FCI “Without doubt most exciting and fastest agility championships ever.”

By Mark Laker
‘Running at the FCI Agility World Championships was without doubt the most exciting agility I’ve ever experienced’. The reaction from one of Team GB’s handlers following this year’s competition in Sweden.
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Dave Munning’s and his Border Collie Fame came away with a Bronze medal in the individual class for large dogs, a fantastic result for Dave. After three years on the team, he achieved the result he’d been working so hard for.
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Team GB had a successful championships

This years team included many young dogs with handlers new to this level of competition. One of the team members fed back that ‘nothing can fully-prepare you for the emotions, pressure and excitement you experience when you’re stood on that start-line. There really is no other international agility competition like it’.

This year’s preparations included more focus on the team culture and building strong bonds that are essential for carrying the team on when the pressure to perform is turned up. Thanks to our sponsors, we were able to provide more team activities in our build-up this year; I’ve no doubt that this was a major contributing factor to the team winning medals at all three major international championships.

Another comment I heard from team members was ‘this is a different sport to the one we play at home. The speed, the accuracy, the technical elements are extraordinary’. We’re going to have to re-think our game’.

It’s true, I have never witnessed agility dogs competing at those speeds before neither have I seen the pace and fitness levels needed by the handlers.

It was without doubt most exciting and fastest agility championships ever.
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Mark
International Agility Team Manager

Looking back at the summer of 2018 and looking forward to the AWC in Sweden

kci_dogjumpingBy Mark Laker

The warm weather from July continued into August and as I write this evening the news is that this has been the warmest UK summer on record and we’re likely to get more in the future. That’s good news for most of us who enjoy being outside, maybe not so good for dogs and people who struggle with the heat. I notice most agility dogs are quite sensible about the heat. They go out, do their thing and get back into the shade; although we have a couple of dogs at home who love the summer and have taken every opportunity to lay out in the full heat.

One of the biggest competitions we attend during the year is the Kennel Club International Agility Festival (KCIAF) held at Rockingham Castle in August. Apparently its the biggest dog agility show in the world and certainly attracts hundreds if not thousands of visitors, agility handlers and their dogs. It’s also special because it’s sponsored by CSJ who have a big presence over the four days with a trade stand, goodies, and friendly, helpful CSJ people on hand.

IAFAgility Team GB also had a stand there…well it was an interestingly shaped gazebo placed in a prominent and convenient position near the main arena, so we had good ‘footfall’ too. I took the opportunity to talk to people about the team, how they can get involved, what international championships we attend etc. I also held a number of feedback sessions with the handlers who competed at the European competitions we attended in July. This is a good opportunity to talk about performance, what went well and thoughts for the future. One thing I’ve learn’t about this role is there are always opportunities to improve…I guess that’s true for most things in life.

Moog training

I even managed to run my youngster Moog this year. He is very enthusiastic and struggles with the excitement of a big show like the KCIAF with 17 rings and lots of agility dogs competing at once. However the ‘boy did good’, we worked well together and I felt that our partnership is beginning to come together. We are planning to attend a few competitions over the autumn and winter to continue giving him ring experience which I think he needs most of now.

I’m now focusing on preparations for the Agility World Championships in Sweden next month. The team have organised extra training over the summer, the dogs are looking fit and their performance leading up to the championships is impressive. The World Championships are one of the highlights of the year and I must say I’m really looking forward to going to Sweden. They’re are one of the most exciting teams to watch and I’m sure they’ll put on an amazing event. More about this next month.

Find out more about the AWC: http://agilitywc2018.com/

 

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

By Mark Laker

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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

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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

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More photos from The CSJ Highland Agility Final

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