THISHu got News!WEEK

Saturday 16th May - Classes are OFF

Following the Governments announcement of changes to Lockdown I am now in a position to offer 121 lessons in person again with various risk reduction measures in place. 121 Lessons are available using video conferencing are still available for anyone who is unable to travel or who would prefer not to meet in person. Please let me know if you would like to book a 121 lesson.

Following the Governments announcement of Lockdown all classes remain cancelled for the next few weeks until lockdown is lifted.
These are scary times for all of us. please stay safe and we can all enjoy agility training once we are through this. In the mean time I'm creating daily short training videos for you with ideas of games and training for you to play with your housebound dogs, these are posted on the Club Facebook Group, and are also available on Youtube.
I am also running some virtual classes, free to existing students.

If you would like to book onto a virtual classroom please let me know

121 lessons are available, in person or as an online lesson via Zoom or facetime on WhatsApp.

URGENT UPDATE (Friday 20th 8.45pm) Following this evening's Government Coronavirus update which announced the immediate closure of pubs, night clubs, restaurants and leisure centers there is confusion throught the industry as to whether dog training falls under these catagories. The Govenment advice stated that outdoor activities were ok and encouraged for wellbeing, however upon receiving information that the insurance company I use has withdrawn cover for classes with immediate effect I have taken the sad decision to cancel all this weekend's lessons until I can clarify the position with my insurers on Monday.

URGENT UPDATE (Friday 20th April 8.45pm) This weekend's lessons are cancelled

Coronavirus Update - Based upon current Government and the World Health Organisation health guidelines classes will be continuing at present as all lessons are held outside.
Please help us to reduce risk by adhering to the following:
* The 'recommended 3m spacing between dogs in class' rule is increased to 'at least 4m between people and dogs at all times' to facilitate social distancing to avoid transmission of the virus.
* Please do not touch the gates or equipment, the instructor will open/close gates for you to reduce the risk of surface contact.
*Extra sanitisation measures are being taken between classes, please bear with us if this results in a delay between classes.
*Please bring handwashing items with you, such as a flash of hot water and soap so you can clean your hands before and after class. Alternatively bring hand sanitizer.
*If you are unwell (sypmtoms such as sore throat, a high temperature, a new cough) do not come to class.
* If someone in your household is unwell, please do not come to class, current Government guidelines require you to self isolate.
*Anyone who has been advised to self isolate by the NHS is asked to advise us in confidence.
Thank you for helping us by adhering to these measures. These are unprecidented times, please keep an eye on the website and our FB group for updates as the Government advice changes. Moving forward we will took to provide online training and 121support. Thank you for your continued support of small businessess at this time.

Crufts 2020 - I am incredibly honoured to be awarded the KCAI Significant Contribution Award by The Kennel Club for individual effort and contribution to dog training.
Thank you to all students who nominated me!


Saturday Usual CLASS TIMES

(Term fees due 22nd February)

Class A - Medium Height
(Term fees due 4th January)
Freeda & Lola




Class B - Micro Height
(Term fees due 23rd Nov)

Class C - Small Height

(Term fees due 23rd Nov)

Agility Foundation & Focus class - 12.30pm Term fee due 4th January

Class D - 1.30pm
Term fees due 14th December

Class E - Large Low Height
(Term fees due 7th Dec)
Catriona & Monty

Wenzhe & Bobby
Anita & Dino

Class F

Term fees due 14th December
Debbie - Millie
Simon - Mickey
Sally - PoppyDee

AgiliFit Class
(Term fees due 7th Dec


AgiliFit Beginners Class
(New Term starts
25th January
Chris & Rufus
Scott & Max
Jo & Betty



New sunday course starting soon
11am - 12 midday Agility Foundation & Focus


New course starting soon
6pm - 7pm - Do As I Do (Social Learning)
Mixed Ability class (Beginners to Advanced)


Tuesday fortnightly classes
New course dates to be announced soon

10.45am - Paws for Coffee (Life Skills) Advanced
11.30am - Paws for Coffee (Life Skills) Beginners
1pm - Agility (Intermediate level)
3pm Do As I Do (Social Learning for Dogs)

Thank you to all students who volunteered and took part in photo sessions for my latest series of articles for the agility magazine CleanRun - I always use student's dogs (or my own dogs) for all my magazine articles. The dogs and handlers whos photos will used in the March issue are: Gill & Decker, Zoe & Zircon, Clare & Tony, Gill & Pip, and Wenzhe & Bobby. If you want to get a copy of the article go to the CleanRun website where you can buy individual copies of the magazine.
Those used in last June's article were Clare & Cherry, Tracey & Bailey, and Alex & Bella. And in my article the July 2018 issue the dogs and handlers where Barabara & Bonnie, Gill & Rolo, Shelby & Harley, Debbie & Jasper, and finally my Tabitha in the weaving with distractions photo.

121/Private Lessons

1-2-1 Agility Training is available at a cost of £40 per 45minute lesson (additional handlers & dogs at £5 per dog)
1-2-1 LifeSkill/Behavioural Training is available at a cost of £55 per 1 hr lesson

Facebook Group
Whilst I continue to have problems with Facebook and am unable to access or update the Club facebook page I have created a new Ridinghood Agility Club Students facebook Group:

Like us on Facebook


Thank you to all my students who nominted me for KCAI Trainer of the Year 2017, I really appreciate your support again this year, and I am delighted to have been contacted by the Kennel Club to let me know that I made it through to the shortlist this year.

Please contact me on 07810 415 420 if you need to check your class time.
(please note that I'm unable to answer phone calls when teaching)


Bridging the Gap between Training and Competition

Agility shows can be fun for you and your dog, but competing at Agility shows doesn't just test you and your dog's ability at agility, your dog also has to deal with; a strange venue with different smells and sounds, lots of unknown, excited dogs barking at it, and a nervous handler.....

It is also easy for well trained behaviours, such as contact critera, to become unprofitable to your dog in an agility show environement - our dogs are fast learners and quickly make the distinction between training locations where they get rewards, and shows where they never get 'paid'. And if in the heat of competition the handler starts to change the performance criteria... things become quite confusing for the dog.

So if you want to compete it is helpful to bridge the gap between training and competing by putting you and your dog in a show environment and then doing some training with lots of rewards.

Diversification of enviroment is very important when training agility dogs, which is why we encorage club members to utilise as many training opportuities in different locations as possible.


Try to be consistant with the critiera that your dog has learnt in your lessons so as not to confuse your dog; we want our dogs to learn that agility location varies but the performance critieria stays the same, and if the critera is perfomed well you will pay (reward) your dog for a job well done.

Whenever you get the change to do a NFC run with your dog make the most of your time allocation in the ring by deciding what your focus for each run is. Remember you don't have to follow the course set for those competing, so if you want to train weave pole enteries, but they are towards the end of the course, ask the judge if you can start three quarters of the way round so you will have plenty of time to train and reward your dog. If your are working on jumping skills break the course down into sections e.g. jumps 1-5 and reward for good performance, then 6 -10 reward. Look for things to reward, such as your dog working correctly past a trappy jump sequence, getting a hard weave entry, holding a great contact position whilst you do a run by (if your dog does static contacts)... most important of all have fun with your dog.


At the request of the club members, Ridinghood Agility Club has a page on Facebook. Click on the link below to visit and like our page to receive regular update

Like us on Facebook


Please click on the paw for a BBC Weather update:

Club Clothing

A full range of clothing is availible to club members to purchase via the website.
The logo is availible in any colour; the preset colours are Silver-grey, Bronze (pictured) or Black, but it can be in a colour to match if you chose a two tone garment (so you could have pink logo if you wanted on a pink and navy hoodie....)
The Ridinghood logo page will have a range of the most popular clothing, but you can order any item from the webiste - just specify 'Ridinghood logo' and the logo colour you require in the special instructions box.
If you select a two-tone article of clothing and want to have the logo printed in the contrasting garment colour - as above specify 'Ridinghood logo' and the logo colour you require in the special instructions box.

It is also possible to have items that you supply embroidered.

BaseBall Cap have a slightly different logo; as pictured but using the acronim 'R.A.C' as the print area is slightly smaller and they couldn't embroider the full 'Ridinghood Agility Club' text clearly.

Click on the Embroidery sample to go to the Sew-What website


Impromptu Trick Training Class
Sunday 15th Dec

Loads of you have been asking for a trick training class, to give you some ideas of fun things to do with your dogs that will also help with their agility training, so I will run a class on Sunday 15th at 12.30 focusing on tricks that can be used for strengthening and active stretches.

As it is sunday the farm gate will only be open for Parking in the stabl yard for a 10mins before the class. Alternativley there is parking in the lane.


'How Smart Is Your Dog?' - Friday 26th April
Another chance to catch Tig Stephenson's the very popular 'How Smart Is Your Dog?' workshop
hosted by Iver Dog Club, Riching Park Church Hall, from 7pm

A fun evening exploring some of the ways dog's think and learn, and the amazing skills dogs have evolved to live and work in harmony with humans.
Each dog will have the opportunity to take part in a series of games /tests adapted from recent scientific studies into the cognitive processes and behaviour of dogs.

The evening will finish with the opportunity to teach your dog a fun trick, which utilises some of your dog's skills we will have highlighted in the games/tests, that will show your friends just how smart he is.


Canine Nutrition

Over the last couple of weeks several students have asked for me for advice regarding their dog’s weight or general body condition and type of diet.


I find the subject of dog’s nutritional needs to be fascinating and an area of constant development and debate.

So firstly some thoughts on the type of diet.

The hot topic at present is the recent scientific research looking at the genetic changes that took place in the transformation of ancient wolves into domestic dogs.
Many of the differences were in relation to the brain, but the researchers also identified 10 genes with key roles in starch digestion and fat metabolism. The researchers concluded that these mutations allowed the early ancestors of modern dogs (proto-dog) to eat and thrive on a diet rich in starch, in comparison to the carnivorous diet of wolves. (1)
One notable change is extra copies of the enzyme amylase, which breaks down starch into sugars. Interestingly some of the changes seen in canine digestion are similar to adaptions that occurred in humans – increase in amylase is thought by some to have contributed significantly to human evolution by enabling humans to eat an alternative diet to fruit and meat (2) as we evolved from hunter/gatherers to farmers.

Why the science bit?
For several years I have been interested in the different concepts such as BARF and other natural feeding programmes, which in general discourage the feeding of gain based foods (e.g. rice) to dogs, encouraging instead a diet of raw bones, meat and offal and a small amount of vegetables to replicate that of the dog’s ancient ancestor, the wolf.
There is also growing market of commercial dog kibble available which is promoted as biologically appropriate and do not contain grains or cereal. If the early proto-dog started scavenging around village dumps and eating starchy food scraps such as cereals and root vegetables, and the domestic dog has over the last 10,000 or more years adapted to a starch rich diet, is a carbohydrate free diet right for our dogs?

Food for thought….

If you are using a kibble dog food there is then the matter of preservatives to consider. Commercial kibble style dog foods contain animal fat, which will oxidise and become rancid and therefore manufacturers add preservatives to extend the shelf life of the food. These preservatives can be natural, made from vitamins C or E such as tocopherol . There are also a number of artificial preservatives that can be used, and considerable speculation surrounding the long term health implications of the use of those artificial preservatives.
To complicate matters chicken and meat meal is often pre-treated with preservatives as part of the rendering process performed by the meat meal supplier before it reaches the dog food manufacturing plant. These do not get declared on the dog food packaging as the manufacturer did not add it to their product, making it difficult for owners to make informed choices.
Canned or frozen foods are not usually treated with preservatives as it is the method itself preserving the food.

So once you have dealt with the difficult and often contentious issue of what to feed your dog, you need to decide how much. For many years we have heard canine nutritionists defining the different dietary requirements of working dogs into categories based on the type of activities undertaken; Sprinters (less than 2min duration e.g. racing, lure coursing, flyball and agility) , Intermediate (ranging from a few minutes to a couple of hours e.g swimming, herding) and Endurance (many hours to days e.g. sled dog racing).

Agility dogs activities tend to fall into both the sprinter and the intermediate category - during a day competing, the dog undertakes a few, high intensity activities under 1 minute in duration. Whereas agility training sessions may take the form of intermediate exercise with dogs performing blocks of activities of training and tugging/playing as reward for several minutes at a time, interspersed with brief rest periods, for up to 1 hour. Short bursts of high intensity activity are anaerobic – fuelled by chemicals stored in muscle tissue. Intermediate exercise is aerobic – the process of carbohydrate oxidation and to some extent fat oxidisation creates fuel.

All dogs nutritional requirements vary, and the feeding guidelines on commercial dog foods need to be adjusted to suit your dog. There are formulas available which enable you to calculate your dog’s daily resting energy requirements and tailor it depending on the dog’s age, whether or not the dog is neutered and it’s activity levels.

Firstly you calculate your dog’s resting energy requirement (3) using the formula 30 x (your dog’s body weight in Kg)+70
Example: If your dog weighs 20kg : 30 x 20 = 600 +70 = 670
You can then personlise this base resting energy requirement (RER) by multiplying by the following as appropriate:
Neutered : 1.6 x RER
Unneutered : 1.8 x RER
Over weight (Weight loss needed) : 1.0 x RER
Sprinter : 1.5 to 3 x RER

However as few of us are able to identify the calorific value of the dog’s food this rather scientific approach to dietary needs may be of limited practical use to the majority of owners, although calculating your dog’s calorie requirement does give an insight into the amount of variance that occurs as a result of the individual status of each dog.

It is probably easier to keep your dog to an ideal body weight by considering the amount of body fat and muscle; areas such as the dog’s ribs, loin (waist) and tuck up (belly) are all good indicators. For example your dog’s ribs should be easily palpable and without an excess fat covering, your dog should have a clearly defined waist when viewed from above and should have an obvious abdominal tuck up when viewed from the side.

This link gives you a body condition score guide, with great diagrams:

An important consideration if your dog needs to lose weight is that simply reducing the volume of food it is not recommended if you are feeding a commercial diet, as you are also reducing the vitamin and mineral intake. Instead owners are recommended to change the dog to a specialised weight loss dog food.(4)

I hope this article has inspired you to consider the nutritional requirements of your dog, and given you an appetite to find out more to determine the best diet for your dogs.

1 Erik Axelsson Et al ‘The genomic signature of dog domestication reveals adaption to a starch-rich diet’ Nature 2013
2 American Scientist 2010
3 Dr Julie Mayer ‘Nutrition for the Canine Athlete’ Clean Run 2013
4 KC Canine Sports Seminar

Suggested further reading:
Performance Dog Nutrition – Jocelynn Jacobs


Dog Training workshop with Tig Stephenson at Iver Dog Training Club - Friday 22nd February
Help - my dog pulls on the lead!

A workshop to help owners to train their dogs to walk with a loose lead. This is a two part evening, with a session for Dog Training Instructors to understand the training concepts needed to help students and their dogs walk in harmony, followed by a practial handler workshop with 10 handler places.

Fully booked - further dates planned


Tabitha's Big Day Out
All year ABC (Anything But Collies) dogs have been competing for places in heats up and down the country. Only the top two of each breed were selected, Tabitha ranked 4th overall and was the top Tervuren (and top BSD). So Tig & Tabitha made it to Discover Dogs at Earls Court, Tabitha's first national event - thank you to everyone who sent us good luck messages and especially to everyone who came and supported us on the day.

Photo by Watt Photography Photo by Watt Photography Photo by Watt Photography
Photo by Teresa Photo by Watt Photography Photo by Watt Photography


Thank you to all club members who supported our Blue Cross Tea Party events - We raised a total of £150 for the Blue Cross Charity
Thank you to Blue Cross Head Veterinary Nurse Tamsin Durston for the talk on First Aid for Dogs.
Well done to Stephen & Trip who won the Steeplechase competition



Symply Dog Food - Special Offer for Club Members

See Health & Fitness Pages



Dates for your Diary - UKA Shows
UKA run special 'Nursery' classes for new dogs that are ready to start competing. Nursery classes with have a slightly lower jump height and and all UKA competitions allow you to run 'Not for Competition' which enables you to train your dog in the ring with a toy - remember no food is allowed in the ring at shows. You will need to register yourself and your dogs, you can do this online, or at the show. Usually a couple of familiar faces from Ridinghood Agility Club will be there and will be happy to help you with registrations and measuring and how to book in to classes etc.

For more details and the rules look up UKAgility's website or ask Tig which shows we are attending.