Monday, 25 June 2018

and BANG went your chances of a confident agility dog

You're guiding your dog around an agility course.

Your dog is having great fun jumping over the fences, and weaving down the exciting obstacles. 

Then BANG! 

The seesaw slams and as your dog jumps off it at an awkward angle, it bounces up and catches their leg.

You carry on, but the next time you cue them to go on the seesaw your dog slows right down. 

Then they refuse to get back on. 

The more you ask, the more your dog backs away until they don't even want to come to class any more.

Accidents do happen, but...

Accidents happen in agility, dogs are moving quickly through a course and they can fall, slip or knock into things. 

Agility can all look very impressive, but look more closely. 

  • Is the dog being bribed by food or pulled over the equipment by the lead? 
  • Are they gaining confidence? 
  • Are they actually learning what to do?

 ·     These techniques might mean that the dog gets to play on the agility equipment sooner, but is it worth it?

In my opinion no! 

Luring a dog over equipment can often be unsafe, the dog follows the food and then suddenly realises they are too high and panics

Rushing to get your dog over jumps and weaving as soon as you can may not be good for them physically.

The dog hasn’t had time to build up their confidence through choice and a clear understanding of what they are doing.

So what can you do to make sure this doesn’t happen to you and your dog?

Build Strong Foundations!

Foundations help to build confidence and resilience.

They provide you and your dog with a clear understanding of what is expected
And they give the dog a strong history of safety and fun (making the seesaw bang = lots of good stuff happens)

When you and your dog are more physically prepared, it can reduce the risk of injury

Find a great trainer

If you think you’d like to try agility with your dog find a trainer who offers a foundation class.

You may be disappointed you can’t go on the exciting equipment straight away but we promise your dog will thank you for it in the long run!

This week’s blog was written by Clare, our qualified agility coach. You can find out more about her agility classes here:

Want to sign up for Agility Foundations with us? This is the last time this class will run in 2018 and we start on Monday 16th July at Yorkshire Museum of Farming.

Open to WCC clients and anyone who has successfully completed a pre-class assessment

 From learning the basics (Jo and Raven learning contacts)
 To working as a team (even with a deaf dog!)
  And coming 4th out of a huge 50 dogs at one of their first competitions (Rachael and Skye)

Saturday Rehab, Sunshine and Success

Hey folks! We had a glorious rehab on Saturday (since we were fundraising on Sunday for our local RSPCA) and there was some amazing progress!

Highlights that might be worth thinking about for everyone

- impulse control games so your dog learns to automatically check with you BEFORE doing the thing

- collar grab and move exercise, so your dog has positive feelings about an emergency grab if you need to move him away from a situation.

I'll pop the handouts into the files section on our secret FB group, and emails will go out shortly to the attendees.

Just for fun, I've added a picture of the two new recruits to rehab club practicing their play skills....

Wednesday, 13 June 2018

Changing the world, and paying taxes

I really do want to change the world, one relationship at a time.

And Well Connected Canine getting bigger is one way that I can help more people and more dogs.

It’s been a super exciting year already with a new venue, new classes and some new trainers joining the team too. We’re running practical interviews for class assistants this week (eleven of you want to help!) and you’ll see more new products in the class shop.

But as a larger company we have more responsibilities and that now includes being VAT registered.

Sadly the tax system isn’t very well designed for little businesses like us that provide services to people like you. We’re absorbing the increases in tax as much as we can, but sometimes our prices will have to go up.

I firmly believe that awesome relationships are built on honest communication, and careful support.

That’s as true for you and your dogs, as it is for my amazing team of trainers and behaviourists.

I don’t pay your dogs, or my dogs peanuts, and I don’t pay my lovely staff peanuts either.

I want everyone who works with you and me to feel rested, be able to take holidays, and give you their absolute best in every session.

So, some of our classes and workshops may cost a little more thanks largely to the government.

As a socialist at heart, I’m okay with paying tax. And I’m really excited that we’re big enough to need to pay VAT even though it stings a bit!

Thank you so much for trusting us with your dogs’ education and development. And thank you for helping to make WCC a bigger, happier company.

Classes are one of the things that have had to go up in cost. You know we keep the numbers really low (4-6 dogs attending) and we like to have at least one trainer plus an assistant for the sessions. We want you to get personalised attention, targeted feedback and see steady progress!

If you are interested in booking onto the Summer block of classes starting in July, go here:

If you are an experienced handler attending one of the Progressions classes at the moment but might miss sessions when you are on holiday, you can ask Laura about Pay As You Go (for the advanced classes only).

With slightly tender bruises (thanks to Laird + head collisions), less sleep than is ideal (emergency spey for Freya) but excited for the future


Here's how the bruises were looking earlier this week!