Saturday, 28 November 2009

Dark Horse!

We had arranged to go on a long weekend break back to Belgium, just to see Alex's home country, to get a little bit of Christmas shopping done, see some of his friends, eat lots, and generally spend some quality time together, all of which we did and it was a lovely weekend. Even the weather was lovely, it stayed dry, warm and sunny (apart from light rain in the evenings) - which is very unlike November and certainly nothing like what Brussels is renowned for. Kiah meanwhile got to have her own little holiday while staying with Dave and Candice for those few days - really appreciate you guys looking after and taking care of my special princess, thank you.

So, back to the title of the post - Alex certainly IS a dark horse (for all the right reasons) as he had arranged lots of different surprises, all for me and none of which I had any idea he was doing so I must tell you about how wonderful it all was!! The first was the hotel, too many star-ratings to count, and it was right in the middle of Brussels city centre. The whole hotel was lovely, and the staff were very attentive and friendly too. The second was the room - or should I say mansion, it was on the top floor, one of the best suites with its own lounge, massive bed complete with red rose :)) and marble bathroom. The third has to be the view from the room which was just amazing and looked out over the city - the picture explains it all. Well, then came the biggest and best surprise of all, on Saturday evening in the middle of the grand place - the famous square with the spire of the building in the photo, Alex proposed!! I really didn't see it coming but of course I said yes, it really did make a good weekend just perfect, I'm very lucky, still :)))))) smiling lots, and very happy!!!

Wednesday, 25 November 2009

Discover Dogs 2009

Discover Dogs was a very enjoyable event this year at Earls Court 1, we had made a few personal changes to the stand to make it a bit more up-to-date and appealing to the public. We just added a few new pictures of various dogs in different disciplines (showing, agility, working, playing, puppies, all sorts), had lots of Belgian flags up, made some fun stickers to give out, and informative colourful leaflets which people seemed to like too. It was the first year Alex had come along to DD, it's useful that he's so tall to assist with putting things up really high that no-one else could even nearly reach :P but aside from that it was lovely to have him there and I'm pretty sure he enjoyed it - he was born and raised in Belgium so there's another connection there too!

The day was made even better by the three Mally superstars Rusty, Kiah and Tia (with us assisting!) manning the Belgian Malinois booth on the Sunday, it really is lovely to be able to showcase the dogs and tell everyone about this fantastic breed year on year. I've got the pictures of Discover Dogs through now and they have all come out really well, but here's one of the ones I think is the best. Its of course the stars of the show (L-R) Tia, Kiah and Rusty showing off their creations on the stand. Well the doggies were impecably behaved, they clearly had a great time and were very welcoming to the public who all came to fuss over and ask about them, and got a big waggy hello in return!!

Saturday, 14 November 2009

FCI Training

One of the things I had been looking forward to (and obviously hoped Kiah was fighting fit for) was the FCI training to be held with Nancy last weekend. I really enjoy the way that Nancy trains people, as she is just so constructive and positive with her comments, puts so much of her own personal time in to helping us out which I really appreciate, and every time we are finished I really feel that we have been tested, yet learned so much. The training was centred around full FCI courses and then breaking them down into smaller parts to practice and improve on certain bits where we had made errors or made things more difficult than needed.

Kiah worked great in the full courses, getting me out of trouble more than a fair few times, and not getting eliminated in two out of the three rounds, but there were also lots of things to improve on which was the best bit about the training, these were able to be identified so we can get better at them. Things like weave entries, early cueing of equipment, tunnels under the dog walk, layering, body language, all sorts to take away. One of the most simple things I think a lot of people can take on board, is to never give up and this training session really helped me to believe that even more. There are three more FCI training sessions with Nancy that will follow on from this one; there's one coming up very soon and a couple more in the new year too, we can't wait!!

So on to this weekend, we were at training this afternoon - fortunately it was indoors as the gales, storms, rain and hail were a little extreme - but Kiah was just awesome!! There were a lot of fast straight line exercises at different spacings so she really had to think about it and was just perfect, as well as doing full recall weaves!! Another change that I am starting to try and re-teach (myself not her) in our training is that I want her to start going on from contacts without me - as unfortunately up til now I have always got her to do her nose touches then release when I am up level with her. This just wastes so much time as I'm always miles behind so though I still want her nose touch and stop 2 on 2 off, I want her to be able to go on too, its going to be really fun to train, as its me not Kiah that needs to improve and change my timings.

We have another busy and full day planned out tomorrow as we are taking a trip up to London along with Rusty and Tia, to take part in the Discover Dogs exhibition - for the Malinois breed stand. All three of them love the attention from the visitors there, and its great to be able to tell the public about this awesome breed too. There may even be a little smidgeon of time to do a bit of Christmas shopping too!

Monday, 9 November 2009

Back To 'Normality'

If there is such a thing when you live with a nutty Belgian like Kiah... but who would change her, not me!! So anyway, after a fair few weeks - more than I care to remember - I think I can safely say normal life is starting to resume again, and we are enjoying getting back into it - thats why I have posted this picture of her pretty smiley face, she looks so happy! The reasons that Kiah and I have been doing so little recently is because first of all she was injured with her mystery shoulder issue and I wanted to rest her as much as possible so she was on lead walks and no jumping about (well you tell Kiah not to jump about!!), then secondly she came into season for a couple of weeks, which has now finished too. So touch wood and fingers crossed her shoulder seems ok now, and we are slowly getting back in to agility training which we are both loving being back at. I am however resting her from any agility shows for the rest of the year, cause I don't want to be silly and take any chances, and I think all dogs that work their socks off like the Belgians do need a break every now and again so they don't burn out. I promise I will do a further update in a couple of days with what else we have been up to over the past month!!