Russia's Top Handlers

A.Gility interviews Svetlana Tumanova,
an awardee of the World Agility Championship in Mini Agility



Handler: Svetlana Tumanova
Age: 27 years
Civilian state: single
Agility experience: 7 years
Dog: Aiskneht Osborn (Bonny)
Breed: German Meduium Sized Spitz
Age: 3 years
Civilian state: single
Светлана Туманова

Svetlana, you've got many admirers, you can believe me. Our visitors have observed your successful achievements for several years. You are Champion of Russia and you have shown successful and stable performance at the World Championships as well. You win almost every competition. Could you tell me, which victories are the most important for you?
S.Tumanova: All of them. The level of a competition doesn't matter to me.
A.Gility: Do you remember your first victory?
S.Tumanova: Yes, very well. It was Bewi Dog Cup, that took place at the NATI. Bonny was one year old then. The other win was in Kaliningrad, where he took the third place, being only 8 months old.
A.Gility: Were you happy or not to become the third in Portugal last year?
S.Tumanova: I was very happy.
A.Gility: Are you going to continue trying to win the Agility World Championship?
S.Tumanova: Why not? My goal is to set a record at the World Championship by winning in at least two height categories.
A.Gility: Let's turn to history. How long have you been in Agility? Who are your trainers? Where do you train now?
S.Tumanova: I have been in Agility since 1994. I started at Elita, trained by Olga Burtseva. After the closure of that club, I came to Andrei Ignatov's Borodino. There I got acquainted with Elena Dmitrotchenko, and I liked her training methods very much. So, now I am a member of Together club, trained by Elena Dmitrotchenko, and I owe all of my achievements to her and our team.
A.Gility: Taking into account your own Agility experience, how interesting is the trainer's advice to you?
S.Tumanova: Very interesting. I always like to listen to various opinions and comments, by different people, not only by my trainer, analyse them and figure out if I need to add something. This is the way I get results.
A.Gility: Would you like to try yourself as an Agility trainer?
S.Tumanova: No. I work as a dog trainer, but I spend more time teaching the owners how to work with their dogs. At Agility training sessions, I have a rest from my work. If I have to teach people there as well, Agility will become work, and I will stop loving it.
A.Gility: Could you tell us about your dogs?
S.Tumanova: At present, I have four dogs. My first dog, a German Shepherd Dog Kerrie, with whom I began my Agility career. The second is Bonny, a Spitz. The next dog - a two-year-old BC Jimmy. Not long ago, I bought a Welsh Terrier puppy, he is two months old now.
A.Gility: In your opinion Who of your dogs is the most promising in Agility?
Svetlana and Bonny
S.Tumanova: I can't tell anything about the puppy yet. Of the adult dogs, it is definitely my Border Collie Jimmy. However, he's got one serious problem - he knocks down jump bars very often. If I manage to solve this, he will have a good chance to get a prize at the World Championship.
A.Gility: How many times a week do you train?
S.Tumanova: At least twice a week. Sometimes, when I don't have much work, I train 5 - 6 times a week.
A.Gility: You take part in many competitions. Do you prepare your dogs somehow for special competitions, or are all of your dogs "always prepared"?
S.Tumanova: I don't prepare them to special competitions, but each dog has his own peculiarities. For the Spitz, I reduce training before the competitions. For example, if I have a competition on Saturday, I train him only on Tuesday. And with the BC, this is just the other way round - I have to train him four times a week before the competitions.
A.Gility: Did you do anything special to get ready to the World Championship?
S.Tumanova: Yes. I arranged the obstacles so that there were options and call-offs, trying to improve control. However, I didn't need this at the latest Championship. I think the courses were very simple, especially in Mini Agility. So, the results depended solely on the speed and the contact zones.

Jimmy's first steps

A.Gility: You are a member of the Russian National Team. What is the task of the trainer of a national team? What does he do to help you in achieving high results?
S.Tumanova: The task of the trainer of the Russian National Team is to choose the most promising dogs and provide for successful runs in the country we are going to. The Chief trainer can't train the team, as the handlers come from different clubs and are accustomed to different training methods. So, the trainer can point out the faults to the handler, and the handler's trainer must help to correct them.
A.Gility: You compete very much. Who supports you morally, have you got permanent fans?
S.Tumanova: Yes. The whole of our club. And many people from other clubs, especially those who have been in Agility for a long time and have achieved significant results.
A.Gility: What can you tell of non-FCI competitions? Should any organisation-based limits be imposed on the handlers?
S.Tumanova: To my mind, the handlers should be free to choose any competition. I like the competitions held by other organisations, and each competition matters to me, as all of them strengthen both the handler's and the dog's nerves.
A.Gility: There is much argument re the admission of non-pedigree dogs to Agility competitions. What is your opinion on the mixed breed dogs in Agility?
S.Tumanova: Normal. I think they should be admitted. But personally I wouldn't take a mix-breed, as its development is unpredictable.
A.Gility: What are your other interests except Agility?
S.Tumanova: I train people so that they could work with their dogs, and I train dogs. This is my job, but I can't say I like it very much. I also handle dogs. I like this, as it has something in common with the competitions.
A.Gility: What would you wish to our visitors?
S.Tumanova: I wish them to always achieve the results they need.
A.Gility: Thank you for the interview. On behalf of your fans, I wish you further success.

Svetlana and Jimmy