About us.

Wednesday, 31 December 2008

Frosty mornings.

Its a beautiful time of year. It may be cold, but these frosty mornings are wonderful, and at least the dogs dont get wet & muddy when we are out!

Lily & Dave had a lovely time in the field yesterday morning, and then in the warm, Olli decided to chill out and play with Dave. He is so sweet with him.

Hope everyone has a very Happy New Year and lets all have a prosperous 2o09 with lots of agility wins hopefully!!!

Monday, 29 December 2008

Another year nearly over.

Well I am officially fatter, and probably about 12 % proof now! So much food and alcohol and chocolate I really need a detox!! Saturday was shooting as usual and was freezing!!! We had friends over for huge dinner and presents on boxing day, and I was a party pooper at 1am, deciding to leave the rabble and go to bed so I was ok for shooting in the morning. Olli was hyper and we set off as usual at 9am, even Fern, who had not retired until 3.30am was with me!
The 1st 2 drives were very quiet and Olli hadn't had 1 bird. Fern & I were blue as the wind whistled around our ears and wondering why we weren't back home having a good cooked breakfast with Rog, Luke & our friends, but hey ho, shooting it was. The 3rd drive was at a different site, so we climbed back in the car, and disaster!!! Flat battery! Have no idea why as it had started just 2 hours earlier at home but it was dead. Rang Rog who as ever was my knight in shining armour and came to our rescue with some jump leads. By the time we were going again we had missed the next 2 drives so went home for a warm up. I then went back for the afternoon session, leaving Fern at home to stay warm, and took the van this time. I spent 2 hours freezing my butt off and ended the day still with a score of nil. Poor Olli was disappointed and confused. What a waste of a day.

Today was an extra day shooting, so off we went again, Fern, Me & Olli in Ferns car. Not quite as cold today, (although not above freezing) but it was still a quiet day. Olli retrieved 7 birds, and 1 he found in a rabbit hole which was very rewarding. Glad to get home tonight and warm up though.
Dave came running up to meet us with such enthusiasm when we got home! Dogs are always so pleased to see you, whatever your mood. Bless them all. He is very at home now, and in typical terrier style, always finds the warm spot to stretch out in!

Excited to find my running orders for my 1st show of 2009 in the post box! Less than 2 weeks to wait for the agility season to start again!! Lily Fudge Cake & Olli Ob Knob here we go!!!!!

Tuesday, 23 December 2008

Dave's growing quick!

Hi All

Its the day before Christmas Eve and the excitement is killing me!!! I love Christmas!!

I am almost recovered from my fall with Olli on Sunday. My back is a lot better but I do have a fabulous bruise on my knee! Sunday night away was great fun. Rog & I got a cab from the hotel into Kingston upon Thames, and found a lovely Italian restaurant. We had a nice meal, shared a bottle of Pinot Grigio, chatted lots, people watched and giggled, then went to the gig and met up & chatted to the group! It was like they were old friends, and the performance was as good as ever, just so packed we didn't really see a lot! Still we had a great night, and it was so good to have just 24 hrs as a couple! No work, no dogs waking us up, no getting moaned at by Fern for being too soppy and snogging!!! We all need it now and then, just to remember why we fell in love in the 1st place.

Monday lunchtime it was really good to get home & see all the dogs again, and they were all really pleased to see us too.

Dave is now 90% angel & only 10% devil! He is so sweet & loving, settled down beautifully with everyone, just now & then he pushes things just a bit too far, but nothing that he wont grow out of. Typical terrier behaviour! He & Stan are now good friends, and although Dave runs rings around Stan most of the time, Stan still puts his foot down when he gets too much, and Dave respects that. Bless the shorties!!!!

Saturday, 20 December 2008

Still sore but happy.

Second half of the day and Lily was very good. I still have a lot to do on my contacts, as she is so aroused when I run she just cant stay on them, even though she does in training. Also need a bit of work on my snake lines, as she has such a huge flying stride, she lands behind me and still doesn't check herself in so she can turn tight, but its getting there. Otherwise i was thrilled, as she was fast, great on the weaves, jumped brilliantly and enjoyed herself.

My back is killing me now, but nothing that tonights liqueur party at a friends wont put right!!

Going away tomorrow with Rog for a gig & party in Kingston, and staying in a nice hotel. Lie in Monday with no dogs to wake us up at 6am!!!! Sorry Fern, you're in charge!! I will miss all the dogs but just once a year, to not have to get up and let them out will be bliss.

Dave is coming on brilliant. Only 9 weeks old and he is sitting, doing a few seconds wait, now goes in his cage when you ask him to, nearly house trained and very good on recall. Not bad for 2 weeks with us. Will post photo evidence in next blog.

Christmas is only 5 days away and all my pressies wrapped and ready!!!


This morning I didn't go shooting, after last weeks let down, but instead I took Olli to do a Run the Course workshop at club. He hasn't been training since September so it was just for fun. He was so funny! Full of beans, totally over excited and actually did very well considering. I was pleased he jumped full height, and he was fast across the dog walk, doing quite a nice contact to. I didn't bother with the weaves as he is only just getting them right at home, and it wasn't the right place to push him today. The only problem with Olli is that his lack of training and experience, means he is still a bit attached to me, not got the lateral distance control I have with Lily, so as he went down the final line of 3 jumps, I ran like I would with Lily and Olli ran into my legs and I hit the floor!!!! Sore knee, sore elbow but worse I twisted & jarred my back as I tried not to land on him. I am sat at home, drinking coffee and have taken some pain killers, as I am going back this afternoon with Lily!!! I hope I can run with her.

Wasn't Olli's fault at all, and I love him to bits. He starts back full time training in January and guess what I will be working on!!!!!

Wednesday, 17 December 2008

My dogs don't take advantage!!

After the disappointment of not going shooting on Saturday, I was shocked to find out that they did decide to shoot 4 drives after all, as a lot of guns and beaters had turned up, but nobody thought to phone me & Gail to tell us!! I could not believe it. All weathers, whether I feel good or am ill, I never miss a shoot, but they didn't have the decency to phone when they changed plans again. I will not forget that.
Sunday we had a fab day at a good friend of mines. Somebody who I met through work 11 years ago and have stayed good friends with ever since, even though we have gone in totally different directions, and live miles apart now, and have a 14 year age gap!!! That's what I call friendship. Was really fun and made up for Saturday. We took little Dave with us, as well as Olli & Lily. He was great. Went to the pub, behaved himself and then slept all the way home. Jo had the best terrier I've ever met called Jimmy, and he was the reason I had to get Dave. Same type of dog, same colouring and I didn't realise that it was 2 years to the day that Jimmy went to play in the clouds that we brought our Dave home. Roger has always wanted a dog like Jim but decided he couldn't call ours Jimmy so he became Dave (coincidentally the name of Jo's new husband!)

His Kennel Club name though is "DAVE SHORT FOR JIMMY"


Well Dave knows the best place to curl up in the evening when he's finished charging around like a fool.

Olli & Lily know that the best place to play & fight trying to chew each
others ears off is on the sofa, when they think I'm not looking so will never know.................................

But I always do, and how guilty does Lily look?!!!!! Ha!!! Bless them all.
This Saturday I am boycotting shooting, and taking my 2 to our club Christmas course fun. Olli will swap pheasants for a tennis ball, and try and keep his nose off the floor, and Lily is in the last group with the big competing dogs so is going to have to pull out all the stops, which I'm sure she will.
All my shopping is done and I'm ready for CHRISTMAS!!!!!!

Saturday, 13 December 2008

My harmonious house!

I always say that its not worth getting up in the morning unless you are willing to learn something, and at 44 years old, and having had dogs all my life, I know a lot. I pride myself in listening to people with more experience, taking in advice and deciding what's good and what's maybe not so good. I spend a small fortune, and most of my time at training classes, workshops and competing or working my dogs, and running 2 businesses, a home and being with my amazing family. Sooooooooo when we added a 6th, very small, very baby terrier to our pack, I thought it would be easy. NOT!!!!
The keeping it a secret from Rog for 2 weeks, and then bringing puppy home and having him here for 4 days while Rog was away and still didn't know, was damn hard! Well worth it though when he came home and was presented with his Christmas present. The fact that this little pup was so cocky and almost aggressive towards the older, bigger dogs within the 1st 48 hours was a shock!

I've studied dog psychology, and I still wasn't prepared for what happened. I knew I couldn't just bring in a 6 week old, 6" high puppy in and throw him in with my 5. Snuffles is old & grumpy, Stanley is old but still a rat catching, chicken killing, cat humping terrier, Becki is middle aged but a strong working spaniel who would not take any sh%*, Olli is a young male, quite dominant working boy who would probably think he was a rabbit, and Lily!!! Lily is a 3 year old, wired up wrong, mad collie, who really doesn't like anyone in her space, has been known to nip quite a few faces in her time and my biggest worry.

In just 8 days, and with patience and slow individual introductions to the rest, Dave (the pup) is one of us!!!! I asked for advice from AgilityBits forum, I have chatted to Lauren, my trainer & good friend, and I did learn a few things, including from our Vet when Dave had his 1st jab, but I am still amazed that its worked in such a short time.

We are always learning, nobody ever knows it all, and however clever you think you are, there is always someone who knows more. Always be prepared to listen and you will be a better person.

Shooting was cancelled today because the weather was so appalling, we had floods all around here, and I was so gutted as it is my special time with Olli & Becki, and they were ready to go!

Oh well, next week hopefully and then CHRISTMAS!!!!!!!

Saturday, 6 December 2008

weekend part 2.

OK so life goes on and its the weekend. Last night I was lucky enough to be treated to a training session with Lily, at a different venue. It was interesting. Not an amazing trainer, and I didn't learn anything new, but Lily is so different now to how she was 6 months ago that she didn't get scared by the new environment and she was really keen and competitive. I was pleased and felt a real sense of achievement in how mature and focused she has finally become. She really is going to be a dog to watch on the competition circuit next year.

Shooting today, and with Rog away, and Fern having to stay behind on "Puppy" duty it was just me and the spaniels, spicy chicken & rocket sarnies, bottle of coke, thermals and away we went.

Its getting almost boring now, to anyone who reads my dog diary, but again Olli was superb. He now goes ahead on his own, finds every bird he's meant to and brings them straight back to me as a matter of course. Ok he's not trained on different whistles, hand signals or commands like a £2000 Labrador on our shoot, but I honestly wouldn't want him to be. I know, 100% that Olli wont chase birds he's not meant to, leave my side unless I tell him to, or bugger up the next drive because he's not listening. He has a mind of his own, an enthusiastic drive that a lot of dogs would benefit from, and an amazing nose, but most of all he wants to please me and only me and that feeling cant be bought, for £2000 or £2,000,000. He has sparkle, he has personality and he is priceless.

18 pheasants he picked up today, although if Olli had his way the total would be 20, but I got kinda suspicious when the hen & cock bird he brought back at the end of the day, were already tied together with string, and I know he's good but come on!

Bless him x

Missing Rog! Weekend part 1.

Well its been a funny week. Rog had to go away to work on Thursday morning and isn't back until Monday night. I totally hate it when we are apart. Thank god I have Fern to keep me amused, give me hugs and look after me. It sounds daft after 21 years together but I am one of the lucky ones, who still gets butterflies when he comes home every day, and tears when he goes away to work. Soppy tart!!

Anyway, enough silly stuff. On Thursday night Fern & I went to pick up Rogers Christmas present, a JRT x Patterdale terrier pup!! 7 weeks old yesterday and so tiny! The plan is that all the whining in the cage at night will be over when Rog gets home on Monday. So far after 2 nights, he is improving. He also amazingly has learnt to sit in just a day! Not only on command, but if you ignore his jumping up bad behaviour, he offers the sit!!! Fern has been working with him today to achieve this, and I'm impressed with him & Fern! He'll be weaving and doing perfect contacts when Rog gets back at this rate!!!!

He is too small to to introduce to our mad pack all together so we have decided to keep his cage in our lounge and when he is in there we let all the others in as usual to sit with us for the evening. There has been a mixed reaction. Stan is his usual pain in the rectum, wanting to get at him in the cage, Snuffles has ignored him totally (she has seen all the other additions arrive so whats another 1?) Becki has been very Becki, she's boss and she has told him that through the bars, Olli is fascinated and not sure what to do, and Lily, who is not a dog person, is being very good. She has said hello through the bars, watched him, tilts her head when he whines, but shown no real dislike, which is quite surprising!

All we have to do is be patient and keep this secret for 2 more days and Rog will be here!!!

(I'm counting the hours.)

Sunday, 30 November 2008

Another weekend over.

Its been a busy week and a good but tiring weekend. Shooting was great but freezing yesterday! Rog Fern & Luke came and its the 1st time Rog has seen Olli work this season. He was a star all day, worked well and improving his scent work all the time so I was really pleased and Rog was suitably impressed and full of praise for my training, which was so nice to hear. On the last drive we were on top of a large hill, with the wind whistling around our ears, all going blue! when the gun in front of us shot a pigeon. It was the 1st time I had had the opportunity to see if Olli would pick up a pigeon, as a lot of dogs will only pick pheasants. He watched it drop, ran over, hesitated for just a second looking surprised at the smaller bird, but then gently picked it up and brought it straight back. Fantastic!!!!! I was so thrilled and he has proved that he really is an amazing gun dog. Pigeon breast for me for tea tonight!

When we got home from the shoot it was all hands to the pumps. Our neighbour was out at a wedding so we had her 7 dogs to feed and walk, horses to check, and then blitz our house and I had food to cook for 11. Beef in red wine, Chicken madras and Moroccan lamb with 22 jacket potatoes was ready on the table for our friends at 8 and it all went down very well! We played charades, sung karaoke and drunk a few too many beers but had a great night, eventually going to bed at 2am. Great end to a great day and needless to say Rog & I have been very lazy today. The 1st time for months we have not had a competition to go to or equipment to deliver. Made the most of a day off. Fern bless her has been working today at the pub/restaurant where she is a waitress. She'll sleep well tonight!
Oh well nearly Christmas!!!!!

Monday, 24 November 2008

Monday. :-(

Had a busy and frustrating weekend. Shooting Saturday and what a disaster! Too many guns had their dogs with them, and not particularly well behaved or on leads, so every bird that came down was mobbed by 2 or more dogs. It's not how it should be on a proper shoot and by the end of the second drive I was ready to go home.

The reason I go is to work my dogs, picking up pheasants in a controlled and efficient way, and Olli has proved to be superb. When other dogs are stealing birds that should be Olli's and he is well behaved enough to leave them when I tell him, its very soul destroying. Olli ended the day with 5 and Becki had 1.

To take the positives out of the day, Becki found her bird after the drive had finished and other dogs had looked but failed, and 1 of Olli's retrieves was probably his best yet as he saw the bird get hit, watched it sail over and come down somewhere in the woods about 30 yards from where we were stood, and went and found it alone. Used his skill and his nose properly, and came back 2 minutes later with the bird to my feet. That's progress!

Sunday we delivered another finished dog walk all the way down to Truro, in the most horrendous gale force winds, and hail storms. Bodmin Moor is a very bleak place on days like that!! However, we arrived eventually to a very nice couple with 4 gorgeous dogs and they were pleased with their purchase. So much so they ordered a set of weaves!! Rewarding day and makes it all worthwhile.

Training tonight with Lily so off to get thermals on! Roll on summer!

Wednesday, 19 November 2008

1 more day at work!

Its Wednesday and that means only one more day at work for me. Fern & I have nearly finished the dog walk today, which has to be delivered Sunday, so I will top coat that on Friday. Cooking Mexican for tea as we have friends coming round to watch the England Germany match tonight. I don't expect we'll have a full team out but its tradition to meet up at one or others houses for the game, so looking forward to that.

Nothing much to report on the dogs, apart from I have been teaching Lily some new behaviours, and Olli is weaving upright poles today!!!! Lily has learnt to take a bow, in only 2 days, and she loves learning new things. It will also help with her contacts in agility as she uses the nose touch method. Olli is just so funny to train weaves. He has actually been a lot quicker to catch on than Lily, which surprised me. He has a totally different idea to training. He gets something right and it just clicks. He seems to log it in his brain as if to say, "right I get the idea, so I'll just do it now!"

Stan the terrier, who hardly ever gets a mention on here, has been shopping with Fern in her new car tonight. He loves going out for rides, but not too impressed with the near emergency stop at some roadworks, which rudely interrupted his gazing out the back window, and promptly and unceremoniously deposited him on the floor behind the drivers seat!!! Bless him!!!

Oh well back to cooking now. Will report after Saturdays shooting.

Monday, 17 November 2008

UKA Cornwall

What a weekend we've had!! Dragged myself out of bed at 5am Sunday morning to get off to the last agility competition of the year for me. Got there at 8am and met up with our friends, walked courses, got a cuppa and started to wake up. Lily was so high as a kite in her 1st round, Agility, that she blew it completely!! Forgetting what a see saw was, running straight past the weaves and into a tunnel, I just laughed and put it down to experience. Olli had a go but he has not been training since September, and really not quite ready for competition, but it was a small friendly show and i thought he'd enjoy it.

After lunch we had the jumping round, and I could not believe how well Lily ran the course. Fast & accurate with only maybe a small mistake which wasted half a second, but she went clear and was placed 3rd!!!!!

Olli was keen to go when his turn arrived, and we all joked as to what a laugh it would be getting him round the course, as it was quite tricky and he's still such a beginner. You cannot imagine how I was feeling when half way round the course we were still clear. The final few jumps and a set of weaves, and I thought my legs were going to give way. He did it!!!! He actually went clear, and was 5th overall!!!!!!! Only his second time in a ring, not trained for 2 months and he is a gun dog. For all you people who mocked me and told me a gun dog would never do agility too, in the words of some one famous...............up yours!!!!!!!!

19 pheasants he picked up on Saturday, and a gorgeous clear round rosette he picked up on Sunday. Ha Ha Ha Ha!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Saturday, 15 November 2008

What a day!!!!!

WoW!!!!! I don't normally write my blog (or "Diary" as its become) on a Saturday, but I am so amazed and thrilled with Olli I had to write it now.

Today was a different days shooting, as we had a guest team of 9 guns shooting. A nice group of people turned up this morning, farmers businessmen and a lady gun too, none of which have shot on our ground before, so they were looking forward to a day of unknown quantity. I was slightly nervous about how well Olli would do in front of this group, because I wanted to impress them or at least not be embarrassed! We set off to the 1st drive and Olli was fit to burst with excitement! He was trying to walk to heel, but kept running ahead then running back as if to say "come on mum!!!" The drive was awful. Hardly a bird came out the cover, and we were all thinking it was going to be an embarrassing day as our guests were of high expectation! Thankfully the rest of the day was superb. Pheasants flying high and fast in all directions and Olli worked his butt off! Climbing large piles of rubble at one site to retrieve a bird from the top, going through fences to chase injured birds and bring them back, across fields, in dense hedges and using his nose a lot more now to find birds that we hadn't seen come down, on high bramble covered banks.

19 birds over the day, all brought back beautifully. 19!!!!!!

Needless to say I am very, very proud, and Olli is very, very asleep under my chair. Bless him.

Tomorrow we are off to Cornwall at 6am for the last dog competition of the season, and Olli has his other hat on, agility spaniel. That is if he ever wakes up!! Lily of course is raring to go and will hopefully go clear again, if i handle it right! Fingers crossed.

Thursday, 13 November 2008

Finished for weekend!

Another week over for me, as 4 days is enough working for someone else!! Doesn't mean I can relax of course. I have our 2 businesses to run, so I have painting to do tomorrow on the next dog walk, and paperwork to do for the electrical business. No rest for the wicked. In between all this I have to find time to train the 2 main dogs, Lily & Olli, get all my stuff ready for shooting Saturday and competition on Sunday.

Saturday should be interesting as it is a bought day. Basically, our syndicate sold the day to another group so we have to provide lunch and a good day for them. Olli will be a star as usual, but Becky will have to stay in the car unless there is a lost bird to find, as she would be embarrassing in front of a posh crowd!! It will be good to show off Olli's skills though to a new lot of people.

Sunday is the last competition for me this year and after last weeks place I am really excited. I know I shouldn't be, because Lily could mess it up and so could I so I may be brought down to earth with a bump, but it wont be the 1st time!!! Or the last knowing me! Olli is actually weaving now too!! Suddenly clicked in the last 2 days so who knows with him this week!!! He really is a multi talented boy!!

Sunday, 9 November 2008

What an amazing weekend!!!

I am tired out, had no sleep, because we went out friday night to see our best friends off on their honeymoon to the Maldives, up early saturday morning to go shooting, had a brilliant day again with Olli picking up 9 pheasants and Becki having to go and find a lost bird, through a bog and a steep bank of nettles, cos nobody elses dog could find it. Late saturday night as I had to watch Match of The Day, and see my team Arsenal beat Man Utd!!!
Up at 6am today, sunday, to drive to Okehampton for Dartmoor agility competition. Lily & Olli loaded in the car along with Fern & Luke, bags of rolls & crisps, warm clothing & of course Rog. Husband, friend, critic & camera man!!!
1st was agility, and Lily was keen, but I messed up her seasaw and she had a pole down before refusing the tunnel in the corner again!!! What is this hang up with corner tunnels indoors?? I was a bit disappointed, but also concerned that this was becoming an issue. Anyway, next class was large jumping, and as I walked the course my heart sank. Jump, weaves, jump, tunnel. I was about to go home there and then. The 4th obstacle was a corner tunnel, so what was the point? I decided to go in, 3rd dog on the course and just work my hardest, use all my months of training to handle it the best I could. ....................as she came out that tunnel, i raced across to the next section of the course, held my breath and just went with the moment. Fluent, fast and as she cleared the last jump I cried!!! 1st clear round in her 4th ever show, and after the other 160 dogs had run, we were placed 4th! You would not believe how proud I feel tonight. Incredible, ecstatic, fullfilled, ...... raise a glass to Lily & Olli!!!!!!!xxxxxx

Friday, 7 November 2008

Weekend events

Not had much chance to write anything this week, or do much really!! Busy week at work, been a close friends shoulder too so thank god its friday!!!

Last night Lily was excellent at training. So much so that we were top of the class, complimented by Lauren our trainer and a few others too! Her food has made a difference for sure, as she is now excited and keen as mustard. She was flying and I was actually handling her properly!! Lets hope i remember it all on sunday at the competition at Dartmoor.

Tomorrow is shooting again and Olli is already realising what day it is. He was followin me around getting my clothes ready and kept looking at me with enquiring eyes. He knows my coat and my boots now so he's ready to go!! What he doesn't know is that I have entered him in the show sunday too, his 1st one so that should be interesting!! It is all experience though and he will be good for next year i'm sure.

So not much to report, but after this weekend I would watch this space!!!

Saturday, 1 November 2008

That loved feeling.

Its bitterly cold, very windy and you put thermals on, 3 or 4 layers of tops, scarf, hat, load the car with food and the spaniels and go to the shoot meet. Everyone says their good mornings through their scarves, hands in pockets and shifting feet, dew drops on noses (no whiskers on kittens!), and then you're off to the 1st drive. Dogs are now out and whilst us humans have been moaning about the cold, and the wind, suddenly it seems irrelevant when you watch the bright eyes, wagging tails, constantly flicking ears of your dogs. From that moment you know why you do it. The intense concentration, enthusiasm, determination and beauty of a dog ready to work, just for you is a feeling like no other. Through deep mud, puddles, brambles, fences & hedges, Olli worked all day, sitting patiently when there was nothing to do, but eyes flitting between the skies and me, waiting for any command, and regardless of the wind blowing his ears across his face he was ready to do anything I asked. Never the need for a lead or a cross voice, just total comittment and pure love for me. Wherever I walked he followed, wherever I sent him he went and when there was nothing to do he still looked at me with those dark brown eyes as if to say "Its ok mum, you just say the word and I'll do whatever it takes, but I'm just happy being here in the middle of a field with you"

Fern came with me again, even though her boyfriend was at our house and it was freezing, she came with me, drove me around between drives and was just there, which means so much.

And after a fairly poor day I got home to a huge smile from Roger and although he'd been at work since 7am and was doing paperwork when I got in, he listened to my blabbing on about what had happened, how great Olli was, and all the events of the day and was so happy just because I was happy. As I'm writing this, Olli has managed to squash himself onto the back of my chair just to sit with me, eyes drooping, nearly asleep but cant leave me for a minute, and Lily is under the chair, pleased I'm home and her mum is back.

There is nobody in the world at this precise moment who feels as loved as me.

Thursday, 30 October 2008

Lily training.

Not much news this week. Had a great afternoon on sunday training at Mark & Karens. Lily was good. Bit of a clown with some of the tunnel work, but nothing to worry about. She was fine being in a different environment with a lot of new dogs so that was rewarding.

Having a few days off work to spend with Fern as its half term, and its cold, wet and miserable! Floods around Honiton today, roads closed in all directions and 2 feet of hail in Ottery!!!! Unbelievable. Thunder woke me up last night, and we lost power for a while but i suppose it is winter. Snuffles my old Sprollie had blood tests and urine tests this week. Seems like her kidneys are starting to feel their age. She is on antibiotics and Propalin to try and stop her incontinence but we have to see how she goes. Carpet shampooer working overtime at the mo!! Poor old girl. She is so fit and lively in every way I just hope she can get over this blip and continue to enjoy life for a bit longer.
This was Snuffles a few weeks ago. Hardly acts or looks like an old dog! She is 13 though so we just have to keep fingers crossed.

Dartmoor show next week, and UKA the week after then thats it for this year. Good job I have shooting to keep me occupied!!!

Saturday, 25 October 2008

3rd Days Shooting.

Well today was a bit of a disappointment. There were extra people helping with picking up today, which is a bit unfair on us loyal ones! We normally have 3 or 4 people picking up at our shoot, and thats plenty when there are 10 guns. It means we each look after 2 or 3 guns and our dogs get plenty to do. However there were a few guests today and it was silly and annoying. After 3 drives, Olli only had 1 bird to retrieve and that landed about 10 feet from us! I was ready to go home, but at the next drive I stopped being submissive and marched through to where i knew there were good birds to be picked and worked my boy. By the end of the day he had 8 birds and was very obedient again. He sits and watches the skies, glancing at me for back up now and then, and follows me everywhere off the lead all day. He leaves birds that aren't his, but is off like a rocket when I ask him to. Puts a lot of the older dogs to shame and I am still thrilled with him.
Poor Becki only came out for a couple, and had nothing to retrieve but she worked through some hedges and enjoyed herself while she was out, behaving very well too! I wonder if she really does try harder now because she has competition? If only they could speak!

Monday, 20 October 2008

Mixed weekend

Hi all. Had a busy and mixed sort of weekend. Went shooting saturday with Olli & Becki and had a really good day. Olli was superb again so last week wasn't a fluke! He picked up 9 pheasants this week, but most importantly, he actually used his nose more and found 2 which had landed in deep undergrowth quite a few yards away from us, and he did it all on his own. I was thrilled. He was obedient and totally focused. Another real good point was that a bird landed about 50 yards from us, which he watched, but one of the guns was working a new lab and sent him to retrieve it. Olli was off, but all i said was a firm "Leave it" and he stopped, turned and came back to sit at my side, and watched the lab do the retrieve. Now thats what I call obedience! Love him to bits.

Becki came out in the afternoon and picked up 3 brilliant retrieves. Funny, she didn't bark, and stayed by me off the lead!!! I think she's feeling pressure from Olli being so good that she's trying really hard. Bless her!

Went to a small show yesterday with Lily and had a bad day, but with good points too. The 1st ring had a weird tunnel around a corner against a wall (it was indoors) and she went halfway in then turned and came out. Never done this before, but no matter what I tried she refused to go in. They changed the tunnel soon after as a lot of dogs did the same. The problem was then that in the next ring she was wary of the tunnel and took 3 attempts to go in. Very bizarre, but she is a dog who is easily put off due to her nervous disposition. The final class, she stopped once but then went in the 3 tunnels and had a lovely fast round with just a 5 for refusal. On the other hand, she was hyper, lively and starting to really become aroused by the equipment so her speed and focus was really improved. Have to make sure we dont now have a hang up with tunnels, but training at Marks this weekend should put a stop to that!

Friday, 17 October 2008

New car!

Well we finally decided that the littel Skoda we had bought for Fern when she was learning to drive just wasn't reliable enough so I went mad and bought her favourite car today. Renault Clio in black and its diesel, which she prefers. Its only an old one but is very tidy and very cute so I put a 5 ft pink ribbon on it, 6 huge purple balloons and waited to see her reaction when we picked her up from college.
It was amazing. She squealed and hugged us both before taking it for a spin. Aint kids brilliant?!!
Shooting tomorrow with Olli and show on sunday with Lily.
Lets hope for a sucessful weekend!!!

Sunday, 12 October 2008

1st days picking up.

I am tired out! Yesterday was a fab day at our 1st shoot of the season. I decided to take both dogs, Becki my 10 yr old experienced hunting dog, and Olli of course. My plan was to use Olli on the 1st drive, as I thought he would not cope with the excitement of having to stay in the truck, and there was a lot at stake! He had been very vocal when i took him as a young dog back in january, which is not allowed and is also not good for a spaniel to be noisy. I had 2 of our gun men watching closely as they both had their doubts about him last season. He got out the truck, full of enthusiasm and energy and we walked to our 1st spot. Off the lead, he walked to heel like a true pro, didn't make a sound, watched the skies and waited for my command. I was so thrilled!! All my training over the summer had worked. Simply putting him back in his kennel or my truck if he barked and giving him time out had worked like a dream. He was incredible, picking up 8 pheasants in 3 drives. For anyone who has never had the pleasure of working with a dog, in any sport, could never imagine the thrill it gives you. No harsh handling or punishment required as a gun dog trainer had tried to tell me when he was 5 months old.

Becki, came out to work a drive while I rested Olli and she was her usual noisy, impatient self. I decided after 20 minutes that I would put her away. I couldn't stand the embarrasment. On the way back to the truck, the gun captain stopped me and asked me to take Becki up a hill into a large overgrown thicket to look for 2 lost pheasants that others couldn't find. I knew Olli wouldn't have the experience, and Becki is famous for her amazing nose. I sent her in and after 10 minutes she appeared, covered in brambles with a bird, brought it straight to me then went back in for the second, which she carried back to me 2 minutes later. She collapsed and couldn't get up for a few moments. She is the most infuriating, disobedient, badly behaved shooting dog (I didn't train her I only took her on as a 6 year old) but i would lay all the money in the world that she will work til she drops and always find the bird. Her scent work is incredible. She followed me back down the hill and lay in a huge muddy puddle to recover! Bless her.

All in all a totally awesome 1st day and i was very proud of both dogs.

Went for dinner at some friends and watched England win 5-1 to end the day. Today we have been working all day to finish our next order. Never a minutes rest!!

Friday, 10 October 2008

Shooting season begins!

Well another week has gone by, another week older and another week nearer to Christmas!! Ferns car is sick so in the hospital since yesterday morning, which is a shame as its her 1st little car and she loves driving, but hopefully its not too serious. Lily had her 1st new "Go On" class on monday and got bowled over & growled at by a horrible labrador. Spent the next 10 minutes shaking and glued to my leg, unable to work away from me at all!! She didn't even look at him! Anyway she did recover by the end of the class, which proves how much better she is now than 6 months ago. Thursday class was some interesting course handling excercises, including weird weave entries and she was brilliant. Speeding up by the week now, and i finally feel like my handling is doing her justice. We will see how she gets on at Mark & Karen Lakers in 2 weeks time with a whole new environment and new dogs around her.

Have been running again this week and it feels good. Bought some decent shoes for agility too so got a good excuse to win lots next year!

Tomorrow is Ollis 1st day shooting since the end of January. I am so excited. All my kit is ready, my check list too so Rog doesn't have to run errands of bringing my flask (left on kitchen side) or my whistle (still hanging on hook) or god forbid my dogs!!! No I have never forgotten them really. I am expecting Olli to be OTT when we 1st arrive at the meet, but am quietly confident that he is going to very soon slip into work mode and be a real assett. Fingers crossed I'm right as I have been slightly boasting as to how well he has come on. Could have egg on my face!!!

Well I'm off to paint more weave poles for a customer, then its England football tomorrow. Will they still be on form? Theo Walcott should be! Come on England!!!!!

Sunday, 5 October 2008

An interesting week

Well its been a fairly uneventful week. Working for somebody else, and just the average week...........until thursday. Last weekend I decided to make up some leaflets about our agility equipment and asked our local pet shop and vets to put some out for me. We also spent hours over a couple of evenings, designing a final logo for the business and uploaded it to our new web site. So thursday my phone rang with a lady who runs a local Dog Training club. Had picked up a leaflet and wanted to order 1 set of standard weaves and 1 set of channel weaves!!! Great excitement! So I spent yesterday undercoating 24 weave poles, while Rog went welding and made the 1st set of frames. This morning I went for a run with Lily & Olli (decided I better start getting fit again!) Nearly home and Olli spotted a wounded pheasant on the track. He shot over, picked it carefully up and brought it straight to me!! Really pleased as the season starts next saturday and I was wondering if he would remember what to do! Got back to check my e mails and we have our 1st enquiry for equipment from our website!!! Things are looking up.

So on top of Plymouth beating Sheffield Wednesday 4-0 yesterday, Olli doing a perfect retrieve, work coming in for our new venture, and now we are about to leave for Wolverhampton to see our fave band again!!!! This time we are meeting them for food and drinks 1st. Sooooo excited!!!!! Life is so good!!!

Monday, 29 September 2008

What a weekend!!!!

Well, what a weekend! Friday was fab. Got up & went for a run with Lily and felt good, although unfit but I mean to change that. 2 hours getting right up to date with our 1st business paperwork, R J Electrical Solutions Ltd, our main company nearing its 2nd birthday! Then did some much needed spring cleaning and left the house for some me time for a change around noon. Visited my best mate, and then my mum, did some shopping and felt chilled. Met Fern for a drink at our local then we all went out to see some friends and watch a band to finish the day off perfectly.

Sat morning, up early, sun shining and we (Fern & me) left the guys having a lie in and went out with 4 dogs for a lovely walk. Sun shining, pheasants in the morning mist, 2 red deer on the far side of a field stopped to watch us go by and we were looking forward to my friends wedding at lunch time. As we neared our garden gate, our landlords spaniels were all on our drive. Disaster!!! They pitched in to Lily. I had her on a lead and all I could do was spin her round, pick her up and wait for them to be un-ceromoniously scattered by their owner. I was gutted, and shaking. Poor Lily tries to avoid trouble if she can and is doing so well being sociable but is this a set back? All I can do is wait and see how she reacts at training on thursday. 4 springers at her tail probably hasn't helped! So wish we could move house!!!!! Anyway, no injuries thank goodness and the wedding was amazing, although I really just wanted to come home and be with my dogs. Poor Olli watched in horror as it was his mother & sisters attacking his best friend. What a confused boy!

Sunday we went to Cardiff to see our all time favourite band, followed them since the 80's and they were awesome!!!

So on the whole, a busy and emotional weekend!!! I need another 1 to get over it!!!!

Life is a roller coaster!

Thursday, 25 September 2008

Ollis last training night.

Well I'm off to training in a minute and it will be the last 1 for Olli til after christmas. I think its better to do 1 thing at a time, and the shooting season starts in 2 weeks so he needs to focus on that now. He has only been on the shoot field 3 times at the end of last season, as he was only 8 months old, but he is a natural gifted game dog. He has been really enjoying agility, and I think next yr he will be competing and winning, but for now I need calm focused gun dog.

He is so responsive to me & the whistle and so keen I think this year he will be the top picking up dog in our shoot! So looking forward to the season.

Anyway, now I am starting 2 nights a week with Lily for agility so I will be busy!!! I should be pretty fit come Christmas!!!!

No more work til Monday either!!! Yay!! Friends wedding saturday and off to Cardiff to a gig on sunday so wont be bored!!!

Wednesday, 24 September 2008

Mid week moan .....

Well what can I say? Dogs all been out and happy sleeping now, Fern still sleeping, needing a lie in after 2 hard days at college!, the cats are in sleeping off a night on the tiles, and I have a million & one things to do but unfortunately have to go and run next doors office!!! 6am start for me!

Lottery tonight. Just a small win would be nice so we can move, have a small field for dog training, and I could concentrate on our businesses not have to work for someone else. Not too much to ask?

Oh well, dream on. I'll just escape into one of my fave places in the world, in my head and the day will fly by. Hopefully have afternoon off to take Fern out shopping and spend some quality mum/daughter time.

Ireland mmmmmmmmmm!......................

Monday, 22 September 2008

Lilys 1st clear!!! Controversially

Monday morning, oh wonderful. Still tired from yesterday and the weekends never seem long enough but I do have 12 large HGV drivers who will not be happy if their wages dont get paid today so I better go in the office.

Well what a day yesterday!!! Honiton show and Lilys second and after discussion with some fellow handlers I decided this week not to queue with her but to substitute my willing daughter Fern as "Queuer!" while I played tug away from the ring with Lily. It worked!!!! Took her mind off the other dogs around and started faster and more focused than last week. Got a silly 10 faults in the 1st class, totally my bad handling as you can see on www.youtube.com/feroda7, so headed for the steeplechase class with determination. A bit of a tricky mid section on this course, a pull through followed by a double front cross so I was nervous going in. Flew the 1st section of the course, pulled through fine, jumped 10 then 11 (I rear crossed in my panic but it worked!) around to fence 12 and acros the diagonal to the tunnel. At this point all we had was a snake line to finish and about then I stopped breathing. Lily did a perfect snake and across the last in good time! I was ecstatic!!! 2nd show and we had a fast clear!!!!............................

However, the judge walked over to me in my screaming, emotional delerious state to inform me that he had given me a 5 penalty for Lily "leaving the ring before fence 12 and going around the post holding the ring ropes" I was devastated. I hadn't noticed, couldn't possibly remember as i was doing a rear cross at that point when it should've been front cross so I had to agree with the judge. Totally crest fallen but still, I thought Lily did a fab clear so I put it down to experience. But, and its a big but, Roger my better half had video'd my round so at home last night we sat down with a cup of tea and watched.........................Lily do a perfect clear round, inside the said post by at least 2 feet!!!!!!!! At no time did she go outside the ring. Its such a shame because we discovered from the secretary of the show that we would have got 15th place if the clear had rightly been awarded, which out of 180 dogs in only her 2nd show is pretty damn good. I feel robbed but more determined than ever. Hard lesson learnt that you are at the judges mercy!!!

Thursday, 18 September 2008

Nearly the weekend!!!!!

Well its thursday, and thank goodness my last day of the week. Working 4 days a week does make life so much better. More time with my dogs, training and walking, learning all the time and thats me not the dogs! It amazes me that although my favourite girl Lily, who is a leggy sleek collie (is starting to compete now and we're hoping for a clear this weekend), my "working" gun dog Spaniel, (who is just 14 months and has proved himself outstanding at picking up pheasants at the end of last season), is looking faster and even keener at agility!!!!

Problem is, the old school gun dog people said I couldn't train a decent gun dog to do agility................. red rag to a bull I'm afraid, but even I am suprised just how much he is excelling at it. Started proper weave training with him last weekend, and already got the idea of the 1st 4 poles being upright, and at 90 MPH!!!!! Lily you got to watch your back! Although in fairness at home Lily is very fast too, she just needs to build that con fidence when we are out in public.

Oh well, back to the grindstone for a few hours and then get ready for show on sunday! Will we get our 1st clear? watch this space!.............

Sunday, 14 September 2008

Well what a fab weekend. I have been to my 1st show with Lily and it was by no means a disaster! My handling let her down a bit, (nerves did get the better of me) and she was a bit unsure of all the other dogs, but this is a dog who had to leave her 1st training session after 5 minutes because she was so totally frantic and wired!!!

I am on a high. She has the potential to be a good agility dog, maybe not top grade but certainly mid way. The thing is, most important to me, she tried and gave her all. She is genuine, and if she can she will do her best to please me. So many dogs I saw over the weekend who were just p"*& takers. No intention of trying at all.

The other big note from the weekend was the amount of people out there, who are quite honestly bad handlers, who blame their dogs! 2 or 3 times in the sace of 10 minutes on one ring we heard, "bitch" or "you idiot" screeched at the poor dog who was trying to work out through pure telepathy where he was meant to be going! Some of these guys were really hot dogs, who in the right guidance would be 1st class, but unfortunately had morons for owners who just expected them to mind read. My handling was poor, but I know that and I know I can improve but I would never blame my dog!

Oh well, "ther'es nout so queer as folk"

Onwards and upwards. I had a blast and I will continue to do so.

Love Lily, she is my heroin. xx

Thursday, 11 September 2008

Well its friday and I have millions of things to do in not very much time!!!

My 1st agility competition tomorrow with Lily. Oh god, why did I ever get back into this!!! Retired from shows 7 years ago, and they were only really for fun with my fab but not too fast Sprollie. Now I have a potentially fast & mental collie, and I dont know if I can do her justice!!

Hopefully her nerves will cope better than mine and we can have some fun.

Training last night and she was on good form so fingers crossed!!

Mental note to self, pack plenty of toilet roll and ice!

Oh well, off to start packing all the camping gear. Forgotten ow much you have to remember to take when travelling with pack of dogs & husband and Daughter and Daughters boyfriend! Bacon, bread, tea, coffee should see us through, oh and bottles of wine, nearly forgot.

Will let you know how I get on!

Tuesday, 9 September 2008

New adjustable weaves! Saves buying channels and standard weaves, 2 in 1! Great for training and re training. You gotta have a set!!!:-)

What we do!

Well if you are an agility Well if you are an agility enthusiast lke me, you may be interested in our equipment. Its kennel club standard and quality but not prices to match! Its all hand made to order and we will deliver to most areas for the cost of diesel.

Hope you like what we are doing!