Happy New Lockdown

By Mark Laker

Hello 2021, goodbye 2020 (some say good riddance too). We’ve heard that a lot since New Years Day haven’t we? 

2020 was an unprecedented year for everyone. For many, it was a challenging year losing loved ones, being furloughed, losing jobs, home schooling, uncertainty about the future and no dog sport competitions or trials. 

For others it was a quiet year. A year with time to reflect on priorities, an opportunity to explore new ventures, time to develop skills or revisit past interests – a year to reset and take stock.

What lies ahead for dog sports in 2021? 

We don’t know when competitions and trials will restart, we don’t know what format they will take, we don’t know who will want to continue under a different format and possibly tight restrictions. There are a lot of unknowns and it’s too early to begin answering these questions (IMO). 

2021 continues the unprecedented theme

‘I can’t get any motivation to train with all this going on’ – I’m sure you’ve heard that recently too…or thought it yourself. It’s understandable and I sympathise. There’s a lot going on that’s simply, out of our control. 

Motivation is one of the subjects at the core of sports psychology. I’ll elaborate more next month, but for now, have a think about the two questions below which may help you determine what motivation means in your world of dog sports, and how it may help you look forward to 2021 through a different lens.

What motivates you to participate in dog sports? 

For example: the social side of the sport; competing against others; training your dog new skills,; ‘my instructor motivated me’; ‘I’m motivated by watching other performers’; etc. 

Are you motivated by: winning; not losing; by just taking part; by the environment (training in a group with your dog or at a competition/trial).

There are no right or wrong answers, it’s very individual and starts us thinking more deeply about why love our sports and what we can control irrespective of what’s going on around us.

Stay safe and well.

Mark Laker

Herbs for all seasons

Herbs for all seasons

LYNDA WARD
Pet Trade SOLUTIONS
lyndaward@pettradesolutions.com tel: 07946 743784

Press release – 16.12.20

CSJ’s Skinny Herbs are getting 5 star ratings from happy customers.

CSJ says, ‘Not all skin problems are caused by insects but may be caused by stress, sensitivity to the environment, products used around the home or even products used to clean dogs after muddy walks.

We asked our highly skilled and respected herbal expert to formulate a natural herb mix that can help dogs coat and skin …

The result, Skinny Herbs, is composed of a gentle blend of Echinacea, Nettle, Neem Leaves, Marigold Flowers, Thyme, Burdock Root and is simply sprinkled on food.’

Don’t just take CSJ’s word for it – here’s just one example of feedback, “My gundog was diagnosed as having alopecia which the vets said he’d just have to live with as there was no treatment. I tried a host of products and treatments with no success and decided I’d try Skinny Herbs as the reviews seemed positive. Six weeks later my boy has regained 80% plus of his hair and is improving by the day. Couldn’t recommend it highly enough.”

For more on CSJ products visit www.csjk9.com or call 01745710470

… and follow CSJ winners on

Facebook: https://facebook.com/specialistcaninefeeds/

Twitter:  @CSJDogFood

Instagram: @CSJDog_Food

YouTube:  CSJ Specialist Canine Feeds

http://www.awaywithdogs.co.uk

A merry Christmas wish from Mark Laker

A merry Christmas wish from Mark Laker

By Mark and Karen Laker

Firstly, we would like to wish everyone a merry Christmas, it will be a different one in many ways. We hope whatever your circumstance that you find a way to still celebrate with your loved ones.

Loads of thanks to those people who are working in any of the essential services

For us, this includes the people at CSJ keeping our dog’s food supply going. Ceri and her team have always been hard working and we hope that any of the challenges thrown at the working practices at CSJ haven’t been that step too far. Please take care and hope the Christmas break is a good opportunity to relax.

Having dogs to walk has always been one of our favourite activities

Now it has become a way of seeing people too. We know more people now in our tiny hamlet than before these lockdowns. The family visits have been on hold though and other than a small Christmas bubble, we will keep using the great mediums of Skype, Zoom, WhatApp or even old-fashioned telephone calls to keep our parents safe this Christmas time. They will never replace a hug, but it is surprising how comfortable everyone is now at expressing themselves via different media.

2020 certainly has pushed us out of our comfort zones and created new ones

For me agility was going to be taking a back seat anyway this year and without competitions for my customers to focus on, I decided to look into some new dog hobbies. Dog Sports UK is similar to working trials and have created a system to help new people move forward in their dog training. It is still show related for progress though, so I looked at another new dog activity – Dog Parkour UK.

Wow where did that come from – it is so much fun, non-competitive and very well organised


If like me you’ve enjoyed watching Parkour in films like ‘6 Underground’ you’d be right to be a bit hesitant about teaching stunts to your dogs. However, safety is at the forefront of the rules and in some respects the earlier levels may seem a bit tame in comparison.

There are various levels and at each you learn foundation skills before doing the challenges, earning titles and progressing.

It offers titles in different environments too, so you can do it in your own home, on a walk or even in the town. It is still a case of don’t try this at home until you’ve learned the basics and really taken on board the safety considerations.

I could tell you more and have just done a two-week online instructor course – I recommend you check out their Facebook page Dog Parkour UK.

If you already enjoy doing activities with your dog’s, you’ll find out about the skills you need to earn titles without an instructor; something to aim for in 2021 until life gets back to more normal. If you prefer personal instruction, then they have a list of instructors or pm me if you want to ask me about my experience.

A Covid safe environment for training

Meanwhile like other dog trainers, I’ve spent a good deal of time reading rules and regulations to be able to provide a Covid safe environment to restart my lessons. There is no measure of how important social interaction is between people, and dog training also embodies the joy of physical activity with your best friends of the four-legged variety in the great outdoors.

Best wishes for a happy Christmas and here’s hoping 2021 brings more settled times.

Best regards,

Mark Laker

Win! Win! Madison Wells has done it again!

Win! Win! Madison Wells has done it again!

By Danielle Card

Read all about Maddie’s progress this canicross 19/20 season. Here’s Madison and Bronte winning at Box End just before lockdown 2.

Maddi knows that even though the nights are dark and damp her dogs still need to go out. She is always more than happy in her CSJ coat, in the secure paddock walking them all.

Our newest edition ‘Halle’ has been slowly moved onto CSJ CP27 Puppy and WOW, she is thriving on it! Her coat is beautiful, her eyes aren’t gunky and she is looking amazing! Even the vet said how fantastic she is looking.

Our last race before lockdown 2 took place at Box End, run and organised by Canix. Madison ran her spaniel Bella on day 2 and her pointer Bronte on day 1, finishing first overall.

It was also prize giving for the Canix championship for 19/20 season in which Madison finished first.

Follow Madison’s progress on Instagram @danielle_victoria1988

‘Oh no here we go again’ or Oh yes, here we go again’!

‘Oh no here we go again’ or Oh yes, here we go again’!

By Mark Laker

‘Oh no here we go again’ I read recently about lockdown 2. It was followed up by various views about the coronavirus pandemic, Britain’s attempt to bring it under control and the response from different people. 

Photo from Mark Laker’s blog

‘Here we go again’ – an opportunity to try again, build on the past? Or, ‘Oh no, not that again’, more bad things. It reminds me of that well known quote by unknown – who by the way has written some great quotes:

‘Whether a glass is half full or half empty depends on the attitude of the person looking at it.’

So where’s this blog going? We can look upon lockdown 2 as a miserable, boring and negative time that’s making me feel like my glass is definitely half empty and I could selfishly ignore all the experts advice and think of my short-term social life. Or, I could see this as an opportunity to try something new, benefit from the precious time given back to do something for the long-term and possibly save lives and help society get back on its feet.

I’m going to be using this time to increase my  writing, something I really enjoy and something I’ll have time for now my other commitments and energy-sapping activities through the summer have levelled off (a bit).  

I plan to make the most of the increased evening and weekend time available by writing my blog more regularly, setting myself a lockdown challenge (more of that later) and topping up my coaching skills.

Another lockdown 2 comment I recently heard was, ‘it’s not what you could do, it’s what you should do’. Particularly important as the country tries to control this devastating pandemic. 

Stay safe everyone and continue looking for positive opportunities

Best regards, 

Mark.

Mark Laker

Follow Mark Laker’s blog on: https://inneragility.co.uk/blog/

Welcome to the second blog from Suco sled dogs… training and meet Akeira the husky

Welcome to the second blog from Suco sled dogs… training and meet Akeira the husky

By Colin Spalding

We have had 4 training sessions this week, conditions have been very wet and on the warm side and humidity has been on the high side. Humidity is one of our main factors in deciding if we train or not, as it does affect the dogs’ performance, speed stamina and recovery. In my experience the hounds suffer more with high humidity than the Huskies do.

We trained Wednesday am, Thursday pm and Saturday and Sunday mornings. Gonzo and Dexter covered 24km over the 4 sessions. Two were speed sessions and 2 steady sessions, Diamond, Granite, Akiera and Sapphire covered 20k – again a mix of speed and steady sessions.

At the weekend we had visitors training with us and a total of 21 dogs there, which had the teams hyped up and we focused on passing and speed work and had two good sessions in muddy testing conditions.

Akeira

Each blog, we are going to do a biopic of one of the dogs, starting with Akiera who in January 2011 was our first husky. We naively purchased her over the internet, not really knowing what we were doing and joined in with people who were training Huskies locally and progressed from there.

She has always enjoyed running but is famous for not being fully focused and would much rather have a good nose at what’s going on round about her, while running at full speed, which leads to some interesting moments on the trail.

Even on Thursday evening’s session, chasing a rabbit into the trees resulted in me rolling about the trail in darkness. She has over the years had numerous wins and places as part of a 3 dog team with Kiera and Sapphire and at nearly 10 years old still loves her running, but most of all loves her roll about in the mud when she finishes her training.

She was the start of the amazing adventure we have had and will always be very special to us.

Dogs’ weights

Dogs’ weights this week:

Gonzo – 31.3k
Dexter – 24.8k
Cupar – 21.5k
Diamond- 17.6k
Granite – 18.6k
Akiera – 19k
Sapphire 18.1k
Kiera – 17.6k

We have been looking to add some weight to Gonzo and Dexter as they were feeling a bit light after the girls being in season so we have upped their feeds.

Suco Sleddog blog – training during winter 2020 season

Suco Sleddog blog – training during winter 2020 season

By Colin Spalding

Due to the current restrictions it looks unlikely SUCO Sled Dogs will have any further races in 2020. We have decided to set up a weekly blog to keep you updated on the teams training, nutrition and what’s all going on with them.  

Last weekend we all had a trip away to Aviemore with the dogs staying in the van loads of new bedding in for them.  We arrived in the Friday and after hydration and toilets and lots of attention on the stakeout line we ran Gonzo and Dexter round the Glenmore trail 4.2 miles at a steady pace and walked Cupar, Diamond, Granite, Akiera, Sapphire and Kiera in Glenmore forest around the stunning loch Morlich.  The dogs were then on the stake out for the rest of the day getting loads of attention before feeding more walks and bedding down for the night.  

We were up bright and early to walk and hydrate the dogs before running them back at Glenmore.   Gonzo ran biker with me and we did a fast run recording a time of 11.58 for a hilly trail, we then ran Dexter and Cupar bikejor round the trail at a good steady pace, Diamond and Granite ran together bikejor along with Akiera and Sapphire around a shorter 3mile trail all having good runs.  We then set up camp at loch morlich for the rest of the day.  

Sunday was more of the same Gonzo recording a time of 11.59 showing great consistency in his 3rd run in 3 days all the other dogs had good runs again showing a good level of fitness and another day camped out at loch morlich while I paddle boarded.  Monday we walked the dogs a final time round Glenmore forest before heading back home, Monday and Tue are rest days for all the dogs, we will be back out training on Wed morning at our regular training grounds. 

The dogs are all fed on CSJ perf 30 twice per day and are the following weight and get the amount of CSJ Perf 30 at each feed all bowls filled up with cold water to ensure they are hydrated Billy no mates are added to all feeds to keep ticks at bay, , bowls of water are always available for them.

  • Gonzo weight 29.8k 2.5 metric cups at each feed
  • Dexter 23.7k 1.5 metric cups at each feed
  • Cupar 21.2k 1.25 metric cups at each feed
  • Diamond 17.3k 1 metric cup at each feed
  • Granite 18.5k 1 metric cup at each feed
  • Akiera 18.4k 1 metric cup at each feed
  • Sapphire 17.6k 1 metric cup at each feed

Dogs are all handled daily to check condition and how they feel and meals adjusted accordingly.  

The hounds stay in the house and the Huskies have kennels and a run outside but are in the house daily for cuddles.  

We are currently training 4 times per week with no racing imminent it is general conditioning, some hill and speed work and working on commands.

Missing the agility fix?

Missing the agility fix?

By Mark Laker

October 2020

It is surprising with all the turmoil this year has brought to realise it is October already.

By this time of the year we previously would have had a full season of agility shows, including the Junior and Adult European Open competitions; our social media feeds are currently full of pictures from previous year’s world championships too.

All the hard work both from organisers and competitors wasted due to a virus; it still seems so unreal and just unbelievable.

Doing things differently

We had planned to do some different things this year anyway, but agility would still have featured especially for Chic as she is just Grade 2 and has a long way to go.

I mentioned doing a Summer and now Winter league in small groups which is working well for my customers – developing the youngsters and keeping the more experienced going.

It’s interesting to see that there have been some Covid friendly KC shows with classes capped at 50. As they are not local to us, I’m not sure how it all works, but it is good to see that show organisers are committed to keeping agility competitions going.

Competition is good for motivation

For many just doing agility is fun enough, but that element of competition and knowing you and your dog are achieving, is good for motivation.

For those unable to get to these shows and missing the agility social fix, it’s just a case of knuckling down and finding a way through until something like a normal service can be resumed.

We have had a varied month of looking at new dog activities, walking up mountains and canoeing/kayaking.

Losing Torro

We also sadly lost Torro as despite our positive words, he was not able to get better and we had that awful decision to make. Sometimes being positive isn’t enough and life can’t always be perfect. For whatever reason it was decided that dogs wouldn’t live as long as humans, it is something that every dog owner has to face up to. It never gets easier but the heartbreak of losing them is a small price to pay for the life we share with them.

Fergus polishes off dinner in one go

Fergus polishes off dinner in one go

By his owner – BG

Hi, just wanted to say a big thank you for sending the samples for Fergus to try.

All 3 went down well, one so quickly that it instantly came back up! In the end we decided on the CP27 puppy as it had the added glucosamine (he’s had problems with lameness after a run).

At nearly 9 months old, Fergus has gone from being a dog who turned his nose up at breakfast and grazed all day, sometimes not finishing his dinner until 10pm to a dog who actively looks for his breakfast and polishes it off in one go. He also sits in front of the cupboard from about 3pm looking for his dinner.

Thanks again, he and we are very happy customers!