"Just got back from the most brilliant weekend at Osmaston Show in Derbyshire - a new show for us and what a beautiful place. The Osmaston Estate is just stunning and we were pitched at the bottom of a valley overlooking a lake. The lye of the land was such that we had to park the lorry on a slope that felt as though it was pitched at 45 degrees. With such a steep angle, the travelling showman is faced with several parking dilemmas. Firstly, to ensure that the lorry is parked to allow for the worst of two evils, sleeping at an angle is not too bad providing your feet are at the bottom, the other way round and the blood rushes to head and after a nights sleep you wake up feeling like a bear with a sore head. Other considerations include making sure the water drains out of the shower tray, the weather does not blow into the sleeping quarters of the dogs, that we can see the view and - extremely importantly - that we can raise our TV aerial to get a good signal. You see, it's not all fun.
Annie uses the big, upper bunk, so, being a gentleman, it was decided to ensure that her bunk was facing the correct way. My bunk however was now running across the slope, nightmare. I had three rubbish night’s sleep spent clinging onto the side of bed trying to avoid rolling off the edge. I now have a ton of respect for mountain goats.
We took Dexter our Battersea Staffy with us - he is such fun and a full on proper boy. Our number one groupies, the Cannon’s came over to the arena to chat and, while we were gossiping, he spotted young Charlie playing football; a moments lack of concentration on our part saw Dexter escape from the arena. He rushed out and stole Charlie’s ball and within seconds had trashed it. Tears from Charlie, embarrassment for me but a very happy Dexter - he loved his new ball. Bad dog!
A Fun Dog Show had been advertised at the show, but unfortunately the guys that run it were unable to be there. To avoid any disappointment for the crowds of people that were looking forward to entering into the dog show it was decided that we would cobble one together. I chatted up Judith from Agility knowing that she had done some judging and drafted in Kym and Matt. With the dog show team now recruited, we were ready to put on a show. Judith was guest judge, Kym booked in the entries, Matt was appointed as Head of Security (apparently things can get quite heated if the judging doesn’t go to peoples liking), Annie was to be Senior Steward and of course I would ‘ponse’ around in the arena making facetious comments. The A team!
We had a brilliant time; Waggiest Tail, Best Six Legs, Dog Most Like Owner... Twenty classes finishing with Best in Show. Dog owners are just such lovely people, great fun. The Dog Show was a success, happy organisers, smiley competitors and no violence: A result.
We are off on Thursday evening to do a demo at the Hawk Conservancy for underprivileged children. Hawk Conservancy run an evening called the Dream Night; children get to experience a wealth of what the countryside and wildlife has to offer - a fantastic evening for everyone concerned. We will leave the Hawk Conservancy at 8pm and drive straight to Peterborough Showground for the Just Dogs Live event. There will be a County Championship Dog Show running at this event, maybe we will be able to offer the organisers some tips?"
"Having just got used to being warm again, our weekend at Broadlands was spent wearing winter clothes again - Brrrrrrrrrrr! It was freezing, a cold Northerly wind made the showground bitterly cold, but true to form the crowds came to the Country Fair. Cold; no problem, we’re country folk, you can’t stop us enjoying ourselves!
Actually we had a great time, in fact the dogs enjoy the cooler weather and were really HOT! Sometimes if it's a bit too warm, the dogs are little lethargic, but not this time. They literally ‘had the wind up their tails.’ Taking a team of really excitable dogs into an arena with the pressure of putting on a show for an audience really excites me. Sid the ESS was on fire - in fact at times he was plain naughty. He has now done enough demos to know that my mind is not always focused on him, and he got up to all sorts of mischief during one demo.
Busy dogs very quickly learn that there are times and places when they get away with things and will very soon work out how to work the system. Sidney is currently taking part in a compulsory refresher course in Basic Steadiness and he is of course foot perfect back at home. It will be interesting to see if he can carry that same sense of self control to the arena at our next show at the South Eastern Game Fair in Kent.
Congratulations to some of our Mullenscote clients and their dogs: Kat Weyman and Ian Brothers dominated the open multi scurries at Broadlands with Ian and Ollie winning on Sunday whilst Kat and Hetty scorched their way to victory on the Monday, amazingly beating our own Head Trainer Annie into second place - well done you guys! Looking forward to you joining us at the Scurry Bandits Final at Sandringham later in the year. Not to be outdone, Brian Chesser, who we helped out using video and the H&C website, gave his dog Barley a run in their first Puppy/Novice working test with the URC and only went and bloomin well won it - hey Brian you are now officially a Diamond Geezer.
It’s just brilliant seeing these handlers doing so well, their success is down to hard work, determination, patience and some fantastic dogs. Make no mistake when you take on a Gundog from modern breeding you are buying into the best Gundog bloodlines in the world. You get what it ‘says on the tin’ a real Gundog, Cockers, Springers, Labradors and Goldies from field trial lines should now come with a great big warning label attached to them: 'Light blue touch paper and stand well back!'. The UK breeds the most exciting Gundogs you could ever wish to see. Get the chance to handle one of these rocket ships and you will quickly realise why Gundog addicts can’t wait to get home from work, and get out into the training field for their daily fix!"
"Last weekend saw us at Powderham Castle in Devon, to avoid the traffic we left at 4am. We arrived at Powderham just as day broke and because for once we had made excellent time we had to wait outside the park before being escorted onto the showground.
Powderham is situated right alongside the Exe estuary, watching the sun rise over the water was just amazing, add to this the deer park that was full of over testosteroned fallow bucks, and this place was a wildlife spectacular. We watched as the bucks gradually rose from their overnight sleeping places in amongst the marsh grass. They stretched for a while before thrashing around in the grass with their magnificent antlers, this served to give them what looked like a massive grass birds nest on top of their heads. Once the nest completely covers their heads and eyes they tip their heads back, noses high in the air, and repeatedly let out a deep grunt. As each buck strutted his stuff as a fellow male I’m fairly sure he was thinking, “damn I look good.”
Now I’m sure that to another buck this looks pretty awesome but the hinds were doing their very best to keep away from these idiots that had so much grass on their heads and testosterone coursing through their blood that they could neither see where they were going or tell which planet they were on. Ahhh, the things us males get up to just to impress the girls!
Anyway, quite often people have problems where they own two or more dogs. Having two obviously has all sorts of benefits but can often lead to or encourage problems. Two dogs are far more confident than one - straying, hunting and aggression can become a much greater problem if the dogs forms an allegianc - a mini pack.
I had a very interesting discussion with a lady over the weekend concerning some retrieving problems that she was having with a three year old Labrador bitch. In short the lady owned two dogs, the one in question and a seven year old bitch. The dogs had been allowed to run for the same retrieve and the older bitch was charging the youngster off the retrieve to ensure that she got it. The interesting bit was that this dominance was then influencing the youngster when taken for training sessions on her own. The lady found that if she picked up her training bag with both dogs present the older bitch would straight away start to show dominance over the three year old.
In spite of the older bitch being left indoors whilst training, the youngster would still avoid going for a retrieve. The lady discovered that if she separated the two well before showing signs of training sessions then the youngster would now retrieve.
Now this is not rocket science or earth shattering news, but it does show how easy it is to inadvertently create problems when living with dogs. For owners of companion dogs this would probably not be of any real consequence but for Gundog trainers this reluctance to retrieve around an older dog could make life difficult.
Manage your dogs even during play, excessive dominance can have effects in other areas. Everything should be in moderation; watch, listen and observe your dogs, there is a load of stuff to learn.
By the way a big 'thank you' to all of the people who come to talk to us through H&C and at shows -Your experiences, advice and knowledge continues to enthrall us and of course we are the lucky ones as we get to hear all of this wonderful dog stuff!
PS. Dexter our Battersea Staffy has just climbed up onto our Gundog Accessories display and helped himself to a great big duck dummy: “Hey Dad look what I found, it’s really cool.” I can’t ever imagine being without dogs!"
If you see the team's loud lorry, be sure to wave hello
"The sat. nav. said that our journey time would be four hours and forty minutes as we departed from home at about one o’clock lunch time. Unfortunately we did not pull into The Yorkshire Wolds Show at Sledmere House until 10pm. We managed to become part of almost every traffic jam between Hampshire and Yorkshire.
Our lorry can only be described as LOUD but this proved to be a real asset, several car loads of people gave us a lovely smiley wave and one young man held his Springer Spaniel up to show us as we trudged up the Motorway. Usually when people gesture at each other from vehicles they are exchanging threats, the smiles and waves that we got were just brilliant, and the common link between us and these friendly people, Dogs! So if you happen to pass us do PLEASE give us a wave.
As long winded as the jaunt to Yorkshire was, the weekend made up for the journey. A combination of four Demonstrations a day in three different arenas as well as numerous mini demos in our Training Clinic meant that the Mullenscote Team (Dogs and Handlers) were kept extremely busy. Head Trainer Annie Buckley still managed to rush down to the Scurries and put in some brilliant performances with her two Labradors Dan and Jo.
Our English Springer Spaniel; Syd was a superstar, unexpectedly we were asked to give a joint demonstration with the Falconers in the Main Arena, Syd was awesome; he hunted the arena like a machine, sat to the flush and never moved a muscle as a Peregrine Falcon swooped over his head to take the bolting rabbit dummy. He has never seen a Bird of Prey let alone join one in a simulated hunt.
Whilst Syd enjoyed his first encounter with a Peregrine, Henry our Battersea Sprollie spent the weekend dispelling the old saying that you can’t teach an old dog new tricks. His good manners, retrieving, weaving, tricks and doggie dancing left even the most cynical in no doubt that this is so possible.
We have introduced a new dog into the team this year , Jasper, a long rangey Black Labrador that resembles a Greyhound. Watching this fella as he is about to be sent for a retrieve makes the hairs on the back of my neck stand up, he adopts a semi crouch position as he prepares to launch himself into the retrieve - the power, enthusiasm and style of this dog is just awesome.
Once again living and working with dogs has given me yet another week to remember."
Dogs are a source of immense pleasure for owners & handlers
“Had a real treat this weekend, I spent the two days at the CLA Game-Fair held at Belvoir Castle. The best part of all was that I was there not to work but just to enjoy the pleasures of this mass gathering of like minded people. I had a brilliant time and returned relaxed and knowing a little more about myself… I’m obsessed, a geek, a junky, it’s not normal; these are some of the thoughts that rattled around in my head as I drove home.
You see for the first time in some twenty years I was at The Game-Fair with nothing or anyone else to think about and just about everything that the countryside has to offer on display. Over the two day period I spent close to twenty hours on the show ground, eighteen of which were spent watching gundogs.
Owning and working with dogs is a way of life for me. I find them fascinating, and this weekend away has proved to me just how much pleasure I get from being around dogs and the people that share my interest. This got me thinking about the enormous efforts and time people put into their dogs.
One of my friends is an excellent example of how passionate dog people manage to find and make the time to enjoy their dogs: Ray spends the shooting season working and trialing his spaniels. He runs a highly successful business that demands a lot of his time and he spends a large proportion of his life driving up and down the country ensuring that the business continues to flourish. His dogs travel with him wherever he goes and he takes every opportunity to take a break from the driving and spend a short time training his dogs.
This obviously works brilliantly for Ray as his dogs are beautifully trained; they regularly get to work in all sorts of terrain and environments and Ray gets a break from driving whilst giving him a regular ‘Gundog Fix’.
We owe a lot to our dogs, and yes I know that sometimes you might feel the opposite - having had your arm pulled out of its socket on the daily walk, retrieving your dog from your neighbors’ fishpond, rabbit run or chicken coop or returning from work to be greeted by Rover with the stuffing from your new armchair in his mouth – and may be left wondering why you ever wanted a dog. But there are an awful lot of us who could think of nothing worse than to go through life without a dog In our pack.”