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!



Thursday, 11 September 2008

A Day on the beach

Now our show season has finished we can relax on the beach.
I'm the King of the castle!
Look what I found.
I showed them who's boss!

Sunday, 7 September 2008

Pembroke County Show

It's been a while since I've written anything here, my nice new, superfast computer's been playing up so now I'm back on the old one which hasn't even got enough space left to defrag itself. And even that's been having a sulk!

Anyway, since I last wrote we have had our last show of the season, there are a couple more but I haven't entered as I didn't want to do too much in our first season. Pembrokeshire agricultural county show is our local show and for the last 10 years Cantreff Gwaelodd (our dog club) has organised it so we are all expected to be there for the full 3 days, arriving on the afternoon prior to the show in order to help set up. In return for 3 days hard labour we receive free camping (ringside so we have no excuse not to be there on time) and lunch vouchers to be redeemed at various catering outlets onsite. From my house to the show ground usually takes about 40 minutes. The weather was absolutely abysmal but I set out at 2.55 on Monday afternoon and as it had stopped raining momentarily I decided to break the journey at Rosebush to give Finn a run at one of our favorite walks.

Finn had a great time splashing in the puddles He is nothing if not generous and believes in sharing the water with everyone present! When we got back to the car I found I had left my lights on and the battery was as dead as a Dodo! After waiting 3 hours for the A.A. to come and rescue me I arrived at the show in a howling gale and pouring rain just as it was getting dark.

I've never put my tent up in the dark before.

Every time I got a tent peg in the wind ripped it out again, but with many curses I finally managed it all by myself, (everyone else was snug in their tents and caravans, even Finn who usually demands to get out of the car as soon as we arrive was happy to sit in the dry and watch). But my faithful little tent withstood 3 days of wind and rain without letting in a drop of water, and boy do I feel guilty about all the disloyal thoughts I've been having this summer about caravans.

The next day was WET. We kept the show going with copious supplies of straw and sawdust. Finn ran well but overenthusiastically resulting in our usual elimination. The next day was WET. The ground was WET and slippery. In the morning we had 2 runs, Finn was OTT and I was at my wits end trying to calm him down, overlunch we went for a walk around the flooded car parking field, (the cars were all parked on the runway instead) and in the afternoon we got round the circular jumping with 1 pole down and 1 refusal, we were over the moon. The next day was dry and sunny and we managed 3 runs without getting eliminated! I was so proud of him, and really pleased we finished the season on a good note.

Finn looking after the car.

Finn in action on his very own mug. Picture taken at Wirral.

And last but not least

Gillian's little Pappillion getting her first clear round in the small dog class, Well done.