Monday, 24 September 2018

Resources for canicrossers (requested by our Sept workshop attendees)

Two more successful canicross workshops done - but it was super hard work for me and Laura since we were running dogless *arrrgh*

A wee selection of pictures from our hard working teams:

A few folk were asking for resources and links so here they are....

Want to repeat a workshop, or move up a level? We never repeat the Improvers sessions exactly so you're guaranteed to come away having learned something new every time!

Sunday 25th November
  • 10am Intro Workshop
  • 2pm Improvers Workshop

Tuesday 16th October, 7pm
You DON'T have to be super fit or running far to join in, but you WILL need a headtorch!

Book individual weeks, or grab the whole block and use this code COMMITEDCANI-X to get one session free!

Renting Kit for Classes: we are exploring options to allow you to borrow/hire kit for classes if you don't yet have your own! £5 per class, or £10 per week to take it home. If the kit is returned damaged you would have to pay for full replacement.

Location (postcode)
Skills focus
Week 1
16th Oct
Heslington YO10 5EW
basics & running in the dark
Week 2
23rd Oct
Wheldrake Woods YO19 6BG
trail technique & passing
Week 3
30th Oct
Huntington YO32 9RE
consistent pulling
Week 4
6th Nov
Welburn Woods YO60 7ED
hill techniques
Week 5
13th Nov
Knavesmire YO23 1EX
race protocols, start line and sprints
Week 6
20th Nov
Heslington YO10 5EW
Commands, directions
Week 7
27th Nov
Wheldrake Woods YO19 6BG
Technique and directions on narrow trails
Week 8
4th Dec
Huntington YO32 9RE
Pace changes and building speed
Week 9
11th Dec
Clifton Ings (Rawcliffe Bar Park & Ride) YO30 5XZ
Consistency and pacing
Week 10
18th Dec
Knavesmire YO23 1EX
Mock race!

Other resources

Running vests/packs we have used and loved, but there are lots to choose from! Kalenji is a decent low cost brand to check out too.
  • Ultimate Direction PB ADVENTURE VEST 3.0
  • UltrAspire Backpack/Race Vest: Omega

Poo bag carriers -Dicky Bags!
lots of colours and sizes to choose from

Usually the best place to buy kit online is K9TrailTime

Dalby Canicross race 28th October

Canine physio therapist
Hannah Theakston - we love her! 

Our Yorkshire Canisports FaceBook group

Thursday, 20 September 2018

Confession - conversion rates make me giddy (Love Your Business)

Conversion rates make me giddy

Really they do. And I’m okay if that makes me sound even more weird than normal *grins*

Do you know how many initial contacts from potential clients turn into actual paid work for you? I mean email enquiries, phone calls, FB messages, random texts and the like.

Not just what does it feel like.

But what are the numbers?

How many enquiries did you deal with last month? How many of those paid for one of your services?

“Conversion rates” sound like suspicious marketing language, but they’re the life blood of your business especially in the early days.

Here’s an example of what we track in my behaviour business to calculate our conversions:

  • # initial enquiries sent screening info (email, phone, text, FB etc) & followed up
  • # enquires that pass screening, sent application form
  • # phone consults booked
  • # behaviour packages booked

We’ve been transitioning to a new accounting package since April 2018 and back dating a lot of our information too. This has given us a whole year of really detailed accounts – not just totals and figures that mean stuff to my accountant.

Combining the information on our income and expenditure for the “behaviour” workstream with the data we’ve collected on conversion rates means we can accurately predict how many (paid) initial phone consults we need per month to give us the right number of behaviour package clients!

I am unbearably excited about this!

No more guessing and estimating.

No more taking on too much work just in case, or too little work because of a false feeling of security because we were super busy one month.

Cold, hard, reliable data.

Today’s thought for you – do you track any of this data right now? It might be enquiries versus puppy class bookings, it doesn’t have to be about behaviour cases.

And if you don’t track it, could you start today. Just a simple excel spreadsheet would do. We can worry about complicated Customer Relation Management programmes later!

Happy number crunching....


UltraCaniCrosser, Firewalker, Clinical Animal Behaviourist

Next webinar

There’s a wee break in the schedule partly because I’m going on holiday – yep, taking my own advice and going away for a few days! Conveniently it coincides with our quarterly shutdown week when we stop taking on new clients and just catch up with ourselves, bliss.

Thursday 11th October – Gotta Love the Tech

We’ll be exploring how you can use technology to streamline your business processes, follow-up more regularly with your clients and work remotely to save on travel time among other ideas.

No tech experience is needed to attend!

Accessing the recordings for longer

I’ve had several requests from people who haven’t been able to finish listening to the recordings within the 30-day limit. And I appreciate that you are working hard to manage your own work/life balance!

So, I’m going to compile the recordings and extra resources for all of the webinars into one online space. I just need to work out the details, and it means if you missed signing up for any webinars then you can add them on too.

This won’t be available until the end of December at the earliest so please do try and catch up with the recorded versions in the meantime.

Tuesday, 18 September 2018

Why you SHOULD start canicross BEFORE you get fit

“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!

Want to get more active with your dog?

Saturday 22nd September (York)
  • 10am Introduction to Canicross – dedicated individual kit fitting and checking, teaching the basic skills and learning to work as a team. Ideal for dogs 1 year and older, humans do not yet need to be running fast or far.
  • Book Intro Workshop

  • 2pm Improvers workshop – building your core skills, practicing race starts, passing on the trail and simple drills to build your fitness.
  • Book Improver Workshop

Weekly Canicross Classes (York) from October 16th

Starting from Tuesday October 16th, a 10 week course designed to develop your canicross techniques, build on your teamwork and challenge you and your dog in a range of different environments.
  • Either book individual sessions OR
  • Book all 10 sessions and use this code COMMITEDCANI-X to get one session free!
Pre-requisites: Have completed an Introduction to Canicross workshop.  Participants who have not done so MUST book and attend for week 1

Book Canicross classes

But what if your heart longs for something more?


Wouldn’t you love to go on a really big adventure with your best friend?

Even if you don’t fancy racing in a big event, or trying to complete an ultra, there’s nothing more glorious than the freedom of plotting a route on the map then running it together.


Don’t let the guidebooks and groups runs restrict you to well-known routes.

Feel the fear of running in a new place, and take control!

Come on our Adventure Challenge and broaden your canicross horizons.

Saturday 13th October at the Yorkshire Cycle Hub (£120/person & up to 2 dogs)

  • 8.30am registration
  • Morning – Attend clinic with a max of 4 people, take a coffee break and then swop round
  • Navigation Clinic / Canicross Running Clinic
  • Lunch
  • Afternoon – Find and run the route with your team mate and collect the stamps! You’ll have a choice of two route lengths (short 4ish miles, long 8ish miles)

Get Adventurous with Canicross
Your trainers
Morag Heirs – experienced canicrosser and ultra runner, hillwalker, remedial & sports massage therapist for both humans and dogs.
Laura Tucker – experienced canicrosser, hillwalker and route finder. Formerly a Ranger for North York Moors National Park.

Happy Running

UltraCanicrosser, Firewalker, Clinical Animal Behaviourist

Local'ish races and events

Dalby Canicross
Sunday 28th October

K9 Karnage 5K
Sunday 7th October

CaniX races
Saturday, September 22  Hamsterley Forest CaniX
Sunday, September 23 Hamsterley Forest CaniX

*if you know of any events please let us know and we'd be happy to promote them!

Get focused, get help! (even professional dog trainers need this)

Even when you’re a dog trainer, it helps to have a plan and a second pair of eyes to check it over. 

This Sunday Clare and I swapped some brain time to help each other out, and used the 12 Week Year model to design training plans for our own dogs.

In case I haven’t already raved at you about this model, in brief here’s how it works: 

Principles of the 12 Week Year as adapted for Behaviour Modification/Training

Look at the big picture, what’s your vision for the future? Why does it matter, anchor that vision in a positive emotion. This might be a long term aspirational vision

Now get specific – what will this look like in three years?

And break it down further – what would be a stretch but doable goal within 12 weeks?

  • Specific, measurable
  • Positive statement
  • Realistic but still requires effort
  • Set accountability and measure your actions

What are the “tactics” that will get you to achieve this goal? These will become the actions we put into a plan. Some will be one-off activities, others will be repeating. For behaviour change we’re often looking at frequent repeated sessions.

Build these into the 12 week plan – what needs to happen every week, how often, when, where etc. Deadlines and due dates. This isn’t about measuring success so much as tracking implementation!

Discuss what actions are likely to be most challenging, where might the blocks appear and what strategies can we use to overcome them.

(and yes, Clare does tend to call these “Morag years”)

What we're working on:
Clare is working with Scout so he can accept and enjoy more handling and husbandry with other people.

I’m working on Laird choosing to give stuff up, and coming away from disgusting things BEFORE he eats them. I know, you’re really surprised to read that right?!

So we’ve set our big focus – the thing we really want to be different, and talked about why it’s important for both us and our dogs.

Then we broke it down into the component parts. What are the small pieces that make up the big picture? How often do we need to practice each thing? How will we know when to move forwards?

Here’s an example of how I use the model for myself and my dogs – this record sheet was from earlier in the year when Freya was learning to love the van again. I had targets each day to meet.

The joy of the 12 Week Year model is that it pushes you into setting concrete tasks, and regularly implementing them. 

We’re not judging our progress based on results (we can’t control those). Instead we’re focused on regularly doing the important tasks, and making those targets.

There’s planned review time each week (are we on track, what’s been difficult this week, what do we need to change for next week), and at the end of the “12 Week Year”. Take a break, celebrate, and then do it all again!

Let me know if you decide to try it for yourself, and there’s some great resources in the book itself too.

Have a good week!

Morag and the beasts

What’s going on in WCC Land from October?

Baby Come Back and Stay By My Side!

Our 3 week intensive classes working on JUST recall OR loose lead walking) have been super popular!  We’ve now added dates for the rest of the year with new blocks starting October 8th, then Oct 29th and Nov 26th (only TWO places available per course)

Not sure if it's the course for you - message me :-)

Get Fit With Your Dog!

Dark nights don’t have to mean boring walks or leaving your dog at home while you head to the gym. Why not try Canicross – running with your dog – to work on your fitness and teamwork. 
You DON’T need to be a runner, or particularly fit to start with! In fact it’s often better to start before you get super fit.

Tuesday evening classes from 16th October (7pm), we can fit and lend you the kit. Small groups with two qualified running coaches and fitness appropriate sessions around York.

Book a couple of sessions now to try it out (newbies MUST book week 1 or discuss with us) 
OR book the whole block using coupon COMMITEDCANI-X to get one session free!