Posts tagged ‘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

Django update.

It’s been ages since we’ve had a chance to update the blog and a mountain of pup images have accumulated over the last month or so, so this update is definitely long overdue.

At the ripe old age of 4 months Django is now very thoroughly integrated into the pack and into our daily routines. Like his parents he’s incredibly affectionate and, if anything, even smarter and quicker to learn than they were. Ringcraft and Obedience training both started a few weeks back and, as with everything else, he’s taken them in his stride. Confident, calm  & ever-curious would probably be his key adjectives right now, as he explores his world and we take him on his little daily adventures in the garden & river and, just occasionally, the beach too:

Django, hunter-of-voles, stalking his prey.

After a few tentative first introductions to water (not helped by him plunging into an icy pool one freezing day at the beach) Django now shares his parents love of water and excitedly heads for (and into) the river on his short morning walks. He also regularly demonstrates his HPR qualities and likes to Hunt, Point & Retrieve whenever the opportunity presents itself:

On point.

...and again - no vole is safe!

At the riverside.

Managing to keep dry-ish at the beach.

A rare trip out into the garden with mum - who's usually too fast for Django's young joints.

Ever attentive!

Retrieving a gull wing at Crow Point.

...and retrieving a stick from the river.

In profile.

Unlike the rest of the UK we've only had a light dusting of snow, but it was still something new for Django to experience.

Django & Mingus absolutely adore one another and when all the fun, games and training are over they often snuggle up together on the sofa.

19/02/2012 at 13:17 1 comment

Mingus at 6 Months.

Woh – it’s very hot today…Being a winter baby Phoenix has never liked the heat much and Mingus turns out to like it even less. Just 15 mins or so of training in the full-on sun had him looking decidedly hot and uncomfortable when we took this rather-too-bright-and-high-contrast stacked pic. Luckily a swift dip in the river sorted things out in no time.

Please excuse the rather dramatic colour shifts in these pics – our little camera doesn’t cope well with the red/green combination such as Mingus in a bright green and yellow flower meadow. The camera decided to make him brown in 4 of these shots but he’s actually a deep glowing copper. Think we’ll be trying a different background for any 7-month-old shots…




22/05/2010 at 20:53 Leave a comment

Mingus at 5 Months.

Mingus' 5 Month Stack.

Looking down the valley.

Sofa Yoga.

Fun for all the family.

Isn't everyone wearing their ears like this in 2010?

Clearly an exhausting business.

24/04/2010 at 17:38 2 comments

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

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

With Honours…

Graduate.

Graduate.

Graduate.

Graduate.

It was the end of an era today as we attended our last ever Puppy Gurus session: the advanced doggy test. Phoenix is just entering the “difficult” Teen-Wolf years and has decided that Puppy Gurus is the place to test the boundaries and play up, albeit only a little bit. After a slightly dodgy start (where we couldn’t get her to sit, wait or actually pay any attention at all) she clicked into training mode and we managed to pass the exam with relative ease. She was particularly excellent with the tricky-to-perfect Long-Distance-Instant-Down as well as the Walking-To-Heel-Past-Seated-Trainers-Who-Are-Distractingly-Eating-Pizza (a Puppy Guru’s speciality move it seems) and managed all of the other tasks too, so all’s well that ends well.

04/06/2009 at 11:24 Leave a comment

Mid-Western Gundog Society Show.

02nd-may-at-mid-western-gundog

Watching the Action at Mid-Western Gundog Show.

Yesterday was our last opportunity to take Phoenix to attend a show before her own debut at the end of May. The Mid-Western Gundog Society Show near Worcester was a relaxed and relatively lowkey “do” which gave us another chance to get Phoenix fit for purpose and concentrating with dogs and people all around. She was extremely bouncy ‘n’ boingy and frustrated at not being able to join in with the other dogs but as soon as we got her working on gaiting and stacking, then she tuned in remarkably well. Which hopefully bodes well for when she has to do the real thing in about four weeks time. Until then, it’s practice, practice, practice.

03/05/2009 at 13:15 Leave a comment

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