Canine warm-up workshop- why bother with warming up our dogs.

No automatic alt text available.Another busy day for Laferra and I. This time we attended a canine warm-up workshop with Lisa Cleeton, who is known well in Edinburgh area as a Veterinary Physiotherapist. I was really looking forward to it, to learn a bit more for warm-up but also once again put Laferra in a new situation with other dogs and people around and make her only focus on me so I could focus on her muscles.

 

Muscles

When you think about warm-up for the dog, think about warm-up for yourself. It is an exactly same thing: your body needs to warm up too if you are planning to walk. In general it is good to start warm-up your dog with at least 10min walk on a lead. Depends what sport you are doing there are different things to do, but for us for canicross time to focus on every single muscle. Lisa talked us through every single muscle for running, and I didn’t even know that Laferra has so many muscles. Eventually, when we will become the pro it will take us around 5 minutes, to warm-up all the muscles. We started from the muscles on her head and neck, you would never think that dog uses his head a lot for running right? I was surprised as I rub my dogs muscles before runs, but never thought that the neck and head or even a spine muscles ones are important too. Interesteing point was about ribs muscles! Now I will be checking those muscles, as if they feel a bit harder, that means dog needs rest as it worked hard (for example: day after race or any competition).

Why do the warm- up?

Pretty much it helps to warm-up not just muscles but also ligaments, tendons and muscles.

  • Ligaments: if they lengthen- they are damaged!
  • Tendons are more prone to rupture if a muscle has a spasm in it.
  • Muscles in spasm are “trapped” in contraction.

Lisa talked us why we really should do warm-up, mainly to avoid:

  • muscle tears
  • tendon strains or ruptures
  • ligament sprains
  • lengthen stride length
  • improve performance

Sometime ago I started doing a walk before races around for dogs to be able to do the toilet and then just rub their muscles on front and back legs. Every time I did it, Laferra’s performed much better.

What’s the best warm-up

Better do something than nothing at all. Usually, at least 5-10 minutes walk on a lead, even if you are just planning to let your dog off lead in woods. As the dogs get mostly injured while on that silly walks, running around. In our case, after walk, it is good to rub their muscles. Lisa talked us through all the important muscles on the dogs, simple rub would take even just 5 min. Sometimes we just stand to wait for our start time around that time, it looks like perfect time, to start rub those muscles just before the start. Not just the legs ones, but also the one on the neck, spine or even ribs muscles. Lisa also showed us how to stretch the dogs, but I could probably do that during the training, just too much distraction and hyper dogs around during races. I would keep stretching after runs, as the muscles must be warm-up first for it.

What does warming up means?

  • It brings more blood into the muscles.
  • This preps them ready for action.
  • Ensures joints are ready to move throughout their full range.

Summary

Even a silly walk and running around could injury your dogs. I will definitely find at least 20 minutes before each training and race for making sure my dogs are ready to perform. It is the same idea as us humans getting warm-up for any activities, you need to make sure the blood is there!

If you wanna learn your dogs’ muscles, I would defo recommend go and see sports physio. Lisa showed a lot of muscles that I didn’t even think they are there! (that sausage muscles on front legs! :)) and it looks like Laferra has more muscles than I thought she had.

Overall another great experience for Lafie, to be around the dogs, and other people. She allowed Lisa to touch her and was a really good example of a dog. Once again I know she is great for going with me to any workshops to help me develop better knowledge. We will be back to Lisa in June for some checks before our big races at TDM in French Alps in August. For now, we are practising rubbing all the muscles! Both dogs love it.

Refrences: Lisa Cleeton.

 

Busy is a choice, stress is a choice, joy is a choice, choose well.

Weekends are meant to be full of fun and running, right? We were back to Callendar Country Park and Vogrie Country Park.

Saturday

I always look forward to the weekend, actually I live with the thought that soon there will be the weekend. I have always my weekends free so it means a lot of adventures. Saturday weather wasn’t nice, and my dogs aren’t a big fan of rain. Not the greatest choice of the country to live in.

Falkirk Parkrun is great and quite challenging with hills. People say only one heartbreak hill, but the whole route is up and down. Dog-friendly and when asking if we can start to the front they always allow us as they know it is for the best. I like that a lot, which means we can just fire away from everyone and then pace ourselves nicely with only a few overtaking us.

Laferra loves the starts, she is buzzing to go and really run clean. After not training much I thought this will be a massive challenge, but she ran really well, and not many could overtake us on the first mile. We have finished 12th overall, which means we are progressing and our time is more consistent now. It seems last few weeks we keep 5km easily under 21 min. Time to push a bit more now.

It is great to see photos after the event, as you can really see how much she enjoys it (me not so much!).

Cake and coffee time

Afterwards, we went for a nice walk with friends to Canada Woods, which I know quite well from MTB riding there. Canada Wood is a five-minute drive from the town centre situated in the rural countryside of Falkirk and boasts beautiful panoramic views towards the Ochil hills. Nice surroundings with woody paths, dogs just love it. You can do a short loop or longer loop. Therefore there are many paths to explore and you pass a lot of farmland, so if your dogs are like Roger The Chaser, I would keep them on leads. Luckily the sun came out so it was great to enjoy it. After a good walk, all the “humans” deserved the coffee right?! Canada Woods Kitchen serves anything you would want from nice breakfast up to great cakes and coffee. The great thing about this place is that it is dog-friendly so you can have furry baby with you inside. As it was sunny, we have decided to sit outside. Nice staff brought us our orders outside, which I like too as some places expect you to wait inside for taking your own order outside. I have checked the website and it doesn’t say it is dog-friendly, but it defo is. I think I had the best fruit scone ever.

Sunday fun

We were back to Vogrie Country Park. There are 11.5 miles of signed countryside paths through woodlands and the Tyne Valley.

After rainy and sunny Saturday, I didn’t expect a snow at all. We arrived there and there was at least an inch of snow. I had a great walk with Roger.

I think his feet were freezing as he was running around me on a lead. He is a funny boy!

Celebration

Two years ago I went to Vogrie Country Park and had a blast at my first canicross with Cani-Sports Edinburgh with Roger. I have decided to be back in February and celebrate my 2 years in the sport by running. Being a part of the Akobe TAM Marathon community, Laferra and I ran her first 6 miles, her longest run at only 19months old. Oh, Laferra pulled all the way around. We had a blast stopping talking to walkers, stopping for cuddles and talking to other runners. I had a blast on this sunny frozen Sunday! Great 1-2-1 with my girl to have just fun canicrossing, no pressure of racing (we did want she wanted and whenever she wanted)! We have collected our Titch medal  

Weekend

During one weekend we had any kind of weather, what a great fun! Love that kind of weekends, when we can do whatever we want. It is great to live in Edinburgh as within only 20-30min drive you get to very pretty places. After all that I had two very happy and tired dogs. In four days we are heading to Thetford Forest for 2nd round British National Championship. I am super excited.

 

 

 

Storm Challenge- Team AKobE Marathon Community- my wee story

I have no idea, what I have thought but I have signed for Storm Challenge that was organised by AKobe Tam Marathon boss David Parry.

About the challenge

Quote from Team AKobe Marathon community:

To earn yours then run or walk 5k a day for 7 consecutive days within 6 months of receipt of your medal. You can do this solo or by canicross. No bikes allowed for this challenge.

The only target is to complete the distance each day & to try your best to improve your time each day. There are no time targets just move forward raise your heart rate & sweat a bit & enjoy a wee bit o pain x

So I signed for this in September, so it took me some time to finally start it. Now I know why it took me so long. 5km every sounds like an easy idea?! It wasn’t that easy. Here are my 7 days challenges.

Day 1

Day 1 was very easy, training time with Laferra so we went to our local training area and did two loops in total of 22:25 minute. She was a star and very keen to go. It was very muddy and wet, so I am super chuffed with what we have done.

Day 2

Well Friday is usually my day off any activities, so we took the walking part on board and there I had a thought. Roger hasnt been canicrossing for some time due to harness rubbing his belly. I have decided to try and give Roger a chance to run with Laferra and I off lead (he has zero recall), so literally brilliant idea to exercise and do some training with cheeky monkey. I decided on power walk. 52:13min of total freedom for dogs. I didn’t have a “heart attack” as Roger stayed with us all the time. I like that Laferra always looks after him. It seems to be successful power walk and off lead training for Rogerowski. I was delighted and had hope.

 

Day 3

Our usual training on Saturday is attending a parkrun with Laferra and try our best. Recently my princess became more anxious and started looking behind her when canicrossing. We went to Vogrie Parkrun, as it is very dog-friendly and there is almost zero tarmac. I didn’t get 100% of Laferra, so I needed to push a bit myself on those hills. Even tho it wasn’t really bad time of 20:53. Not superb and I am still desperate for our first sub 20 on non-flat course, but I am glad we do mistakes during training, so I can adjust our training. I want to make sure she feels confident when racing. We will get there.

Day 4

It was very wet and rainy day, but nothing will stop me from having fun with my dogs. Early start and I am super excited to try Roger off lead again. Today decided we will all run. It was going well until going into woods and I see Roger running away and dropping his ball. I stand and wait what happens. Laferra follows Roger, but I use my whistle and she comes back straight away. No sign of Roger so I whistle again and there he is coming back super excited. Well is this Roger’s recall now? I decided we continue our running as I wanted to discover new trails for our training. Oh, wait! Dogs are gone again. I stand and starting to feel frustrating as we were going nowhere with that speed. I call Laferra and decide we go back to car to drop off naughty Roger. Oh, wait Laferra runs back super happy and I see she brings Roger back too. Is that her looking after him and telling him let’s go back?! Anyways I decided I had enough and it was girls time now. She is just amazing off lead, even if I don’t see her for a bit usually max a minute she always comes back. Oh how much fun we had and we discovered amazing trails for bikejor! Hopefully we will try them next week.

Day 5

Unfortunately I have no dog walk today so I decided I will try 5km walk on lead with the dogs, as Laferra doesn’t really know how to walk on a lead, she could easily walk on the street if she could (she has no clue that cars can hit her). Brilliant idea! We walked and walked and walked. OMG I have never thought walking 5km is such a long distance! Do I really run that far?!Oh and how far I need to go around my neighbourhood to really do the 5km! I feel shattered now and hopefully manage those two rascals to be tired too. It was great start to the day and I might continue in future (usual routine is: go to park, let them off lead and I just stand and watch-not much walking for me). I did let them off lead but I kept walking around. The conclusion of the day: Laferra is brilliant off lead, but wow she has no clue about differences between pavement and street.

Day 6

Today was time to discover new trails again. I love to make it excited for my dogs so we go to different locations. It was time for Dechmont Law in West Lothian. What a great run with princess, it supposed to be speed, recover and speed again. However if you train with Louise Mitchell it turns to speed, hills reps and speed run. Totally flat out at the end. We did just over 3 miles, and Laferra was superb. I discovered that when I am flat out she starts to keep looking, so maybe it isn’t really being nervous it is more the kind of look: come on mama let’s go faster?! Oh well who knows. She didn’t look as much so looking forward to see how she behaves at the parkrun on Saturday. Total of 26:24 minutes done.

Day 7

Time for last day of the challenge. It has been long 7 days and very challenging! However we did it! I was super busy all day with organising stuff for our team and maanged a half day off. I never thought it will be so hard to find an hour to actually do full 5km. We did it eventually and used it to check the trails for potential bikejor rides.

Amazing finish to the day and this challenge. I don’t think pups are so keen on the medal tho, but I am super excited one!

 

 

 

Well done Pups.

Love for sled dog sport? Planning new dog?

I presume most of you watch the Dog Power Movie? If not, please watch it. It is only 25 minutes and it is defo worth if you are looking for a dog for the sport.

My story

I have been reading a lot around and hearing a lot of questions from people regarding hounds or greyster which are great breeds and dogs for the sport. I have followed a lot of groups and forums to get to know the breed but let me tell you my story first.

As you may know I started my adventure with canicross in February 2016 with Roger. Great pullying dog. I thought this will be an additional fun hobby we can do together. How wrong I was?! I was so hooked after my first run that I went home and signed for my first race in April 2016. Despite I hated running. Roger loved it and he was very tired that afternoon. Our first race was with CSS in Plean Country Park. It was very challenging and hilly route, but I loved it even more. That time I discovered that it isn’t just canicross that’s there but there are more to this whole crazy thing. Yes, I was hooked and excited. Literally, I was buzzing after talking to so many folks and meet very good athletes. I started doing my research into the sport.

First proper season

I have decided to compete around UK with Roger and see how things look like and where we stand. I discover that a lot of folks have pointers in the sport, but also dogs specially breed for the sport called eurohound or greyster. I always dreamed about having two dogs so I started to think maybe I could get a pointer and be a bit more speedy than just 22 minutes per 5k with Roger.

I started looking for another dog, that I thought could make me faster. I have trained every day so hard to improve my running. In September 2016 I have enquired about pointer puppy in Greece. To make whole story short Laferra arrived to Scotland in October 2016. This was my first experience with a pointer breed. I read a lot about that they are energetic and full beans, but later on I learnt what that really means. As I am qualified behaviorist I was very confident that I will manage no problem. Laferra was only 4.5 months old and not really house-trained. Personally, it was my first puppy that I needed to teach what is the world.

Basic training started from day one, as I really wanted her to be spot on with everything to make my life easier, as Roger being an older rescue is very high demanding (separation anxiety, behavioral problems and reactive). I always knew staffies don’t understand your personal space, but later I have learnt that pointers are even worst. So house-training became and it was smooth, she was one clever girl. On the other hand, she was a nightmare to be left alone or in Roger’s companion. Laferra was loving to chew two things: socks and plastic things. Constantly something was chewed and I started to worry that something might happen to her. I don’t believe in crates and unfortunately, that wasn’t an option (Roger hates crate so he has access to the whole house, so I couldn’t just close Lafie).

Back to basics

I have started saying to myself she is only a puppy so I presume she will grew up from this stupid chewing. Later on I discover others pointers’ owners had the same issues, but dogs grew up from it. Ok she is only a baby. Laferra learnt quickly to do her “business” outside (very quick actually) and her recall was brilliant! I trusted her everywhere and she wasn’t even bothered when she met a horse on our walk one day. I thought fantastic I have a brilliant pet that I can trust being let off lead!

She was growing super fast and Roger loved her more and more. I could see that he liked to have her around. However, every day coming back home there was evidence that she found something and chewed. I gave up on “5min per month” rule and started really making her tired on walks but also playing games like I do with Roger. You can read a bit more here. It started to work, she finally stopped most of the time, but she was growing and being tall she could reach to the places she shouldn’t be even interested in. The kitchen counter got hoovered so many time and I knew Roger was delighted with her being able to reach there as she shared everything with him. I still kept saying to myself she is only a puppy.

However, being a puppy and being a pointer puppy was a bit different. For Laferra one day of me being lazy (meaning not playing a game or proper long-running off lead walk), she literally destroyed things mainly my clothes: lines, necks, zips and so on. She was bored where I was hoping she would sleep.

Old enough for more running

In 2017 I have discovered bikejor so I started training that with Roger, but to get skills I started riding bike on my own. I thought brilliant as Laferra is great off lead I can take her with me and she could get the activities that she needed. She was old enough to start doing it and be my trail dog.

I was learning myself and building up my fitness but Laferra had the best time ever and she could go for a long time. Our rides were minimum of 10 miles every time we went out. I was gutted that Roger couldn’t join us, but tough life if you have a zero recall. Anyways finally princess stopped all the chewing and she was tired sleeping when left alone. You probably want to ask how do I know this? I watched my dogs on camera while at work, just to make sure they are not stressed. The only problem was that I couldn’t ride a bike everyday I needed to do something with Roger too.

Running around

Laferra learnt canicross, being a bikejor dog and pull the scooter around. I always thought Roger was high demanding, but he was tired after 20 minutes training, where Laferra could go again and always tried to play with him at home. I thought she is young so she must have a lot of energy, but at 19 months old now she has even more energy.

My life changed a lot having her, I wake up 4.30-5am to make sure I go out there let them off lead and let them run around before I head to work. Usually, they have a dog walker during the day who takes them for an hour walk which is usually off lead walk and finally in the evening we drive outside Edinburgh to train: canicross, bikejor or scooter, or just me running with Laferra being off lead. Only Friday is my day that I don’t do anything with the dogs in the evenings (well we clean the house, which is great fun with two barking dogs). If one day I am being lazy and ruin the routine I come back to chewed things! And Laferra isn’t a puppy anymore.

Note: Laferra doesn’t understand personal space at all as per below photo ( you wake up to this).

Sled dog sport

I started my story to show you that a pointer changed so much my life as she has so much more energy than Roger or any other dog really. She also made me super busy with making sure she gets rid of this crazy energy.

Now being in the sport for 2 years, I started looking and learning about those “special breeds” for the sport. There are a lot of folks out there with those dogs, a lot of forums and groups on facebook that talks about them. However, I felt it was just talks and people opinions, I wanted to know the truth. As you know I had a brilliant opportunity and qualified to go to the IFSS World Championship in Poland (you can read here about it). I met with so many breeders but also athletes who own those dogs. This trip allowed me to watch the dogs at home (I stayed with few in the same accommodation) but also I could watch them during the big event racing or just sitting at the stake out.

IFSS World Championship gave me the chance to meet so many those pretty puppies but also see those adult dogs in action. They all were fantastic, strong and very keen to run, no matter if it was canicross or four dog team. Fantastic to watch but I thought there must be something more to it. I started talking around and surprisingly people were happy to share their experience. I discovered that those breeds can vary in mix of the breeds they have already and this mix was changing the way dogs behaved. All those breeds are full of energy, and I knew this kind of dog means more than Laferra herself.

On forums and groups you can read how much they destroy and how difficult they are to be left alone in crate. I know different dogs are different, but people told me it is a tough life to own one of those dogs, they really need attention. In case of the greyster they also need some attention as they love being around people. After few discussion I can easily say that those dogs cant be just pet, you need to train them every day. Canicross isn’t enough for them, and also they are that strong that running in a harness isn’t an option for every day training, so you need to do a lot bikejor and scooter- be brave enough as the speed you can go is crazy. Couple athletes in Poland told me that if I ever decided on that kind of dog I will need to make sure I am prepared for life to change (and there was me thinking, Laferra changed my life enough), otherwise this dog will ruin my house no matter if it is greyster or eurohound. A few of those dogs are only one person dogs, so not really a family dogs either. A lot to take on board before you decided about them.

I am not trying to put you off! I just want that people realize that those dogs are pretty and amazing runners, but there is more to just looking pretty athletes! In my case, how would my dog walker cop with having a greyster on a group walk pullying him?! This is just an example. Do your research, it took me a year to collect all the facts until now and I am still learning every day about them. I use the opportunity to go to different events to spend time with those dogs and their owners. I love to get to know them and see how really different they are.

One more thing before you get bored reading this. Those dogs breed for the sport and there are a lot of wonderful breeders with a long waiting list, but to have a confident and super athlete you need to put a lot of effort and train it correctly! What’s the recipe? Noone knows and you can only try and do as I tried with Laferra (I am still learning that recipe!).

I hope you enjoyed this post and have a better idea! I would defo recommend doing your own homework. Laferra is only pointer, no more crazy breeds in there and one day I was thinking Roger is high demanding right?! There are a lot of things to take into consideration when willing to buy a sled dog and bring it to your house.

For now I just focus on Laferra and Roger, They are both great for the sport and I feel it is great progress for me. Starting canicross at 30min with Roger and going down to 22min and with Laferra down to around 19:30min. I think I am on the right track, slow progress and improvment. I have learnt a lot about other breeds for the sport and still have plenty to learn.

 

 

The will to win means nothing without the will to prepare.

This post will be all about training how when and why from my own experience and my own opinion what I would have done differently and why.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The beginning

Let’s say it loud there is no one right recipe for how to teach the dog  how to canicross. There are a lot of  knowledgeable folks there who are happy to share their experience, but there is no right or wrong way. You need to find the way that will work for your dog.

Roger and his start was the easiest job ever! He is a natural puller, harness on, bungee attached and he is off! He is smart cookie so knows the commands very well. Yes, 2 years old dog and he knew very quickly what to do. Roger was just getting better with every training. I knew I could trust him 100% when running.

On the other hand, Laferra was a puppy when she landed on my doorstep. I had no clue what to do and why. I have search internet, talk to folks and really couldn’t find the perfect recipe for training the dog from zero. It was a really good lesson for her. Let’s start from the beginning then.

Puppy training

You look around on youtube, Instagram and facebook and a lot of top athletes from sled dog sport are starting training their puppies at age of 7-8 months. They run them for 0.5-1mile canicross or even bikejor. I felt for Lafie it is too early and I wanted her to be a puppy for as long as possible. Usually, the start time for dogs according to race rules is they need to be 12 months old for canicross and 18months for bikejor and scooter. I have decided to just make her familiar with a harness so she was running off lead with harness on. I also focused my training on 100% recall of lead as I knew I would train her off lead on bike for her fitness and take her up the mountains when I was out with my MTB pals. We did well there, she has 100% recall! I know you think: not a chance. Well, I have tested it with having fox, horse and deer on the way!

Older puppy

I was super excited to finally start working with her, but I haven’t rushed to anything. At 10months old, we started doing power walk with canicross equipment. She was all over the place. Comparing to Roger she was just daft. We continue that even tho it was very frustrating at times as she wasn’t really good at focusing and listening what I tell her. She just wanted to say hi and be best friends with every single dog. I have never tried her with Roger either, and I know some did. It worked for them, pro-dog teaching new dog. In my case, I wanted to make her confident on her own as she is very shy and submissive dog. We just continue the training, she was more interested in birds and stops when she could cuddle with me. It was frustrating every single time. Now I only laugh at it as she is such a baby.

My teenage dog

She turned 12 months and we started doing more during the run, which was much easier than power walking due to that there was less time for her to get distracted. Finally, she started to understand what is this all about. Training was going really great until our first race! Our first race (first race report is here), Laferra thought we will do exactly what we did at training and we will stop for cuddles. Oh! Princess, we need to run to the finish line! Not successful but we finished our first race.

Racing

Although training was going well I discover that she didn’t understand the 5km distance and stop at the finish line (not when she felt like it). I realized all this few months I did it wrong. I didn’t build her for distance. Don’t take me wrong, she was fit to run it or even longer. It was just her head not ready for 22 minutes constant run or even other dogs on the trails. She was 15 months already so I really felt like I wasted time. It was time for changing the game, or at least I thought I did. Another race and unfortunately another fail (you can read here). We didn’t finish the race and I never give up. I was devastated and very upset that I really tried to prepare her.

I had two months to make sure she is ready as I already committed to going to IFSS World Championship (you can read about it here). After few days having a break from all the running, I sat and wrote a plan.

The new plan which changed the game

I knew that my dogs don’t care about winning or loosing, they just want to run with me. I just couldn’t disappoint them myself. Laferra and I started building up the speed and the distance at that speed. We ran 1 mile! Next week we did 2 miles and so on. I started doing more of 1-2miles with her on scooter or bike. She was loving it. Eventually after few years saying I will never go to parkrun, we went to parkrun and ran it. It was amazing to see how she cops with all the people, noise and distraction.

She was just amazing and I could see all these worked for her, which showed at the World Championship that it was all worth the patient. The time we spent together also build fantastic bonding between us. I have learnt one thing, if one training doesn’t work try something different. Dogs are different. She loves running and her harness.

Reward

Yes, I had an easy life with Roger, but the most rewarding with Laferra. I feel very emotional when we go out there and race. She just loves it. It isn’t always perfect, as you always learn something new right?! Sometimes we go back to basic or a small thing makes her distracted. However, at only 19months coming all the way from Greek streets, she really grew up to a fantastic “sled dog”. I am looking forward to our future and more competition. We both have fun and that what’s matter most.

What I would do different?

I think this time I would make sure Laferra is more familiar with wheels from early stages of her life. Even just putting it near her feeding place. She is brilliant MTB and with scooter, but she isn’t 100% sure about bike. Probably also would make her more familiar with hydration after training as she hates drinking water after training or race (no clue why). Finally, I would defo allow her runnning free when I did training with Roger on wheels or just canicross. She would have watched the wee pro doing it perfectly. Maybe this would help me to have less time being frustrated.

I probably wouldn’t attach her to bike or just run with both of them, but would defo want her to see more of Roger in action. Maybe two dog scooter one day! I presume she would love to have Roger with her during training now.

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Note: here are other posts which has some tips on training.

 

 

The dream was always running ahead of me. To catch up, to live for a moment in unison with it, that was the miracle

Sometimes weather interrupts your training schedule, or at least it does mine at the minute with all that snow around. Walking dogs is a pain on those icy paths, so I am not even thinking of running.

Praying for weekend

Although it snows and it gets a bit icy, I am praying that for the weekend it all will melt. I love snow, don’t take me wrong, but it doesn’t really help us. Maybe I should consider buying a sledge?

Dogs are loving the free running, but it is time for some harness work. We haven’t done harness work since Sunday with Laferra. Roger still off harness due to his rubbed belly.

I miss running my wee buddy. Roger, soon you will be back in harness. I bet he will be super excited.

Anyway back to the topic, so due to weather I have plan A and plan B.

Plan A: working with dogs.

Plan B: parkrun on my own and dogs again running free.

Let’s hope for Plan A right?! Hah

BSSF round 2 (race 3 and 4)

Oh, how exciting I am about this. The entry is open and I decided to do two classes for a change. I will get warm-up on bikejor and than canicross later. Super excited!

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If you are looking for something different than just canicross event, this is a must. You can see big teams and mushers going out. I have learnt so much during those events that I really recommend it to everyone. The competition brings the best athletes in the UK to one venue to compete with each other.

Races schedule

Until February, we just train and have some fun with dogs. It looks like it is a bit quieter with races than it was last year. Probably my choice as I am more picky about the events too. However, already planning our trip to France in may. That’s us booked accommodation and hopefully soon looking at ferry prices. How exciting? We are going abroad again.

Exciting news

Hopefully next week I will be able to share fantastic news with you. Keep an eye on our blog and facebook page.

 

Passion first and everything will fall into place

That is the 1st season of Scottish Championship finished with Laferra. We didn’t get on the podium, but she is a champ for me. Overall results from the season aren’t out yet, but I think we have managed to get to 6th or 7th. Our category is very tough and the biggest (16-39). However results don’t matter, I realised different things this season.

New season new dog

When I started canicross 2 years ago, it was brilliant as Roger was natural in pulling and focus. It was easy and much easier to focus on my own improvement. With princess Laferra the whole canicross changed the game for me. As a very shy and submissive dog, I had a lot to work with her. She never pulled when walking on a lead and prefered to stay as close to me as possible. I was back to basics which I didn’t have a clue what to do. There was no recipe for the successful “sled dog”. I couldn’t find videos or books about how to train a puppy for canicross. I could only try and fail or win.

Back to basics

I asked around, I watched around and choose what could be good for me. She was very shy and I thought I am jumping into the deep water with her by taking her to the IFSS World Championship. We trained hard preparing her for different things. We did well, however, last weekend proved we still need to work on small things and every race or training are lessons for us. Laferra is very sensitive and mummy’s girl so any small thing can affect her. I love that about her and it is the massive challenge for me to make sure she loves canicross and has fun as much as I do (well sort of 😉 ).

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What did I learn this season?

I have learnt a lot as I wanted to make sure she is ready.

  • sometimes things don’t go according to plan.
  • train as much as you can in a different environment.
  • train as much as you can with different dogs around.
  • love them.
  • praise them.
  • have fun.
  • one step forward might mean two step backwards.
  • never give up.
  • learn from mistakes.
  • build strong bonding with your dog.
  • have a lot of passion and love for the sport and your dog at the same time.
  • have some break and some fun from trainings too.

Last race of Scottish Championship

Yesterday race at Muiravonside Country Park was tough: hilly, twisty, technical and very muddy. I knew what to expect as I did it last year with Roger in 26:49 min. It was very tough. I promised that if it will be to tough for Lafie, I won’t finish and wouldn’t take part in Championship as I want her to have fun. Oh wow! She was doing so well, listen to my command “steady” even tho I have never taught her that one. We worked on every step together and surprisingly Laferra had a blast even tho she doesn’t like mud. With her lightweight, she was quick through it and just looked at me with a wagging tail. On flat part, she was really keen to go. At one point I thought I got lost as we didn’t see anyone in front of us or behind us! Oh, well this was great and perfect for us just to be together and having fun sliding around. She really made me proud. Just 19months old and I still think sometimes she doesn’t have a clue what she should do, but she is an amazing dog and Roger’s best friend.

Looking forward to more adventures and races with her. She is a wee superstar and she did teach me a lot of new things.

Season hasn’t finished but I am looking forward to future races in Scotland and further away.

Bring on 2018

Ok so we had a look what we did in 2017 it is time to look what we will do in 2018. So far it doesn’t look that busy yet.

January

We are away to Wales this weekend for our first qualification for IFSS ECh in Sweden which will happen 24-26th October in Nybro, Sweden. Apparently Pembery is lovely, so hopefully, it is worth the drive. Roger is suffering from an allergy so rest for him.

A week after that we are away to Muiravonside Country Park for another Scottish Championship race. I think Roger might run this one, but it all depends on his allergy.

February

I am planning to attend D&A time trial in Tentsmuir and check how we progress in 4 months with Laferra. Lovely place for walks too.

The middle of a month is taking us to England for BSSF National Championship, which is a second part of the qualification for Sweden. Another long trip for some great races. We loved it last year.

Laferra was still a pup, but during that trip, she proved she is an easy dog to take on travels. That was when I knew if we managed for Poland, she is going (and as you know she was a great companion).

I am tempted to fly to Italy for races on snow at the end of February. Of course not to compete but just go and watch it.

March

I might go and do one of SDAS races in Ford (all depends timing).

As per our tradition, we always did Plean race, as that was our first race ever with Roger. This year we will miss it as we are away for third and last BSSF National Championship somewhere in Scotland.

Our Easter weekend this year we will hopefully spend at one of the Midlands Canicross Series. Four days of racing in different classes.

April

We still be at Midlands races but also we are away to CSS Strathallan Castle races. As last year plan is to do canicross and bikejor.

May

We are away to France for the weekend. Yay super excited about this.

 

Oh yes there might be more to come for sure! But that’s all that I have defo planned and put in our calendars. Actually it looks busier than I thought. Happy racing yay.

 

 

“Today I will do what others won’t, so tomorrow I can accomplish what others can’t.”

Christmas! Christmas and it is over now. So this year I wasn’t off work, which was a bit weird as I love to spend it at work. Anyways. There was no snow, so a bit disappointed, but the weather was good enough (or that what I believe in) to do things with dogs.

Parkrun at Vogrie Country Park

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First time ever I have decided to go and check out the parkrun at Vogrie Country Park which we know quiet well, as it is the place where our sled dog sports adventure started. It was busy, but they allowed us to start in front. You do 2 loops of same trails and it was amazing. The parkrun is so challenging and distracting for dogs, that was a great experience for Laferra, but she didn’t even look at sides twice. Super proud of her. She is doing so well. We also did well timewise, although I was hoping for sub 20, but we got tangled on a tree and it was a surprisingly hilly course.

Christmas Eve

On a Christmas Eve I took dogs for adventure to Cathkin Brae. Weather was awful but officialy I became a BAM. Follow the link https://www.facebook.com/groups/206832509725490/ if you want to learn more about it. I ran 13.7 miles with Lafie off lead and Roger canicrossing for last 4.5miles. Great fun and super tired two dogs.

After that run I thought I deserved all the ice cream and a wee donut, but I wasn’t so keen on it when I got home.

How do you manage during Christmas

I am lucky as I don’t have many temptations during holidays time for bad food. It must be hard to still go out train and eat healthy with all those Christmasy food around. Do you stick to the plan? Or just eat whatever and being lazy?

I rather stick to plan with maybe tiny expectation of some sweet, but continue with my training schedule or even work harder as I have more time. Jolly of being off work.

Do you spoil your furry babies?

It isn’t just temptation for you, but also for dogs. Do you spoil them with extra treats? I don’t as it might affect them same as us. My dogs get a chewy treat once a week anyways. This year they only got spoiled with toys which they love. A friend of mine showed me best entertaining toy which includes:

These three things make an amazing toy, just check the video below how much Roger and Laferra loved it.

Rest of the Christmas Holidays

We literally spend it as always! Traditional trip to the beach as every year on Christmas Day. I thought going to Portobello would be good as not many people would be out, and it was raining again so a quick run for 2 miles and back home.

We have also stick to the training schedule and work out dogs in harness, which was super excited. Now planning ahead what to do to make dogs chilled and relaxed during New Year fireworks. Watch out for our next post.

 

 

 

 

 

Expectancy is the atmosphere for miracles.

Christmas time

This is a time of the year that everyone is getting busy with organizing everything for Christmas and arrival of their families. I feel lucky and not lucky that for us it is peace and quiet time and this year I have decided to even take 3 days off work. Even if you are busy don’t forget to squeeze training with your pups, it will only take max an hour if you plan it well.

Motivation

Recently my motivation has been playing around. I am very motivated for doing the training, but not necessarily sticking to my usual healthy diet which is probably not helping in sleeping, recovering and training performance. I know it and that makes it worst. It is hard as it is my birthday month and we love to eat for Christmas.

I feel a bit lost and trying really hard to get back on with eating less sugar than I really need. Surprisingly day after my birthday I felt like I have massive hungover. Hah! I don’t drink alcohol so it was definitely sugar hungover. I felt really awful. Do you think I learn from that? Yes, I went shopping and bought zero sugar! Is that me back on track? We shall see. This time of the year is tempting all of us with nice tasty (not good for us) food. Stay strong, it will pay back.

Equipment for dogs

Changing the subject. Finally, I have managed to find a place to try jacket for Laferra and first time ever decided I will not buy it online.

Lafie is one happy dog ready for winter coming. I must say I am very surprised even tho I have seen it before, but Hurtta quality is just amazing. I wish I can have that good quality jacket. Bring on winter as I am looking forward to try and test this summit park with Laferra in different conditions. Say no to shivering pup. It is black with nice orangish adds to it and has high visibility reflectors. I think it really suits Laferra (I am not biased hehe). Review to follow.

On that note

 

Team LaRogata is wishing you all the best for Christmas and New Year when it comes. Keep positive and dream big! Our 2018 will be busy and some exciting news coming (hopefully!) 🙂