World Agility Open in the UK

Posted on 05/23/11 14 Comments

Well a week has past since our return from WAO Β in Britain but we jumped right into 6 days with Susan Salo (pardon my little pun). More on SS later. First I thought I would comment on WAO. I thought it was a well run event with absolutely fab courses from the judges. Challenging yet fair . . . loved, loved, loved all of the courses. I think my dogs gave me their absolute best. The highlights included Feature winning 3 of the classes (2 standard and 1 jumpers). I think it was one of Canada’s strongest teams ever at international events, I was proud to be a part of it. We had dogs that could compete for gold at each of the 4 jump heights (and congratulations to all of my teammates that earned their way to the podium).

Feature on a “victory” lap for one of her three class wins.

The only downer to report was that I think I was a step behind in most of my handling throughout the weekend. For some reason I uncharacteristically did not trust my dogs as much as I usually do and my second guessing resulted in a lot of “E’s” over the weekend.In particular I feel badly for Encore, she was amazing all weekend; no faults on contacts or weave poles and not one bar down but we got eliminated on every course we ran. I won’t give you a bunch of excuses for my performance only that I really didn’t take the time to prepare as I wanted to.

My face says it all at the end of day one.

Still it was great to be back in the UK, I had a wonderful time teaching and we had an even more wonderful time visiting with friends. The positive spin about not doing your best at an event like this is that you come home with tons of lessons on how to be a better competitor and a better partner for your dog.

Tomorrow I will post some videos. Today I am grateful for time spent with friends.


  1. Kim Collins says:
    Wednesday, May 25, 2011 at 12:24am

    The thing people forget sometimes I think is that at the speed your dogs are working the E happens in a milisecond and can happen in a space of 18 inches…you HAVE to be (almost) a perfect handler to think and respond to dogs moving so fast!!! As for Encore, everything before and after the E’s was sheer brilliance, and the E’s were faults she didn’t know happened, she did exactly what she thought you wanted…she is always genuine in her effort for you and LOVES to be out there and that shows in all the photos of her…I think she ran brilliantly and I love watching her…:o)


  2. joR says:
    Tuesday, May 24, 2011 at 2:52am

    Dear Susan,

    I have been busy studying for exams which is pretty stressful and there have been problems at work as well. The thing that has made all of this worth while is the joy that I am achieving with my dogs especially my puppy. When we started the recall course I thought that maybe my puppy was too much for me at this time. We have made outstanding progress and I had an absolute ball playing with my baby today on a study break. I know that maybe you didnt get time to prepare as you would and maybe that has to do with all the time you put into us (students all over the world) but boy do we appreciate it. When you run, we all run with you and win lose or draw share the joy



  3. Edgarfoot says:
    Monday, May 23, 2011 at 10:34pm

    Susan I really love the way you can share your feelings and experiences with strangers. Your writings and messages have given me a lot of encouragement and helps me keep this sport in its proper perspective..! Thanks.


  4. Catherine Thomas says:
    Monday, May 23, 2011 at 9:55pm

    My mother told me a great story today Susan which I think you would really enjoy. She was talking on the phone to an 89 year old friend of hers who is going blind. Her friend told her that she lives by these three words: accept, adapt, achieve. This gave my mother pause. She said to her friend, I understand the first two .. but can you still achieve at this point in your life with the physical restrictions you have. Her friend replied that yes, she certainly could, an “achievement” might be something as small as removing the lid of a jam jar. WOW!
    This really made me think of dog training, and of you, it seems to me that you are really quite brilliant at accepting where you are, adapting to be where you want to be and at finding + measuring your achievements πŸ™‚ I feel very fortunate to have learned from you and am very much looking forward to how your lessons from the WAO will be adapted into even more powers lessons for your students


  5. Marie Douglas says:
    Monday, May 23, 2011 at 6:22pm

    I echo what Lauren says, you did good Susan, absolutely loved watching your dogs working, they are an awesome credit to you and you only…. I thoroughly enjoyed the seminar ….. So much so would love to attend one of your boot camps!
    In some aspects what you discussed was profound and resonated , cementing knowledge for which I’ll carry for a lifetime …

    Many thanks again

    Marie Douglas


  6. Lauren says:
    Monday, May 23, 2011 at 6:07pm

    After spending time in Canada with you and also seeing you in the UK I really think the amount of time you give is phenominal, you seem to have time on so many levels. You were an inspiration to my club, an exciting addition to my household, “Alan, Alan, Alan………” and although you may not have felt ahead of the game at WAO I know you will be ready for the next chance you get and the girls looked in a league of their own.


  7. Christine says:
    Monday, May 23, 2011 at 3:20pm

    I think what makes a true champion is how one handles themselves in that moment, and how one walks away from the competition.

    The runs were stellar, as I described the event to a friend ‘It’s about putting everything on the line’ and if something didn’t go quite as planned it was amazing to see that you continued to push without hesitation which was a key learning I took away from the trip.


  8. Kristi says:
    Monday, May 23, 2011 at 1:22pm

    “. . . I really didn’t take the time to prepare as I wanted to.” Maybe not, but I am so grateful for the choices you have made with your time recently about being a pioneer of the international e-classroom and enlightening so many of us in the dog world about a superior approach to the dog-human relationship (Spread the Joy!).

    Maybe people who use their time as well as you do and accomplish all that you do and live as positively as you do deserve thirty-hour days, but you sure get a heck of a lot done each twenty-four. And by being my teacher, you’ve helped me get so much more out of each of my twenty-four.


  9. Debra says:
    Monday, May 23, 2011 at 12:12pm

    Susan, I so agree with Andrea & Linda. You have taught me the joy in everything I do with my BC. You are a great teacher because you embrace your holes and have taught us to do the same. It keeps you humble…You teach us not only the science, but the experience and above all the love of the journey! I’m grateful to be a part of your teaching…and the journey. Thank you…


  10. Linda says:
    Monday, May 23, 2011 at 9:21am

    The thing that struck me most was that even when you were really disappointed you came out of the ring playing with your girls and telling them they were stars.

    I was sad to see quite a few handlers did not have the same generosity of spirit and some of the dogs looked really concerned that their handlers hadnt enjoyed the “game” as much as they had.

    As usual when you got it right the rounds were spectacular!


    • Andrea says:
      Monday, May 23, 2011 at 9:52am

      This is what I aspire to emulate most when watching Susan, you can see her clearly communicate her love and respect for her dogs after every run, at a local trial or on the world stage. Nothing that happens in an agility ring will ever change what she gives back in that relationship.

      I try to always remind myself not to get caught up in the moment, to remember the big picture, and to remember my partner and connect with them after every run. Thanks Susan for being such an inspiration in all the ways that really matter! πŸ™‚


    • Billie says:
      Wednesday, May 25, 2011 at 1:44am

      This is so true, and what disappoints me most at all levels of agility – people not remembering that this is a game we play with our dogs. I love it when a dog comes off a course with an e or a fault, fulling believing he has won! That is my wish for all agility dogs!


  11. Kelly says:
    Monday, May 23, 2011 at 8:49am

    “I always win something — either I win the class, or I win a lesson.” There’s always a positive spin, and you always find it. Bravo, Susan; you and your girls are always fierce competitors.


  12. Jan V says:
    Monday, May 23, 2011 at 6:59am

    Great jumping pics of the girls. Encore certainly doesn’t look disappointed πŸ˜‰ Heck – she had a great time anyway!!


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