Monday, 21 January 2019

What do all those letters mean anyway? The alphabet spaghetti canicross challenge





Diplomas and more…

In pretty much any area of life you’ll find people offering to certify you in the skill of your choice. And now with the internet, the sky really is the limit – did you know you can become a fully fledged minister of religion over the web?

Sometimes the courses are really great, full of information and up to date, based on practical experience + good research.

But sometimes the “course” is brief, shallow, and taught by people who may not have much more knowledge than you. What you’re really paying for is a shiny certificate, logo or badge.

Learning anything takes time. We need repetition, feedback and careful coaching. Because “natural talent” is really just a combination of excellent teaching and grit. (Don’t believe me, read “The Talent Code” by Daniel Coyle)

Does that mean that accreditation doesn’t matter?

Heck no!

IF the standard is high and rigorously assessed, then some kind of external qualification can be a great way to identify potentially good teachers.

But shiny certificates in themselves are not enough…nor is “having dogs all your life”!

If you want to learn how to teach assistance tasks to your dog, start practicing a new hobby like canicross or even get help with a serious behaviour problem, then here’s who I think you should be looking for as a tutor:
  • someone with practical AND theoretical knowledge gained over several months/years 
  • who updates their learning regularly with carefully chosen CPD 
  • that puts their learning into practice with their own dogs as well yours 
  • who has comprehensive insurance and good working practices 

So on that basis. why do I think I’m “qualified” to teach canicross?

It’s a fair question to ask, in fact I wish more people did ask!
  • Over 10 years practical experience in trail running and canicrossing with my own dogs from 5 k up to 55 mile ultra distances. 
  • Prior to that I was a hillwalker in Scotland. 
  • Experienced dog trainer working with a range of breeds, and able to adapt methods accordingly – it’s not just about running forward and hoping your dog gets the idea! 
  • Experienced remedial massage therapist and bodyworker (humans and dogs) used to performing movement assessment – helps when advising on technique and equipment fitting 
  • Attending advanced canicross technique and training courses at least once per year plus completed the Sport England Leadership in Running Fitness course 

So, when we’re next thinking about signing up to a course, let’s make sure we do our “due diligence” as the Americans would say.

Check out the trainer’s experience, qualifications and just how much do they “walk their talk”…

None of this usually comes cheap.

But it’s always worth paying for expert tuition - just make sure it really is coming from an expert!

We’re going to be hosting a joint seminar (evening) and some half day workshops with our favourite veterinary physiotherapist very soon.

These sessions will offer in-depth expertise and research based advice on how to create strong physical foundations for active dogs.

And I can’t wait to see you there! 

Happy trails and even happier tails 

Morag and the beasts

#beautyandthebeast #GWP #ultracollie 

What’s on for local canicrossers?

Introduction to Canicross Workshop: Sunday 27th January

Expert kit fitting, basic skills tuition and a short guided run to put it all into practice!
Wigginton near York 

Book Intro Workshop

Drop-in Canicross classes: Tuesday evenings at 7pm around York

Next class is 22 Jan in Wheldrake Woods - headtorch essential

See class locations and book your space here:

Physical Foundations for Active Dogs: Evening seminar

(rearranged to Thurs 7th Feb following illness)

This seminar will take you through the basics of warm up versus cool down routines, sport specific considerations plus key skills to teach your dog so that physiotherapy can be quick and effective.

with Hannah Michael (Theakston Physiotherapy Services Ltd) BSc (Hons) Physiotherapy, MSc Veterinary Physiotherapy, ACPAT (Category A)

and Morag Heirs (Well Connected Canine Ltd & Yorkshire Cani-sports) PhD, Clinical Animal Behaviourist, Canine Massage & Acupressure Therapist, UltraCaniCrosser

Book Seminar Place


Social CaniRun every Sunday at 8.30am, Allerthorpe Woods (free)

Currently we’re at Allerthorpe Woods to avoid the worst of the mud. Join us for a 5k loop over varied terrain, and the option to run an extra loop for bonus fun at the end!
Download directions, route map and gpx file here

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