• A wet nose in the ear really helps when Paul's form isn't quite right. (River Cottage Australia)Source: River Cottage Australia
This is what happened when Paul and I entered a dog show.
Digger West

4 Sep 2017 - 1:57 PM  UPDATED 11 Jan 2018 - 10:27 AM

If you know me at all, you know I’m a natural athlete. I like to think of myself as the Rocky Balboa of the dog world. Except for those bits where all I really want to do is lie… in… the… sun…

Oh! Sorry. Nodded off. I do like a good lie down.

So where were we. Oh yes. I’ve been looking back on my time at River Cottage and one of the best memories I have is the months  I spent training for a dog show. Paul entered me in the competition because I’m such an athlete, and I didn’t want to let him down, so we trained hard.

It was exactly like Rocky except without any boxing bags, dumbbells or long-distance running. Oh and if we’re being specific, I didn't do any push-ups, unless you count the time I fell over.

You can watch the episode where Paul and I first went along to check out this dog obstacle lark and began our training here on SBS On Demand. 

My biggest tip is to show some intiative. If they ask you to jump over a pole, run around it. Don't be predicatable. 

As a result of this intensive training I’m pretty much a fitness expert now so please find below the Essential Dos and Don’ts Of Doggo Bootcamp. Read along while listening to Eye Of The Tiger (but replace the word ‘tiger’ with ‘Digger’, of course).

(Spoiler alert… if you don’t want to know how I did in the competition – because of course you are going to watch me, aren’t you? It’s on happening on Monday night, 15 January 7.30 pm on SBS – then just skip that last “don’t” below.)


  • Stretch before exercise. Try some yoga poses (downward dog, obviously). Make sure all four legs are limber and ready to work.
  • Drink lots of water. Splash it all over yourself to make the workout seem more intense and to add a Flashdance vibe.
  • Try your best. Sometimes humans give me commands like sit, lie down, roll over and I respond by staring at their face or yawning. And that’s just fine because I gave it my best shot.
  • Cheer on your training partner with constant licks on the face, especially while they’re doing sit-ups. Everyone needs encouragement!
  • Improvise. For instance, if Paul asked me to run up a specific track, I’d run in the opposite direction to show initiative. Another time he wanted me to jump through a hoop, so I lay down and went to sleep. Creativity is key!


  • Get too serious. Life’s all about having fun!
  • Pressure yourself. Just do what you can, even if that is skipping the workout. At least you tried!
  • Exercise on an empty stomach. Keep up your energy by snacking on nearby supplies - like Paul’s sandwich while he sets up an obstacle course.
  • Be a sore loser. Technically I came last in the competition but I had a great time making new friends and being chased around while people cheered me on with encouraging statements like “Digger get out of the bathroom that isn’t part of the arena”.

Watch Digger's competition 7.30pm Monday January 15 on SBS. You can see Digger every Monday night on River Cottage Australia on SBS, then on SBS On Demand.

Digger thanks Deirdre Fidge for helping to get his thoughts online. It’s hard to type with paws.

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