Hypermobility in dogs – part 2

Nicky Grant BSc Hons Physiotherapy, MSc Veterinary Physiotherapy, MSCP, HCPC, ACPAT A, RAMP Welcome to part 2 of the hypermobility blog :) If you are new to Win Agility and you haven't read part 1 I would suggest having a read of that and then coming back to join us in part 2. So we've talked about the physiology of hypermobility, the key points being that the ligaments around the joints are stretchier allowing more movement in a joint than normal. We can't change the ligaments, we can't change how stretchy they are or the physiological make up of the ligaments. We also can't consciously control ligaments, we can't get them to contract an... Read More

Hypermobility in dogs

Nicky Grant BSc Hons Physiotherapy, MSc Veterinary Physiotherapy, MCSP, ACPAT A, HCPC, RAMP We've all seen those dogs on the agility course that have these amazing jump styles, huge hind limb extension and loads of flexibility through the weaves. But have you ever stopped to think what allows this flexibility and also whether it is always a good thing. One of the things that may be going on in this situation is that the dog may be hypermobile. Hyper mobility is well documented in people; it can be tested and measured using a scoring system called the Beighton score. It is a score out of 9 and looks at different joints throughout the b... Read More

Tunnels Curved ‘the Wrong Way’

Does anyone else wince a bit when they see the kind of course design shown in the picture? I’m focusing here on number 12: tunnels with the arc the ‘wrong’ way for the lead the dog will be on as he enters the tunnel. The sequence I've used in the image is one I have made up. I’m not picking on any particular judge or focusing on any particular competition – this scenario seems to be very popular across lots of judges and organisations at the moment, both nationally and internationally. I can’t help but shudder a bit when I see it on courses. You see - assuming the tunnel is more than about 3 metres in length, and the handl... Read More

Flexibility and mobility – why it is crucial for agility handlers

By Nicky Grant BSc Hons Physiotherapy, MSc Veterinary Physiotherapy, MSCP, ACPAT A, HCPC, RAMP Flexibility is the ability of your muscles to lengthen appropriately to allow a joint, or a combination of joints to move through their full range of movement. Mobility is the joints ability to move through the available range. The joint need to be healthy to do this and some conditions such as arthritis may reduce the available range within a joint. Why is it important to us as agility handlers? Well firstly, we need to run, and run fast! Lets look at the ankle joint and the calf muscles dur... Read More

Crazy for Tugging, Part 2

This is continued from part 1, which you can read here. There is a time to work on tug play with your dog; but there is also a time to listen to what your dog is telling you… Why do I hardly ever train or compete one of my own dogs for a tug toy… when I can do so…? Well the thing is, although this dog really enjoys tugging it’s not her FAVOURITE thing. No. Her favourite thing in the world is snaffling tasty treats. Finding that out involved listening to her – to who she is as a dog. It meant not expecting her favourite thing to be a tug toy because my other dog’s is, or ... Read More

What could change within everyday British agility to facilitate GB partnerships competing abroad?

Phew! What a weekend of top-quality international agility. Some sensational runs under pressure by many outstanding partnerships from around the world. Wow! I love competing at the EOs above all else, and now I own 2 pedigree pups, one day I look forward to joining in the AWC fun. (Although I can’t help but hope that eventually there will be an equal competition alongside AWC open only to non-pedigrees – with an emphasis on rescue dogs.) But let’s get straight to the point of this blog… looking at what critical factors could contribute towards Great Britain being ever more competitive on the international stage. 3 notes... Read More

Slow and square – why we should care

Nicky Grant BSc Hons Physiotherapy, MSc Veterinary Physiotherapy, HCPC, MCSP, ACPAT A , RAMP Agility, the ability to move quickly and easily, that’s what the dictionary tells me when I look the word agility up. Agility dogs have to accelerate, decelerate, turn on the flat, turn in the air, during take off and landing and be able to adapt to the cues we are giving them and not always at the optimum times! There are multiple times on a course when our dogs will have a single foot on the floor during take off or landing, often whilst turning. This takes incredible balance, strength and coordination to manage this stress on the bo... Read More

Crazy for Tugging

Don’t fall off your chairs, but I don’t train or compete one of my dogs for a tug toy. I know – Shock, horror! According to most of what I read and hear about agility much of the time, the implication is that a dog who doesn’t tug is (and I better whisper here…) “not a proper agility dog” and “not going to be successful.” People spend massive amounts of time and energy and money and ingenuity on getting their dogs to tug and often get very upset if their dog doesn’t adore tugging always – sometimes feeling a little bit like they’ve acquired a dud. I have trained people with dogs in their last couple of com... Read More

To stretch or not to stretch?

By Nicky Grant BSc Hons Physiotherapy, MSc Veterinary Physiotherapy, MCSP, HCPC, ACPAT A, RAMP Warming up is a key part of any athlete’s performance, it has been shown to optimise performance and help reduce injury. Stretching is a key part of any warm up program, but do we feel confident when to use static stretching and when to use dynamic stretching, Lets run through the key concepts. So why do we warm up at all, what effects are we having on the body? • Increase core and body temperature • Increase the temperature of muscles which improves the elasticity of the collagen fibres within the muscles • Increases heart rate ... Read More

Cloudy, Dark Agility Days – Part 2, by Bonny Quick

This blog is a continuation from Part 1, which you can read here. Every now and then when I’m training someone, I realise that the thing that’s really blocking them from improving is their attitude. Often that is characterised by them avoiding situations where they consider a ‘failure’ might occur, because they are afraid of the self-inflicted consequences. Our attitude can make us unable to benefit and grow from going ‘wrong,’ unable to laugh in the face of our errors instead of crumble – because we are too busy inflicting mental self-h... Read More