A comment that I often hear during my Agility Classes is that I am very patient. I predominantly hear this after the person I am training has taken numerous attempts to complete a particular exercise.
Patience is a key virtue when teaching dog agility. Just like their human handlers, dogs vary in their ability to learn and process information. It’s important to understand that learning takes time. We must remember that both the handler and dog need to understand what is expected by a particular exercise.
For each training session it is important to set achievable goals and celebrate small victories. Each agility course comprises many different components and sequences that need to be navigated. Only by taking the time to learn how to handle each component separately is it possible to start to chain together the moves required to complete a full course. By sticking to manageable goals, the aim is to help prevent both you and your dog from becoming frustrated or overwhelmed.
Dogs and humans learn through repetition. This is why we must be prepared to repeat exercises multiple times until both handler and dog grasp the concept. Repetition helps reinforce learning and build muscle memory.
Dogs have different learning styles. Some respond well to verbal cues, while others may be more visual or tactile learners. Adapting the training to suit both the handler and dog’s learning style is key to mastering an exercise. Consistency is also crucial. Using the same commands and cues consistently helps your dog clearly understand what is expected of them.
Patience will go a long way in creating a successful and enjoyable training journey. Focus on the progress you and your dog are making rather than dwelling on what you haven’t mastered yet. Celebrate even smallest of achievements. Remember, agility training should be a fun and bonding experience for you and your dog.

Team Scotland Understand the Importance of Taking Their Guild Canine Massage Therapist To The World Agility Open

Canine Pawsibilities and Agility Team Scotland feature this week in the Canine massage guild blog!

If you are interested to understand how warm up and cool down massages can benefit your agility dogs or any canine athlete, this blog is for you! Check it out on the Canine Massage Guild blog page:

Team Scotland Understand the Importance of Taking Their Guild Massage Therapist To The World Agility Open

And to set the atmosphere, I also have summarised the experience in in a slightly more lively manner:




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!


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?

It’s fun, it’s cold…it’s April outdoor agility training in Scotland

The nice part of training agility outdoor again is the sun and the light, the bad part is how cold it can be in Scotland even mid-April! We had a lovely (very cold) training session on Monday night and it was even better as Iain decided to try one of his new toy! So we now have some lovely pictures.

I am so proud of everybody I am training, I am always amazed of the improvements of all the teams and how everybody is trying so hard.  I wished I had videos of everybody from the first time they came to train with me to now. Being in a farming area quite a few of the handlers are in the middle of the lambing at the moment and I am actually very impressed that everybody is still committed to come and participate to the agility training sessions.

Knowing how tiring lambing is, I must admit that I am not sure I would be able to come training and stay awake most of the night for the lambing especially as everybody who know me also knows that when I train, everybody run…not only the dogs!

So now place to some of Iain’s fab photos. the agility models are Fly, Rosie, Rhum and Doodle. I hope that all of these teams will try to do at least a few agility shows this year…no more excuses!





World Agility Open, go on Agility Team Scotland!

In 2012 Manouk and I were lucky to be part of the very first Agility Team Scotland that went to represent Scotland at the World Agility Open Championship. This year I will be returning to the event as the Canine Therapist for Team Scottish.

Last Sunday was the last team training. I thought it would feel extremely strange not to be there as a competitor and of course it was a little, but to be honest I just love my role in the team. It’s so much fun and so much challenge to take care of all the canine athletes!

I spent most of the training afternoon getting to know the Agility Team Scotland canine athletes before the big event in May and performed some pre-event warm up massages and muscular health checks. My aim was to earn the trust of the dogs I barely had time to actually watch any of the runs!

I also hope the team members will take back home my advice concerning warm up and cool down for their team mate and will spend a little bit of time developing a tailored routine. It is an aspect of the heath, performance and well-being of the canine athlete that is too often ignoredin agility.

I am so excited and can’t wait now for the event, less than two months to wait now! Go on Agility Team Scotland, let’s go and win some medals!

And I forgot to say….I was so proud of little Kelsy, I have been treating her now for a few months and she was absolutely flying!

Photos courtesy of Fiona Flood

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.



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!