The following blog has been written by Stasa, a dog trainer and keen Canicross & Mantrailing enthusiast. It is an interesting read, especially for those of you who would like to start a new career doing a rewarding and enjoyable job, or taking up a healthy new activity and want to know how or where to start.
A little about me..
I am originally from Slovenia and after finishing my degree back home, I decided that I needed a change in my life and so moved to Scotland! After my partner and I moved in together, we wanted to bring a dog into our lives and opted for a rescue, rather than a pup, as so many dogs need good, loving homes. We both fell in love with a one-year-old Staffie cross named Bradley. He had been found as a stray so we did not know much about him, but after bringing him home, we soon realised what a handful he was. He had severe separation anxiety, no previous training and he was the epitome of a crazy teenager!!
What do you and the pooches get out of it
I started googling ways to help him cope, which is when I became interested in dog training. Being a smart pup, he picked new things up quickly but got frustrated quickly too. Methods of training that helped him focus and be more open to listening were trick training and enrichment, but he still had oodles of energy to burn and so was still like a coiled spring! It was at this time that I met my now good friend, also a Staffie mom, and she invited me to go along to a Canicross event, which is a sport where you run with your dog, kitted up in a proper harness, belt, and bungee lead.
Bradley took to Canicross easily and loved it, so much so that a miracle happened – after every run he was tired! So we started going along to runs and just enjoying every moment. I love it because Bradley stays focused and listens to his commands and passes other people and dogs with no problem at all (in normal situations he would want to say hi to everyone!). The running and socialising from Canicross really helped his separation anxiety but he was still worried about being left alone, so we decided to adopt another dog as a companion for him.
Along came Crista, who at 4 was older than Bradley. I was keen for her to join us at Canicross, however, it soon became apparent that she was in pain and quite grumpy with other dogs. A vet diagnosis revealed that she was suffering with arthritis which meant that a low impact sport would be more suitable for her, and after some research came across an interesting sport called Mantrailing, which is where the dog searches for “missing” people via their scent.
I decided to take both Bradley and Crista to a Mantrailing session and it was a massive hit! They both loved it as it provided lots of mental stimulation and enrichment and both dogs were tired and relaxed after their sessions. Their focus and concentration improved and they were more settled and happy and the low impact approach meant that Crista was getting her exercise and stimulation without it impacting her bone health.
As if Canicross and Mantriling wasn’t enough to keep me busy, I decided to give Fly ball a try with Bradley! His improved focus meant that he was able to learn quickly and progress in leaps and bounds each week. My Fly ball team take their time and have lots of patience which meant that Bradley could perfect his technique. This fab sport teaches the dog and owner to focus on the job in hand and ignore any other things that are going on around them, plus it keeps the dogs fit.
I recently adopted a puppy called Blaze, who was 4 months old when she came to me. When she arrived, she hadn’t been exposed to the outside world and everything was scary at first. I started training her in fly ball and mantrailing and she has blossomed into a much more confident and happy puppy. Through her amazing development, we will be starting Canicross soon too.
It’s because of Bradley and our journey that I made the decision to help owners and their dogs by starting my own dog training business and become a Mantrailing and Canicross instructor. I am continually learning and developing my skills in order to offer the very best advice and service to my customers. My whole pack are more focused, relaxed and happy as a result of these amazing sports and I would thoroughly recommend trying one - or more!
Proflax Supplements - Optimal Support for Sporting Dogs
Because of all the sports that we do it is crucial that Bradley, Crista and Blaze have a balanced, nutritious diet and added supplements for extra support, particularly so for Crista because of her arthritis. All three of my dogs are fed a species appropriate raw diet which they really enjoy and thrive on. A high protein raw diet helps provide energy and aids better recovery.
Supplements are a must for sporting dogs as high levels of exercise can have a big impact on their joints and bones, and I would always recommend taking care of the musculoskeletal system. Bradley and Blaze get Proflax Bone & Joint oil to keep them in tip-top condition, as does Crista as this product helps with her arthritis. The essential fatty acids in Proflax Bone & Joint oil have fantastic anti-inflammatory properties, plus the additional of herbs Boswellia and Turmeric have been clinically proven to strengthen bones, keeps ligaments supple and generally aid mobility. You would never know that Crista has arthritis as she still wants to keep up with the other two and runs around like a puppy! All three dogs are also given Proflax Calm and Collected, which provides gentle calming relief to reduce their nerves in certain situations, plus it helps with focus and concentration. In addition, because I want Blaze to have the best start in life, I feed her Proflax Puppy Power oil for total support of all her systems, plus it keeps her calm and focused too.
Proflax have three Bone & Joint products, all of which offer musculoskeletal support, but are all slightly different:
Bone & Joint oil contains 75% flaxseed oil, rich in Omega 3 & 6 plus a 25% powerful herbal blend that focuses specifically on supporting bones, ligaments, joints and circulation.
Omega Bounce contains 75% fish oil, rich in Omega 3 plus a 25% powerful herbal blend that focuses on supporting bones, ligaments, joints, circulation, liver & kidneys, so is more of an all round musculoskeletal product.
Mega Mobility is the newest product in the Proflax line-up. It’s a powder not an oil, however does include high levels of Omega 3 from ground linseed, plus includes Vegan Glucosamine (great for dogs with fish allergies), MSM, Boswellia and Turmeric + black pepper. This powerful powder really is Mega for your dogs bone & joints!
- for more information on how she can’t help you and your favourite furry friends.