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/

CSJ’s new bags pay tribute to dog sports

CSJ’s new bags pay tribute to dog sports

The innovative new bag design for CSJ Specialist Canine Feeds illustrates the masses of dog sports whose competitors use their products.

Ranging from sled dogs to working gundogs CSJ feeds the most Champions in the most fields and designed their new bags to pay tribute to the countless dogs and owners who have benefitted from CSJ products over the last 20+ years.

Kath Hardman, Team Manager of Heelwork to Music Team GB, emailed to say, “Just to say I love the Heelwork To Music logo on the bags of food! The other disciplines are good but WOW!  The HTM is perfect!”

Formulated by dog people for dog people and chosen by Champions in every field – CSJ never forgets its roots …

When founder Ceri Rundle and her father H. Glyn Jones couldn’t find great food at a sensible price for their own working and competing Border Collies they enlisted the help of leading nutritionists and herbal experts to devise their own winning recipes.

Made in the UK with an ongoing commitment to develop natural feeds, supplements and treats together with sustainability plus support for canine activities, CSJ is rightly renowned for being ‘the whole package’.

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

CSJ’s founder ‘leads’ the way

LYNDA WARD
pet trade SOLUTIONS

lyndaward@pettradesolutions.com tel: 07946 743784

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Press release – 17.7.19

As one of 4 finalists in the Leadership in the Private Sector category of the prestigious 2019 Leading Wales Awards® Ceri Rundle was invited to attend a judging panel on Friday July 12th at the Hilton Cardiff.

The Leading Wales Awards® were developed by a consortium of professional institutes, voluntary and public sector bodies as well as private companies. The Awards seek to identify, recognise and celebrate personal achievement in outstanding leadership in Wales.

This final stage – having been selected from shortlisted candidates from businesses as diverse as engineering and data – saw Ceri interviewed by a panel of 4 including 2 previous winners.

With a theme in this year of “Daring to Lead®” the judging criteria had sought individuals in Wales whose leadership is courageous, inspirational and transformational.
Ceri whose background took her from breeding, working and trialling her Border Collies to developing her own brand of natural food, treats and herbs for working and active dogs says, “My husband Phil and I are looking forward to attending the awards ceremony on September the 26th…in such strong competition who knows the final outcome, but it has been an honour to have progressed to the final 4!”

For more on CSJ products visit http://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

Obedience Results from the Leicestershire Show – May 6th 2019

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1st  Ticket Bitch: Helen Murry & OB CH Sixela Uno’s Diva. Judge John Verrill

This was a round of pure class, teamwork at its best. Helen & Diva complimented each other beautifully. Deadly accurate and Obedience at its best, Its was a pleasure to judge and a privilege to award them their Ticket to Crufts 2020.

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1st Ticket Dog: Dot Watts & OB CH Ziggden Zyco

Dot & Zyco just smashed the course to pieces. A team that oozes quality in all exercises. A fabulous exhitition of Obedience and after a heart stopping scent it gave me great pleasure to award Dot & Zyco their first CC of the season. Gained reserve CC at Rugby the day before under Mr Alan Gresty.  Congratulations.

Thank you for sponsorship

Jacki Snook