<strong>CSJ Highland Agility Stakes Finals</strong>

CSJ Highland Agility Stakes Finals

3rd July 2022

By Sara Hawkswell

The 3rd of July 2022 saw the return of the GWCT Game Fair at Scone Palace.

In the morning the preliminary agility round was held which determined the running order for the afternoon’s final. Our Judge for the day was Yvonne Reid who set a fantastic course showing the ability of the dogs and handlers to the viewing spectators. 

After a break which enabled the competitors to have a wander round the stalls in an effort to ease any nerves it was time to set the course for the final. As the stalking ponies were in before us we needed to clear away mountains of pony poo, however it was quite special poo as they were ponies owned by the Queen!

Once again Yvonne set another fantastic, fast course.  The ring is big and Yvonne set  a course that meant dogs, and handlers, had to cover a long distance.  A large crowd gathered to watch dogs in all four height categories run.  The winners had to work hard for their places – in the medium competition only 0.6 seconds separated the winner and runner up!! 

Congratulations to the winners:

Large Winner: Lalapaws Born This Way handled by Dane Redford.

Runner Up: Combyeanaway By The Way Love handled by Alan Short

Intermediate Winner: Candlewind Spring Time handled by Emily Lewis.

 Runner Up: Inverlochys Spring Time handled by Cerys Miller

Medium Winner: Basileas More of a Chaser handled by Jennifer Kent

 Runner Up: Sanscott Midnight Mist handled by Elizabeth Graham

Small Winner: Blundas April handled by Emma Pullan

 Runner Up: Calderwood Cheeky Charmer handled by Derek Elms

Huge thanks go to our sponsor CSJ, with support from Showtime Online and Norton Rosettes. Without your support we could not run this showcase event. Also thanks to Hollycraig Photography and CSB Photography for the photographs and the ring party for giving up their day to make it such a memorable day for the competitors.

Are Dogs Creatures of Habit?

Are Dogs Creatures of Habit?

By Karen Laker

I did a small amount of googling and found that generally they are:

Dogs are creatures of habit and need the security and reliability of a structured life.

Having a confident and contented dog will allow you to make changes in the routine if it is necessary, without causing your pet to suffer additional stress and anxiety as a result of any unexpected changes.

Humans and dogs are similar in that we are all creatures of habit. We like to do things in our own particular ways. When we deviate from one course of familiarity into the unknown, it can create anxiety. What makes humans slightly different is that we can often find spontaneity quite exciting.

Dogs are creatures of habit, and the way they feel about the world around them depends on how happy they are in their environment. Therefore it is important to establish an orderly routine to give yourdog structure and confidence.Dogs thrive on routines and a routine will let yourdog to know what to expect each day and when to expect it.

Ours have recently been through a lot of upheaval. We moved out of our house where Moog, Pikachu and Chic have always lived. We spent a week in temporary accommodation. Then we went on holiday to Australia and now we are in another temporary house before moving into our new home.

Throughout that we have ensured that they have kept to their routine as much as possible.

We have fed them the same food and taken them for walks at the same time as before. We have their same bedding, plus the same furniture rules too… or so I thought. I’ve been told that dogs don’t generalise well which is why it is important to take your training on the road and practice it in different environments. Furniture definitely seems to acquire a bit of extra understanding as I discovered when Moog was happily led on my sister’s lovely leather sofa. To add further to this it was apparent he has never had any rules explained about fish ponds a few minutes earlier. Luckily I have a very understanding sister!

Something I enjoy within my dogs training is teaching them to pose for a photo. They totally understand the drill and will be positioned where I ask and wait for me to take the photo/s. The habit I created with them surrounding this means they find it easier to stay in lots of different surroundings and with various distractions. Being in a completely different place I hope this habit has helped them feel relaxed and take stock of their new area. Meanwhile I have taken loads of lovely photos.

How life and the world can change in a few weeks…

By Mark Laker

I’m sure like Karen and I you’re shocked by the scenes unfolding in Ukraine. It’s hard to believe this is happening in a European country.

As Agility Team Manager, coaches and competitors from other countries became good friends. There was a bond between us and support for each other shared through our love of agility. 

I remember sharing a team room with Ukraine – amongst others, at the World Championships in Sweden. The language barrier didn’t stop us from smiling, shaking hands and acknowledging success. 

People come together through sport. Sharing a common interest in competition and personal achievement together. Playing sport with animals i.e dog sports and horses, brings an extra dimension. Even stronger bonds form through our shared love for the animals and our sport.

It saddens me to think about how this conflict will affect ex-fellow competitors. 

My thoughts and prayers go out to the people of Ukraine.
Kind regards,

Mark

Mark Laker

Mark Laker sets a goal to develop his reading habit and discovers Blinkist…

By Mark Laker

Last month I wrote about why reading is important to me and how I set a goal that developed my reading habit.

I haven’t always been an avid reader

It was my interest in sports psychology that increased my reading. For some people reading is relaxation, for others it’s therapeutic, and for others, reading is seen as a time-consuming activity that’s hard to fit into busy lives. For me, reading is educational. I enjoy learning, exploring and researching. We need a good reason to read, and a willingness to commit the time.

We’re lucky to have access to books through ebooks, Audiobooks, online resources and of course good old print. I use all types…but still prefer paper.

There are some fantastic apps for people who are short of time to read

My favourite is Blinkist (other similar apps are available). This app enables you to read a book in 15 minutes…well you get an extremely good overview of the book, the highlights, learning points etc. in short ‘blinks’. I aim to read a Blinkist book a day. Because it’s an app, you can easily save them for future reference.

So rather than setting yourself a huge goal of reading a lot of books in a year, aim to read for 15 minutes a day.

Surely we can all find time for that.

Mark Laker

www.agility1st.co.uk

An acronym you may have not seen before – SCCAMP.

An acronym you may have not seen before – SCCAMP.

By Mark Laker

Last month’s blog ended with an acronym you may have not seen before – SCCAMP. It’s like the SMART goals you often hear about along with the GROW model and many other terms used to help people set goals, targets, plans etc.

SCCAMP stands for:

Specific: Our brains need to be very clear about what they’re working on.

Controllable: Write goals that you have control over I.e. whether you can go

 training 2,3 or 4 times a week.

Challenging: A useful guide to set challenging goals is to consider whether you can see the goal, but not touch it. If so, it’s likely to be challenging.

Achievable: To be the next US President, realistically, is that achievable.

Measurable: You’ve probably heard it before, ‘if you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it’. You need goals that you can measure your success, even if that’s visibly ticking them off as ‘done’.

Personal: Your goals need to be set for things you really, really want to achieve, not something others have told you ‘Should’ do. E.g., your trainer says you should train to run a half-marathon to build up stamina, although stamina isn’t something you need a lot of for your sport.

Using this framework may seem overly complicated, however I can assure you it’ll be time well spent and will save you a lot of time spent re-writing. It will also save you energy on activities that don’t produce the result you’re looking for and, when you tick them off as ‘done’, it’ll be rewarding.

Over the years I’ve used many different goal setting systems, apps, software and techniques, I could probably write a book about my experience…that’s an idea… However, I’ve concluded that there is no one correct way. Everyone’s needs are different, everyone has different methods of learning and different motivation triggers.

As we come towards the end of the summer, it’s a good time to start thinking about your Annual Review (more about this next month), whether that’s in a sport; your career; projects you want to achieve at home; new hobbies or other interests. Meanwhile, try using the SCCAMP method to get your goal setting juices flowing and let me know how it goes.

Mark

When your dream doesn’t come true

By Mark Laker

We had a dream to sea kayak into caves on holiday in Orkney this year.

I also wanted to catch up with my relatives in Orkney and Banffshire so a road trip was planned to include sea kayaking into The Gloup.

During our holiday we covered 1435 miles, 2 countries, 4 ferries, 3 river walks, 8 beaches, a forest and stayed in 7 different places… phew.

Previously our dogs have been trained into enjoying our hobby of agility and had all done quite well at that. Going on a ‘normal holiday’ identified new skill sets to be addressed.

Staying overnight in our dog vehicle or different Airbnb’s wasn’t anything new to them – we were just out of practice because of various lockdowns.

They hadn’t been brought up on loose lead walking, essential in strange places and rural areas where there may be livestock and around beaches which had cliffs and nesting seagulls. Prior to the holiday and during the various lockdowns we all became masters at walking on lead. When off lead for all the above reasons they also needed a 100% recall.

The only dodgy moment was when we were walking on a shoreline path and I was chatting to my cousins. I noticed somebody on the beach about 10 foot below us saying something about lovely dogs. I. looked along and saw all four of them balanced on a cliff edge close to a seagull nest complete with cute baby seagull. Luckily no angry parent seabird though.

I walked as calmly as I could along the path to where it branched off to the rear of this cliff and managed to call them quietly back the way they came with no harm done – not even to the seagull chick which obviously wasn’t on their list of something to eat!

The dogs were stars and the work put into their behaviour worked out.

As we all know the weather can’t be trained, and the Saturday we were due to go kayaking was very windy – too windy for sea kayaking. That dream had gone, however, we had a lot of fun practicing and building up our skills ready for this adventure, they will come in handy for future expeditions.

Figure 1. The Group from above

Circles of life and agility with Mark and Karen Laker in 2021

Circles of life and agility with Mark and Karen Laker in 2021

By Mark and Karen Laker

We are off on holiday for two weeks from Friday.

Then sadly Mark’s Dad passed away. Having seen how old age had transformed him so he was no longer able to feed himself, sit up etc. it takes away the edge of grief in that you feel his life was not what he had wanted. With our dogs it is our responsibility to make the decision over quality of life and Mark’s Mum felt it strongly that it seemed unfair for him to continue to deteriorate past the point that a decision would have been made.

A funeral is not great at the best of times but Covid rules made it all more confusing and exhausting. Overall though Mark’s Mum felt his Dad would have felt he’d had a good send off with enough family and friends able to attend, a choir singing his favourite hymns while a CD clip of a brass band he’d enjoyed played.

On the way back from the funeral our van started making strange noises.

One of my customers, Adele had mentioned a few months ago that she’d like to do mixi pairs but needed a small dog partner so I volunteered Pikachu. This gave me the motivation to get her back into agility and enter a show.

With the van not being safe to use and being tired from the funeral the show didn’t look a good prospect.

Adele offered me a lift so at 5:45am we fixed a crate in the back of her car and loaded up with Lucy, Oscar, Pikachu and Chic we set off.

This was my first real show back

It was great to see so many friends, the weather held up, the organisation was good and the courses were fun.

The pairs course worked well for Pikachu but not so well for Lucy. But for our first time competing together it wasn’t a bad performance.

Meanwhile I had felt out of sorts about being in grade two with my young BC. Partly because having had successive dogs winning up to champ for many years now it seems unfair on the grade two dogs to have to compete against experienced handlers and partly because I had not paid attention to this rule when it came out which meant staying in it longer than necessary. I had not appreciated that dogs needed an agility win and for her first season I only competed in jumping classes.

I totally understand that the sport is called agility and so potentially if a dog can not do all the equipment it should not progress but over the years I had enjoyed allowing my dogs to get used to the competition environment without the extra pressure that contact criteria inevitably brings. Chic was no exception. She gained confidence in 2019 resulting in two jumping wins and was going to be ready for agility courses in 2020!

Personally I did not feel joy in going to any ‘covid’ shows so here we were in 2021 still in grade two.

People talk about their old, experienced dogs as being their comfy slippers. Chic is that already or maybe the best fitting running shoes you can get. Either way as soon as I left her on the start line and turned to look at her I felt ready to attack the super course that had been set. It didn’t matter what day it was yet alone what grade – we were there to accomplish our best run. Old habits kicked in, the on/off training didn’t seem problematic and we trusted to what we had done rather than worried about what hadn’t and we went clear.

As it’s a while until our next show it means next time we compete she’ll be in grade three. I can take a few shows to find our feet, work out what we need to get better at and have fun perfecting those skills ready for next year.

I’ve recently reread Write it Down Make it Happen and some strange things have happened that I forgot I’d written down e.g. Chic winning into grade three and getting a red van – but that’s a whole other blog.


Thank you

Mark and Karen Laker

www.agility1st.co.uk/

Mark and Karen Laker pack CSJ at the top of their suitcase

Mark and Karen Laker pack CSJ at the top of their suitcase

By Mark Laker

We’re going to The Orkney Islands and Scotland for our holiday this year for hiking, sightseeing and to catch up with Karen’s family. We’ve also booked a day’s sea kayaking exploring caves and wrecks around Orkney’s coast on what is labelled a ‘novice trip’.

Just before Covid we had joined our local canoe club

I did a lot of slalom canoeing in my youth and am still comfortable in a kayak. Karen on the other hand had a lot of enthusiasm and needed to work on her technique – in fact that is the problem, she only seems to be strong in one arm – going in a straight line alluded her for a while. Then she decided to apply her sports psychology skills, which look like this:

• Think of the dream – paddling in sea caves
• Consider what is needed to achieve that dream
• Break it down into a long term goal – written in current tense with emotions and senses: ‘The rugged beauty of the cliffs covered in nesting birds is mingled with their cries, the smell of the sea and the taste of salt water as we confidently paddle along the coastline.’

Then turn that dream into Short Term Goals written using SCCAMP criteria:

• Specific – By the middle of July I will be able to do a day’s sea kayaking in Orkney.
• Challenging – The trip I’ve booked is for novice paddlers – am I at novice level yet?
• Controllable – I can book sessions and the trip…not to be confused with controlling a sea kayak!
• Achievable – We are now regularly paddling for a couple of an hours at a time
• Measurable – The more I practise the stronger I will be so I will measure how many hours practice we get in.
• Personal – I spent many a happy holiday in Orkney on my uncle’s farm and would love to experience some of the islands from the sea.

Now I consider the skills required to reach those goals

One of the skills I need is to know how to deal with a capsize situation, which we practised last week. I felt my body strength needed to pull myself back into the kayak in water was lacking and so I find myself on a similar fitness regime to agility. Weight loss, planking and running for aerobic strength as well as time on water.

The rest of the holiday we plan to be sightseeing and walking the dogs.

CSJ products are going to be well used:

• Kibble – easy to feed – dry or wet if they need more fluid
• Billy No Mates keeping the fleas and ticks at bay
• Skinny Spray for protection before they go running in moorlands
• Skinny Cream in case of any irritations
• Skinny Dip Shampoo – Chic will surely find something to roll in and I must remember to order,
• DemBones – ideal if they get ‘deli belly’

I hope you have fun planning for your own holiday whether you use it to push yourself to achieve something or are just relaxing.

Press release: No Ake! from CSJ

Press release: No Ake! from CSJ

25.5.21

No Ake! Is a highly potent herb that is aimed at the nutritional maintenance of the dog’s musculo-skeletal system and in particular the inflammatory response.

Composed of Devil’s Claw Root it is extremely effective and can provide that extra bit of help for dogs experiencing acute stiffness of the joints or are perhaps getting over an injury – without the need for steroids or pricey alternatives AND it won’t upset the dog’s tummy.

Here’s what one dog owner posted: “Amazing supplement!!”

“I used No Ake for my elderly golden retriever, Ellie, to ease her aching joints for several years. She only needed vet meds as well from about the age of 15, and lasted past 16 years and 4 months. Thank you CSJ!”

The tiny daily dose can be added to the dog’s dinner on a continuous or ad-hoc basis and is provided in a 100g foil pouch of the dry herbs or in the 250ml liquid form of ‘No Ake! Tincture’.

Find out more about No Ake!

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

www.awaywithdogs.co.uk

LYNDA WARD

pet trade SOLUTIONS

lyndaward@pettradesolutions.com    

tel: 07946 743784

Despite March winds and a lack of April showers, May brings dog powers…

Despite March winds and a lack of April showers, May brings dog powers…

By Mark Laker

The light at the end of the lockdown tunnel is gradually getting brighter. As lockdown measures ease around the country next week there are signs of a different and yet recognisable normality emerging.

Agility competitions and other dog activities are gradually returning around the country, albeit under new rules and conditions. I notice that governing bodies of other recreational sports and hobbies are giving guidance on how to resume under new measures allowing friends, families and other competitors to meet up and enjoy their activities again. Many sports are already trialling ways to resume competitions without masks and social distancing – an advantage of being part of a recognised sport body.

It’s a welcome return and I believe people are just pleased to get out and do what humans have done throughout our evolution – socialise.

Despite April’s unseasonal weather, frost and not a lot of rain… someone will need to rewrite the April Showers rhyme. Our dogs have continued with their daily exercise, agility fitness (for those who will be competing) and learning other activities. Lockdown hasn’t seemed to affect them, although I’m sure they’ll welcome a change of scenery to run in when we start venturing out further.

Let’s hope the country stays on this road to recovery and we can all enjoy whatever activities we find pleasurable again.

Mark Laker was the Kennel Club’s Agility Team GB Manager from 2013 – 2020 where he used his experience in sports psychology and business skills to enable high performance to deliver medals at the European Open for Juniors, The European Open and FCI Agility World Championships.

Mark has built a reputation for effectively transferring these techniques and skills to dog agility and coaches handlers to help them to develop their skills. Mark has used his knowledge, enthusiasm and experience to develop Agility1st’s high quality training and coaching programmes. Mark lives Nottinghamshire with his wife Karen their four Border Collies and a Jack Russell X: https://agility1st.co.uk/