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THE AGILITY VOICE | JULY 2012
Getting to Know...
2012 WAO World Champion
Jo Tristram
At the World Agility Open, held in Belgium on 18-20th
May this year, Jo Tristram and her Beardie x Border
Collie Cascades Itsy Blitzy, became World Champions in
Individual Pentathlon and also won a Bronze medal in
the Biathlon Championship.
Jo, who is 29 and lives in Blandford, Dorset, works full
time as a dog agility trainer.
The Voice asked her a few questions about herself and her
World Champ dog.
Voice: How long have you been doing agility? Why did
you start? When did you know you were hooked?
JT: I have been doing agility for 8 years. It all started
because Ellie (AG CH Ellie de Lyston) was a somewhat
excitable Staffie puppy and clearly needed something to
occupy her! I realised I was hooked when my friends and
family began to assume they would never catch a glimpse
of me at the weekends during the summer months!
Voice: How long do you spend training your dog(s) each
week?
JT: I mostly train my own dogs in short 5-10min sessions
before or after I finish training others, so around 30-
40mins a week. If I have a particular event on the horizon
my training is more structured.
Voice: How do you build
that special relationship
with your dog?
JT: For Bitz it was all
about trust. She is a
nervous dog and it has
taken time for her to
really forget about all
that and focus on the
good things. I go
running with my dogs
and swim them as
regularly as I can so we
have time away from the agility side of life! A few years ago
I made the decision to change the way I handled Bitz in
agility and the clear and simple system I now use has
played a huge part in building her confidence.
Voice: Who trains you?
JT: I don
t train with a club or anything, but I try to train
with friends as often as I can.
Voice: What would be your top training tip for Voice
readers?
JT: I would say consistency is the key in all things - in your
handling, in criteria be that start lines, contacts and in your
performance. I try to stay true to the training I have put in,
train in the ring as much as I can and reward my dog for
the great stuff they show me.
Voice: What do you like most about the agility world?
JT: I love the chances to compete internationally, nothing
like it. There is always a real buzz that is different to
anything else.
Voice: What do you like least?
JT: The travelling. Living in Dorset is beautiful but it takes
an hour before we hit any motorway. It
s tiring and the
boredom makes me sing badly, eat sweets and spend too
much on Starbucks. I need a teleporter.....Then again
when you talk to Americans they laugh at what we call
travelling
to shows!
Voice: If there was one thing you could change about the
way we do agility, what would it be?
JT: I wish we could accept that there are those that do
agility just for fun and that is fantastic, but there are those
that also dare to aspire to achieve something more. It
shouldn
t be frowned upon. It
s not that those people
enjoy agility any less, or see it their dogs as merely tools for
the job. They just dare to dream and drive for something
different.