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Brazil: Agility Nuts

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How the boys from Brazil imported agility

When vet Dan Wroblewski and business administrator Sam Gottlieb met, they formed a instant partnership - and a lasting friendship based on one objective. They were men with a mission - to bring Agility to Brazil. Sam takes up the story...

Dan is the Pedigree's Breeder's Channel Supervisor. He's a man with a mission - to start Agility in Brazil. I, Sam, on the other hand, have always lived surrounded by dogs. I've also always loved sports. When I saw Agility for the first time I knew immediately that it was going to be my new 'hobby.'

Dan began in 1994 with the Guard Policy dog's handlers. In 1996 he went to Europe, first to the World Dog Show in Vienna, then to Budapest to see the World Cup and finally to Long Champs in Paris to see the finals of the French Championship. He returned to Brazil with all the gas!

But how to begin?
Rules, obstacles, how to train the dogs? Because we had seen several agility videos, we had an idea what the obstacles looked like so we contacted a friend, who at the time was 'grounded' with a broken leg. We said 'Watch these videos! We want you to build the same obstacles!' And he did.

Because Brazil is member of FCI, we made the decision to follow their style of agility and their rules.  

What about dogs? We began with just two dogs. Soon friends were joining us! We moved from our backyards at home to a parking lot where we practiced at nights!Os amigos

We used to do demonstrations at all type of dog shows, searching for new followers. Slowly new agility groups were formed with some people working on lead and others off lead! 

But we did need help!
Who could help us? As I had lived in the UK for a long time, I contacted Peter Lewis. He was very kind and helped us. We bought books and videos from him, and Peter always answered any questions we had immediately! 

In 1996 we thought that we must see what was  happening abroad. With the two Labradors, we went to the World Dog Show in Porto Rico to participate in the Agility! events. With a temperature of 45º C, our dogs were slow, very slow. One went under the table, seeking a shade! We returned and continued practicing our agility! In October 1997, we organized our first agility show in partnership with Kenel Club São Paulo. Dan judged the trials. It was like a big party, dogs on lead and without lead. To be honest, the dogs were so badly trained that anyone who could walk at-heel won all the prizes!

Going abroad
In 1998 Dan and I went to World Dog Show in Finland, but this time with a Border Collie. We learned a lot. We got a new vision of how to build obstacles and the most important, new training's techniques! It was a great trip! 

We met our friends Saso Novak and Mikko Lehtinen there in Finland. (right) They made us feel very welcome and gave us guidelines on to how to organise trials and the most important the official FCI rules.

Back to Brazil
Our mission was to try to teach the others what we saw. With a group of friends, we organised some agility seminars with Miguel Collela (Argentina) Luís Ciurana (Spain) and Jane Simmons-Moake (USA). Jane was a big success, and she came back in 1999 to do another workshop. 

In November 1998, a part of the dream came true. The first Agility championship took place with the help of the Sao Paulo Federation and CBKC (CONFEDERATION ). The judges were Gelson Leite of Brazil and Miguel Collea from Argentina.

The WC TeamGlobetrotting
In 1999 we went to World Dog Show in Mexico. This time we were not alone. With two friends, two Border Collies and a Boxer! New experiences!

In the same year, Brazil took part for the first time in the FCI Agility World Championships in Dortmund! Sam, Dan, Helio, Zezinho, with two Border Collies (Wallace and Lola ).

We had the great opportunity to meet Peter Lewis and to participate in an agility seminar with Hans Gunther Hertrich. We returned electrified!

Also in 1999 the first Brazilian Agility Championship, organized by the CBKC, took place and our web site http://www.agilitynews.com.br went up on the Internet. We both are responsible for the site, again with the Pedigree's sponsorship. 

This year Brazil will participate in World Championships in Finland, but this time there will be a whole delegation, not just Dan and me. We will participate in the Mini and Standard classes - new experiences and more motivation!! 

We would like the opportunity the World Wide Agility family for the help received, especially Pedigree Brazil. Without them the dream would never have come true.

About the author...
Sam Gottlieb
lived in Scotland for 13 years from 1975-1986 when he went back to his native country Brazil.

He now lives in Atibaia (São Paulo) where he trains and teaches at his club Dogz University. He owns two Border Collies - Wallace (4) and another youngster (2) - and Cocker Spaniel Ziggy. He also has a Golden Retriever, Airedale and a mixed breed - all of whom know how to do agility but are not, he says, very competitive. 

If you want more information about agility in Brazil, contact Sam on samdogz@uol.com.br or Dan on danw@sti.com.br. http://ww.agilitynews.com.br

Photo credit: Agility News