Thursday, 11 December 2008

Party Time!

Finn won the photo fancy dress prize at our dog club party on Tuesday with this photo, It gave him the idea to invite all his friends who follow his blog to e-mail me a photo (either in fancy dress or doing something really FUN) and we'll try to get everyone on his blog on New Years Day for an on line party.

Monday, 8 December 2008

Christmas is coming

Finn's getting excited about Christmas. We put the tree up today and he knows there will soon be presents underneath it.

The cats, (Tara on the stool and Smudge on the floor)under the tree.

Father Christmas came down our road tonight on his sleigh to find out where everyone lives and what they want, Finn got so excited when he heard the carols being sung and ran to the window to watch.
Finn says it's Santa Paws, Smudge says don't be silly it's Santa Claws and Tara who is going a bit senile and doesn't believe in these things anyway says it's Father Chrissy Mouse and as you should be able to tell from the name is nothing to do with cats or dogs anyway!

Sunday, 7 December 2008

Smudge is back

Sorry folks, I've not felt like writing anything here for a while, but hey When I opened up today I found comments from 4 new Finnfriends which made us both feel really good, so a big hello to you all from both of us.
It's been a bit depressing since the last blog, amongst other things Smudge went walkabout and was missing for almost a week. Finn spent 2 nights whining, but Tara cat had a smug look on her face. Smudge returned at 2 a.m. last Saturday morning, I don't know what happened to him but he seems quite traumatised and has only been out a couple of times since. Tara has gone back to looking grumpy again, but Finn is happy! They spend hours playing like this, Finn is a lot more gentle than Smudge, who forgets you shouldn't really scratch your friends!

Sunday, 2 November 2008

Training Days

Finn had a busy weekend this week. Yesterday we went to Carole at Aricia dog training for another working trials lesson.

On the way we stopped at Nant yr Arian again for to let off a bit of steam.

Before we left I gave Finn a good brush to make him look really smart, but you can see how he thinks he looks really cool!

We started off with a bit of obedience, which we have been practicing quite a lot and I thought he was getting better at, but concentration was at zero for the heelwork so we have to do more of that for homework! However the bits he wasn't so good at last time, like the retrieving and the search square he was quite enthusiastic about this time. When we went on to the agility bit he got up to 8 foot long jump, and just one section off the full height for the scale which he seems to have got the idea about now, so I was really pleased with him.

On the way home we stopped for a quick walk at Ellesmere to let him unwind. Unfortunately the walk along the Mere is fenced off while they are doing some work there, so we had to content ourslves with a walk around Castle hill. We found a nature Reserve on the way back to the car, but as the sun was setting by this time we decided to explore there another time.

Today we had a training day at Cantref Gwaeodd our local agility club. We had Lee Gibson from come to train us. We started at 9a.m. and were split into 3 groups each working for 2 hours while those not working watched. His methods were quite different from anything we had done before and it was interesting how quickly the dogs adapted, quicker in fact than most of the handlers! We are looking forward to putting his ideas into practice at club on Tuesday to see how much has actually sunk in!

During the lunch break we had a quick walk around the local woods to relax then Finn went to sleep in the car while I watched the last group working.

Sunday, 19 October 2008

Finn had a fright last night. He likes to go to the garden gate and look up and down the road to make sure everything is alright before he goes to bed. Last night when he went out there was lots of REALLY NASTY shouting from up the road so he ran indoors and hid at the top of the stairs!

'If I close my eyes they won't get me'

I'll tell Tara, she will save me!'

Monday, 13 October 2008

Training Update

Just thought I'd give a quick update on how our trial training is coming along. We've been working quite hard at our obedience and he is actually enjoying it. He seems to be watching me more on the heelwork and I'm managing to interupt our walks with brief interludes of heelwork, although not on the beach as he is more interested in the little spurts of sand that get kicked up as I walk. Although this is very useful for keeping his attention away from young children and other things I don't want him interfering with it's a bit frustrating when I want to vary where we do our training. Our stays are not 100% reliable yet, although I am managing short (about 10 seconds) out of sight down stays. Recalls are good and yesterday we managed a retrieve using a dumbell instead of a toy. I've put string round it as he wouldn't pick it up before although he was quite happy holding it.
On the agility side of things, I had trouble persuading him to go over the long jump if I wasn't actually moving as in our normal agility I am always running with him. The weather helped as we haven't had the equipment out while it has been so stormy so we came back to it fresh today and low and behold he got the idea that he CAN jump long by himself! Now I must work on lengthening the distance he has to jump up to 9'
To avoid confusion between our normal agility training where he has to jump one obstacle and go straight onto the next as quickly as possible and our trials agility training where he has to do one obstacle and wait for me to go to him I am using different equipment and not training both things in the same session.
We don't appear to have any problem with the high jump and I am only training the scale at Caroles for safetys sake- and because I don't actually have a scale!
Because he seems to lose interest in finding things after he has brought me his favorite object I am trying to use several identical objects for him to bring out of the search area. We have some lovely squishy plastic rings which he absolutely adores so until he gets the idea of going for several items we are using these. I introduced the clicker for this indoors tonight and he thinks it's a great game although he loses the plot a bit after 2. My friend, Ann, says dog can only count 1,2 lots more, whether this is true or not 3, 4 seems very difficult!

Sunday, 12 October 2008

Windy Days

We have had some really windy weather just lately, it has sent Finn absolutely hyper. Here are some pictures of Finn on the beach at Aberporth, playing in the surf.

We've had a couple of magic moments in the last few weeks. One was at Newport. We had just finished a walk along the river and were about to get in the car to go to work when someone standing the other side of the bridge said 'We're watching an otter'. I quickly put Finn in the car and joined the crowd lining the side of the bridge and there not fifty yards away from us was an otter playing in the river. We must have watched for about 10 minutes while he caught a fish, then he woked his way round a bend in the bank and I went to work. Naturally I didn't have the camera with me.

The other magic moment was at Ciebwr, again we were on our way to a farm, and this time I made myself late watching a mother seal come out of the water and make her way to her cub lying motionless on the beach. As she got near the cub moved and we watched as she took it back to the waters edge. It's the first seal cub I've seen. Again I didn't have the camera but this is a picture of Ceibwr bay taken a few weeks ago

Sunday, 21 September 2008

First working trial lesson

I have been trying to find someone to help me teach Finn tracking for ages now, and have not been able to find anyone locally. We had a go at Schutzhund last year but I'm not really convinced about the manwork aspect, so we have been trying to find somewhere to do working trials and finally came up with Carole at Aricia Dog training at Whitchurch which is about 130 miles away! We had our first long awaited lesson on Saturday.
As it was such a long way to go I decided to make a day of it and set off bright and early with picnic for both Finn and me. We stopped at Nant yr Arian, a forestry centre just north of Aberystwyth, where they feed Red Kites daily between 2 and 4. We missed that, but we had a good mountain walk to let off a bit of steam and help us concentrate on our lesson.

Look at the view Mum

Just a quick rest

And another one

Just time for a coffee before we set off again.

We stopped for about 2 hours before resuming our journey and arrived at our destination a bit early, intending to wait quietly outside, but Carole's dogs came out to welcome us and we were invited in for a cup of tea before we started. I hadn't got much idea of what is actually involved in a Trial so Carole and her husband explained everything and then we went out to work. First we went through some obedience and I got lots of advice on how to improve my heelwork and retrieves. I've never tried a send away so we did a few of those then we went into the field to find objects in slightly longer grass. He brought the first article back, but didn't quite see why he should go back for anything else! Then I was shown how to mark out the search area.

Awaiting instructions

Sit stay.

Then we went on to do the agility part. In agility the long jump is 5 foot, in working trials it is 9 and the dog has to wait for the handler to go to him after completing the jump. The high jump is also marginally higher than in agility and the dog has to await the handler after this as well. I was quite interested in how to teach the Scale, which is eventually 6 foot high. We stared off at just under 4 foot, high enough for him not to jump it but not high enough to frighten him.

As you can see he did it.
After all this hard work Finn was quite tired so he retired to the car for a well earned dinner and we had tea and cake, while Carole made out some notes to help us with our homework.
We left at about 4.30 and stopped at Nant yr arian on the way home to cool off in the lake.

Hey mum look at this

Many thanks for a lovely day Carole. We're looking forward to our next lesson.

Tuesday, 16 September 2008

Puppy pix

Mum and Dad with breeder Janice

Dad and Janice

Meeting Abbi at the weekend has made me look back through the puppy photos, thought I'd share some of them.

My first cuddle

me at 6 weeks

Me and Abbi

The three of us

At home

In the garden

Sunday, 14 September 2008

Family Reunion

Finn met his litter sister, Abbi this weekend. Yesterday, Saturday, we went to Aberporth beach.
I don't know if they remembered each other, but they certainly enjoyed themselves in the water

first of all she had to let him know who was boss.

But then they went in the sea,

and came out friends

Abbi having a good shake

Today we went to Llanina Woods so they could have a good run without annoying any one on the beach.

Elli, Abbi, Finn & Christine

Elli, Abbi & Finn.

Unfortunately Finn was more taken with Abbi's friend Elli and left Abbi on her own in the water!