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.
International Agility Team Manager
By 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.
Agility 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.
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.
By Mark Laker
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.
Agility Team GB Team Manager
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.
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.
Kheva the Pyrenean Sheepdog Of GeeGee Dogs
Put Your Paws Up Dog Training & Trained Dogs UK