By: Kirsty Dodd
I’d just like to share Molly’s story with you mostly as a huge thank you for your amazing food!
This is a very very happy Molly!
Molly is my 4 year old rescue large munsterlander/collie mix. She was rescued along with her sister from a drunk farmer who was threatening to shoot at them. Their rescuer drove through the night to fetch the two girls from him.
She kept them as foster dogs till they could be re-homed. Molly was initially re-homed at around 6 months old but unfortunately that didn’t work out so she went back into foster care. Just as she turned 1yr old she came to live with me as a trial for the weekend with me and my husky.
Within the first week I quickly discovered Molly’s health issues! A couple of nights in I woke up to what in all honestly looked like somebody has slit their wrists in my living room. My insides dropped, Having never seen anything like it before I thought I was going to lose her.
After many vet visits, medication trials and allergy testing it became apparent that Molly suffers from hemorrhagic gastroenteritis. The slightest bit of food that her body doesn’t agree with and it sets the whole process off again. I’ve tried Molly on grain free, sensitive, hyper allogenic, raw, the list goes on without particularly great results. Her weight drops so fast when she has an episode and nothing seemed to be helping. Not to mention living on a budget is important to me – £70 a month on dog food for one is a last resort.
I decided to try Fit ‘n’ Fast! by recommendation of our trainer Hayley Laches. After looking into the ingredients I could see that it had all the ingredients I have seen in foods that are specific for sensitive tummies. Beet pulp, milk thistle, mint, yucca, marigold, salmon, the list goes on. So I agreed to give it a go.
Molly has been on Fit ‘n’ Fast! now since August 2019. Her tummy episodes have since since near disappeared! Her weight has gone from a very skinny 15kg on average to a healthy 20kg! – my vet was astonished last month at her weight! She loves the food so much I can carry it around as training treats too. She looks healthy! Her coat is shiny and she feels like she has some muscle mass on her for the first time in her life. Her energy and endurance has lifted and I am seeing a significant difference in her strength whilst competing in agility and hoopers.
I’m so happy with Fit ‘n’ Fast! that I have also moved my youngster, Misha Bear, on too who is also looking amazing and loving the food. She will be competing in Crufts this year in the Border Collie Breed Classes and is already looking to be an absolute superstar in both agility and hoopers! She turns 16 months old on Crufts weekend, after which she will be able to start competing in both sports.
Here are some links of Molly so you can see how amazing she is doing and I’d just like to say thank you very very much for having such an affordable and amazing food product on the market that agrees with my girl! It really has been a big deal to me how well she has done on it!
By Mark Laker
I look forward to the month of February. Firstly, it’s my birthday and I like to take the day off and do whatever I fancy for the day. Often that day extends to a long weekend spending time with family, friends and of course our dogs. I’ve done all of that this year.
Our wedding anniversary is in February too
Celebrating this day often rolls on the end of the birthday weekend…making it an even longer weekend, possibly week. And then as it’s the end of my annual leave for the year, I use up any remaining time off too. So rather than being a dark, wet, often cold month, February ends up being really enjoyable.
I also look forward to the second agility team GB squad day
We’ve extended this to a weekend this year just so we can cover all the topics and activities we’ve planned. There’s lots to do this year with the European Open in the UK in July. As host nation we’ll be taking our biggest team yet – up to 40 dogs.
Countdown to Crufts
And the other thing I look forward to in February is the countdown to Crufts. Of course this is more exciting if I’m competing there, which I am this year, so my training with Rhyme is well underway.
Come rain or shine, birthday celebrations or not, Rhyme and I set out to do something together everyday towards our Crufts preparations. Thank fully we’ve had some beautiful weather so far this month so we’ve been able to stick to the plan.
I just need to go easy on the birthday cake…
Happy New Year – 2020 has arrived and promises to be another interesting year with big challenges facing us politically, on a world scale, the environment and of course topics closer to our own interests – dog sports.
On the 1st January a new jump height was introduced at Kennel Club licensed agility competitions. The new height is 50 cm and called Intermediate. It aims to address an age old issue of smaller large breeds (if that makes sense) jumping in the highest jump height category (65cm). So in effect, Border Collies (sorry to be breedist, but they’re a good example) could measure into either the intermediate or large height category.
The debates, arguments and reasoning for this additional height have been going on longer than Brexit. I won’t go over all the pros and cons – it’s done and it’ll be interesting to see how the competitions deal with the increased number of classes this year….we could have probably told Teresa May that even a simple thing like changing agility dog jump heights can’t be enacted in less than three years; she didn’t have a chance on a Brexit deal in any less!
The new height category doesn’t effect my current agility dogs Rhyme (large) and Pikachu (small) but the three existing heights (small, medium and large) have all been reduced by 5cm too. So they will be jumping slightly lower obstacles in the future. Karen’s young bitch Chic has measured in this new height.
This reduction in jump heights for the small, medium and large categories bring KC competitions in line with the FCI and most other organisations – a good move. Increasingly more countries who compete under FCI rules are introducing a 4th intermediate type height and I wouldn’t be surprised if the governing body introduce this at their showcase European Open and Agility World Championships within the next five years too.
A more pressing matter is to get Rhyme and myself back up to agility fitness ready for Crufts in six weeks (yikes!). We’ve both had a few injury niggles over the last few months, and put on a few extra pounds over Christmas. We now need to knuckle down and get working on our fitness plans.
All the best for 2020.
By Mark Laker
It’s that time of year again. It comes round quickly every year… I’m sure the years are getting shorter as it comes quicker each time. Yes you’ve guessed it dark nights, colder weather, wet muddy dogs and log fires….oh and Christmas too.
Until last month we noticed how much drier the climate is living on the Eastern side of the country. We don’t seem to get anywhere near the amount of rainfall we used to experience in the South. That was until this winter, then it all changed.
For the first time in five years the ditch around our field became a stream in full flow. For the first time we had our very own puddles and not far away the River Trent has burst its banks flooding 100’s of acres of farmland. After a few days of constant rain, even the dogs appeared to be getting fed up with being wet – except Moog, he loves the rain and adores puddles.
So that’s winter here then
We give our dogs a break from competition and serious training over the winter. If we do any competitions they’re generally local, low key competitions and more to keep us and the dogs practiced.
I use this time of the year to catch-up with planning for the next year
My coaching students have already started thinking about their 2020 objectives and we often have a few seminar’s planned in too. The dogs would do agility all year round. However, they seem to appreciate the rest, they look forward to their exercise walks and a different winter maintenance routine.
2020 is looking like another interesting year for us with some new projects and opportunities on the horizon.
I wish Ceri, all the CSJ Team and all our readers a very happy and relaxing Christmas and New Year. I hope you manage to stay warm and dry and enjoy some time with your families, friends, and of course your dogs.
Team Manager of Agility Team GB
By Mark Laker
This is the training that Karen Laker is using with our young dog Moog, I asked her if she would be happy to write about the training she’s doing to help him understand start-lines. It’s called… WAIT.
Moog does really want to be a good boy and is so willing. It’s actually his willingness that can cause a problem.
He’s willing to get going as soon as I give the signal or maybe he’ll go sooner just to make sure 😊
Training needs to help him understand various things:
- It’s not helpful to me for him to use his initiative;
- Sit/stand/down means do that until given another command;
- Only ‘okay’ or ‘go’ means release;
- He can do things away from me.
Able – to deal with external distractions:
- Other dogs;
- My movement;
- Other dogs moving;
- People talking to me.
Until he is comfortable and confident around these things, it’s much harder for him to stay on the start line. His lack of confidence means he really isn’t able to stop there.
Training includes simple daily confidence building. I never underestimate work revolving around recall and loose lead walking for relationship and calming when out and about.
He is also on CSJ Focus as recommended by Ceri. It has made a difference and I used it previously with Rhyme when he was younger too.
Sometimes an ‘obedience’ style wait can flatten a dog. Although Moog has high drive he is also very sensitive so a strict command could knock his confidence.
Using toys, treats & ground markers I aim to keep him interested and understand that inactivity can be a fun challenge.
Trusted or Trained
For long lasting performance I want a clear and concise routine that he totally gets and will work under pressure. At the moment this looks a long way off. I don’t want to have negative association for him or me on the ultimate routine so I am breaking it down into smaller elements and doing more away from the start.
- Waiting until he’s told to get his food;
- Waiting at every gateway/barrier;
- Positional change away from me towards a toy;
- Being rewarded for staying in a crate/bed while other dogs get attention and do tricks;
- Looking at learning other skills e.g. tracking to gain more understanding and therefore more trust in each other.
With every job that he learns in different way and a different environment his confidence will grow and then we will have all elements in place for that (currently) elusive startline wait.
If you’re interested in seeing some of the games/challenges we’ve used, follow him on #moogstartline or if music appeals to you join his Spotify playlist #moogstay which features amongst others: ‘should I stay or should I go’ and ‘stop in the name of love’.
By Mark Laker,
Coming away from a big competition with great results provides a lot of satisfaction and gives the whole team a feeling of achievement. Coming away with a medal, class wins and top five places provides that winning feeling and causes huge excitement amongst the team.
The FCI Agility World Championships in Finland was another huge success for Agility Team GB. The large team won a bronze medal in the team event. Euan Paterson won the individual large agility class and Lauren Langman finished overall 4th in the small individual class.
When we take the results from the Junior European Open and the European Open (adults) into consideration, these results from the FCI World Championships make 2019 one of the teams most successful years with medals, class wins and high places across the three championships.
There are other good news stories below these highlights too
We’ve worked hard at our performance in all areas this year, not just podium places. We’ve seen significant improvement across the board. Our clear objectives and the strategy to achieve them is showing though in our overall performance figures.
We’ve had a few weeks to recover from our trip to Finland before we start planning for the 2020 season. The Coaching Team have just held their planning day at Hartpury College / University which will provide fantastic facilities for the team to prepare for next years competitions. This new partnership opens up opportunities for more research, use of facilities and access to experts in the canine and sports fields.
So we have lots of good news stories to share with next years squad and of course high expectations to build on.