home with medals and class wins makes all the preparations and practice worthwhile.

I’d like to acknowledge all the support CSJ provide the team over the course of the year. This enables us to help prepare the team and send a strong coaching team to the championships.

 

Mark Laker

Agility Team GB Team Manager

Introducing Jeannie Gee and her Amazing GeeGee Dogs

GeeGee

At nearly 30, Jeannie has a range of qualifications and experience under her belt

A Bachelor of Education specialising in Foundation Stage AND ICT in Teaching, managing her own team in ‘Commissions’ (Pensions & Insurance) and finally ‘Estimating’ (number crunching and formulas) in Underfloor Heating has all lead to a strong understanding of approaching challenges at as many different angles as possible.

Always crazy about animals, especially dogs

Jeannie grew up spending most weekends and holidays around her grandparents’ large groups of Working Labradors, Irish Water Spaniels and Springers. At a young age, she was discouraged from pursuing dog training as a career, because there was “little money in it, and no security”.   However, Jeannie did get her first dog whilst still at school, a strong but complex rescue terrier who taught Jeannie that positive reinforcement was magical. From then, she went on to trick training, obedience, flyball and agility, learning as much as she could from the dogs she encountered until 5 years ago she finally bit the bullet to become a self-employed dog trainer.

Well, that was the plan. Two and a half years ago, Jeannie was approached for a photoshoot with two of her dogs who wowed the photographer so much that she spoke to Charlotte, a friend of hers in the media.  The rest they say, is history. Jeannie’s first proper media job was a long, complex day, with her dog, Kheva, working alongside a cat she had never met. Charlotte was so impressed that now, over the past two years of working together, they have completed almost 100 projects together – working dogs, cats, chickens, parrots….. basically, any animal they can source.

Jinty on a Bus

It is a complex job, with not every dog or owner being suitable

Jeannie prides herself in being a positive only trainer and handler, even when the pressure is on, using creativity to get the job done. Her experience ranges from Christmas Dog Movies, to Food Packets, Music Videos and Hollywood movies (not released yet !). Check out just a few examples of their projects:

  • Arlas “Boot Camp Doggy”
  • PDSA “Regular Donation Ad”
  • Tom Chaplin’s “Midnight Mass” (get the tissues)
  • M&S Christmas 2017 ad
  • Tescos Christmas 2017 Ad “Snooze”
  • More Than “Bark in the Park
  • More Than “Doggyssentials”
  • Secret Life of Dogs Series 2
  • Christmas 24’s “Merry Woofmas”

Aside from TV work and training dogs, Jeanna competes and trains in agility, conformation, and obedience

In 2018 she and her dogs have won Best of Breed, Best Bitch (x3) and Best Puppy in Breed (x5). At Three Counties, they even achieved Pastoral Puppy Group Three! Also counted among their successes are winning the Special PreBeginners (obedience) Grand Final at Crufts, and winning out of PreBeginners at a subsequent show. In June 2018 they had their first agility win, taking them into Grade 2.

Jinty – JRT Cross – 7years. Kheva – Pyrenean Sheepdog – 5years. Rumour – Mini American Shepherd – 4years. Dora – English Springer Spaniel – 2years. Ditto – Pyrenean Sheepdog – 8months.

Instagram @GeeGee_Dogs

Facebook pages: 

Kheva the Pyrenean Sheepdog Of GeeGee Dogs

Put Your Paws Up Dog Training & Trained Dogs UK

Videos:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ID00yLkTt_4&feature=youtu.be

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9U6AQZ0F8vo&feature=youtu.be

Kheva

Kheva

Inspired by the World Cup, next week we travel to The Netherlands for the European Open for Juniors…

By Mark Laker

thumbnail_IMG_0289

I’m writing this months blog from the garden at 9pm in the evening sat here in shorts and a T-shirt enjoying a warm evening. The weather has been amazing. Too hot for some and perfect for others. Next week we travel to The Netherlands for the European Open for Juniors and the weather seems set to continue there.
 
Many team members have been acclimatising their dogs to the weather as its set to continue in Austria when we’re there in three weeks time too.  While I accept some dogs struggle in the heat, I’ve seen how dogs can acclimatise and if treated sensible take it in their stride.
 
So its the junior competition first and our YKC team are looking confident. Their last training session went very well and they have had plenty of practice on the type of courses they can expect to be faced with.
 
One a different but related subject, q few handlers have commented to me recently how inspired they’ve been from watching the World Cup. From my own experience no matter whether you follow football or not, the sporting principle is the same. It’s about drawing on all your strengthens and skills to deliver a world class performance.  What professional sports people / athletes do is take this to a higher level and go in too much greater depth of analysis than most of us, this is where we can learn.
 
So I hope the teams going to the competitions in Europe this month feel extra inspired and show us what great athletes they are as we compete against some of the best in the world.
 
You can keep up with the European Open for Juniors here and the European Open (adult championships) here.
 
Enjoy the weather.
Mark Laker

International Team Manager

 

The CSJ Highland Agility Final

By Virginia Harry

Fiercely fought heats throughout the year culminated on 2nd July with the CSJ Highland Agility Challenge Final. 

Held at the Scottish Game Fair, Scone Palace, Perthshire, dogs in all 3 height categories – Small, Medium and Large – competed in a preliminary round in the morning before the Grand Final in the afternoon.

The judge, Mark Bruce, designed 2 super courses. He comments, “The morning course ran well with competitors having to move to get their dogs round the back of obstacle 4.  Round the back of 10 was a lot easier  and the rest of the course was quite a blast and involved a lot of running for both competitors and judge!”

Preliminary Round Course Plan

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Large Dog Results

Prelimin winner euan use this one

Winner Euan Patterson with judge Mark Bruce. All photos courtesy of Sam Hepburn Photography.

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Lisas dog in action

Fabulous weave action from 2nd placed Lisa Duggan’s dog Dee.

Medium  Dog Results

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Group shot prelim winners

Preliminary round winners Derek Elms, Euan Patterson and Erin Inverarity with judge Mark Bruce and CSJ representative

The CSJ Highland Agility Final

32 dogs competed in the final round.  Judge Mark Bruce comments, “This course was much easier to judge.  I wanted a fast, exciting crowd-pleaser.  The only obstacle causing a few problems was 11.  The crowds really enjoyed watching the very fast runs. The set-up was challenging.  We had 30 minutes at 7.30am to set up the course, mark it out and take it down again until we were on at 10.45.  Then we had 45 minutes to rebuild the course, walk it ,run all the dogs and remove it again and do it all over again for the afternoon’s final!  I loved judging this event.  It was great preparation for my first Champ judging appointment coming soon!”

Final Round Course Plan

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Large dog results

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Euans dogwalk

Euan Patterson and Crazee on their way to victory. All photos courtesy of Sam Hepburn Photography

Medium Dog ResultsScreen Shot 2018-07-05 at 17.24.13

Derek final winner

Medium final winner Derek Elms with judge Mark Bruce. All photos courtesy of Sam Hepburn Photography

Tricia commented, “Well Jive is definitely on fire at the moment 🔥
Not only winning Champ this week making him Agility Champion he
also goes and wins the CSJ Highland Final….Huge thanks to CSJ for sponsoring this event. I just love it! It’s a great day out at the Scone Game Fair. So much to do! And we get to do some agility. A perfect day 😁 Thanks Lisa Duggan for all your hard work and continuing to organise this event.  Loved the dinner plate sized rosettes from Norton Rosettes.”

Small Winner

Small final winner Tricia Elms with judge Mark Bruce. All photos courtesy of Sam Hepburn Photography

Small Dog Results

Screen Shot 2018-07-05 at 17.30.01

More photos from The CSJ Highland Agility Final

See Sam Hepburn’s Preliminary round photos
Check out photos of the final on Facebook

Where does the time go?

By Mark Laker

 IMG_0428It doesn’t seem that long ago that I had the first meeting with the 2018 Agility Team GB squad and now we’re four weeks away from the European Open for Juniors and six weeks from the EO for the adults.

Both teams had their first official team training sessions a few weeks ago. We tried something different this year by taking them into the Escape rooms at Nottingham. The idea was to help build teams and get them working together in a different environment.

Judging by the feedback I received it seems to work. They had a lot of fun learning about each others strengths and trying to work out how to escape the rooms through their team work, skill and drawing on each others strengths.

On a serious note learning how to support and interact with each other is crucial at the high pressure events they’ll experience soon. We’ve found in the past that strong relationships and knowing who can provide support when needed is very important.

TeamGBlogo2015The agility preparations are going well. The team are using many of the competitions as part of their preparations whilst still going out to perform at their top level. In the next couple of weeks they start tapering down to preserve energy and prevent injuries in the final lead up to the event.

I hope your competition / training season is going well and don’t forget to keep focused on your seasons goals. Its easy to get distracted away from these in the excitement of the competition.

Mark

Mark
International Agility Team Manager  Agility Team GB
mobile: +44 7803 814 638
www.thekennelclub.org.uk/activities/agility/international-agility-teams

 

April is one of the busiest months in the Agility Team GB calendar…

MLBy Mark Laker
International Agility Team Manager, Agility Team GB

With the Performance Weekend at the beginning of the month followed by many hours working though our selections for the 2018 teams and then picking dogs and handlers for this years development programme. Its exciting, rewarding and challenging, but thats the role. There are also many people who ask for feedback on their performance and where they can improve in the future.

This year we’ve selected to take 26 dogs to the European Open in Austria and 17 dogs to the World Championships in Sweden. You can read more about the selections and considerations in our decision making process in my blog For these handlers the hard work now begins. There is a lot of preparation required leading up to these big competitions not only the logistical planning, but also mapping out their training programmes for the months ahead.

These handlers will now be setting out which competitions they’ll attend to assist their preparations, setting out fitness and conditioning programmes for themselves and their dogs, working on their mental skills, as well focusing on the dog training and handling skills required for the courses they’re likely to be faced with. So lots to do.

Following the Performance Weekend we also picked 11 dogs to join this years development programme. This programme is designed to help prepare dogs and handlers for a chance in a future team. It’s been running for a couple of years now and we’ve had very positive feedback from previous people.

For the Coaching Team we’ll be getting to work with all the handlers over the next few weeks to identify where help they need and supporting them as they set out their 2018 plans. Although the hard work starts now, its a really enjoyable part of the job.

I’m hoping for some better agility weather so I can compete with my youngster who is coming on well. I’ve entered three competitions so far this year, two have been rained off.