Another training day at CANINE Pawsibilities

With the nice weather we had a couple of weeks ago, Iain decided to take his camera out to witness another training day at CANINE Pawsibilities.

There was a mix of junior classes, agility foundation for young dogs and one to one agility training sessions.

Although I am a border collie addict, I love training a wide breed of dogs, I love seeing the young dogs evolve, I love seeing small dogs like Cyril playing with the big boys like Harley. I love witnessing Sprout and Maddie or Buzz who have been rescued recently, building their confidence. I feel so lucky to be doing what I love: training dogs or should I say enrich some dogs’ life.

Just like with human, training is not one system fits all, each dog has its own personality, its own strength and its own weakness and this is without taking in account the owner / dog relationship which is also another level of challenge. When training, I need to take all these parameters into account.

Each team challenges me in their own way, they push my creativity to find what might work better for them. I feel that each dog and owner I meet push me to improve my skills and knowledge. Also,  I try to give a little bit (and even a lot) of what I have learnt over the years with my own dogs to all of them, hoping that I can help them all live a happier, fuller life: I see this is as my own dogs’ legacy.

And the most important aspect of it is a simple advice: don’t waste any time, enjoy every single minute you have with your four legged friends, have fun, laugh, don’t be frustrated if training does not take you (easily) where you would like to be, instead embrace the challenge and adapt to your dog’s need and never ever worry about what others might think of you and your dog – One day, which is not further away than a blink of your eye your friend will have aged and it will be too late.

All the photos of the video below (and much more) can also be admired on Iain’s website  (at a much better resolution than the video). If one of the star of the video is yours and you would like some of the photos, use the “contact us” option on his website and just ask him, I am pretty sure he will be more than happy to email you the photos. Or you can also simply let him know you liked his photos…. this is another thing my dogs taught me: positive reinforcement works also on human!

Enjoy,

You said Collection or Extension Jumps?

During their last dog agility training session Buzz and Colin were working on early verbal and physical cue for more efficient lead leg change during collection and extension jumps. Although lead leg is often overlooked in agility it is actually a simple concept that can make the difference between a tight turn and a wide turn.

In simple terms, the front leading leg when a dog is cantering, galloping or jumping is always the second of the front legs that strikes the ground. Do you know which leg is the leading leg when your dog is jumping to the right? If not, I would advise you to film your dog in slow motion whilst jumping and learn to recognise which one should be his leading leg. You will then be able to recognise so many video of agility dogs on the internet turning with the wrong lead leg, this is often a sign that the handler has not provided clear enough physical and/or verbal cues to allow the dog to prepare himself for the jump.

As Colin was struggling a little with the concept, he decided to take the exercise to the next level. I must admit I am really impressed by his dedication and interesting initiative!

As the exercise was definitely a success we decided to share the experience with the outside world for the benefits of you all but remember that this jumping exercise is an advanced exercise, I would not advise to try it without the supervision of your trainer nor without a photographer to capture the essence of the exercise.

So now, please look attentively to the next few photos and share with us your opinion

  • Which one of these is a collection jump and which one is an extension jump?
  • That was easy? OK, so now watch attentively: who is using the wrong leading leg?

 

  • Do you think Buzz gave the command early enough?
  • Finally which jumping style do you prefer?

In case you were wondering I can confirm that no human was hurt during this photoshoot! But did you know that abnormal lead leg changes can also be an early pointer of injury?

Crufts 2016 – Good Luck to all the agility competitors

How time flies! A year ago I was getting ready for Crufts with Manouk to compete in the agility championship final on the Sunday, one of the most prestigious final of the UK.

Manouk  was just back from an injury, in fact I only had the go ahead to compete from Scott Rigg, his orthopaedist specialist, 5 days before the competition, so it was truly a magic event.  It also prove that with dedication, patience and the right Medical and rehabilitation team, miracle are possible!

No need to say I was just a little bit nervous (!) but I had a fab last minute groomer who stepped in: Lucy Osborne who helped me in the background to discuss the courses, calm me and take care of Manouk whilst I was walking the courses.  Agility is also that, a community of people who are supporting and helping each other’s, driven by the same passions: our dogs (they always come first) and agility!

Little I knew it would be his last final and his last time at Crufts: a couple of months later, during a follow up check-up, he was diagnosed with an unrelated condition, a lumbosacral disc degeneration, which forced us to stop agility, with 2 champ tickets and 3 reserves in our pockets. So close to the prestigious “agility champion” title. Gosh I miss running this boy, he is just a dream of a dog, no wonder why his nickname is Mr Perfect!

So today, I woud like to wish all the BEST OF LUCK TO ALL THE AGILITY COMPETITORS, I will obviously cheer for all my fellow Scottish competitors! With a special thought for Kelsy, Burns and Jess who will be competing at the young kennel club agility ring! Enjoy your time there!

Canine Sport Medicine course: conditioning and rehabilitation of the canine athlete

Today is a good day: I just found out the I passed the exam for the canine sport medecin course with a 99% Mark, hurray!

As some of you already know I went to Zurich at Bessy’s Kleintierklinik last month for a 3 day intensive course about Canine Sport Medicine taught by Chris Zink.

This was an amazing opportunity for me as the course, developed by the Canine Rehabilitation Institute (USA), is mainly held in the USA and is only opened to veterinarians, veterinary technicians and physical therapists. It was definitely a steep learning curve!

The group included 83% of veterinarian surgeons with 4 orthopaedic specialists and some veterinarian specialised in animal rehabilitation, most of the last 15% were physical therapists who specialised in animal therapy. It was a truly European course with people from Switzerland, Spain, Italy, Germany, Denmark, England and Scotland.

The course, aimed to provide us with a fundamental understanding of anatomical structure and locomotion and how they relate to performance and potential injuries was quite intensive. We covered in depth the main sport injuries of the canine athletes in all disciplines, including their causes, the main diagnostic procedures, their prevention via conditioning program and post injury targeted rehabilitation. The course also included the safe introduction to canine sport for young dogs.

The role that psychology can play in the rehabilitation was also discussed as well as the nutrition and supplements.

We had some very interesting discussion on the subject of diagnostic and rehabilitation with the participation of all the experts in the room describing their own approach during the practical sessions.

Chris Zink was definitely a brilliant instructor, extremely knowledgeable with a thorough science based approach that I really appreciated and she is very entertaining too!

Finally it was a very good opportunity for me to network with some like-minded professional with whom I am hoping to keep contact and maybe meet again in the future.

I would like to finish by thanking Chris for the course and Rico Vannini, Owner of Bessy’s Kleintierklinik for the organisation and welcoming us all to his clinic.

Orthopeadic conditions in agility dogs

The talk from Scott Rigg about the most common orthopeadic conditions found in the agility dog finally took place on Friday 25/09 at Aberdeen Veterinary Referrals in front of a full house: it was apparently the highest attendance the clinic ever had for a talk and it was definitly a very motivated crowd.

On behalf of everyone who attended the presentation, I would like to take the opportunity to thank Scott and his team for their warm welcome at the clinic and for Scott’s willingness to spend time educating us about the subject. So many people mentioned how positively suprised they were by the high quality of the talk and how instructive the presentation was.

I would also like to thank AVR team for accepting to use the event for fund raising for the Oldies club, which is the charity the Canine Massage Guild is currently supporting, and for all the participants for their generous donation. I currently do not know how much we raised as the collecting tin will stay at AVR for a couple of more weeks.

Finally I would like to invite those who were present at the talk and would be interested by a follow up talk or / and workshop on a canine athlete conditionning to get in touch with me via CANINE Pawsibilties website.

 

 

Sheep Herding with Derek Scrimgeour

Well that’s is, the annual 4-day sheep herding clinic at CANINE Pawsibilities with Derek Scrimgeour is officially over and was as fun and instructive as usual!

When we started this clinic with Derek 6 year ago, we struggled to find 6 dogs and handler pairs to participate, this year there was 14 lucky border collies! This success is definitely the results of Derek’s passion, patience and enthusiasm to teach all of us, whatever our experience and background are, beginners, triallers, agilitists and farmers alike.

The clinic is a little bit of a family gathering including, Mehwi’s mum Lyn and Mehwi’s dad, Manouk, Mehwi’s brother Fionn, Mehwi’s half-brother Mozzie (Mehwi even met is young half-sister Ninja but she was too young to play with the sheep), Mehwi’s cousins Denny, Blue, Rosie and all his other friends!

Obviously no need to say that we have booked Derek for next year already and I hope that Mehwi and Ninja will be able to participate this time!

A subset of the photos taken by Iain on Sunday are posted below and if you really like herding action shots, another subset can be seen on Iain’s website.  For the participants, Iain took over 500 fabulous photos so next time you come to see us if you bring a usb stick and talk nicely to him, I am sure he will give you a copy of all the photos.

 

The walk I never want to forget

After 3 major operations, after being around 10 times under anesthesia (I stopped counting after a while) and endless hours…weeks…months… of cage rest, Mehwi has finally been allowed his first walk on Tuesday 7th of July. A day I don’t think I will ever forget!

Mehwi was diagnosed with severe hip dysplasia at 14 months and had had both hips replaced a 4 months procedure which took 6 months due to some complication after the first surgery.

For those who take for granted a game of tug, a walk in the wood or just having your dog free in the house: remember that you are lucky!  It was so nice yesterday having him lying at my feet, going to be fed with the rest of the pack, watching him trying to play with Midge or just sitting his chin on my knee…I missed it so much!

The difficult part now is to take it easy and develop a rehabilitation program to get him back to what every young dog should be doing. It is going to be a new challenge, a new learning curve. I am looking forward to our first dog show and our first sheep herding day! Watch this space!

 

 

 

Orthopedic conditions and agility dogs: presentation by Scott Rigg

As many of you know, being an agility competitor and a canine massage therapist, I have a special interest in canine conditioning for sport dogs and rehabilitation after injuries.

I also believe that all of us, agility addicts, should be more informed about the risks associated with our passion so we can help our 4 legged athletes, who week after week take our breath away,  have the better (long) life they deserve.

I am therefore really happy that Scott Rigg, who is the advanced practitioner in small animal surgery from Aberdeen Veterinary Referrals  has accepted to do a presentation for us, the agility crowd, about the common orthopedic conditions that we may encounter with our agility dogs.  Scott is taking care of Manouk and Mehwi as well as some other abedonian agility dogs.

Date: The presentation will take place on the 25th of September at 19:00

Location: Aberdeen Veterinary Referrals in Foveran.

The presentation is limited to 40 people! Get in touch with me to reserve your space (choose Others as subject)- I will send a confirmation email to everybody who have a space reserved.

Cost: Free of Charge. Knowing how much time it takes to prepare such a talk it is an amazing gesture from Scott that I am sure all of you will appreciate!

Aberdeen Veterinary Referrals and CANINE Pawsibilities would be grateful if all the participants to this event were willing to show their appreciation for Scott’s effort by donating on the day to the oldies club. A collection tin will be available.

The oldies club is a registered charity that rehomes eldery dogs (number: 1118246).

 

 

Happy Handlers Equal Happy Dogs

The recipe for success? A little bit of Scottish sunshine, a group of enthusiastic handlers and some lucky dogs! Well done to the 20 participants of Canine Pawsibilities first agility camp!  There was definitely some happy handlers making some very happy dogs over the two days! The final bonus are the beautiful photos taken by Iain on the Sunday in-between his own runs. Enjoy and see you all hopefully for the next camp!