Posts filed under ‘Training’

Amber’s Good Citizen Award.

Many congratulations to Mat, Sara, Jacob & India and young Amber, Belatarr Topaz, who, at 9 months old, was awarded her Bronze Good Citizen this month.

Amber GCitizens Award

Great work everyone!

01/12/2015 at 12:56 Leave a comment

Belatarr Charlie Parker

Charlie Parker will always be a very special boy to us – he very nearly stayed on as part of our pack, and it was a considerable wrench to part with him, and a very emotional time when he left us for pastures new.

He now has a wonderful life with his new family of David, Jenny and (very importantly!) big brother Oz the Lab, who definitely takes a leading role in teaching young Charlie the ropes.  This extremely handsome boy now looks uncannily like his dad, Mingus, and will also be the first of the Belatarr Babies to hit the show ring – very exciting for all concerned! Many thanks to David and Jenny for allowing us to share these fabulous pics of their boys:

Charlie & Oz hit the beach.

Aged 5 months.

The team!

Rewind back to 3 and a half months old, and Charlie meets snow for the first time.

19/04/2012 at 17:45 2 comments

Home Show.

Rather belated this, but back on Saturday Feb 20th Tim and Phoenix went along to the Ilfracombe & District Canine Society Open Show in Exeter. This was significant because the Ilfracombe & District Canine Society is our own society, where we go for ringcraft, and where we’ve made many doggy friends (of the four and two-legged varieties).

The graduate class being judged - Phoenix is on the far left.

The show was also significant for a couple of other reasons – it was Tim & Phoenix’ one and only chance to “warm-up” for Crufts, and it was also the first time that the show had put on classes for HWV’s.

Phoenix being placed 1st, still on the far left.

A very successful and enjoyable day was had, Phoenix showed really well, and was awarded 1st Graduate and Reserve Best of Breed. Several seasoned observers commented that it was the best they had ever seen her show and singled out her movement as being particularly good, which it certainly was….ironically though it was her poor movement that was to let us down a few weeks later at Crufts, so much for warming up!

These pictures were taken by and are used with the kind permission of Denise Stanton from the Society. Many thanks Denise!

Stacked for the judges critique.

12/04/2010 at 15:06 Leave a comment

Crufts + Puppy Progress.

Time for another long overdue update…

First up, last weekend saw our very first trip to Crufts! We’ve never previously attended as spectators, let alone exhibitors, so it was with much excitement and some trepidation that we ventured with Phoenix to the show-of-shows to take our place in the big ring alongside 74 other HWV’s.

Phoenix stacked for judging at Crufts.

In the end Crufts proved to be pretty much like any other Champ Show (albeit with adjoining vast arenas stuffed full of every conceivable canine related product and thronging with punters.) The actual dog show element of Crufts seemed to pass by most of the general public, which resulted in lots of space and a remarkably relaxed atmosphere.

Phoenix was in Special Junior Bitch class and despite our concerns about her slightly jumpy, hormonal, post-season demeanour (which has seen her pull away from the last few judges who examined her rear end) she stood beautifully. Sadly her movement was not so hot (blame operator error…) and we were awarded 2nd Place, which does mean, though, that she’s automatically qualified for Crufts 2011.

Unfortunately our in-house photographer failed to produce much that was usable to document the day.

Mingus - 16 weeks Head Shot.

Meanwhile, back at HQ, young Mingus has come on in leaps and bounds – often quite literally so. Advice from Tracey at Puppy Gurus saw us relocating his cage to be right beside Phoenix overnight and an immediate good-nights-sleep for all was the result. In fact he’s never failed to sleep right through the night ever since – yippee!

At the grand-old-age of 16 weeks Mingus has now perfected all his Puppy Gurus obedience training moves and will be tested this coming week. He’s also picked up all the basics of ringcraft incredibly well and just loves being taken along for training where he struts his stuff with the big dogs – leading one very experienced Champ show judge to comment this week that Mingus was: “Just amazingly good!” He has proven to be vastly easier and quicker to train than Phoenix, although a large part of that must surely be down to us knowing roughly what we’re doing this time around!

Mingus - Called to attention on the common.

Mingus’ utterly delightful, affectionate, calm and polite nature never fails to charm everyone who he meets. Today on a socialisation trip around Torrington Common he hooked up with a wide assortment of walkers and their dogs, from Labs to Cockapoos to Spaniels to Scotties, all with great waggy success.

As was the case with Phoenix’ puppyhood we’re also now back in the land of “he’s got big paws – he’s going to be a big dog,” together with the usual (sometimes rather surreal) attempts at playing Guess The Breed – today’s examples being:
1) Labrador

2) That Dog With The Ridgeback (that would a Ridgeback Madam)

3) Newfoundland (see below)??!!

err....Mingus? (apparently!)

21/03/2010 at 19:39 Leave a comment

So that’s where the last month has gone…

Shockingly it’s been over a month since our last update…slapped wrists all round…we blame pressure of work and puppy juggling… so we’ll now attempt a potted history of the last month-in-the-lives-of Mingus & Phoenix.

Twin engine.

Firstly, like Phoenix before him, Mingus has been busy at his Puppy Guru’s training classes, the third of which is coming up in a few days. His initial foray into the class was undertaken with some trepidation (but then he was only 11 weeks old at the time and hadn’t yet started getting out and about to meet and greet) but since then he’s really got into the swing of things and is incredibly quick to learn and easy to train. We’ve mastered come, watch, sit, up, down, (plus the infamous sit-up-down sandwich) heel and wait. This week should be “stay”.

Mingus at large.

Meantime Tim took our little lad along to his first ringcraft class last week, mainly to introduce him to the cut-and-thrust of the training environment. Luckily he loved the whole experience and, of course, received LOTS of attention from humans and canines alike as well as some extremely favourable comments from several of the Champ show gundog judges who were present. He also did several pretty presentable laps of the hall in fine style,so, all in all, a very pleasing start.

Having an explore on the Common.

Back at base Tim is slowly attempting to shape Mingus’ stacking technique using the same positive training methods that (eventually!) worked for Phoenix. This time round at least one of the two parties knows roughly what they’re doing, so hopefully by the time he’s 6 months Mingus should have a pretty decent stack to show the world.

Watching the action at the Wadebridge show.

We all went to visit a dog show at Wadebridge in Cornwall last weekend in order to give Mingus more full-on socialization opportunities. Despite the cavernous venue and the many, many dogs of all shapes and sizes, he took it all firmly in his stride and trotted round with great enthusiasm and curiosity – again, receiving much attention and many oohs, aahs and coos along the way.

Ready to roll at Rough Tor.

Soggy-bearded Phoenix en route to the top of Rough Tor.

At only 12 weeks old Mingus is limited to walks of 10 to 15 minutes at the moment (so as to protect his developing joints) so he still gets to be carried once his allotted walk time is up…we did manage a quick trip to the beautiful moorland of Rough Tor on the way back from Wadebridge though, and this allowed Mingus the opportunity to splash around in the shallow river and see some horses close up. Phoenix and Tim then went for a great romp up to the top of the tor itself whilst Mingus and Adam want for a snooze in the sun back at the car….

It's all go on the dog-sofa.

Phoenix & Mingus are still very much besotted with one another, but (again, with joints and hip-scores in our minds) we’re now very wary of allowing them to play together for more than a few minutes. We currently running an alternating-dog schedule of play, walks, training and confinement which, although very time consuming, seems to be working fairly well, but can’t wait for the time that they can both hit the moors and beaches together.

Throwing a semi-point on Torrington Common.

Mingus’ big-boy cage arrived last week, so he’s now upgraded to a full-on adult-sized den, which he clearly loves, and voluntarily hops into when he wants some quiet time. He’s been completely toilet trained for a few weeks now, but still wakes up a couple of times each night, so the 3AM toilet run has yet to fade into memory (unfortunately…) That’s pretty much the only area that needs work though, in all other respects he’s a total delight to live with, incredibly affectionate and responsive and such a cutie!!

20/02/2010 at 09:00 Leave a comment

Sling Shots.

Riding in the sling on the Tarka Trail.

Mingus reached the grand old age of 9 weeks yesterday, and has been with us for 1 of those weeks, so it seems like a good time for an update. He’s settled in incredibly quickly and remarkably easily, is very eager to learn and be trained – again, the miracle of clicker/treat training works every time, in every situation – and he and Phoenix are now inseparable…

What's that about letting sleeping dogs lie?

More sofa action.

He’s almost toilet trained, and today, for the first time, he trotted to the front door to ask to be taken to the toilet – where he gets a click and training treat. After some “howl” issues on nights 2 and 3, he’s  slept well for the last 4 nights in a row, and, with two night time trips out to the toilet area, he doesn’t wake ’til after 7:00AM, which is fine with us!

Sling ride.

Mindful of that vital 8 weeks to 12 weeks socialization window we’ve been taking Mingus out and about as much as possible so he can get used to all the wonders of his world. Because he’s not fully vaccinated for another 3 weeks he travels in the same baby sling that we used for Phoenix, which works fine for a while, but he’s already getting increasingly frustrated that he can’t zoom around like his big sister, and after 20 mins or so starts to get very wriggly.

Taking in the world.

"But Dad, I wanna get down and run around!"

Ultra-confident, so far he’s been unfazed  by all manner of people, dogs, prams, cycles etc. etc. and travels without any concern in the cars, but was a little spooked by the traffic when we went out and about in Torrington town yesterday, so that seems like the one area to focus on.

Curiouser and curiouser.

24/01/2010 at 13:01 3 comments

Mingus Touchdown.

Home!

So yesterday we journeyed far (well, to Southampton) to collect our new little lad. We packed the car for every eventuality, fully expecting howling, vomiting and other bodily expulsions en route home. In the event though Mingus took it all completely in his stride and slept silently for most of the journey, with occasional moments of rousing to check out the passing scenery – a stark contrast to Phoenix who howled and screamed like she was having root canal work for the entire of her 7 hour trip home!

With Adam.

As soon as he touched down in the kitchen Mingus burst to life, brimming with excitement and joy at all the new things to explore. After wolfing down his first home meal, wagging furiously throughout, he raced around like an energizer bunny on overload…so wonderfully confident despite his all-new environment and leaving his siblings behind, a really great testament to how well raised and socialised he has been. Eventually he crashed and burned and snuggled straight into his new cage for a good long snooze – perfect!

Favourite new toy....

....definitely.

Phoenix was beside herself with excitement, but was just too boisterous to play with her new brother just yet. Mingus seems perfectly happy to sleep on his own and settles down without fuss, so the first night went pretty well, punctuated with various trips out to the toilet, but with no screaming, howling or signs of any distress…all quite remarkable!

"Yes?"

So now, after about 24 hours at Wolf Valley, Mingus definitely knows his name, and comes scampering every time you call him. He’s also mastered “sit” pretty quickly, thanks to trusty clicker and reward system. He starts his formal Puppy Gurus obedience training in just over 2 weeks, so we’ve practised a few “down” commands to get the ball rolling. Luckily Mingus seems to have an insatiable appetite, which certainly makes training much easier. He was also weaned straight onto on raw food by Mum Jacqui, which fits perfectly with Phoenix’ all raw diet too.

Sofa snuggle.

Phoenix has become less hyper around Mingus as the day has gone on, which has allowed them to interact properly, albeit under strict supervision, and even enjoy a 3-way-snoozy-snuggle together with Tim on the “dog” sofa this afternoon…

Sofasnooze

"You displease me Human..."

"Sit!"

17/01/2010 at 16:59 7 comments

Bird Dog.

Autumn brings lots of young game bird releases in the woodlands across the river from our garden, and a fair number of these inevitably take up residence amongst our trees and shrubs…or at least they have done in past years.

At Large.

Prey.

Whilst the adult birds are quite capable of looking after themselves, and, in breeding season, regularly take on all-comers, with Phoenix on patrol the garden is now perhaps a rather less favourable place for a young and naive pheasant.

Predator.

Predator.

This was borne out today when Phoenix stalked and then caught her first such game bird, delightedly retrieving the still perfectly intact poult back to Tim.  Sadly a camera was not to hand to capture the occasion…Does this count as gundog work without a gun we wonder?

07/10/2009 at 16:07 5 comments

Show number 3….

An amazing day was had today as we all headed off to the Liskeard & District Premier Open Show in deepest Cornwall. Thinking that we’d be on late in the show, and certainly after lunch, we arrived at 12:00 noon, only to find that our class was up in about 20 mins., which didn’t give too much time for “settling in”.

The show was held in an aircraft-hanger-like giant agricultural building, and the atmosphere (and volume level) was best described as cacophonous and claustrophobic, somewhat resembling a Moroccan bazaar minus the carpet-sellers (although they may have been tucked away in a corner for all we knew) with absolutely no space to move around. Despite this Phoenix was completely unphased and instead displayed her usual mixture of excitement and curiosity at all the sights, sounds and smells.

There were no classes for HWV’s at the show so we were up in AVNSC (Any Variety Not Seperately Classified:  Gundog).  When our class came she trotted beautifully into the ring and stood like a dream….which turned out to be the first and last time she would be performing this feat as trained…each subsequent “stand” was accompanied by a variety of dancing, backing-up and lurching sideways, leading the judge to ask her: “are you going to make life difficult for your Daddy today?” (the answer to which was a big fat yes!)

Despite this we managed to win Best AVNSC Puppy and received a fine rosette and a photo session with the marvellous Sam from Farlap Canine Photography.

Standing for Best AVNSC Puppy.

Standing for Best AVNSC Puppy.

Then came a 3 hour-or-so wait for all the other Gundog breeds to finish judging, by which point the building was almost empty of people, dogs and hubbub, with only the best of breed winners remaining. Eventually all the winning gundog puppies were called back for the judging of the Gundog Puppy Group, and Phoenix (who was almost asleep by this time)  & Tim entered the now much enlarged arena to line up amongst the Spaniels, Retrievers, Pointers, Setters etc.

Being judged for Best Gundog Puppy.

Being judged for Best Gundog Puppy - that's Phoenix in the centre with the judge examining her.

We had thought that being roused from a state of unconsciousness might take the edge of excitability off our l’il gal, but instead she performed just as she had in the previous round, moving with huge enthusiasm and drive, head up and tail up with a big grin on her face – which was great – but then trying to buck and twist out of her stands – which was less than great…

The best Gundog Puppy in show was awarded to the Golden Retriever, but then, and to our complete delight and some astonishment, we were awarded second place (AKA: Gundog Puppy Group 2) accompanied by an even bigger rosette, at which point Phoenix’ and Tim’s excitement levels must have gone into overdrive since she (and probably he too) started bouncing about 4 feet in the air!!!

A lap of honour of the ring for the top 4 puppies followed, and then we were out to absorb what had just occurred. Several other exhibitors came up to congratulate us and say was a lovely dog they thought she was. One Irish Setter exhibitor said that she thought Phoenix was the best dog in the whole show…which was very nice.

So, a fantastic result, and the gaiting problems of the last show now seem to be a thing of the past, but  instead we have her new unwillingness to stand to work on. The next “warm-up” show in is two weeks, and then, come August, we’re into her proper show campaign, so we’ve got a few more weeks to strike a balance between Phoenix’ joyous spirit (that judges happily seem to like!) and the element of control that we need….

First thing tomorrow morning it’s back to pup boot camp!

12/07/2009 at 22:20 7 comments

Crufts Qualified!!

A big, big day today… it was Phoenix’ first Championship show, the Three Counties, and we were really expecting it to be no more than a practise/dress rehearsal for the forthcoming Champ shows in Aug, Sept & Oct. We also knew that we were up against some older, more mature and much more experienced dogs and handlers in our class but, despite this, we managed to be placed third by senior judge Zena Thorn-Andrews, which in turn means that Phoenix has Qualified for entry to Crufts 2010 at her and our very first attempt!! (Also, one of the dogs that we beat then went on to take Best Junior Bitch, which we would have won had we entered that class…doh!)

Phoenix stood beautifully for the judge, and in the line-up, but when it came to gaiting she was like a coiled spring and was literally bouncing around the ring, so we really thought we’d have no chance of success, making the result both exciting and altogether unexpected.

We’re showing at another 6 or 7 Champ shows and about a dozen Open Shows this year, whilst Phoenix is still classified as a puppy (under 12 months old) so hopefully we can build on that success as she matures…. and also figure out how best to get her “sparkly” but not “manic” in the showring.

Sadly once again no photographs were taken of this momentous occasion due to ….erm….operator malfunction…next time though!

18/06/2009 at 22:24 3 comments

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