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/

CSJ’s treating dogs well!

Press release – 30.6.21

LYNDA WARD

pet trade SOLUTIONS

lyndaward@pettradesolutions.com     tel: 07946 743784

CSJ’s range of treats and training rewards are tops for trainers, handlers and pet owners.

Ceri Rundle says, “All our treats are natural and contain specific ingredients aimed at benefitting health“.

Poppets are a low-calorie wheat gluten free treat which include our Get Over! herbs to aid mobility and Fishcuits (made from 85% fresh wild salmon and 15% salmon meal) are extremely palatable and nutritious and great for dogs that can’t tolerate grain. For example, our crunchy Dem Bones! contain effective levels of charcoal and herbs to help clean teeth, freshen bad breath and ‘eliminate’ bad instances of gas! 

Our Training Tips semi-moist 80% meat treats with cranberry and blackcurrant are air-dried for extra flavour and owners tell us their dogs go wild for them.  Whilst Pemmican Energy bars are a powerful, high energy feed block that has been specially formulated for working dogs such as gundog, agility dogs, flyballers, racing sled dogs, search and rescue dogs, as well as those in training or stressed show dogs.

Other examples are Gnaw Rolls which are delicious semi-moist 80% meat treats with seaweed and parsley so ideal for a reward while benefiting oral health, whilst Fish’n’Hips ingredients include devils claw, turmeric and oleogrape to help support the joints… they’re highly palatable and low in fat so perfect for older or overweight dogs.”

Ceri adds, “Coming from a working dog background I understand that all dogs are different and our ranges of food, herb supplements and treats are very comprehensive because they are designed to meet the real needs of dogs in differing circumstances and situations … as well as of course being very tasty!”

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

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.

“One step at a time…” says Mark Laker

“One step at a time…” says Mark Laker

By Mark Laker

It’s been a year.

‘One step at a time’ a message which will forever remind me of Captain Sir Tom Moore motivating the nation with his incredible fund raising and life story – what an amazing man.

Taking one step at a time in my pre-lockdown world wasn’t easy

For the last 10 years I’ve had to be very flexible in my career as a Project Manager. I’d have a few days working from home, then I’d be away on business trips for 3-4 days, then a couple of days spent on-site locally. No day was ever the same. That all changed in March 2020 when we went into the first National Lockdown.

Since then, I’ve definitely been taking life one step at a time

That doesn’t mean I’m not planning ahead (I love planning), but for the first time in many years I’m now time-rich (sounds like consultant talk). I’ve had time to plan ahead, consider what I want/need to do, do it properly i.e. not rushing because I may not have time again, finish it, check it’s finished and then really make sure it’s finished. This may sound like common sense, but it’s surprising how many times we think we’ve completed a task/activity and then discover there were still some loose-ends. I suppose in dog training terms, it’s like proofing what you believe you’ve trained is the desired behaviour you’re getting.

And what about our dogs, how have their lives changed over the last year?

They’ve had even more exercise. Over the last year I’ve challenged myself to walk at least 5K every day. Karen has had time to brush up their existing skills and train new ones and of course they have our company at home all the time. Dogs are incredibly adaptable though, I’m sure they will soon adapt to the next routine as life changes again as lockdown restrictions lift.

I’m not sure what our next routine will be

I’m beginning to dislike the over-used term ‘new-normal’ because, I don’t want normal. It sounds boring, repetitive and non-eventful. I’m hopeful it will not be a new-normal, but life will be interesting, exciting and present different opportunities. I also hope there’ll be more appreciation for how fragile the planet and our lives are, and we’ll start seeing more proactive steps being taken to look after what we already have.

One step at a time.
———————-
Best regards,

Mark.

Dog walking etiquette – spreading awareness

Dog walking etiquette – spreading awareness

By Liz Marden

A common behavioural issue that I am regularly called upon to help clients with is: dog-dog reactivity.

Other than working on the issue itself, the main problem that these reactive dog owners are having, is other people in public places allowing their dogs to run up to them off lead.

This sadly can undo all the hard work and progress that the owner was making with their reactive dog, as well as causing a potentially dangerous situation to happen. This can also be the case for dogs who are kept on lead for a variety of other reasons such as in season, recovering from an operation, in training, assistance dogs etc.

Together we can spread the awareness of of ‘dog walking etiquette’

I would love to help these owners by spreading the awareness of ‘dog walking etiquette’ to all dog owners, that if they see a dog who is on lead, especially if they have signage on their coats/ leads and or wearing muzzles, that they need to call their dogs back to them and keep them under control until they are safely passed.

You can be prosecuted for your dog being out of control in a public place

Did you know you can be prosecuted for your dog being out of control in a public place under section 3 of the Dangerous dogs act 1991? This includes not being able to call your dog back!

If someone has their dog on lead and you allow your dog to run up to them causing an aggressive reaction then its your dog that is out of control in a public place – not theirs, as is commonly misunderstood.

Free poster

To do this I have created a free poster – I would be extremely grateful if you would please share this with all of your family, friends and clients to help me spread this awareness and help owners work together and be more considerate.

Owners allowing their dogs to run up to others without checking permission first is rarely done with malicious intent but rather due to a lack of awareness, so the more we can spread the word and educate people the less this will hopefully happen.

Share the poster on social media

As well you being able to share this picture on social media, the poster is also available to download for free in A4 or A3 here or on my website: www.natures-therapies.co.uk/online

Thank you in advance for helping to spread Dog Walking Etiquette Awareness! Liz Marden BSc(Hons) C.C.B C.A.B C.C.T C.A.T

Please like, comment & SHARE.

Download a poster in A3 or A4 size

Liz Marden is a qualified, certified and experienced animal behaviourist & trainer with her company Nature’s Therapies.

Liz Marden
Animal Behaviourist
Sekhem Reiki Practitioner
www.natures-therapies.co.uk
Tel: 07738 268400
(Mon-Fri, 9am-7pm)

C.C.B (Certified Canine Behaviourist) INTODogs
C.C.T (Certified Canine Trainer) INTODogs
C.A.B (Certified Animal Behaviourist) ICAN
C.A.T (Certified Animal Trainer) ICAN
UK Dog Behaviour & Training Charter