Pregnancy and agility – from a physiotherapy perspective

Bonny’s last blog both humbled and inspired me. In fact having had the honour of being close to her through out her pregnancy has had the same effect. It hasn’t been an easy ride for her. I thought it might be a good to follow on from Bonny’s blog and consider pregnancy from a physiotherapy perspective. Now this is not my area of specialism and I bow to other Physio’s who have far greater knowledge on this subject area but I think I can run through the basics for a start that may be useful for folk. There are some key physiological things that happen to a woman’s body when she is pregnant. Most obviously the tummy gets bigger and... Read More

Being a Pregnant Agility Handler

I’m over 36 weeks pregnant. My baby is due to pop out pretty soon now. I thought I’d share my experience of being a pregnant agility handler so far – because it’s been absolutely nothing like I expected, and pre-pregnancy I spent a fair bit of time wondering how it would affect my agility. Before I got pregnant, my thinking was that the first couple of months of pregnancy would be pretty straightforward. After all, you’re still the same size and the baby is just a tiny little peanut. How different can it be? Well, it turns out I was completely wrong. Some people experience zero or only minor morning sickness; others get it ... Read More

Hypermobility in dogs – Part 3

Nicky Grant BSc Hons Physiotherapy, MSc Veterinary Physiotherapy, MCSP, ACPAT A, HCPC, RAMP Can agility dogs with hypermobility compete in agility? The answer is not always a straightforward one unfortunately. There are lots of dogs competing in agility that are hypermobile and unfortunately there are also dogs that just can’t manage. I think there are a few factors that guide this. Firstly the severity of the hypermobility. As discussed in the previous blog hypermobility in people is graded using a scoring system out of 9. There is no such system in dogs that I am aware of which makes it much harder to have clear guidelines surroundin... Read More

Impulse Control and Reactivity

Recently I heard about an interesting study. The study went something like this… human participants stared at a computer screen. The screen periodically flashed up a yellow dot. Whenever the yellow dot appeared, the participant had to immediately click a button. Yellow dot… click! Yellow dot… click! But every now and then, a dot of another colour would appear. Then, the participant had to restrain themselves from the instant clicking. The study was being discussed in terms of a potential link between the self-control needed to restrain oneself from clicking when faced with the wrong colour dot, and the self-control needed to avo... Read More

Act the Part

The person I am when I’m training people agility is different to the me that goes out with friends for an evening… We all do this, don’t we? We might not be conscious of it but we all vary the role we play according to our company and context. The you that sits down with your family for Christmas dinner will speak and behave a bit differently to you in your everyday workplace. To take another example, maybe your friends have pointed out that you have a “telephone voice” which doesn’t sound like the voice you use with them… In exactly the same way, the best agility handlers and trainers do not behave in a fixed, rigid... Read More

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