Hayley Telling and Teal
Introduction to Agility Addiction!
I started agility with my rescue Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Barney in 2012. He was a hand-reared puppy and so sick that he couldn’t be vaccinated until he was 8 months old. Luckily, by the time he was a year old he was full of life and so I wanted to do something with him in the evenings to keep him entertained. Me and my mum watched the Starters Cup at Discover Dogs in 2012 and I was hooked instantly! A month later we were starting our first lesson at the local club. I realised I was immediately addicted when I was looking forward to Monday nights more than the weekends! (Kind of a big deal when you are 21 years old!)
I soon found out about competing and, a year later, we were in the Discover Dogs ring ourselves, with Barney winning the Starters Cup! And so the addiction grew! Barney achieved a great deal considering his background. At the WAO we were on the silver medal winning team, he won a reserve championship ticket and competed at Crufts. He tried his hardest with every run he did, but at only 5 years of age he was diagnosed with chairi-like malformation which affect the brain and spinal cord in dogs and it just wasn’t worth the risk of running him anymore. He has now retired and is enjoying a comfortable life as a pet dog.
I had fallen in love with a dog – who turned out to be Teal’s dad – when I saw him run at Dogs In Need and knew I wanted a crazy bi-coloured Sheltie of my own! Finally I found a breeder that I trusted and he found me the perfect mother for the puppy of my dreams. Teal was born in March 2014 and I found out he was mine when I was at Crufts. As he was imported from Belgium I had to wait until he was 4 months old to collect him, but he was definitely worth the wait! I took a 4 month sabbatical from work and we had a great time together, socialising, playing and trick training! I went to Ashley Carter’s puppy foundation classes and did Sylvia Trkman’s online course. I followed a training plan for him even at this early stage.
Life with Teal
Teal has always been an incredibly easy dog to train – he offers behaviours well and thinks of it all as one big game. This made training running contacts very easy! Being a Sheltie he doesn’t always find failure easy to cope with and that has probably been our biggest hurdle. I have to make him feel like he is the best boy in the world even when it goes wrong. My favourite things to train have to be running contacts and then just general trick training with shaping skills. I just love to see him thinking!
I have learned many things over my short time competing and the main ones I like to pass on are that it is meant to be fun – for dog AND handler, so never put too much stress and pressure on yourself or your dog. Secondly, mental preparation is a huge part of your performance so make sure you work on it just as much as your agility training.
In his short time competing Teal has become an Agility Champion and is now known formally as Ag Ch New Illusions Bi Enchantment Of The Five Colors. He has had an amazing time at Crufts, winning the British Open 2 years running, the Medium ABC in 2017, 2nd place in the team event and has also competed in the Singles and Championship events. He won the Jumping round at Olympia 2017 and competed at the EO and FCI Agility World Championships in 2017. Our biggest dream is to stand on the podium at the Worlds and as we have qualified again this year for that event and the EO, this may be the year that dream comes true.
A huge thank you as always to my sponsors who have supported me and helped me get where we are! Epic Agility with whom we have trained from the start, Dog Streamz, The Insurance Emporium and Jack’s Wardrobe.