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Agility in Guatemala & Central America

    Bienvenidos to the agility world

Map of Central America

In Guatemala, where many dogs live on the street and a dog house can cost more than a home for an entire family, dog agility is a minority activity. Its history is short, mainly because the sport only arrived in the country in 2001, converging upon Central America from both North America and South America. Guatemala was the first Central American country to organise, followed by Costa Rica, El Salvador, Nicaragua and Panama in 2004. Juan Leon-Wyss writes about agility in his adopted country.

In Guatemala it all started at a local club called TODA thanks to the work of Maria Martha Miron. Another club called the CGTOG soon followed. Now more than seventy people and their dogs train regularly, most of them competing in Level 1 though a few have already reached Level 2.

Training
Training agility in Guatemala, as in all the other Central American countries posses some particular aspects. Despite of the great warm sunny weather conditions, there is a six month rainy season. Almost every afternoon from May to October, strong storms make it  very hard to train even for the most enthusiastic teams. While the clubs are looking now for covered areas, they are very few and restrictive, especially for dog training.

The first agility seminar took also place this year with great success. Chris Septer from Florida shared with us an intensive four days on the field demonstrations and teachings that ended with colourful fun match.

Shows
Most of the activity is regulated through ACANGUA (Asociacion Canofila Guatemalteca) which is affiliated to the FCI and handlers compete under their rules and regulations.

There are four official competitions, the last one held in Antigua the past 7-8  May that was judged by Kenneth Tatsch, President of the USDAA. In June Costa Rica held it's first international competition.

La Copa FCI de las Americas y El Caribe
On 26-27 November 2005 Guatemala will be hosting the fifth annual Americas & the Caribbean FCI Agility Championship in Guatemala City. It will be the first time the event has taken place there.

The organisers expect to welcome teams not only from the American continent but from the whole world in a unique event that will certainly be a major contribution to the competitive side of the sport on our countries.

The first day, an international competition will be held open not only to national teams members, and also for pedigree and mixed breed dogs. The second day the Americas competition will take place.

The Judges for the tournament have already been confirmed. Dr. Roberto Magallanes is one of the pioneers of Agility in Mexico and Guatemala, while Nadia Calabria from Switzerland, is the daughter of another of the pioneers of the sport who organised the first World  Agility Championship in Switzerland in 1997. At the same time, the first Obedience Americas and the Caribbean Championship will take place together along with an international conformation show and a specialised German Shepherd competition.

Guatemala welcomes all agility lovers with open arms to all the agility lovers. Join us in this exotic and beautiful environment and enjoy all the adrenaline of the sport. for more information about La Copa visit www.agilidadyobediencia.com

About the author...
Juan Leon-Wyss
is a Swiss-Ecuadorian who has studied and specialises in paediatric heart surgery in Switzerland and the United States of America. He has lived in Guatemala for the past six years, helping to develop a local and international program of cardiac surgery.

He shares his life with his wife Maria Jose, of  Guatemalan-Chinese origin and now Matias, their first son (3 months old) - a true globalisation' baby and hopefully a potential junior handler. They own five dogs including one Border Collie, two Parsons Russell Terrier, one Jack Russell Terrier and one Great Dane.

Juan started training agility three years ago with Loti, one of the first dogs to accomplish a Level 2 in agility in Central America. They were invited to compete at the last World Cynosports Games in Scottsdale, Arizona 2004.