Wednesday, October 8, 2008


As the days get shorter, and the weather makes outdoor agility less inviting, my thoughts turn to winter training. I am very sorry to report that getting the osteopath-run joint mobility course going is an up hill struggle. I know it is a bit expensive, although I am certain that it would be well worth every penny. However there are not enough people interested in it at present to make it viable. I am quite disappointed, as from the small amount I have already learnt from Stuart, I know that what I could learn would make a huge difference to Kaydee, Becky and Zazzy. I am going to a one day massage course this weekend, I hope to learn as much as I can there.
Also I will be running a course on co-ordination and balance, which is of course so fundamentally important for agility dogs, in December. More details can be found at:
A nice warm, dry hall with unlimited cups of tea makes a great venue for winter training. This course is intended to help teach dogs, especially puppies, how to use their whole bodies, but particularly how to engage their hind legs, in a balanced and co-ordinated way. I use a number of different exercises, using ladders, cones, rocker boards, wobble boards, pilates balls, ramps to walk up and down over, things to walk over, boxes to stand on and move around etc., for the dogs to negotiate in a slow and controlled way, using lots of reward. The games are great fun, and I have seen these exercises make such a huge improvement to how dogs move, including my own puppy Zazzy, that now that I know about them, I would never start doing agility with a dog without doing them first. I have often seen a dog learn how to 'connect' with their hind legs seemingly for the first time during the course, and learn how to place them rather than them just 'following' the front end. For example when walking through the rungs of a ladder, some dogs find it hard to accurately put their hind feet down between the rungs. Having a good sense of where each part of your body is in space is obviously extremely useful for running up over high, narrow planks (dog walks) safely! Additionally, the hind legs produce power for acceleration, de-acceleration, turning etc. so teaching a dog to fully utilise this power, and using it with good balance and co-ordination, will have a massive effect on its future agility career.

1 comment:

  1. Hey Hannah - just found your site. Should be marking....anyway been reading about your course and can highly recommnend doing all the things you will be showing people. Take a look at my recent entry for some of the things Nellie has been learning! Hxxx


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