Meet our YuMOVE Brand Ambassadors Ashleigh Butler and Anthony Clarke
Meet: YuMOVE Agility Ambassador Ashleigh Butler
We’re delighted to introduce Britain's Got Talent winner and dog trainer, Ashleigh Butler, as our newest YuMOVE Ambassador.
You may recognise Ashleigh as former 2012 Britain’s Got Talent winner – along with her dog, Pudsey. Since then, Ashleigh and Pudsey went on to feature in various TV shows, and even starred in their own movie. Sadly, Pudsey passed away in 2017. But Ashleigh is now working with her other dog, Sully.
Together, Ashleigh and Sully are international agility champions, including winning various competitions at Crufts in 2018, 2019 and 2022.
Meet: YuMOVE Global Ambassador Anthony Clarke
Say hello to our Global YuMOVE ambassador, professional dog agility handler, Anthony Clarke.
Over the past 15 years Anthony has built a name for himself as one of the UK's top trainers and agility competitors. From his first dog, a little Jack Russel called Pip, to his current canine companion, Protest, he’s taken all his protégés to the very top of British Agility.
Anthony stepped down from the junior competitive circuit in 2009 and remains the only junior handler to have won the gold medal at the Junior International World Championships. His work now includes coaching the Agility Team GB, and we’re so proud to have him join us as a YuMOVE ambassador.
Over to our brand ambassadors to tell us
Why did you become a YuMOVE Ambassador?
[Ashleigh] YuMOVE has been part of my agility career for a while now. It was definitely the first joint supplement for dogs that I had ever heard of. It was in the last period of [Pudsey’s] career when I heard about canine joint supplements. And I’ve been using YuMOVE for my dogs ever since.
[Anthony] I cover a lot of physical activity with my dogs, both in terms of the build-up and the actual competitions, as well as lots of complimentary treatments like hydrotherapy and work on a treadmill. Adding YuMove in to all that means I know I’m giving my team everything they need. Plus, it’s clinically proven to work.
When did you first get into dog agility and training?
[Ashleigh] I started training dogs when I was about five years old. My mum really got me into the world of dog training. She started when she was a teenager, and I was just thrown into it. It was predominantly agility training to start with and then I was part of the Young Kennel Club. That was a great platform for me to try out different disciplines like obedience and heelwork to music.
[Anthony] My parents were involved in the dog world – my dad was a gundog trainer and my mum was a dog groomer, so it was part of my life right from the start. I first saw agility on Crufts on TV when I was five years old and said ‘that’s what I want to do’. For my sixth birthday a little dog arrived, and it all took
off from there.
What advice would you give to new dog owners training their dogs?
[Ashleigh] Firstly, go to obedience or puppy classes. I still do that with my dogs now. It helps them socialise with other dogs, and it helps them to focus on you even in busy environments. Secondly, try crate training. It’s the best thing for you and your dog. It teaches boundaries, and it gives them a safe space – especially important if your dog is anxious or scared of things like fireworks.
What advice would you give to anyone that's interested in entering the agility world?
[Ashleigh] First of all, go to lots of different locations. A training environment and a show environment are two very different things. Sometimes dogs struggle when you train in one place and then all of a sudden, they're at a show environment where you can’t give them rewards – like treats and toys – and it can have a major effect on the dog. It makes a really big difference.
Also, for people who have never competed before, don’t have high expectations. At the end of the day, dogs have a mind of their own. So just have fun! Yes, it will go wrong, but still enjoy it anyway. And don't give up because it will get better and easier the more you do it.
[Anthony] Absolutely give it a go. Most places will offer taster days or sessions – agility isn’t for everybody, so this is a great way of testing the water. We offer two or three taster sessions a month and they’re always full. Some people then realise it’s a bit too physical for them, but that they’d like to try something else. You’ll never know until you try it, and there’s a very good chance you’ll love it.
At what age can a dog start agility training?
[Anthony] You can start with the basic foundations very early – we’re talking weeks and months old. It tends to be around the 10 to 12-month mark when you start adding in some basic equipment, and a dog must be 18 months old to compete. There’s no upper age limit – that just comes down to ability and
Can every dog do agility?
[Anthony] It all depends on the level you’re looking to go to. But most dogs – as long as they’re physically able – can go out and take part in agility activities. Border Collies, Malinois’ and Kelpies tend to be the go-to competition breeds in the large dog category, but there’s a variety of other breeds that are also very successful across the other height classes.
How will agility affect my dog?
[Anthony] Mentally it gives them a job to do and makes the brain work, and physically it keeps them active and moving. Agility helps to tire the dog out mentally and physically, which a lot of dogs struggle with on a day-to-day basis – becoming bored and frustrated because they don’t have enough stimulation.
What should I take to an agility class?
[Anthony] Take your dog’s favourite treats, favourite toy, a well-fitted collar and lead, water, and anything else the dog needs welfare-wise. We also recommend dogs go through basic obedience training first, because agility is basically a more intense obedience sport.
How would you describe the dog agility community as a whole?
[Ashleigh] It’s one of those communities where everyone knows everyone. It's like a big family.
How can I keep my dog in tip-top condition for agility?
[Anthony] It’s all about variety. Just walking your dog on the lead all the time isn’t always the best idea, for example. They need to be able to run freely, and to go through different conditioning and fitness exercises to make sure their muscles and joints are in good condition.
Why would you recommend introducing a joint supplement?
[Ashleigh] I want the absolute best for my dogs. Sully is nine and he's not showing any signs whatsoever of slowing down. I'm a strong believer in my dogs being able to continue training for as long as possible, and anything that I can give them to help them do that, I want to be using that. YuMOVE is absolutely
the best for them.
[Anthony] Agility is a high-impact sport, so a dog needs to be able to weight-shift between the joints efficiently. With the weaving poles, for example, they’re using every joint and every muscle in their body to be able to get through them, so maintaining healthy joints is vital.
What do you think of YuMOVE’s partnership with the AKC?
[Anthony] Having the UK’s number-one joint supplement pair with the USA’s number-one dog organisation is a great partnership! I think they complement each other and share similar values around dog welfare and health. As the partnership grows, the knowledge from both parties will, too.
What makes YuMOVE so special?
[Ashleigh] I can always tell if I've forgotten to take YuMOVE with me. I definitely see a difference in my dog. I probably know my dog's body better than my own because I have to. I need to know when they're fit, when they're not fit, and what's wrong with them. For me, it’s easy to see that difference in them. And that's definitely something that I see with YuMOVE
Our agility history
Supporting canine athletes has always been a top priority for us at YuMOVE. We help more than 1.7 million dogs each year to stay active. What’s more, over the last 15 years, many Crufts competitors and winners have all been powered by YuMOVE. And we’re now the official sponsors of British Agility, and are working closely with agility dogs and canine athletes across the country.
From the very beginning, YuMOVE was created with canine athletes in mind. From jumping to weaving, we developed our dog joint supplements to support their movements through the course. Because of this, we ensure that our joint supplements are clinically proven to support and maintain joint health and mobility.*
How YuMOVE supports agility dogs
At YuMOVE, we understand the type of high-level activities agility dogs perform – like twisting, jumping and running at high speeds. We also know that these movements place additional strain on their joints. That’s where our joint supplements come in.
They’re enriched with a whole host of incredible ingredients to support overall joint health, so your agility dog can continue to do what they love for as long as possible. Let’s take a closer look at our incredible ingredients:
- ActivEase® Green Lipped Mussel provides a concentrated source of Omega-3 fatty acids to support your dog’s own anti-inflammatory action and help soothe stiff joints after exercise.
- Glucosamine, N-Acetyl-D-Glucosamine and Chondroitin are all found naturally within Green Lipped Mussel, and they help replenish joint tissues in active dogs.
- Manganese supports collagen formation in the cartilage, tendons and ligaments, and boosts joint strength.
- Antioxidants Vitamins C & E help to neutralise free radicals produced during intense exercise.
- Our unique form of Hyaluronic Acid has been proven to reach your pet’s joints in just two hours when taken orally.** It helps lubricate and cushion the joints – particularly important in active dogs.
Whether used preventatively in young dogs just starting out in agility, or reactively in older and more experienced agility dogs who may require additional support, we’ve got you covered.
Wondering which YuMOVE product will work best for your dog? Get in touch with our friendly Customer Care Team via phone or email. They love nothing more than talking everything dog!
* Study conducted by the Royal Veterinary College. Data on file.
** Balogh et al., 2008.