Saturday, March 31, 2007


Weight control...

When Agility training is 'out of season' it is vital to keep your dogs well exercised, supple, and fed according to the amount of work they do... otherwise they will put on weight. [Bit like us, really! Though our main downfall is WHAT we eat and drink, not the amounts. But that's another whole different story.]

Long walks do them good if the weather is kind, and doing heelwork to music can be a wonderful way of keeping them supple, even if you can only fit in a few moves in a small room.

As for feeding just don't over-do it! Easy to say, not so easy to do... especially if your dog is an inveterate scavenger with eyes to melt the stoniest heart!

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Thursday, March 29, 2007


Agility Equipment... training and clubs

I loved the following quote which was in an e-mail contact from Affordable Agility... "Life is like have to take it one obstacle at a time"

And an obstacle which is still uppermost in many peoples minds is... "how much does agility cost"?

I made a post on costs on March 21st... further to that, is that you learn the basics and then want to do some training yourself.

What about the following suggestions and questions?

Do you have room, either yourself, or with a like-minded friend, to set up a club if the travel distances are a problem?

Would you prefer just to have a few informal obstacles for your own use?

Travelling can be an inconvenience.

'When' your nearest club trains can be inconvenient.

Maybe you want to do a little bit of training, either on a specific obstacle, or general training to improve your standards between club meetings.

If you decide that you can, in whatever way, practice between club meetings then having some quality equipment... and at an affordable price, then the following website will be able to help. At the very least you will get some ideas...

So, to buy your own agility equipment, I recommed Affordable Agility! It's awesome. You must check it out. CLICK HERE to go directly to their website at... Affordable Agility


Adopt a Homeless Dog

2006-01-13 - Adopted Mutt Finds Perfect Home, Takes Extreme Vertical Championship

Another reason to adopt a homeless dog: the chance he'll earn $30,000 this year as a dock dog.

Dock dogs compete in an agility contest, running and leaping from a platform into water. Whichever pooch gets the biggest air, wins.

And Colby, a dobie/lab mix rescued by a young college student four years ago, turns out to be the Michael Jordan of dogs.

To find more information about Colby and his owner, plus loads of useful hints and tips... Click Here!

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Wednesday, March 28, 2007


Re-homing, the Dogs Trust, and the Underdog Show

The Dogs Trust is in partnership with 'The Underdog Show' and you can check out their website for help, advice, and information [the information section is fascinating] at the link [above].

All the dogs on the show have been chosen from the Dogs Trust charity, to represent the wide range of rescue dogs available across the UK. At the end of each weeks show, there will be an opportunity for viewers to re-home a rescue dog.

The show [details of which are in a previous post] started out with the following participants Anton du Beke & Ginger, Clive Anderson & Albert, Huey Morgan & Casper, Julia Sawalha & Cookie, Kirsty Gallacher & Bruno, Mishal Husain & Robson, Selina Scott & Chump, Theo Paphitis & Claudia.

The first show saw Theo & Claudia out... and Theo chose to adopt Claudia, and take her home. The show last night saw Kirsty and Bruno out... and Kirsty has also chosen to adopt Bruno, who is only 8 months old.

The eventual winner must train intensively, connect with their dog... I love the way Anton & Ginger connect, they may not be the best at doing the set tasks, but they have great fun together! They will also need a comprehensive understanding of dog psychology, most importantly, remember all the rules, and survive under the scrutiny of three professional judges and an endlessly ticking clock!

Last night saw the following obstacles and tasks... the rigid tunnel, a series of jumps, the weave, a distance recall, a rollover, and a further trick to finish.

Great entertainment... yet a serious reminder of how many dogs there are who need re-homing!

If only people would think BEFORE they get a dog in the first place... and would take the training process seriously, then not so many dogs would be put into this sad position.

For more training information, just check out our recommended links.

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Tuesday, March 27, 2007


Pet food recall... check that the food you have in your cupboard is safe for YOUR dog

Massive Pet Food Recall

Menu Foods has issued a large-scale recall of their "cuts and gravy"-style canned pet food, due to reports of renal failure in pets that consume this food. For a complete list of the brands affected, and more information, please check out the Menu Foods website.

I found the information at the following website, so to check for further details and other useful info just visit About dogs

[This is a current problem and more information has come to light within the last few days.]

I am adding this post to all my 'doggy' blogs in order that as many people as possible know of the problem. Do let all your friends know too!

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Sunday, March 25, 2007


Animal rescue... please do your bit

Help wanted, please

No dog agility training post today, just a plea on all my blogs for you to visit the BUKEA Horoscopes page then go to the Animal Rescue graphic, then just below that there is an article I would love you to read. Then, if you haven't already clicked on the Animal Rescue site button for today, please do it.

We have been dealing with a rescue case recently which was most distressing... for both a little girl and the 5 year old dog... what I wouldn't like seeing done to the callous male in the case!

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Saturday, March 24, 2007


Tips and Warnings... for ALL dog lovers

The following article has just been published on Flyball Dogs and the safety issues which it raises need to be brought to the attention of as many dog owners as possible... many, many, owners throw sticks for their pets - without realising the problems this can cause... actually more problems than I have raised here. That is why I recommend that everyone does further research!

The article follows:-

"Agility dogs are always full of energy, and in many cases need more than just a 'walk' to keep them occupied and interested.

It is always beneficial if they have somewhere where they can be let 'loose' safely for a romp... and it is equally good to be able to go with other like-minded 'doggy' people and dogs... so that the dogs can all play together.

Please make safety your first and top consideration... vets bills can be steep for a moment of inattention... and this is without mentioning the attendant anguish.

Just a couple of tips or rather warnings here...

1) If you buy toys to keep your pet occupied, please make sure they are appropriate for your size and type of dog.If you have a very large breed small balls - even medium sized ones - can become stuck in your dogs throat. If unsure of appropriateness for your pet... get professional advice.

2) Never, ever, ever, let your dog play with sticks. Some dogs chew them and get splinters of wood down their throats, some get larger pieces. Some pieces will get stuck in your dogs mouth, or throat, others will be swallowed and cause problems in your dogs stomach.

Ask a vet, research this fully.

It is a frequent problem in some veterinary practices... and vets have been known to have to do operations on poorly pets only to find pieces of wood of up to 9" long in their stomachs."

Thursday, March 22, 2007


The Underdog Show... Agility for novice handlers with rescue dogs

What will be of most interest to Agility Training enthusiasts is the standard which can be achieved by novice handlers with rescue animals under the tutelage of professional trainers.

These novices had, after only three weeks of training together, to do an Agility Course which had some jumps, a special marked spot for a sit, and a sit and stay, a Dog Walk, and a Cloth Tunnel; plus they had to go around a barrel and wave to the judges!

I have added the post which follows to my Puppy Training Secrets blog and then to my Secrets of Dog Training blog. Hopefully, by adding this article to more blogs, more people will see it and be able to watch the show and see just what can be achieved with a little proper training.

Incidentally, some of the celebrities knew virtually nothing about dogs and one was actually scared of them before they agreed to do this show!

The Puppy Training Secrets article now follows:-

"New to TV in the UK this week [Tuesday] was the Underdog Show... the first of six programs.

The format for the show was to partner eight celebrities with a rescue dog and to partner each celebrity and their dog with a professional trainer. Then they had three weeks of training to get their dogs to do an agility type course. Three judges gave marks to each pair... their combined mark made up half the total vote... the public were encouraged to vote for their favorite, the money raised by the phone vote going to Children in Need.

Julian Clary and his dog Valerie fronted the show. What was on offer was a delightful hour for dog lovers and then the results show was another half-hour later in the evening, which included a display by Mary Ray with her dogs dancing to music... totally brilliant!

The dog which comes last, after combining both judges and public votes, at the end of each show is eliminated... last night it was the Afghan and Theo from 'Dragon's Den' who were eliminated... but there was a happy ending for the dog as he chose to adopt it and take it home!

The dogs who progress to the last show will be expected to do some dancing to music.

The dog which was placed last by the judges was really only a puppy... just eight months old... I think it was a bit much to expect it to concentrate for the full amount of time allotted especially with so many distractions of audience, lights, noise, etcetera.

But in reality I thought it did brilliantly. It just shows what can be achieved in such a short space of time with proper training of both dog and handler.

If you can, make a date in your diary to watch The Underdog Show next Tuesday!

And if you are looking for training books, courses, or videos... just check our left-hand margin for the very best in training! Don't forget to check the FREE video at the Dove Cresswell link... your dog will love the training it offers."

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Wednesday, March 21, 2007


How much does dog agility training cost?

This is a question which I have heard asked frequently.

The answer is, I'm afraid, "how long is a piece of string"?

It is totally dependent upon many factors - have you got a club which is local to you - is it the best club for you - do they use training methods you approve of - has anyone recommended them to you - if your preferred club is a long distance from your home, will travelling be practical?

Travelling costs need to be taken into account, as well as pet insurance, plus memberships and fees per session/meeting for training.

What I can say as a general rough estimate... in the USA registration will cost in the region of $50, with 3-month memberships about the same price, or somewhere around $125 for a yearly membership.

In the UK pricing is extremely flexible, some will charge around £40 for a years membership in total, others will charge a registration of somewhere in the region of £10 with approximately £2 per session being their going rate. And of course you have to add travelling costs... and do make sure your pet is insured and registered.

The following web addresses should prove useful...

Agility - Clubs UK ... this page gives an extremely comprehensive list of clubs, with lots of club information, which includes pricing in many cases.

Alphabetical list of Clubs, USA ... No pricing included, but e-mail addresses for contact are included.

Home build agility obstacles ... some ideas for creating obstacles for use at home.

[One tip which could prove useful if you don't want to stick anything into your lawned area for weave poles... use sink plungers.]

One further word of warning... clubs only take on obedient dogs... so why not try one of our recommended training courses to brush up on obedience before you apply... see our left-hand margin. These courses are simply the best of the best!

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Tuesday, March 20, 2007


Has your dog ever said to you... I'm BORED?

I am offering the same advice here for all Dog Agility Training dogs and owners as I have just posted to our Flyball Dogs blog. After all, both blogs deal with dogs who are keen to do something, to be 'on the go' from morning to night.

There are many misconceptions regarding breeds and what amount of mental and physical stimulation they require. And more needs to be done to educate potential owners in regard to which breed they take on and which may suit their lifestyle... or are they willing to change their lifestyle to suit their pet?

Hopefully the 'Discover Dogs' section at Crufts did manage to educate at least some potential owners. If people did more research before taking on a dog, perhaps so many would not be in need of re-homing.

The quoted article from 'Flyball Dogs' follows...

"If you have a period of the year when agility training is not taking place, then it is wise to try to find something to keep your dogs mind occupied and his or her body fully exercised. The alternative is a bored dog who will find mischief... or mischief will find him or her!

Agility is for dogs who are energetic and fun loving... lying on the sofa in luxurious idleness is not for them!

Dove Cresswells training may well help them, why not click the link on the left-hand margin, then listen and watch the FREE video... perhaps learning a few new tricks may occupy your flyball dogs mind?

Another idea which you could practice at home would be dancing/heelwork to music... to this end some of the 'tricks' from the video [mentioned in the previous paragraph] could be incorporated into your routine... who knows, you may have a dancing star in the making!"

Monday, March 19, 2007


Why, and what, should you know about gastric tortion?

Gastric tortion is, thankfully, not that common a problem. But then forewarned is forearmed, and the more people who understand the symptoms and causes, the more dogs can be saved by prompt action.

If your dog is fed at a level which eliminates the need for it to bend down to eat, then proper digestion and a comfortable eating posture for dogs [and cats too] can be maintained. Eating when bent over helps make dogs gulp their food. In the process, the dogs swallow more air. An elevated pet feeder helps ease the swallowing of food.

Swallowing an increased amount of air can result in a condition called gastric tortion or bloat. This happens most commonly in large breeds of dog, and is life-threatening. Some vets recommend elevated feeders for dogs susceptible to bloat.

Bloat is usually the result of eating too fast. The dog's stomach fills with gas or fluid, causing gastric dilation or gastric tortion. Always make sure your dog has a period of REST after a feed. Vigorous activity, running, jumping, etcetera, immediately after food, can cause the stomach to swell and rotate.

As well as feeding at the optimum height another tip, which should help avoid bloat, is feeding small meals instead of one large meal a day. Feed at least twice a day, up to four meals daily... just divide the amount for the day into the number of meals you choose to feed. We have found four small meals, spread out over the day, suits the delicate digestion of our rescue dog best.

Excess salivation and retching, abdominal distention, restlessnesss and agitation, weakness, lethargy, a rapid heart rate - are all symptoms of bloat. If your dog exhibits any of these symptoms after eating, even mild ones, seek immediate vet care, day or night. Though bloat is usually associated with large deep-chested breeds, smaller dogs can also become victims.

You will find that feeding at a raised level will be more comfortable for arthritic or senior pets too. If eating is uncomfortable, some pets may be inclined to eat less and so may not fulfil all their necessary nutritional needs.

If you think a raised feeder may not be strong enough for your particular dog breed, just improvise, even put the feeder on an old chair, or make a wooden box and put 'retainers' round the sides.

You might find raised feeders suitable for your pet at one of our recommended pet stores... just use the links on the left.

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Friday, March 16, 2007



Is there anyone out there who has experience of using a magnetic collar with their dogs? Either for epilepsy, fits, or arthritis.

We are just starting to use one for Loki, our Ridgeback... but I would love to hear other input on the subject. If it works, is successful and helpful, I shall begin to recommend the usage of one.

A trial and results from one dog is hardly a fair study though! And I don't want to be accused of being like many 'experts' who are guilty of using studies in the way described below...

I loved this quote from Dr. Andrew Shao "a pre-determined conclusion in search of a method to support it." It was used about a review of various studies on additive use [they only used those studies which supported their point of view] then came out with a review which claimed to prove their predetermined opinions.

Thursday, March 15, 2007


How can YOU help animals?

If your particular breed has a breed rescue trust see if you can help there, even by just visiting and assessing dogs which need re-homing you are helping animals. It is extremely sad to see but it has to be done.

With more and more family breakups some extremely sad cases exist which make you wonder at the state of 'human nature', well some parts of it, anyway. Some people have the money to waste to fight in court for custody of the family dog... whilst others are left as paupers with young children to look after and not enough money to keep their beloved pet.

So, how can you help animals... just do what you can, please!

I expect most of my readers will have heard of this already... but I wanted to just mention it, in case there is anyone out there who can help too, once they know how to!

If you want the answer to the query posed in our title 'How can YOU help animals?' Then there is a simple way, which won't cost you anything apart from a few seconds, in which you can help animals in need... just click the link to The Animal Rescue Site.

Your daily click will help fund food for the increasing number of animals having to be looked after in rescue homes.

If you decide to shop through the website too, that will give even more... they have a wonderful selection of items, many of which are individually made. So if you are looking for a gift which not only does good, but also, is different, individual and reasonably priced this could be the ideal place to look.

Having purchased many different items from them I know the value... there is clothing, jewellery, pottery, even fair trade food items... some items are available in the USA only, but many are available internationally.

Give it a try... you might find the ideal gift for that person who has everything!

Wednesday, March 14, 2007


Victoria Stilwell... 'It's Me or The Dog'

Whilst Crufts is still fresh in the memory of most dog lovers... on TV in the UK we are being treated to another really informative show by Victoria Stilwell of 'It's Me or the Dog' fame. This time some extremely unlikely pooches were being trained for Crufts.

The problems featured in the show were:- a hyperactive dog. A dog who refused to have anyone anywhere near its mouth... a problem for showing! The third dog had no official pedigree so was unable to attend the breed part of the show, but was 'renowned' for its addiction to food! Boredom can be a problem for some dogs. So the idea was for it to do dancing to music... and it performed brilliantly. Maybe future programs will feature Agility or Flyball!

All three dogs showed remarkable progress and the owners were extremely happy with the difference in their dogs.

A small note... if your dog is hyperactive... first look at the food they are fed! [I'm sure that is the problem with most kids too... the food they eat and the junk they drink... but we won't get into that subject!]

The dancing/heelwork to music has been the real eye-opener at Crufts this time with the popularity vastly increasing... and when you can see what can be achieved in such a short amount of time, I'm sure it can only get bigger, and bigger. You basically need a dog which is food motivated... aren't they all? Well there are a few exceptions, but with professional tuition there must be a way round this problem.

For more information on heelwork to music visit your National Kennel Club website... the UK site has an extremely interesting and informative article on 'heelwork to music' and there are also many useful links. It also stresses that if you want to progress in the 'sport' you should consider doing 'Obedience' FIRST. [Somewhere within our blogs you WILL find National Kennel Club addresses!]

[Remember to check out Victoria Stilwells book below to sort out ANY obedience problems you may have.] Another web address you may find interesting is Victoria ... here you will find an actual transcript of a webchat with Victoria Stilwell... amongst the interesting topics covered were... dogs jumping up, socialization, destructive behaviour, and recalling your dog.

If you are looking for informational videos and Mary Ray, try the following web address...Agility Net.

Now for a link to the brilliant book by Victoria Stilwell... armed with this book, you, too, could be performing miracles of training...

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Tuesday, March 13, 2007


Introducing our preferred Agility Equipment Supplier

The following is a quote from the HOME PAGE of the agility equipment supplier we are introducing here...

"Affordable Agility, is proud to present dog agility obstacles that are portable, AFFORDABLE, and in stock for immediate shipping! Tunnels, chutes, weave poles, etc., and lots of unique obstacles not found anywhere! We work hard to find the best materials at the lowest prices to make it affordable for everyone to have fun and succeed at the dog sport that is sweeping the nation!"

I think the above sums up their attitude well. I just hate the 'take it or leave it' attitude some websites seem to exude... I want to feel welcome and a valued potential customer.

Click Here
to visit Affordable Agility

Again I absolutely loved the quote featured below... these are the sort of people I want to deal with!

"Affordable Agility
, Inc. will jump through hoops for you! One of our friendly sales associates is available to answer your questions from 8am-5pm, M-F EST. Or leave a message after hours and we'll get back to you!"

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Monday, March 12, 2007


Was Crufts TV coverage magic for you?

Did you find the BBC 2 TV coverage of Crufts magic? Or did it go down a bit like a damp squib?

I have been reading the messageboard... closed now I'm afraid... on the website at and found comments very varied.

A Tibetan Terrier called Fabulous Willy won Best in Show. Depending on your preference for a particular breed, coat type, or size of dog you will be pleased, not pleased, or distinctly underwhelmed! [As usual my preferred breed was completely ignored... the judges just don't understand their character!]

As far as Agility and Flyball [even obedience] were concerned I thought the coverage extremely sparse. What annoyed me most was the few seconds devoted to the Junior handlers... Magic won junior agility for the third time... but this was just gabbled through in seconds.

What encouragement is this for the youngsters in the sport? I did e-mail the website with comment on this... I think next year I shall begin an e-mail campaign on the first day for more coverage on Agility and Flyball, the juniors in particular, and less of the presenters waffle. Anyone want to join me for a concerted effort?

Many people on the messageboard left comments on the fact that there was insufficient content [in the TV coverage] on things other than the breed and group judging... and far too much heard from the 'experts'!

And whilst I'm on the moan... we have quite a large screen TV, but I found the camera work on Mary Ray and her dancing dogs rather annoying as she and the dogs looked like dots when the camera was panned out... due to the dark background.

Sunday, March 11, 2007


Are you looking forward to Dog Agility at Crufts today?

I have been reading some of the messages on the messageboard... it seems I am not the only one to think that there is far too much talk from the 'experts' and far too little coverage of events, other than the breed and group judging. The shopping by Matt Baker seemed to be a waste of time to me too. Also I agreed that the coverage of the junior Agility was extremely poor... just a cursory mention of who had won!

We don't all have a 'red' button for further coverage... often the red button is the off switch!

Let us hope for better coverage for the senior event... though it does seem particularly inept not to encourage the young handlers with more coverage.

When youngsters are getting involved in something constructive which will mould their characters, give them an abiding interest, and a love and respect for animals... it should not be glossed over as a last minute item.

Friday, March 2, 2007


Nearest dog agility club?

Once you have seen how exciting dog agility training is... you will, perhaps, be inspired to at least see if you and your pet could enjoy this fascinating sport.

With Crufts in the offing, and extra coverage each successive year, more and more people tune in the TV to watch agility, flyball, obedience, and all the other fascinating extra items. Interest is such that quite often we lose interest in 'the main event'... once our favorite breed has been eliminated... and our fascination is held by the 'extras' far more than 'the main event'!

Questions I often hear are "where is my nearest dog agility club?" or "where can I find out more about agility?" or even "would my dog be able to do agility?"

There are basically two options open to those who are looking for their nearest dog agility club...

1. Check around your local dog walkers and doggy friends and see if any of them have any useful information.

2. Check at your National Kennel Club. As was mentioned in a previous post, their websites are all arranged differently, but SOMEWHERE within each site you will find a list of clubs which are registered with them.

[If there is nothing suitably close to where you live... ask what further help they could give... demonstrations, etcetera... or they might help with the setting up of a new club.]

I am adding the list of National Kennel Clubs again here... for your convenience...

The Kennel Club, UK

The Kennel Club America

Australian Kennel Club

The Canadian Kennel Club

Irish Kennel Club

The Kennel Club Italy

Swedish Kennel Club

List of National Kennel Clubs... some of which are not included in the above links.

Thursday, March 1, 2007


What do YOU expect from a good pet store?

Have you got a good, helpful, and convenient pet store which is local to you? Does it stock everything you need for your pet? If not I have the ideal solution...

I am delighted with the two stores I am about the recommend! One based in the UK, which also supplies goods to Europe. The other based in the USA.

I will review each store separately, with the United Kingdom [and Europe] store first... NB: Both stores stock a good book on 'Dog Agility'...

PetPlanet is a veritable Alladin's Cave of high quality supplies for your pet.

It stocks goods for Dogs, Cats, Rabbits, Fish, Guinea Pigs and Hamsters and other small animals. But, not only does it stock an outstanding range of 'basics', it also has many extras, a Petplanet Clearance Department,
a household and clothing items area, books and multimedia, plus some delightful gardening items which really took my fancy.

The selection is far superior to any other store I found online... I was particularly checking out good quality dog beds and found their selection fantastic.

Add to all this a particularly good Breed Profile section, and an Insurance section which gives you all the information you'll need to make an informed choice on which policy would best suit you and your pet, and a delivery promise you surely couldn't beat.

Check it out for first class service, and read their complaints and return and refund policy statements... see how committed they are to complete customer satisfaction. You could save a lot of time and money whilst getting the best for your pet. - All Your Dog Needs In One Easy Online Shop

All Your Dog Needs In One Easy Online Shop
is the USA store I'm recommending, a quote from their website states... "We believe that the customer is higher than the dollar, and it shows in our stellar customer service and everyday low prices." So you know that customer care is at the top of their agenda. was built up on the idea of delivering only top quality supplies at fantastic prices. Over 10,000 Dog Supply Products. Order Today for Huge Savings!

Yes, you did read that correctly! It did say over 10,000 DOG supply products at their store... they also cater for cats, and have separate websites for horses, birds, ferrets and fish!

Delivery is free for orders over $49 and their price protection promise is unbeatable... check it out at the store!

Add to this first-class service, a comprehensive selection of premium goods... everything your pets could need... and you have the ideal online shopping experience for both you, and your pet.

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