Wednesday, 28 February 2018

Why you don’t need to get fit before starting canicross

“I’m really sorry, I wanted to be on week 5 of my couch to 5k before I came on the workshop but I’ve just not been able to get all my training in….”

So many newbies who want to try canicross tell me they’re worried about not being fit enough for their dog.

I won’t lie and tell you that it doesn’t hurt less if you have a decent base level of fitness, because it does help.

BUT if you are a super fit runner already, it’s going to be harder for you to work at your dog’s pace.

Canicross really is more than going for a run with your dog attached to a lead.

It’s about learning to work together as a team so when the running harness goes on, your dog understands their job is to get up front and put some effort in.

We teach teamwork in short focused bursts at first. Then we look at consistency, pacing and endurance.

If your sprint start is so fast the bungee is going slack, your dog isn’t going to understand the game!

I often find it’s easier to help the humans build up speed rather than run slower to match their dog.
Working in harness, and running at human speed is a new skill set for your dog, and it uses their muscles in different ways too.

So being unfit, out of condition, overweight, or whatever you want to call it isn’t a good enough reason to delay starting to canicross with your dog!

Even if you only run them in harness for part of each training session, and let your dog free run for the rest it’s a good start.

Want to get more active with your dog? Check out our new Yorkshire workshops:

**Solo Canicross Sessions** (suitable for reactive dogs, or anyone wanting 1:1 coaching on their technique) Saturday 22nd April (Shipton by Beningbrough)

Book Solo Canicross Session

**Introduction to Canicross** (group session) Saturday 22nd April (Shipton by Beningbrough)

Book Intro to Canicross (group)

**NEW** full day Canicross workshop Saturday April 7th April
  • Morning: group running sessions working on pacing and consistency. Groups will split by running fitness so all welcome (Beningbrough Hall)
  • Afternoon: warm-up/cool-down and stretching safely for canicross (Shipton by Beningbrough)
Dogs will be required to settle quietly crated in the hall OR your vehicle in the afternoon
BOOK HERE (max 8 places):

Where you can find us racing:

and I'm just waiting for confirmation on the next Dalby canicross dates!

Happy Running!

UltraCanicross runner & Firewalker
Well Connected Canine

PS  Save the date for Canicross Adventures, a full day workshop in the North York Moors on 19th May 2018 - booking will open soon!

PPS if you want to make sure you find out first about workshops, events and races in the North Yorks area, plus training tips please sign up to our new mailing list: Show form

Sounds to make your heart sing

*creak, creak*

Maybe it’s just me, but I love the creaking, scrunching sound that snow makes under feet and paws.

Snow days (and weeks) can be tiresome, cold, difficult and downright dangerous.

But they’re also pretty magical.

Suddenly the same walk takes on a new appearance.

There’s buried snow hides for the girls to sniff out, and seasonal parkour opportunities.

The collie girls always seem extra energised when we have snow on a walk, as though all the smells are different.

Freya spends as much time as possible upside down (while also trying to eat the snow!).

And Bronte collects snowflakes in her ear feathers *swoon*

Taking the time to explore a local walk in different weather conditions can be super rewarding, and much safer than trying to travel too.

I hope you’re managing to enjoy the snow, and don’t forget to wash the salty grit from fluffy paws after pavement walks.

*creak, creak*
Morag and the Collie Girls

PS If your dog is SCARED of sounds, noises, bangs and more why not come along to our Noise Fears and Phobia seminar on Monday 26th March. Starts 7pm at the University of York, Heslington East.

We’ll look at what noise fears are and practical steps you can start taking to help your dog, plus we have a live case dog to work with.

Book Noise Fears Seminar


Wednesday, 21 February 2018

New Year be damned! What's your training resolution?

Did you set a new year's dog training resolution last month? How is it going..... For most people (hopefully not you!) we set huge goals in January, don't write them down and by February we've forgotten what the plan was.

The problem is that saying you will have do something "this year" is very vague. And it gives you months and months to do it.

So it never really gets done.

One of my wonderful clients (hi Laura) has been making amazing progress with her challenging and adorable lurcher Roman this year. 
Her secret?

We talked through what her most important goals were and why they mattered. We picked ONE to focus on for the next 12 weeks (there's plenty of year left for the other goals). Our big focus right now is helping Roman to travel

We broke down the goal into all the essential stages, and Laura wrote a plan that meant she would work on those training tasks regularly every week.

My big vision:
For Roman to be calm and confident on car journeys of varying lengths, including vet trips or classes. For us all to be able to go out together for trips and visits.

Three Key Goals that will help me work towards the vision, and are achievable within 12 weeks
1. For Roman to be able to travel longer distances in the car, without getting anxious and to be more relaxed about visiting new places.
2. For Roman to be less anxious about going to and being handled by Vet.
3. For Roman to be more settled in the car on his own.

What actions do I need to take to help achieve these goals?

  • Relaxation Protocol to help Roman relax on mat and give him a purpose in new places
  • Introduce new drives and increase length
  • Take different routes on drives to and from walks
  • partner and I to get out of car on drives and increase time and distance from car
  • Relaxation Protocol in the car
  • Outside Relaxation Protocol after a drive
  • Regular drives to vet, then getting out in car park, then going in to reception without treatment

An online weekly diary plus regular Skype calls keeps them on track, and lets us adjust the plan as needed.

Result - Laura and Roman have already achieved more in the last 5 weeks than they did in 6 months last year. And they didn't start until 19th January!

I can't wait to see them both at a Rehab Club so we can make progress on the next big goal - how Roman copes around other dogs.

If you're working with us for training or behaviour, we can help you set those goals and work towards them consistently - just book a Skype call with Morag or Clare.

What's happening in WCC world?
It's been another amazing week at WCC and I just can't fit everything into one post. So you can find out more in the links!

If you want to have more fun with your dog, don't forget to sign up for Sian's Parkour workshop on Sunday 25th March . You can apply for a place HERE  If you have applied don't worry, we're working our way through them all and will be in touch asap!