Jess Cuthbertson, dog agility star, shares with Poppy’s Picnic her experience as a Young Kennel Club competitor and how she and her dogs found their passion for agility. Be sure to follow her progress on our social media and follow her directly at @jess.cuthbertson on Instagram and ‘Jess Cuthbertson - SkyePaws Agility Training’ on Facebook.
Back when we first got Skye, I’ve already had a long-term interest in dog sports, but it wasn’t until my friends who’ve done agility for years properly encouraged me to join a local club that things got kickstarted. I’ve always been very energetic and even at 12 years old, I always enjoyed pushing myself to the best that I could be. That’s why I love agility so much - there is always room for improvement no matter what level you are, and there’s always someone to look up to.
I joined the Young Kennel Club (YKC) because it offers an amazing scheme for Juniors to take part in ‘big events’ such as Discover Dogs, Crufts and other finals. Not only that, you also get a lot of support as a YKC member and competitor, and can attend the many events they hold each year. For me, YKC is incredibly rewarding as it gives Juniors the platform to compete, whilst at the same time the opportunity to make friends and build a strong team bond, which is deemed crucial in any competition. Although we are all competitive with each other, we are still happy for the achievement of others when things may not go to plan, which is why I’m incredibly fortunate to have this experience and foundation from a well-renowned organisation like YKC.
My ultimate dream would be to represent Team GB in the Adult team with my amazing doggies. I believe all the time and efforts which myself and my dogs have put in to get to where we are today is just the start to something bigger. Who knows if we will get there but we will try our hardest - like we always have. And enjoy doing it! Competing outside of the Juniors level is very different, but what I found helpful was not to compare myself, my skills or my goals to others, rather to put my 110% for myself and my dogs - and the good stuff will follow.
My advice for any young person looking into joining the YKC is to go for it! Whether you and your dog venture into agility or a different dog sport, there will always be experienced trainers on hand to support you and offer you advice, and not to mention there are all sorts of activities for you to get involved with too! I certainly enjoy being part of a great network of dog sport competitors and participating in different events with my furry best friends.
Thank you to Poppy's Picnic for sponsoring healthy and delicious food for my top-performing dogs #POWEREDBYPOPPYSPICNIC!
Read Jess' first blog where she introduces her family of pups here.