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Agility Refocus

Gill : 25 January 2011 1:00 am : Agility, Events

Week one of the Lee Gibson Agility Workshops saw a heat wave hitting Cape Town with temperatures in the upper thirties. Despite these extreme conditions, our doggies made us proud, as always, and worked really well . The atmosphere at all the workshops was fantastic with everyone really excited and eager for new agility tips. There was something for everyone from those with puppies to the advanced handlers.

Advanced Course

Advanced Course - Lee, Kath and Penny

Before I forget, a big thank you to Lee and Kath for rescheduling the private lessons that where arranged for midday on the Wednesday. They where moved to early Thursday when we could train before the heat set it.

Lee spent ten days in Cape Town and then headed off to Port Elizabeth for the weekend and on to Johanneburg from where he’ll be heading home on the 27th . Back to temperatures in the minuses! Thankfully the weather was kinder during the second half of the workshops.

Lee is a good communicator and explained everything really well. Non-agility people will probably be thinking, what’s to explain? I know. It looks like you’re just running around with your dog but there are loads of handling skills and tips that help you finish the course more quickly and more accurately.

We get into a routine in life and often we end up going through the motions. The workshops and the people involved made me think again. Agility is a bit like computer programming. Think then do.

Our dogs are so in tune with us and respond to our body language as well as our moods and voice commands. So often, we can’t understand why we aren’t getting the required result and it’s usually because we’re doing something we’re not aware of resulting in our signals being inconsistent.

Daks has taught me such a lot. At one stage, he’d stand on the start line and ‘refuse to run’. Eventually …. eventually …. the penny dropped ! He was waiting for a specific hand signal to accompany his release command ‘Go’. I hadn’t even realised I was giving a hand signal. So, my boy whom I’d decided was incredibly stubborn, was actually just waiting for me to give him what he perceived to be his release command – Go and the hand signal. Together. Besides being bred as an independant thinker, my boy has the added challenge of being my first agility dog. I’m sure he has lots more to teach me.

Daks At Training - Doing Gridwork

Workshops like these are wonderful because they remind us to be consistent in our handling and to pay attention to our body positioning. Sometimes the simplest thing like changing the direction your shoulders are facing makes all the difference. We also often forget to view the agility course from our dogs perspectiveWhat’s in their field of vision is very different from what we see from our handling position. Add to that the angle from our added height, simply because we walk on two legs, and the course can look very different indeed. We need to give our dogs the benefit of the doubt.

They’ll always do their best and we should take the time to review a course after we’ve run it to see where we can improve our handling and minimise confusion. We expect our dogs undivided attention when training and they deserve the same from us.

Conditioned Gridwork

Conditioned Gridwork - Kathy and Jinja

If our handling is consistent and our instructions are clear, our dogs know what’s expected and they can attack the course with confidence and speed. Most importantly, they can relax and enjoy their run instead of wondering what we might want next. By informing our dogs timeously of what’s coming next, they can also adjust their stride accordingly enabling them to compete safely without risk of injury.

Like lots of things in life, the more you learn the more you realise there is to learn. Beware, if the agility bug bites, it bites!

Photo Credits: Gill

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Dog Dayz Of Summer

Gill : 10 December 2010 1:00 am : Events, Special Occasions, Videos

After a long, hot and draining week I was about to finish writing a post for tomorrow when I spotted this. Right away, the post I had in mind was shelved in favour of this cool, feel-good video clip.

Traditionally the “Dog Days Of Summer” are the hottest days of summer. When they occur differs vastly from place to place. The saying is also used to denote a period or event that is dull or lacking in progress. In ancient times they believed that Sirius, the Dog Star, was responsible for the heat because of it’s proximity to the sun and that’s where the name originated.

These Dog Dayz are completely different. Cool, fun, refreshing and anything but dull. Every year, the people of Boulder, Colorado, hold the Dog Dayz event. The Scott Carpenter Pool is opened up to the canine population and the dogs are allowed to swim, dive and have fun for a few days at the end of summer.

What a great idea! I can just picture them all pitching up at Newland’s pool. I somehow felt more relaxed and contented after I’d watched this.

Video by Cliff Grassmick

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A Nice Warm Feeling

Gill : 29 November 2010 8:47 am : Articles, Events, The Kennel

On Saturday we were asked to take part in an agility demonstration at a charity event. Adopt-A-Pet was having an adoptathon at the Cape Handler’s Dog Club at Theo Marais Park. Normally events like this are incredibly sad but this was so different.The day started off with the agility demonstration.

Java Flying Through The Weave Poles

There was also a display of heelwork to music by the Cape Handler’s Dog Club obedience members.

Heelwork To Music

The cats and kittens up for adoption where in the club house and the dogs where paraded out on the field. They all had special collars for the occassion. The boys wore blue bandanas and the girls had pink one’s. If it wasn’t for this and for the fact that the volunteers had their Adopt-A-Pet Tshirts on, you wouldn’t have been able to tell that they were rescue dogs. They looked like dogs out for the day with their owners.

This Beautiful Boy Needs A Home

The dogs were incredibly well cared for and obviously loved by their caregivers. Adopt-A-Pet is a pro-life organisation. They don’t turn any animals away and ensure that they are healed either physically or emotionally so they can be adopted and fit in with their new families. Besides veterinary care, Tellington Touch is also used to provide relief to those suffering from stress and nervous disorders. Reactive dogs are given special attention to help them feel safe and secure.

I was also pleased to hear that when dogs arrive together, they are placed together ensuring that they don’t suffer yet another loss. We heard from a few people who have adopted pets from them and they had high praise for the organisation. Home inspections are thorough and there is support for the new owners after the adoption process.

One Of Two Brothers

The Inseperable Sibling

The staff and volunteers of Adopt-A-Pet take the dogs on outings to the beach and for walks ensuring not only that the dogs lives are enriched but also that they are familiar with society. It’s obvious that all the people involved enjoy and are proud of what they do. Just looking at the dogs reinforces this.

I applaud Adopt-A-Pet for the work they do and hope they will continue to receive the support necessary so they can continue for many years.

On a personal note, I won the draw for the book “Getting in TTouch with Your Dog” by Linda Tellington-Jones.

I’d just bought it from the TTouch practitioner, Debbie Conradie, so we put it back into the draw. And now I’m thinking, I must really have been meant to have this book! Can’t wait to read it.

Getting in Touch with Your Dog: An Easy, Gentle Way to Better Health and Behavior

Getting in TTouch with Your Dog How to Understand and Influence Behaviour, Personality and Health.

An exciting new book exclusively for dog owners, trainers, breeders, and veterinarians from the renowned creator of the Tellington TTouch Method.

You can order it from
Was R161.95 Now R137.66

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International Handler’s Workshop – Final Programme

Gill : 12 November 2010 8:10 am : Agility, Events

We’ve just received the final programme for the Lee Gibson Workshop

International Workshop – Lee Gibson – Final Program

Related Post: International Handler’s Workshops – Agility

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International Handler’s Workshops – Agility

Gill : 11 November 2010 7:31 am : Agility, Announcements, Events

Ann and Toni with Gugs and Penny

Reunion Workshop

Lee Gibson

Reunion Workshop - Treat Time!

In March this year Kath from Jump Agility Dogs brought Toni Dawkins and Ann Harmes out from the UK to do some agility workshops in Cape Town. This was arranged to coincide with SADAA Western Province Regional Trials so the most people possible could benefit. The workshops were a great success and inspired everyone to up their game and try new techniques.

A reunion workshop was organised in September so we could go over what we’d learnt and how we’d applied what we learnt at the workshops. It was held in the indoor horse arena at SARDA (South African Riding For The Disabled) in Constantia. SARDA is also where the home of Jump Agility Dogs can be found.

We ended up being very grateful for the indoor environment as the wind came up and the rain started coming down.

The good news is that we can look forward to another visitor from the UK in January 2011. This time it’s Lee Gibson and he’ll be visiting Cape Town, Port Elizabeth and Johannesburg. Details still need to be confirmed but be sure to keep some time available in January if you’d like to attend.

To find out more about Lee you can visit his website Lee Gibson Training.

The flyer advertising the workshop is available to download for your convenience International Handler Workshop – Lee Gibson

Happy training!

Related Post: International Handler’s Workshop – Final Programme

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Support The SPCA Wiggle Waggle Walkathon

Gill : 5 November 2010 7:38 am : Events

Kathy and Jinja

Kath and Penny

Romy and Smartie

Kathy and Jinja walk for PAT

I can’t believe it’s that time of the year already. It’s seems like just the other day we gathered at the School of Maths, Science and Technology in Tokai to support the SPCA Wiggle Waggle Walkathon. This year it takes place on the 28th November and we’d like to thank Royal Canin for helping to make this possible.

Last year the event was special for us because Kath from Jump Agility Dogs was approached to arrange an Agility Demonstration at the start. We headed off nice and early with all our paraphenalia. Going out to an agility event is like packing for a day at the beach. Everything goes with!

We had great fun running our dogs and there was a wonderful atmosphere. When we had finished the demo, many of the walkers tried their hand over some of the jumps and through the tunnels with their dogs. It was really nice to interact with the spectators and share some of our sport with them.

After the agility demonstration, Kathy and Jinja joined the walk in support of Pets As Therapy (PAT).

So, for all you doggy lovers out there, the good news is that it’s only R30 per 2 legged entrant and R20 for the 4 legged ones. Also, to make our lives even easier, pre-entry is available from the SPCA web site.

You can register for the Wiggle Waggle Walkathon here.

After the event we’ll create a space where you can upload YOUR Wiggle Waggle photos. The best ones will be published on our blog.

Photo Credit: Kathy

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Come Join Us – Dog Jumping Demo – 6th November

Gill : 29 October 2010 5:00 am : Events

Every year the Western Province Dog Jumping Committee organises a Dog Jumping Demo at the Milnerton Primary School Fun Fair and Fete. Last year the demo was cancelled and the fete moved indoors due to horrid weather so we’re holding thumbs for Saturday 6th November.

Most agility people start competing at demo’s because the atmosphere is relaxed and it’s so much fun. Everyone is in a holiday mood.  Another thing that’s really great about demos for spectators is that there is usually a knowledgable person doing a commentary while the dogs run the course. This means that you’re sure to go away knowing more than you knew when you arrived. That just has to be a good feeling!

My boy and I had been doing agility training since September 2008 and so, the year before last, I thought “Hmm, we’re doing okay. So off we went, our first demo. Whoohoo! My Mom and Dad were here on holiday and came along to see my clever boy perform.

As you know, my boy is a beagle. A hound. A scent hound. Oops. Do you know how many smells there are at a school fete? Well, maybe you do. But I didn’t! I could never have imagined so many distractions.

We started off okay. Well …. sort of okay …. I guess? And then, shock and horror, he headed off to under the grandstand to investigate a coke can and a chocolate wrapper! The crowd loved him, my smile magnet doing what he did best, clowning around.

Here’s a photo of him just before his great detour.

Beagle Agility Demo

I like to think we’ve improved in the last 2 years. Why not join us at the demo?  Grab some lunch, have a laugh and, who knows, maybe get back to us to find out where you can start training your dog

Photo Credit : Melody

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Don’t Miss! The World of Dogs and Cats – Cape Town 2010

Admin : 26 October 2010 8:18 pm : Events

For those of you that haven’t come across WODAC before, this is something not to be missed. Capetonians are fortunate that WODAC – World of Dogs and Cats – will be taking place right here in 2010. We’re so excited!

I’ll definately be block booking these dates! Friday 19th November until Sunday 21st November at the Good Hope Centre. It starts at 10h00 daily and continues until 18h00. There is so much to choose from,  I don’t know where to begin.

For confirmed dog enthusiasts, I can already see us running around trying to fit everything in! It’s also the perfect place to go if you are contemplating getting a dog and would like to find out which breed will suit you, your environment and your lifestyle. Not forgetting our little rescues, there are so many available and they make loving and rewarding companions.

If you’re new to the doggy world and aren’t sure what some of the disciplines entail, this is the perfect time to get a glimpse of what these amazing animals are capable of and to speak to some of the people involved. Agility, Dog Jumping, Flyball, Dog-dancing, Carting, Sledding, Breed, Obedience … the list goes on and on.

High on the list of ‘must-sees‘ is the 60 pole weave challenge. The weave poles in standard agility and dog jumping competitions consist of 12 poles. To ask the dog to do 60 and have them deliver faultlessly is amazing. Ok, so I’m digressing and giving too many details. Check out this video and see if you can possibly not go.

Be sure to make some time to see the cats, horses, birds, reptiles and snakes ……… after you’ve checked out the dogs of course.

Take note that only animals taking part and competing will be allowed at the venue.

Visit for more information and that essential programme of events

P.S. Don’t forget to come back and tell us what you enjoyed most at the show!

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