The role of the Team England Coaches prior to the World Agility Open event is to organise venues and run training days for handlers and their dogs, setting courses that will be similar to the tests that they will encounter at the event itself in May. In particular handlers and dogs may be tested on slightly longer courses than in previous years. This is because the WAO 2019 will give judges the opportunity to set courses with 22 rather than 20 obstacles. This may not seem like a major change but it really does give the judge a lot more scope to test the skills of handlers and dogs .Below is a course plan from one of our training days. This course was designed to test several skills, one of which was the obstacle discrimination sequence 8, 9 &10 with many dogs eliminated by taking the Aframe (15).
The most demanding part of the Team Coach jobs will be at the WAO event itself, in May. Once there we will arrange team meetings, oversee the Wednesday and Thursday training sessions and attend the team managers meeting, to be briefed on competition rules, procedures and timing. On the 3 days of competition it will be our job to be at the venue early in the morning to collect course plans for that day’s competition. It will also be our responsibility to ensure that all our team members are at the ring in plenty of time for their runs, a few of our team members are competing with more than 1 dog this year and may only have a short amount of time between runs, so may require our help with warming up or cooling down dogs.
The level of skills required for both dog and handler have increased considerably over the last few years. Agility dogs in particular are now the true athletes of the canine world and as a result their requirements are very much the same as their human counterparts, Bringing the dog to peak performance levels for a major competition is now essential to have any chance of winning a medal in international competitions and most dogs competing at the highest level get given regular physiotherapy and hydrotherapy sessions to attain peak physical condition, Diet also plays a massive part in enabling a dog to reach top condition and the majority of competitors now feed an exclusively raw food diet. Team England considers itself incredibly lucky to have the support of the premier of raw food manufacturers, Nutriment.