I think there are at least two ways to look at internationalization: Bringing international type skills & handling to the US, or competing at an international level.
I think most blogs are covering the first (which is a hot topic right now!), so I'll give some thoughts on the second :) I always try to avoid conflict...
Agility at the international level is akin to the Olympics: very few are going to reach that pinnacle of competition. I think it takes a lifetime of dedication & talent & training to compete at that level. And not just for the handler. There is a second component that is often overlooked: the dog!
The dogs that compete internationally have to have innate athletic talent, a desire to repeat training skills again & again, & a biddability to continue on through failure. These dogs must possess a temperament that can not only tolerate, but thrive from the limelight. I'm talking about the crowds, the lights, the cheering, the loudspeakers...
Then there is the stress of long flights, altitude & time changes, health checks, hotel stays, climate changes... And don't forget to add in the handler's stress at these big events...
These international level dogs are truly remarkable canine specimens.
Top international handlers don't only need to "handle well" to achieve that level, they also have to be great dog trainers to produce these dogs. Even if you take away all the agility training, you still have to do an immense amount of "basic" training & socialization to create dogs that roll with these kinds of punches.
A well-trained eye is also needed to identify dogs that can thrive in these circumstances. They have to recognize temperament & drive, along with a structure that will withstand the type of training & trialling needed at the international level. You don't solely "create" these dogs, you have to start with the right basic model.
So just like not all handlers can compete at the international level, neither can all dogs. Let's not forget that this is a team sport! :)
One of my favorite "international handlers." Not all are thin, waifish young women! :)
Some of my favorite blogs about this topic:
The Global Warmers "...And Hitler Was A Tweaker"
Agility Nerd "What's International? International Two Jump Drills"
Daisy Peel "International Agility - Haute Couture For Handlers"
Just Another Dog Blog "Internationalwho?" (Hilarious!!)
For all the bloggers participating, click here.