Today I have announced this years Agility Team GB Development squad through the KC website.
As many of my regular readers will know I believe that developing young dogs and inexperienced handlers for the future is an important role the team plays.
Thanks to the ongoing support we get from our fantastic sponsors, I’m pleased to announce that this year I’ve been able to invite 18 handlers from the Performance Weekend on to this years development squad. These handlers are from each height group plus I’m inviting five previous FCI medal winners (also from the Performance Weekend) with their young dogs.
Due to our current grading system it can take a long time and many wins for a dog to win up to G7; the level required to compete at FCI competitions. This can result in dogs already being at or past their peak performance level with little opportunity to experience FCI style courses and generally not exposed to international competitions. My own personal view is that the intensity and frequency of competitions required to get a dog to G7 at less than the age of three, is not ideal for the long term welfare of the dog or to maintain accurate and consistent levels of performance.
So, the sooner we can get these young dogs onto the development squad and focused on the possibility of a long term career of international agility rather than racing through the grades or travelling all over the country collecting squad points the better.
Of course a place on the Development Squad doesn’t automatically guarantee a future team place, these dogs and handlers have to prove their worth along with the rest of the squad who earn their place by achieving at Premier KC shows. They will have the support of the Coaching Team and a golden opportunity to show us what they can achieve.