30 May 2008

We had a visit today from Catherine and Baby William. Dora remembered him from the last visit and immediately sat by the pushchair looking very proprietorial. She would not let the other dogs near him and snuggled up to him whenever she got the chance.

Saffy was very excited by the baby so we had to keep her under control. She then gave up trying to see the baby and concentrated her efforts on Catherine instead. You can see from the video why we are very careful not to let Saffy near the baby unsupervised.

Catherine then had to change Williams nappy and spread a blanket out on the floor. Dora immediately plonked herself down in the middle of the blanket with a pleased look on her face. She obviously thought we were practicing send aways to a mat. Then she was moved out of the way and the baby put on the floor which Dora thought was great as she could snuggle his hair.


27 May 2008

The rain that seems to have been falling over the rest of the country finally arrived here. We haven't had any since the last bank holiday so the garden was getting rather dry. The dogs looked at me in disgust when I suggested they go out in the rain for their early morning pee, but strangely enough they all still wanted to go for a walk.

We walked over the fields and round the pond. While walking by the pond I noticed Ruby standing looking very intently at a dark object between her paws. I wondered if it was a stick but she doesn't usually take any notice of anything as small as that was. Suddenly I realised with horror it was was moving so I yelled at her to leave it and stared running towards her so I could rescue it. Then I saw two moorhens flapping towards Ruby at speed, Ruby dropped the baby moorhen and jumped back away from them, and all three moorhens turned and made their escape into the pond while Ruby just stood there looking rather bemused. Then, late as ever Saffy dashed up to see what was going on

I then realised that I had been watching all this with my camera clutched in my hand and had never even though to try to film it.


26 May 2008

one of Ruby's favourite pastimes is hunting moles. She can smell a recent dug molehill from several hundred yard away. you can see in the video she has actually put her stick down to see if she can catch one. She has never managed to catch one yet but you never know.
I think I have rather confused Ruby about moles and rabbits. When she started digging mole hills when she was a baby I kept asking her if she was hunting for bunny rabbits and now "Bunny Rabbits" has become the cue to dig a mole hill. It makes a good emergency recall cue too. All I have to do is shout bunny rabbits and point at the ground and Ruby dashes up from where ever she is to see. However if I point down a rabbit hole and say bunny rabbits she sniffs it and looks at me as if to say "thats not a bunny rabbit". She likes chasing rabbits but only digs molehills.

I use digging mole hills as a reinforcer too. If Ruby wants to dig in one I call her to me and we do some heelwork or a recall and then release her to dig. It works very well. I would get lovely heelwork at shows if there was a pile of earth in the ring!


25 May 2008

I dropped a roast potato on the floor while making the tea tonight. Saffy was straight there thinking her luck was in until she tried to eat it. She wasn't going to give up though


24 May 2008

Ruby doing the seesaw. she goes on at a canter and even when she tips the seesaw a bit fast and it bounces her a bit she doesn't panic and goes on to do her contact.

Ruby doing the dog walk. She checks behind to make sure I am coming to see her do her contacts. She does love contacts these days. She tends to hop on to contact equipment and assume the position and then starts drooling!


23 may 2008

not a dead dog. Just Saffy Chilling


22 may 2008

Casey said I put too much about the girls on this blog and he was rather upset, particularly as he is so useful to have about the house

so here is some video of him putting rubbish in the bin for me and shutting a door.


20 May 2008

Saffy's foot is still sore but thankfully it is not preventing her from doing her job as an alarm clock for Robin


19 May 2008

Saffy had to have a night off from class tonight as she is still limping so ruby came instead. After class we did agility. Ann had her dogwalk up and it was set abut 4 foot high. We played arond on the contacts for a while while Ruby got used to it and then I asked her to do the DW. She did it several times without a problem. This is the highest dogwalk she has done since before the problems started.

I needed to work quite hard on control with ruby as Ann had a pony in half the field, separated from us only by a strand of wire and Ruby would have liked to go and chase it. at first i kept Ruby in the furthest corner away from the pony and gradually got nearer to it. We eventually did the weaves which were only about 10 feet from where the pony was standing and she did the weaves and came back to me and ignored the pony. I was very pleased with this as I Ruby has a very high prey drive and would have loved to chase him


17 May 2008

We went to Southport Obedience show today. We set out early so that I could take the dogs for a run on the beach first. We got there about 8:00 and had a lovely long walk. I made sure I took the camera with me as I wanted to take pictures of the dogs on the beach, but unfortunately I walked out to the sea and then found I had left the camera in the car. The dogs had a wonderful time running round. there is so much space at southport. We walked out as far as the sea. All the dogs ran in and out of the waves.
Saffy was a bit confused about why she couldn't drink the water, She kept tasting it in different places as if she couldn't believe it all tasted bad. Unfortunately She made herself a bit sick drinking the water but it didn't stop her chasing Ruby for miles. I did start to wonder if bringing them to the beach before the show was a good idea as they ran so much but they soon recovered.

When we got to the show Saffy was drawn in her beginner class. this really makes a change as normally it is Dora who is drawn. We were only going to do a training round so it worked out well as it gave Dora more time to rest after her walk.

Unfortunately when we went into the ring I realised Saffy was limping and on checking saw she had cut her foot so we came out of the ring.

As Dora had a problem staying last week I decided I would train her novice stays. She did them really well. She didn't go down in the sit at all. Then I took her in to do her beginner round and she worked really well. Her heelwork was excellent. . We only lost 4 marks and went into the lead.

We then went to do the beginner stays, however these didn't go quite as well. Dora went down at 53 seconds on the sit, and sat up on the down when I returned. This is not something she usually does. I think it was a mistake to train the novice stays so close to the beginner ones.

Next I took Ruby in to do her round. Again I just trained it. I asked her to play and asked the judge and steward to just wander around the ring. Ruby very quickly started playing with her football and I could see she was aware of the people near her but it didn't stop her playing with me. This is a huge improvement for a dog that at one time could only play at home in the garden. At one time she was not able to stop watching people near her.

After Lunch I took Both Saffy and Ruby to train stays at different times. We did them outside the ring so we could have some of the effects. We had the calls of time and return to your dogs etc. I trained Ruby during an A stay and did the same times so Ruby did a two minute sit stay and a 3 minute down stay which she managed well. She was quite happy sitting with people and dogs round about. She never tried to move at all even when people walked by quite close.

I trained Saffy while a pre-beginner stay was taking place. I didn't leave her for the full minute as she is not ready for theat yet, but she did the 2 minute downstay.

after that I went to check my score in the beginner class and found that even with Dora breaking her stay we could still be placed.

I then trained Dora in her novice round. this is quite hard to do as she really only likes working for food and you cannot take food into the ring. I did take a toy with me and she played with it a bit. I mainly used the round to get her to ignore the stewards commands. In the recall when the steward said call your dog I didn't. Dora started to come when she heard the steward and then stopped and sat back down when she realised I didn't actually call her. Hopefully if I do this sometimes she will learn not to anticipate as much.

We then went back t the beginner ring and found out I was 6th with Dora. We would have been second if she had done the stays. there were 50 people in the class so I was veery pleased with this result. I can see lots more stay training in Dora's future.


15 May 2008

the wheat in the field is growing very fast now. it is almost as high as the dogs.
Saffy is starting to realise why I said stay on the path. She is standing up in the photo. The dogs all get absolutely soaked in the wet grass. I havent used my waterproof trousers for ages but will need to get them put now as the grass is over the top of my wellies and my legs were soaked this morning.


14 May 2008

1The video shows Ruby working for her ball. I ask her to leave it and then ask her to do something and then she gets the ball as the reward. The squealing in the background is Ruby as she does get very excited when playing football. I really need someone else to take the video as it is difficult to point the camera in the right direction and play with Ruby at the same time.

I use the same method of rewarding ruby when using trees as well. The rewards she likes most are footballs and tree trunks, both of which are quite difficult to manage. At first Ruby would only work if I was actually holding the ball, but now she leaves it and I send her to it when she has done what I asked. I can now get quite a lot of good heelwork before send her to the ball. I could use treats which would be much easier to manage but Ruby is not very food orientated so she works with much more drive and enthusiasm for her toys. I would prefer to use smaller toys but she won't play with them. Sometimes size does matter.


13 May 2008

Agility tonight. We did the dogwalk several times first, then did the weaves. I brought Ruby's foot ball with me tonight. Id did get her playing with it a little bit in the corner but I couldn't her to play with it when doing the weaves. She still did them reasonably well but not as strongly as she was doing them yesterday.

We then did a sequence which was supposed to be weaves, then two jumps and back to the dog walk, but Ruby kept missing out the jumps and going straight for the dogwalk. She did it several times when not asked. A few months ago I despaired of her ever doing it as she was so scared of it so I was quite happy to see this.

We then moved and did the A Frame and seesaw and I asked Ruby to do the seesaw a couple of times which she did. She is really starting to like the contact equipment now. she has always liked standing on the end of the contact equipment in the two on two off position. She does her show stand on the contacts at any available opportunity. often jumping on as we walk past the dogwalk.



12 May 2008

Went to do some agility at mums this morning. I am concentrating on getting the dogs playing much more strongly so did quite a lot of this with both Saffy and Ruby.

I then practiced the weaves with Ruby. I got her playing wildly with her football then sent her to the weaves and for the first time got her really driving through them to get the ball. She has been doing the weaves for a while but only steadily not with the enthusiasm needed. For the last few weeks I have been trying to get her to go faster and running slightly ahead of her to get her to push a bit harder which has improved her weaves a bit. Today though there was a real shift in her speed and she was moving her feet to power through. I will take her ball to agility tomorrow to see if I can get her to do it there. We did it 2-3 times and then stopped as I didn't want to bore her.

Saffy had several goes at the tunnel. She is really starting to understand the verbal cue for it now. I can send her to it from 12-12 feet away. Tonight at training we went outside to train and Ann had the agility equipment up. Charlotte was there training Ellie an sent her to the tunnel. Saffy was standing by me and when she heard Charlotte say tunnel she dashed for the tunnel taking me by surprise and pulling the lead out of my hand. Ellie and Saffy had a bit of a struggle to get into the tunnel together but managed it. A bit later I sent her through the tunnel and she carried on running afterwards and went straight over the long jump which was set next. I was very impressed as she has never seen a long jump before, but I will not encourage her to do it again as she is too young to do much jumping yet.

Saffy also had a go at the dog walk which was set up. At first she was a little unsure as it was set up higher than ours at home but she did go over it a few times. Again I don't ant her to do too much until she gets older.


11 May 2008

We went to Wirral ATS obedience show today. this is a lovely show held in Wirral country park so we were able to go for a walk in the woods while we were there.

Dora worked 3rd in her beginner round. I had planned to train this one and then work her novice round but as it was already very warm I changed my mind and worked the beginner round. Dora works much better early and doesn't like heat much. She did some very nice heelwork although she was not as lively as she can be so the heat was already affecting her. She did a lovely retrieve with a nice straight present. We lost 6 points altogether on the round.

Unfortunately Dora really does not like doing stays when it is hot and usually slides into a down rather than staying sitting and this is what she did in her novice stays which were held before the Beginner stays. I took her out of the ring and did not do the down stay after she failed the sit. We then had beginner stays only 45 minutes afterwards. I was in two minds whether to do them as she hadn't done the Novice stays but as we were in the running for a place so decided I would. However Dora had other ideas and lay down after only 7 seconds so we were out of the running then.

I took Saffy into the ring for another training round we played first of all and then did a little heelwork. We did a recall with the steward holding her collar and I called her to me and encouraged her to come really fast and jump up at me. She has plenty of enthusiasm for recalls. i then threw the dumbell and let her run out and get it. .

I then did a training round with Ruby. We had to wait outside the ring for some time for our turn and she was very good. there were a few people and dogs there but she was very good ignoring the dogs and she went up to several people to say hello and let them make a fuss of her. As she was so nervous of people at one time this is a huge improvement.

In the ring I asked her to do the heel on lead as if we were doing a proper round. She did it but not very happily so I got her ball and we had a game with it then I asked her for some more heelwork and had another game. That was much better. We then did a recall. Ann held her lead while I walked away and then called her. She did a lovely present. I asked for a finish and she tried to go through my legs rather than round. I am sure she does this because she thinks it is funny. She seemed reasonably relaxed in the ring. I threw the dumbell for her to fetch which she did. This was the most Ruby has done as a training round. We still have a long way to go to get a round which is competitive but it is not seeming so unlikely as it once did.

After we had done all the rounds we went for a walk through the woods which the dogs enjoyed.


09 May 2008

Went for our usual walk this morning. It was a really nice morning. Quite warm. There was lots of dew on the grass. the dogs were getting quite wet running through the wet grass as it is now getting quite long. We then went into the newly ploughed field which has dried out a lot and Saffy run towards me a flopped down to the ground and started rolling about and wiping her face in the soil She really looked hilarious and I was laughing at her, wondering why she does these funny things when I havent got my camera with me.

Then I noticed that the soil was turning to mud on her wet fur and she was getting absolutely covered in it. Then it dawned on me that as it was Friday we would be going to the National Dog show. Her first Champ show. And here she was absolutely plastered in mud and soil!

I made a diversion on the way back to the car to go by the lake and encouraged Saffy to go in but she would only go in as far as her ankles so now she had clean feet. Mud from her knees to her shoulders and a clean back. Not a lot better. We walked round to the shallow bay are and by throwing biscuits out in to the water I managed to get her in deep enough to rinse a lot of the soil off. Once we got home I completed the job with the hosepipe so She did look fairly respectable when we got to the show.

Saffy wasn't mad keen on being in the show ring. She loved the trotting up and down and standing but didn't really want the judge to go over her, but in spite of this she still got 3rd place which qualifies her for Crufts next year.

Afterwards we Jan suggested I take her to do her KC good citizen Bronze award. Although she can do all the other things I wasn't sure if she would manage the 1 minute stay but she did it beautifully. We were in a crowded area at the front of the show with people and dogs walking past all the time but she wasn't bothered at all so we passed.


07 May 2008

Over the last few weeks Saffy's coat has been getting thicker and thicker and starting to look all clumpy. It is obviously getting ready to change. She has a much thicker coat than the other two Malinois. I have been brushing and combing it but it doesn't seem to have much effect. Very little coat comes out and it still looks slightly scruffy.

As it is the National dog show on Friday, Saffy's first champ show with CCs I thought it would be a good idea to really work on her coat so she looks her best for the show so I gave her yet another bath and when she was dry I really worked on her coat. the coat has finally decided to come loose and I managed to remove enough hair to make another dog. She looks lovely now. even though I got out so much fur she doesn't look in the least bit bald or out of coat.


06 May 2008

the weather has warmed up quite a bit now and the grass has dried out well so I got the training weaves out for Saffy. She does gallop up and down them very quickly unless I have the camera out, that slows her down.

At the moment I have the weaves very widely spaced as she is still too young to be training them properly. Once she is a year old I will start gradually narrowing the gap. I am aiming just to get her used to moving through the poles at speed. I want her to move through them from start to finish without popping out of them and regardless of what I am doing or where I am. The long term goal is for her to be able to do the weaves independently. In the video she is happily running away from me to the end of the weaves.


05 May 2008

Even though it is a bank holiday I was awake before the alarm as usual. I took the camera with me on our walk. We went to Lawton woods so I could take pictured of the bluebells. It was raining quite hard at first but that doesn't worry me or the dogs.

they love paddling in water

more pictures can be seen here



04 May 2008

We went to Rugby Obedience show today. Dora was drawn 2nd in Beginners. The first dog didn't arrive so we went in the ring first. I don't mind this as Dora always seems to work her best in the morning. She was very good, especially since we haven't been to a show since Crufts. We were entered at Cosely 2 weeks ago but as Catherine decided to have her baby that day I had to give it a miss and stay at home to become a Grandmother instead.

Anyay back to Dora. She worked very well. After we finished. the judge was very complementary about her. We lost a couple of marks on the heel on lead and heel free. I had to give her an extra command on the retrieve but I lost marks for moving my feet when I shouldn't have done. We lost 8 marks in the end. Dora did her stays well and I was pleased as it was getting quite warm and she has been known to lie down and get comfy in the sit stay if it gets too hot, so I was really pleased with her. We came 8th over all which wasn't to bad in a class of over 40 dogs.

I had entered Saffy for the first time today. I only did a training round with her. We did heelwork first and she was paying very good attention to me. didn't seem to notice the steward at all. We did a recall. The steward held the lead for me as I didn't think she would wait in this situation. She came very fast and sat slightly crooked but as it was the first time she had been in the ring I didn't mind.

We then did a retrieve. I held her collar rather than asking her to wait while throwing the dumbell, then I sent her to get it she did a lovely pickup and a really nice straight present.

I didn't do stays with Saffy or Ruby as it is complicated with more than one dog. Saffy isn't quite ready to do them yet anyway and as Ruby only did a trainig round I decided to miss the stays this time.

We had a really nice day. The weather stayed dry appart from a few odd spots . Robin said it hd rained a lot at home so was glad I decided to go


03 May 2008

Dora got well and truly lost this morning. I met up with dad for a walk this morning. We went round the pond and then I turned round to go back to my car which was parked at one end of the park and dad carried on back to his car. As I turned round I saw Dora in the field by the path and assumed she was with us but when I got to the end of the path I realised she wasn't.

As she is prone to wondering off I wasn't too worried at first. I stopped and waited and called her but she didn't appear, so I walked back the way we had come. Still no Dora. I was starting to get a little bit worried as this is not where she normally runs off and she had been gone much longer than normal. Eventually I decided I would go back to the car incase she had gone back there. Of course I had forgotten my phone so I couldn't ring my parents to see if she had found her way back to their house.

As I got back to the car I saw dads car just pulling away. I opend the boot to put the dogs in and there was Dora sitting in the boot. There was a note from Dad on the steering wheel saying that he had found her.

It turns out that she hadn't been following me but had actually gone with Dad instead and just hopped into his car and went home with him.


01 May 2008

as a puppy Saffy liked to lie on her stomach with her legs stretched out behind her.Here she is at 6 weeks old doing it.

She still does it but these days she likes a bit of comfort and usually does it on my bed or the settee.She has even been known to eat a bone on the floor with her back legs on the bed