Dec 222017

The pink and glittery placeboards I made as a Xmas present for a good friend and fellow dog trainer, Kim Swain, seem to have been well received! Here they are on their first outing, modelled by the adorable Vizsla Snip and the cheeky fox red labrador Tilly.

Once Tilly and Snip have finished strutting their stuff on the catwalk (dogwalk?) during the current sea trials, the glitzy boards will be making their first public appearance on the evening of January 19th when we deliver our dog training workshop in Wilton.

I wonder if the Paps (pups?) will be there to cover the unveiling?

Nov 282017

10 months ago, Rosie was an untrained, unruly, boisterous and disobedient Labradoodle who had become too much for her owner.

A friend of mine, Barry Overton, decided to take her on and, with a little bit of help from me, a lot of hard work, patience and a few sessions of pulling out hair(!), Rosie has now been transformed into a biddable, obedient and efficient gundog who now loves her work picking up on our local shoot. Her levels of steadiness, focus and responsiveness to whistle are testament to the endless hours of hard work that Barry has put in.

Here she is on her first day out being asked by Barry to find and retrieve a partridge. Her body language betrays the enjoyment she clearly has in taking direction and then retrieving the bird into Barry’s hands. It’s lovely to watch.

It’s great to see a training plan come together and to see such a partnership evolve! I’ll try and post another video at the end of the season to demonstrate just how much progress a young dog can make in the right hands.

Hats off to Barry and Rosie! 

Nov 042017

2 of my dogs are petrified of fireworks.

It’s strange, as they will both be with me all day today, right next to shotguns being fired and won’t bat an eyelid. They’ve been exposed to the sound of guns for many years and love it. That’s because they associate the sound of guns with the possibility of a retrieve.

But it only takes the noise and/or sight of a distant firework to send the tails between the legs and for them both to start shaking with fear: Tilly just looks at the 2 older dogs with mild amusement!

We know that we have to ignore rather than comfort, we try to keep the house noise levels high and the curtains closed, we have places of refuge – we’ve read and heed all the advice that is out there. But I guarantee you that, despite all this, we’ll be in for an anxious, trembling and whining night tonight – and the dogs won’t be happy either!

Oct 162017

I was so looking forward to using my birthday present of a Go Pro Hero 5 head camera on Saturday, the first full day at our local shoot.

I charged the batteries, fitted the head strap, tested it out and then proudly arrived at the shoot with the camera strapped to my hat – much to the merriment of onlookers! But I wasn’t fazed by their veiled jealousy: I was going to create a blockbuster filming Tilly on her first long retrieve over open ground on the 2nd drive of the day, my favourite drive.

The moment arrived, I pushed the button, sent Tilly and kept as still as possible as she raced over the fields, picked a partridge, returned and delivered to hand. Delirium! I now had something to show my Grandchildren in years to come – the perfect first outing for my Go Pro Hero and young Tilly. I pushed the button to turn it off.

I couldn’t resist having a sneak preview of my expert footage when I got back to the truck. I pressed play – and watched 10 minutes of me walking out to my picking up spot before the drive and then switching it off just before sending Tilly! The next footage was of me returning to my truck. I had turned the damn thing on when it was supposed to be off, and off when I wanted it on! The blockbuster was now of me huffing and panting across a ploughed field and back again. Tilly’s success would now be confined to my memory alone 😥.

Lesson relearned? Read the instructions properly before playing with new toys.

Oh well, it gives me an excuse to do it all again next Saturday. Think I’d better give it a test drive today. Let’s try and go back from Zero to Hero!