Meet Ingerid Klaveness of One To Watch Agility in Norway. Agility has been her passion for the last ten years and in May she’ll be participating in WAO with her border collie Smiley! Smiley just turned three years old, just started competing in the highest class and just got a spot on the WAO team. Things have happened really fast for these two, even though they’ve had two longer periods of injuries and rehab.
Despite these injuries, Smiley has kept up with other dogs her age. When we ask Ingerid what her secret is, she suggests her nerdiness, perfectionism and long-term thinking: I break agility training into tiny, tiny pieces that I can make black and white for the dog: either you are right, or you just don’t get rewarded and try again.
Towards perfection in dog agility training
I invent solutions when a new problem arises. I strive towards perfection. I don’t sacrifice criteria for short-term wins. Now, Smiley has been strong and healthy and training agility for a whole year without any sign of injury.
”It feels like we are finally on the right track!”, Ingerid exclaims and continues: ”On the agility course, Smiley is magic. She makes agility feel easy in a way I never felt before.”
According to her own words, Ingerid is very competitive, and to keep her goals realistic for World Agility Open Championships this year with her young dog, she’ll be concentrating on keeping her dog and herself focused, happy and satisfied.
To prepare for WAO, Ingerid is participating in more dog agility competitions than she would’ve otherwise. ”We need experience. We need to have crossed enough start lines together for WAO to just feel like another run, instead of a new and demanding experience. I want her to recognize the competition environment, feel powerful in it, and do her magic just like she does in training”, says Ingerid.
She names inexperience as their weak spot, and protecting Smiley’s confidence more important than any medal. The wonderful bond between Ingerid and Smiley is definitely their strength!
Ingerid and Smileys first agility competition in class 3
How this dream team prepare for WAO?
”Before WAO, I will be working on my fitness with the help of the Speed Up Agility team, to make me a faster, stronger handler”, says Ingerid. She says she’s not the fastest handler, but can compensate with good dog training. However, she would like to be faster to help her dog feel more secure and, thus, run even faster: ”I want to run! Fast! I enjoy winning!”
”I am not exactly blessed with an athletic body. It may look that way, but unfortunately I need patience and to make some sacrifices to make these long legs fly”, Ingerid explains. She has also had her fair share of strain injuries. It hasn’t weakened her motivation for agility training, though: ”Agility is my drug, my fix, my flow. Where time stops for a little while. Where it’s just me and my four-legged teammate.”
”I expect Speed Up All Stars to give me the extra push I need some days, along with the careful management, intelligent exercises and coaching to avoid running into trouble over-doing things!”
Photos: Elin Bergendahl Grønås
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If you want become faster and stronger agility handler, Speed Up All Stars will give you the courage and confidence to do so. Next Speed Up All Stars – course starts in May 2019. Read more here.