Saturday, 4 January 2014

Evan the Natural

We knew that both of Evan's parents are working gundogs, but we didn't expect him to so naturally pick it up - without any direction or training from us...  Just for fun when he was a youngster we bought him a puppy dummy and the minute that comes out the pocket, he knows exactly what his job is!  From an early age he has always watched birds and other animals' movement, but at 4 months old whilst out on a morning walk in a dewy field, he obviously got a fantastic scent of something, dashed off across the field, retrieved ever so carefully and dropped to hand on command perfectly - a cold dead whole rabbit, clever boy.

Also - just a week ago while Evan and 9 of his friends (Belgians, Shelties, Collies!) were playing and on toilet break in a friend's garden, somehow a dopey dazed wood pigeon got into the garden - the next thing we knew is that Evan had collected the pigeon carefully and was holding it by its wing, and again dropped it perfectly to hand with no damage done, ready for it to be put out of harm's way.

As much as you have the urge to tell them off for bringing back something cold, rigarmortised, flea ridden and nasty, its in his genes and he is doing exactly what he is bred to do, is exceptionally careful and soft mouthed - and Evan is very proud of his 'prizes' that he returns to us so he gets lots of praise and reward for his collections!!  We are planning to hopefully attend some gundog classes and do some training with our gundog friends - GSPs and working cockers, as with a bit of instruction (mainly for us humans!!) he could be a real star, he clearly is a natural, clever puppy!!

Friday, 3 January 2014

Happy New Year - 2014

Wishing everyone a very Happy New Year!!  Our year has been quite eventful - but fortunately for us all, containing nothing too worrying, however various groups of our friends have had some serious ups and downs, so we wish everyone a peaceful and happy new year.

Since my last blog post almost three months ago, we don't seem to have stopped, but mainly in a good way; Risk, Davy and Kiah have all had their birthdays, turning 2, 5 and 8 respectively and are all very well; Evan puppy has been socialised lots, and has turned 7 months; Alex and I have both had flu, we've been to a few winter agility shows; attended discover dogs with Kiah and Evan, had some fantastic professional photos taken, caught up with lots of great friends, and finally, the impending move that I spoke about, finally happened in December after a lot of form filling and paperwork!!

A quick recap of some of what we have been up to - there has been a little bit of success at some of the shows we have been to, from Kiah of all dogs - miss inconsistency has been doing great!!  At Norfolk at the beginning of October she got two clear rounds, one brilliant one ending in a 2nd place in grade 6 agility!! The other one was a frustrating clear - there was a scrappy dog walk entry so ending in a 5th - pleased, but annoyed with myself at the same time as I could have done better - and the top four qualify for the ABC semi final.  Later in the year we went to Downland show, where we got another clear round in grade 6 agility, and got a 6th place!!  The final show was North Downs, the final run of the day - again grade 6 - we had a couple of wide turns but still got an 8th place!  The surprising thing about all three of these shows is that they are all indoors which sends Kiah as high as a kite and she struggles to control her excitement, so even more pleased with her, my nutty girl.

Davy and Risk have been fairly uneventful over the last few months, Davy (and Alex) can really take or leave agility so haven't been competing over the winter, I don't think that he minds that choice!! Risk I have decided will be slightly re-trained over the winter to complete running contacts, he already runs the a frame and see saw well, but just to put no further pressure on him - he does sometimes not stop - but we even keep that positive as anything else would knock his confidence further - so I think adding a running dog walk will really help him.

The professional photos we had done were by friends of ours Sue and Chris Armstrong, who gave up their entire afternoon to ensure our four were settled and comfortable before clicking the camera - we know how Davy helpfully scrunches his face up usually when he looks at a camera so him being relaxed (more than normal!!) was so important.  They took photos with different backgrounds, various poses, us with the dogs, groups, individual ones - every single shot was fantastic, personalities perfectly captured and exactly what we were after, its difficult to choose a favourite, there are a few really special ones.

Evan puppy has been growing up too, he is the same height as the other three and about the same build, were not sure if he will get any taller at 7 months old, but he is a good size.  From the moment he joined our family he really is a gem to live with, almost immediately house trained, and makes us laugh all the time with his puppy antics.  As much as we miss our old man Yahoo, Evan has quite a few similarities and is such a lovely little dog.  He has been up to a few things too, the most fun was at a puppy foundation skills day run by our good friend Lisa, he was a little star taking everything in his stride, stepping over, under, through, on wobble boards, learning things so quickly, enjoying getting things right for his treat, not phased by anything and he is just so funny, constantly makes us laugh.  Looking back at the photos he was so long leggy at that age, he has filled out a bit now.  He loves playing with his fluffy and tuggy toys, and we did another slightly different puppy session learning recalls and chasing toys, following hand movements working around cones, all put him in good stead for the future.

We have almost been in the new house a month now - we chose to move ourselves rather than use a moving company - and to be honest once we had packed, the moving week was thankfully quite uneventful and the weather was kind, quite mild and even sunny which made it easier.  In that time we managed to start and complete the fencing on one side within a couple of days so it is secure for the dogs, and they adored (and still do love it) running about in the attached paddock of about 1.5 acres.

I can't quite say the same for the 3 weeks following  - it has rained almost solidly so everywhere is sodden, we have been in the centre of a power cut lasting 67 hours across Christmas and Boxing day, we have had strong winds that has brought down two large trees - but we were lucky in the circumstances really, as thankfully we didn't flood, and I feel for those who have suffered because of this freak weather.

So, the new year for us is a real new start in our lovely new home, plenty of work to keep us busy in maintaining the house and improving it; looking after and keeping control of our associated land, and of course trying my best to keep my blog updated!!  Somewhere around that we also need to work annoyingly - Alex has started another new job but hopefully seems a little more settled and happy there, and though I work at the same place I now do four days a week - its nice to have that day off to spend with the dogs.  Most importantly however - the dogs absolutely love it here and have really settled in so well which is just the best thing; it is quiet and slightly rural too, a different way of life really, but an enjoyable one for us all!!