Bibi is seven years old and lives in Murr (Ludwigsburg district). The Sheltie bitch is very successful in agility – she recently became world champion.
Anyone who has a dog knows this: It is not people who greet visitors, no. The dog always does that. So Bibi stands at the top of the stairs and looks down expectantly. The sheltie bitch is absolutely present, body tension up to the tip of the tail. “That’s the world champion,” sounds a voice from inside. The world champion, yes, that’s Bibi – a small, black bitch with soft fur and a white and brown pattern around the muzzle. She could easily win a beauty pageant. But that’s not her thing; she prefers to train hard for her success with obstacles, seesaws, tunnels and a healthy dose of speed. That’s what brought her to the world title recently – in agility.
When Bibi greets everyone and has the pack under control again, she jumps onto a chair, curls up and closes her eyes. There, next to her master, is her place. She is balanced, intelligent, but also a princess, says Jörk Schwarz and glances at the chair next to him. Bibi is his second dog, first there was Shannon, who at the age of 14 now lives with him in well-deserved retirement. Bibi, on the other hand, is allowed to go to work, just like Coco and Fluffy, two of the family’s border collies. Every day Jörk Schwarz walks ten kilometers with his three dogs from Murr via Marbach to Steinheim. He sometimes cuts home to three kilometers. The 62-year-old is an athletic man – he says he could do 30 push-ups from a standing start. What he doesn’t like at all: he would have done more in the past. Jörk Schwarz is a doer, someone who has built his own company; one who has strived for the world championship title with his dog from the very beginning. That’s why it’s so difficult for him to watch Bibi slowly decompose. Even if she is still significantly fitter than some younger people.
The competition is getting younger – and therefore stronger
For Jörk Schwarz it’s the last days in his company, which manages online shops. He will hand over the business to his wife and their son. “This ambition, the bite is no longer there,” he says. The same with agility: he loves to run his dogs through the course, to train them, to reward them. “Of course I want to attack again,” he says. But he has to be realistic and just see how far he can get in the future. “I can no longer keep up with my 20-year-old competition,” he says. After all, agility is all about milliseconds – the dogs sometimes race through the course at six meters per second. When Bibi won the world championship title, Jörk Schwarz was sitting in the stands. So he’s not a world champion himself.
The reason for this is as follows: In order to take part in an agility world championship, “the teams”, as Jörk Schwarz puts it so beautifully, i.e. dog and human, have to collect points and qualify beforehand. Up until then, Schwarz himself had shone on every track with Bibi, who was his first “Agi dog” by the way. Then he got sick: kidney cancer. And at the same time Corona. Since agility is not just a sport for the dog, but also for the master, he soon had to realize that he would not make it to the World Championships. Stefanie Simson, who coaches Jörk Schwarz and Bibi, stepped in for him. “I had to sit there and watch someone else walk my dog - I died inside,” says Schwarz.
Bibi almost falls asleep before competitions
Nevertheless, like Bolle, he is happy about the world championship title. Stefanie Simson did it confidently, although she had only trained with Bibi seven times. And Bibi is simply an exceptional talent. “She does agility for herself. That means she would go with everyone because she doesn’t care about people,” says Schwarz. He is often smiled at before tournaments because the bitch almost falls asleep in his arms. Other dogs were excited and restless at the time. “Bibi is there from one second to the next – and can be calm again very quickly afterwards,” says Schwarz proudly.
Twelve years ago, Jörk Schwarz didn’t know what agility was. “It’s become my life now, it’s just great,” he says. He calls himself and his like-minded people “Agian”. Dog owners are “dog handlers” for him – it can take a while before you understand all of his words – especially since he likes to talk quickly and likes to talk. He himself does his agility training in the Karlsruhe district with Stefanie Simson Dog sports club Kornwestheim. There he also gives the participants a close bond with their dog. “I always say, only trained dogs are free dogs,” says Schwarz. He trains his dogs constantly – without performance, they don’t get lunch. But he sees also that it’s different for most dog owners – and would like to teach everyone: “My wife then says: You can’t save all the dogs,” he says and laughs.
Was ist Agility?
In agility, a human uses body language and commands to guide a dog through a course that has up to 22 obstacles. Humans have a short amount of time beforehand to memorize the course, the walking paths of the dog and their own walking paths. The course is always unknown to the dog. Whoever has the fewest mistakes and the fastest time will be judged.
In principle, any adult dog can do agility. In the “small” class, however, Shelties are the most common, while the big dogs are Border Collies. For tournaments, the companion dog test must be passed beforehand. As a rule, the winners of tournaments and championships do not receive any prize money.