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El Agility in Colombia

Where politics, social and security problems don't stop agility

Having seen some trials on cable TV, Carolina Mejia decided that agility was something she'd like to do and so she adopted Penny, an unregistered Spitz dog that seemed to have something 'special.' After a bit of looking around, she found a group of people of like-minded people who had about seven dogs in training and were already competing officially. That was four years ago and since then her love for her dog and the sport has grown and grown.

Agility only started up in Colombia in 1998 in the two principal cities Bogotá and Medellín. It is regulated by the ACCC (Asociación Club Canino Colombiano) which internationally is within the Federation Cynologique Internationale (FCI), but at the same time we permit the participation of non-registered dogs as we need to have more dogs in trials.

The first agility trials that were organised in Colombia were always under the framework of Breed Shows carried out by the ACCC, which is how Agility became an official sport and FCI affiliated. However, some go-ahead businesses such as pet food makers Purina and Solla collaborated to help us hold more official trials and gave some assistance to the first training clubs.

In the beginning getting training resources was complicated; we practised with broomsticks, bed railings, and any object that we could recycle from the trash. It was all very improvised, but we were very motivated by our love for our dogs and our determination to train them.

After seven years we have achieved a lot. There are now 15 clubs in Bogotá: ARC, Huellas, Barbas, Dog Wolf, Dog's Sport Club Fusagasuga, Nordic Agility Club, Atalanta, Guican, Agility Anubis Clan, Guaymaral, Shalom Flying Dogs, Cicam, Jambo, V & A Libre, MIDGARD and C & K.

In Medellín there are five clubs: Club Sociedad Canina, Gama, Cadecán, Handler and C.A.C. Oriente Antioqueño. All have very competitive dogs some of which have already participated in the World FCI Championships in France and Italy.

International competition
In 2002 Colombia was headquarters of the Americas and Caribbean Agility Championships, with the participation of various countries, and in 2003 we also participated in the same championships in Peru. Every year we take part in the IAL trials (International Agility Link) and in 2003 I had the satisfaction of going to Dallas to compete in the USDAA Grand Prix of Dog Agility, alone with my dog Penelope.

Colombia only practises agility under FCI regulations, a situation that obliges us to have registered dogs to be able to aspire to participate in the world championships. But we are hoping to practise agility at USDAA or AKC trials in the USA and in this way we hope to be able to participate in international events with dogs that are not registered or that are crossbreeds, as they do in Mexico, Puerto Rico and Japan among others.

Agility is fun in Columbia, too
Our main driving force is love for our dogs and agility does not aim to be a business; it’s a sport and a way to have fun with our pets, helping them to be sociable and remove them from the stress of city life, and helping us to be proud of our dogs.

Agility handlers in Colombia are learning more about the sport every day, and our goal is to apply the better training techniques without violence or abuse. The experience we have gained in international trials has encouraged us to improve and to breed a new generation of Border Collies, Shelties and Fox terriers, among other breeds, which are still in the young phase but are our hope and dream for the future.

Politics and agility don't mix
Someone in Dallas asked me how we managed to train in agility, in a country with so many political, social and security problems. What can I tell you? Colombia isn’t like the media stories; daily life in our cities permits us to have a hobby, a sport, and a normal life, and there are many people in Colombia who own pets and desire to be proud of them, who want to learn some sport and who dream - why not – of being a World Champion of Agility.


 

For more information about agility in Columbia, South America visit
www.clubsociedadcanina.8k.com
(It may be in Spanish but agility is an international language)

 

El Club Sociedad Canina








Photos: Club Sociedad Canina

About the author...
Carolina Mejia started agility in 2001 with a small Spitz small named Penelope who is now four years old. Today she also has a pedigree Sheltie named Yelly (2) Yelly who is now competing in Grade 1, but is very good!

She is a member of Club Sociedad Canina, under the tutelage of Carlos Quiroz. The club currently has 32 dogs of all different breeds and sizes in training at present to be part of the Columbian Team.

Carolina and Penny has participated in the Americas and Caribbean tournaments in Colombia 2002 and in Peru in 2003, and also in the Grand Prix of Dog Agility in Dallas, Texas (USA) in 2003.

Carolina lives in Medellin.