Tuomariesittely: Sascha Grunder

First I would like to warmly welcome all handlers and their dogs to the Finnish Championships 2018. It is a great honor to represent Switzerland as a judge here this year. I’m looking forward meeting interesting people, watching great dogs – A weekend of interesting and competitive agility lies ahead of us.

I wish everybody a wonderful time, having fun with their best friends – may all your dreams come true!

I’m 48 years old and was born in Bern, Switzerland. In 2000, I completed my Master’s studies in Environmental Sciences at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology. During my Master’s studies, I acquired several credits in behavioural science. I wrote my Master’s thesis on intracellular parasites at the Vetsuisse Faculty of the University of Zurich. For the last 9 years I’m working as an expert on the topics environment, mobility and energy. During the last years I had the chance to build expertise on dog safety during transport in cars.

I’m currently living with my wife in two different places in Switzerland. We’re based in the Jura Mountains of Switzerland (Sonvilier) and during part of the year we also live in our appartment in the centre of Switzerland. Five beautiful dogs belong to our family. Their names are Orio, my ten-year-old Border Collie, Shuriken, my seven-month-old Hrvatski Ovcar, Nomade, our beautiful and loud twelve-year-old Mudi, Zao, our seven-year-old Border Collie, and finally Pirate, our two-year-old Border Collie.

Since 2006 I’m a certified dog instructor federally authorised according to the Swiss Animal Protection Ordinance in 2009.

I started seriously training and competing in international dog sports in 2002. I was fascinated by the dogs’ precision and speed. Above all, I was impressed by how much the dogs enjoyed running through the agility courses.

Meanwhile I was able to participate at many different international competitions. Most important for me where my 5-times participation at the EO – 2015 going for the finals with Orio and Nomade – and the participation at the FCI World Championships 2016 in Spain. Also the title as Swiss Border Collie Champion with Orio in 2015 and the title as Swiss Australian Shepherds Vice-Champion in 2010 with my beloved Destiny are still very vivid.

For nearly 15 years, I’ve been actively teaching agility for beginners up to master levels. My focus is to provide the best concept for each individual team. To find the optimal line for each team is a challenge which I’m ready to take. I’ve organised agility clinics in Switzerland and have been invited to give instruction at several clinics in many different countries across Europe and overseas. I would like to outline the honour of my nomination as the team leader and coach for the Swiss National Agility Team for the FCI Agility World Championships 2018 in Sweden.

In 2008, I had the privilege of qualifying to become a Swiss agility judge and then received the international status in 2010. Throughout my international judging career, I’ve had the chance to judge in many foreign countries including Brazil, Greece, France, Spain, Portugal, Estonia, Lithuania, Latvia, Austria, Russia, Italy, Hungary, Poland, Slovakia, the Czech Republic, Norway, Denmark, Croatia, Serbia, Slovenia, Sweden, Japan, Finland, Ireland, Switzerland and Germany. At present, I’m on judging duties approximately 40 days a year, with more than 80 percent of these agility competitions taking place abroad.

As a judge, my goal is to design courses that challenge the handlers as well as the dogs. These courses should allow the dogs to show their precision and athleticism at a high speed. The courses should consist of sequences that can be handled in different ways and styles, so that the dog is able to move through the entire course smoothly, agilely and with great speed. As a judge, I feel I’m not only motivated but also obligated to present courses that are attractive to the spectators, interesting and challenging for the handlers and above all fun, enjoyable and safe for the dogs.

I feel that the function of the judge is to help provide the handlers and their dogs with the opportunity to show their teamwork and partnership. Because in the end, the tournament is really about them and not the judge.

The biggest highlights for me were surly judging the FCI Agility World Championships in Italy (2015), the Junior EO in Switzerland (2013), the World Championships for Belgian Shepherds – FMBB – in Czech Republic (2015), the Americas & Caribbean Championships in Brazil (2015), the National Championships of Hungary (2011), Slovakia (2011), Czech Republic (2017), Austria (2014), Spain (2015), Greece (2017) and many qualifiers for the FCI Agility World Championships and the FCI European Open.

It was always a pleasure to judge big competitions like the Norwegian Open (2012, 2014, 2017), the Moravia Open in Czech Republic (2013, 2016), Fiona and Jutlandia Cup in Denmark (2013, 2015), Gotor Cup in Spain (2015), German Classics (2013) und die Bavarian Agility Challenge Kreuth B.A.C.K in Germany (2013), die Dog-Olympics in Italy (2010), Agilityuken in Norway (2012, 2015), the International Sheltie Championships (2012) und die International Poodle Championships in Italy (2017), Guld Agility in Sweden (2015), Sextuple Cantabria in Spain (2017). The list is long and by far not final. There were many wonderful moments and great friendships evolved over the years, which motivate me every day to give my best.