I’ve been working on this video for a couple of months now and I’m so excited to have it finished. It’s exactly how I want it! My first movie project of 2015 and the start of a new phase of … Continue reading
This weekend Guinness and I went to stay with Ash on the dairy farm he is currently working on. It’s calving time on the farm so I spent the morning in the calf barns! Seriously, who can deny the cuteness of … Continue reading
The first of the Dig It Summer Shows is finally here! Time to start earning some points!
As it turned out this was one of those shows where we had so much fun the results did not matter at all, although it was still a slightly disappointing day.
Bright and early Ash and I rocked up just past 8am. Straight away we got set to work helping, pegging weaves and putting up the shelter, and before I knew it I’d walked the course and they were calling for the first dogs. I was straight in and with only 10 dogs in the class I gave Guinness a quick warm up and we rushed into the ring. Into a down, lead off and he broke his wait. I put him back and we set off for a messy run. One of those typical first runs of the day. Never mind.
Off into the exercise field across the lane and he had a poo. I knew it, I’d rushed him in. Scooping the poop, I looked up and he had gone. Vanished! Sh*t! (Quite literally). It was a huge field but I couldn’t see him anywhere, calling and whistling, I rushed back to the Dig It field, looking up and down the lane, and breathed a huge sigh of relief to see Ash putting him into the car. Phew. What a numpty. Luckily the little lane is quiet and he’d just run straight off to find Ash.
Time to chill out and have some breakfast.
Quickly onto Jumping and it begun jump to 6 weaves. C’mon Guinness, we can do 6 poles easy, we have them set up in the garden. I ran start him to really drive him into the weaves “Go weave weave weave”…. he Go’d too much and entered at the 2nd gap. D’oh, come back, get in the weaves, lovely, off we go. It was quite a tight, tricky course with some knocked poles here and there but some pleasing rear crosses. Another Elimination picked up along the way.
While taking photos and watching the course later on I realised I had completely missed out a jump! I hadn’t even noticed it when I walked it. Oops! Not like me at all.
A bit of a break before steeplechase and Ash had long since abandoned me for Nick, pleased to finally have someone else at shows who was interested in something other than dogs!
Onto Steeplechase and me and Gaz set a good example of how to walk a course… stand on the edge of the ring with arms crossed. Everyone was starting to get a little silly and carrot cake for lunch was certainly boosting up my happiness scale.
A nice but tricky steeplechase course, I decided to test my wait and ran off three jumps ahead. Guinness jumped up and then stopped just short of the first jump but set the timer off with him nose. I released him and he ducked under. The rest of the course was so smooth and clear! Absolutely gutted!!
Power & Speed came next, my first ever games class. A great opportunity to test our contacts plus it started with a spread jump. I ran start again to help him over and he cleared it nicely. A-frame quickly to weaves was going to be tricky so I held his stop A-frame then sent him in. Yes! Nailed the entrance but popped out around pole 9. Second attempt, fail, time to get out of the ring and try to get 12 weaves out at training more often.
Second Steeplechase, another nice course with some different handling options but some tight turns. I was really pleased with my choices and Lydia and Audra both decided to handle the same way. We hadn’t even passed each other while walking the course so I was mega chuffed with myself. Onto the course and 1 pole flew, followed by another, then 3 more, a terrible rear cross and over the line.
What a shamble. However he did manage to keep up three poles in a row of tricky spacing, with a bounce in the middle. If you listen closely he lets of a “huff” noise as he bounces which makes me chuckle (amongst all of the barking of course). As I came out Avril and Katie said they’d decided his downfall is that he can’t bark and jump.
5 out of 5 glorious eliminations! The end of the show was spent filming and scribing and generally larking around while we brought the Steeplechase ring to a close.
Still finding victories somewhere, I was so chuffed with how our waits have progressed and I’m starting to feel more confident, plus I’m a lot happier with taking him back to the start if he does break.
Most importantly this show was so fun it really didn’t matter how we did in the ring, the point was that Guinness was having fun and I was having fun!
This video really sums up the atmosphere of Dig It Shows and particularly the Dig It Instructors, some of my best friends.
This weekend I went along to the Betley Gundog and Game Fair for the Sunday. I left Guinness at home away from the guns and out of the sun and instead picked up my camera.
My friend Katie was doing a Flyball Display with her team, the Carry On’s.
They put on a fabulous display and showed the different parts to Flyball; the starter dogs, the breed dogs, how to do change-overs and then finished off with an exciting race!
Next up was a Bird of Prey Display from Rosliston Forestry Centre. Using a few volunteers from the crowd, they had a Barn Owl flying between people and then changed the crowd members and did the same with a young kestrel. The information was really good and it was very easy to listen to.
The best part was the Saker Falcon which flew out low over the crowds and round past the stalls, swooping in to try and grab the bait on the long line and then flying out again. It stopped for a break and settled into a tree right above Katie’s head. We didn’t think he was going to come out.
The big star of the day was Andy Cullen MBE, a highly regarded gundog trainer. Andy gave some fantastic advice and information about training dogs and showed off a range of different breeds and their uses.
He used quite a lot of young dogs and demonstrated the different levels of training exercises. The best moment was seeing his 18 week old Springer Spaniel! Andy talked about puppy training and how important it is to get your foundations right.
He emphasised on the importance of positive reinforcement and made a point about not needing to shout or beat your dog to make them listen, but you also don’t need to be silly smoochy either. Just be yourself and reward your dog.
Last but not least was Cheshire Canine Services with a protection dog display. This was really entertaining and had a lot of wow moments. Mike Crawford runs the company and led the display, showing us different stages of training a protection dog.
Again their display consisted of young dogs and it highlighted the use of positive reinforcement in their training, especially play rewards. They did exercises with bite sleeves, an attacker with a weapon, crowd control and chase and detain. The pièce de résistance was a mock terrorist attack and one of the dogs jumped into a caravan to detain an attacker. Amazing!
Around the fair there were a handful of stalls with the usual tweed gundog trainer clothing, dog toys and accessories. There were also a few have a go stands such as archery, clay and rifles shooting.
Over in the distance in a different ring Terrier and Lurcher judging was taking place as well as ferret racing, although I walked away after watching them swinging the ferrets around like stuffed toys. The Scurries competition was a trek away down the hill and Andy Biggar, top Dog Photographer, had his own set up for special offer sessions. I managed to catch him for 5 minutes to say hello! (Very exciting).
The displays were on twice a day and quickly led on from each other so there was no sitting around waiting. It was a shame that everything was so spread out as it felt quiet around the main arena despite there being quite a lot of people about. The show was also a little sparse on stalls. However I had a really enjoyable day and there’s plenty of worse things to be doing on a hot, sunny day! It was lovely to see some friends and get some good photography practise.
There was a good general emphasis on positive reinforcement in all of the displays and I hope some people took note of this (such as the guy I saw pinning his dog down).
A great day out!
- DogOddity Photography http://dogoddityphotography.wordpress.com/
- Carry On’s Flyball Team http://www.freewebs.com/carryons/
- Rosliston Forestry Centre http://www.roslistonforestrycentre.co.uk/
- Laochin Gundogs (Andy Cullen MBE) http://www.laochingundogs.com/
- Cheshire Canine Services http://www.cheshirecanineservices.co.uk/
This year has seen a significant change for Crufts and the Kennel Club. In 2008 a TV show “Pedigree Dogs Exposed” was shown on BBC One, which exposed the health and welfare problems faced by pedigree dogs in the UK. … Continue reading