Posts tagged ‘car travel’

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.


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....


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!


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…


"You displease me Human..."


17/01/2010 at 16:59 7 comments

In Motion.

Today was Phoenix’ 20th show…amazing to think how far we’ve all come since our debut back in Taunton on May 29th!

But much more importantly, today was also the day when everything came together perfectly, and for the first time in any show, anywhere, Phoenix really showed what she was capable of in the ring.

The scene of this happy occasion was a biggie, The South Wales Kennel Association Championship Show at the Royal Wales showground in Builth Wells. This was also the location of our first Champ Show Best Puppy award at the end of August, and today it certainly proved to be a lucky venue for us once again.

We arrived with about an hour to spare, and, both in practice and around the showground it was apparent that Phoenix was very excited and also very fluid in her movement, definitely “up for it”.

This was carried through into the ring in spades and she didn’t put a foot wrong at any stage, first becoming best puppy bitch and then, after going head to head with the winning puppy dog, Phoenix was named Best Puppy in Breed, her 3rd Champ Show Best Puppy award.

We had recently been given some detailed handling tips by a professional handler (thanks Emma!) who observed what Tim & Phoenix were doing together and made a few suggestions. The changes were seemingly small, but seem to have made a huge difference and Phoenix is finally demonstrating in the ring what we’ve been seeing in practice and at ringcraft, that she really can move very well!

After she emerged from the ring one seasoned HWV observer/exhibitor was heard to comment of Phoenix that she had “totally outmoved the rest of the class” – particularly pleasing after a number of shows where it was purely her movement that had held her back. Also, she’s always been a major attention seeker, but it was abundantly clear that she was really enjoying herself in the ring today – as was Eileen Hughes, the judge!

The judges critique read:

A well made puppy bitch, well up for size, although balanced, and with the correct length in body. Matching angles front and rear, moved truly. Best Puppy.

Just a few days before turning 11 months it feels like our gal has finally grown into her body and has, at the same time, figured out exactly what is required of her in the ring. Exciting times lie ahead!

08/10/2009 at 22:20 Leave a comment

Litter Reunion.

6/8th of the Tarndair litter: Maize, Pogo, Noah, Sparky, Phoenix, Dolly.

6/8th's of the Tarndair litter: Maize, Pogo, Noah, Sparky, Phoenix, Dolly.

With Pogo at the water trough.

With Pogo at the water trough.

Magnetic attraction to H2O.

Magnetic attraction to H2O.

Meeting Sparky

Meeting brother Sparky.

9th May - Litter Reunion meeting Dolly9th May - Litter Reunion playing with Dolly9th May - Litter Reunion playing with Dolly 29th May - Litter Reunion playing with Dolly 39th May - Litter Reunion playing with Dolly 59th May - Litter Reunion with Dolly

Romping with sister Dolly.

Romping with sister Dolly.

...and Noah joins in the chase.

...and Noah joins in the chase.

09/05/2009 at 13:14 Leave a comment

No Sir, She’s NOT a Ridgeback.

Bored with your Guesses.

Bored with your Guesses.

Twice more over to the common today, with another twenty to twenty-five dogs met, sniffed and played with (along with their attendant human companions).

Phoenix is now 10.3 kilos – our gal is growing up! Tottering out of the car with her is certainly bicep building…

Top Breed Misidentification Guesses so Far

  1. Rhodesian Ridgeback (not close, no cigar, no money back).
  2. Generic Pointer (close, but no cigar)
  3. Weimaraner (close, candy cigar)
  4. Visssssssla (you’re not even comin’ in mate)

29/01/2009 at 21:07 1 comment

Fan Club.

On the Town.

On the Town.

Big Day Out today. We took Phoenix (by sling)  into Torrington where she was spoken to and touched by about twenty people. She saw lots of machines, cars, lorries, and a  few other dogs too. Lots of cooing and comments of “adorable”. Somebody else stopped us in the street by saying “I had to say ‘Hello’ to her, I couldn’t help myself”. Somebody else asked “Is she a Visssla?” then wandered a way saying “I thought so”, before we could vigorously intervene…

We also carried Phoenix down to the river and she went in up to her waist – boldly striding into the fast flowing and quite deep water, quite merrily. We knew that WHVs had an affinity for water, but this had not really been demonstrated in the way she looks disapprovingly at the rain and generally turns her paws up if we have to take her out in the wet.

We also had a lovely walk in the Winter sun along the river around the bottom of the garden. Phoenix is fantastically attentive and trots quite merrily alongside you as you walk. No pulling on the lead at all. She’s walking to heel really well. All the books say this is a tough nut to crack so we’re very pleased that Phoenix has managed it so quickly in such a distracting and stimulating environment.  Stuffed kongs all round.

24/01/2009 at 18:59 Leave a comment

Parrots, Petting and Popularity.

Phoenix and Tim.

Phoenix and Tim.

Another trip around town in the sling. Phoenix was a huge hit in the local pet shop. Over a dozen people of all shapes and sizes came up to speak and pet her. One person said she liked the way Phoenix’s skin was so loose – we explained that she still had a lot more growing to do…  More great socialisation experience – as usual she greeted everyone like a long lost friend, despite the towers of dog chews, pigs ears and assorted canine ephemera, she remained remarkably well controlled. We tried to introduce her to Jethro the African Grey parrot but he was more interested than she was.

17/01/2009 at 19:20 Leave a comment

Return of the Party Animal

At large.

At large.

Today’s puppy party was thrown by Tracey B. the “Puppy Guru” lady. She is very cool, and kept a crowd of eight eager pooches under tight (but gentle) control. Tracey is a strong advocate of positive training methods, she’s an animal behaviourist and a member of the International Positive Dog Training Association. Her brand phrase is “respect, kindness, harmony”. The basic principle is you reward every piece of good behaviour and ignore or interrupt any undesirable ones and NEVER punish your dog.*

Tracey also works with violent teenagers using the same techniques so, respect due!

Apart from a spaniel, Phoenix was the largest dog there, this didn’t stop her getting out and about and pressing the flesh though- she was polite and enthusiastic and remarkably self controlled. She did struggle during the early part of the party, as the dogs were let off the lead one at a time over the two hours, for around ten minutes.

No problems in the car – now definitely established as the provider of good things and the vet as her favourite place EVA!!!

*I love the fact that nothing is ever the puppy’s fault, it’s always the owner who’s to blame for not thinking ahead. It’s a very “oy vey iz mir” approach, but it works.

12/01/2009 at 23:37 Leave a comment

Car Frolics.

Phoenix, Indi and Annabel

Phoenix, Indi and Annabel

Phoenix met Meg, our neighbour’s border collie as well as Eric (our nearest neighbour and Meg’s human companion). Tim took Phoenix out in the car for  four very short runs to desensitise her, this, combined with nibbly treats, led to a calmer and more accepting attitude, Phoenix has started to associate the car with good, rather than bad things.

08/01/2009 at 14:33 Leave a comment

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