A Quiet May

May is usually my extremely busy flyball month, so of course this year I forgot to get my act in gear and actually enter any agility shows. I’m taking Dylan to UKA Dig It this weekend, mainly to support some of our newbie competitors from training, but also to get Ri measured.

Dylan is working really well in training with the dogwalk, so I’m hoping that will continue to this weekend (where we’ll be doing lots of NFC runs!). I’ve done every confidence-boosting training method I can think of, including component parts and restrained recalls. There’s a good chance it will all fall apart when faced with a strange dogwalk, but at least I’ll be able to see where we’re at.

Rio is back on walks now with the rest of the gang, although I’m deliberately walking in the woodland to try and reduce the amount of head-to-head racing she and Dylan usually do. They can’t resist the siren call of a beautifully trimmed golfing green! I’ve been working on her core strength as well, and she’s not yet allowed back on the road-walks that Dylan goes on.

Rio starts flyball training again on May 18th, although it’s just target work and recalls, but in a class setting which will be useful for her! Especially because she’s had two bad experiences in the past few weeks, both due to other people being totally irresponsible. In the first case, somebody left their dog in their garden whilst they went out, and the dog escaped into our garden. The dog made it’s own way out the first time, but the second time was rampaging around, so my dad opened our door to try and help it escape, at which time it ran into our house and attacked Rio. Unfortunately I wasn’t home at the time but Rio wasn’t injured and my parents were able to kick the dog out and then corral it and return it to it’s original garden (leaving a note for the owner, which they obviously haven’t responded to).

Second incident was when I took Ri and Dyl out to Digley for their first swim of the season. A huge Lab appeared from where multiple families were picnicking and attempted to flatten Rio – not maliciously, but just out of control. Rio hightailed it out of there, and eventually managed to circle back and hide between my legs, where I could bodyblock the Lab from getting to her. Eventually it got bored and bulldozed another dog in the distance. Again, nobody claimed responsibility for that dog either.

Thankfully Dylan at least wasn’t subjected to either dog – he was out with me for the first incident, and for the second, he did me proud by choosing to circle away to keep his distance. He was wary and clearly uncomfortable but chose to react by sniffing and moving away, not by defensive behaviour.

Snow and More Snow

SNOW! Thankfully this was a quiet weekend; I didn’t enter Wyre Champ at Myerscough as I thought doing 5 days of agility in the space of a week was a bit much after 3 months off. Not sure we would have got there any way, since we were under 2ft of snow on Saturday morning.


The dogs are enjoying the snowfall if nothing else, although Kim is a little bit restricted. She loves snow treks and is more than physically capable for the most part, but over the past few days the snow has created some really deep drifts that even Dyl and Ri are struggling with. So the big dogs have been heading out on longer walks alone, and I get reminded of basic things like when Rio is running toward you, don’t expect her to brake/divert course, and Dylan is absolutely the most annoying dog in the world to walk with in snow.


Hare’n’Hounds Easter show is at Duncombe Park again, and they haven’t had any snow, so assuming the roads stay clear there’s no reason we shouldn’t be competing this weekend. Outdoors! Despite all the snow the ground round here really isn’t saturated at all at this point, and the rings at Duncombe are on top of the hill, so the turf should hold up for us (if I bring home hundreds of pictures of mud-splattered dogs … well, I’m sorry I jinxed it). Because of the Easter several years ago when we froze to death, and I swore never to camp at Easter again, we’ve booked in to the wooden Pods again. Importantly, the Pods have electricity and a radiator, so no freezing here.


Rio is booked in for her spay on Thursday. I’m nervous, and in my head I’m telling myself that of course I’m nervous, it’s surgery and a day trip, and last time one of our dogs went in to the vet, she didn’t come home again. I trust my vet and that is very much not his fault, but it still induces some extra stress. Dylan and I set off on Friday morning with Emma & Diva for Helmsley, and Ri gets to stay home and hopefully stay nice and calm for a few days.

Group Photos

Group photos are hard, and not just because getting everyone sat facing the right direction is always tough. I have very white dogs and very black dogs, and so getting the white balance is hard, and the height differences is always a challenge.

Kim, Rio, Dylan, Mollie

It started so well, and we moved on, and then I realised nobody was in focus. Photoshop improved things, but I couldn’t leave well enough alone, so we tried again …

Group 2

Out of focus and Kim hates everyone.

Bored Now

Kim is bored now.

3 out of 4 ...

In focus, all dogs looking at the camera attentively … shame there’s one missing!


Think we have a few problem areas here, starting with Rio’s “SQUIRREL!” impression, and Kim’s “bitch, please …” face.

Group 1

Mollie is slightly out of focus, and Rio isn’t really looking the right way, but this might be the best we can do!



Our plan was to try and get to a beach sometime this bank holiday. It’s always a bit of a hassle; so few dog friendly beaches at this time of year, especially within 2 hours of us. We live pretty much in the centre of the country, it’s about the same distance to the East or West coasts. Not so bad on the way there, but I don’t like the old ladies to be sat in the car for 2 hours whilst damp and potentially baking or freezing, considering the British weather.


It rained, obviously, so no worries about the baking. We picked Bispham, which is really just a continuation of Blackpool beach, just because we knew there would be plenty of parking and lots of beachy goodness. It is a nice beach, but there were a lot of muddy spots, not good. The girls are getting a bit too old now for beach trips too, they were both very stiff and tired today. Dylan wasn’t, he loves the beach and swimming in the sea and so on, he had a blast and is ready to go again.


Rio had to stay home; her paw is almost entirely healed, but not enough to withstand a few miles of beach walking, especially at the kind of 100mph pace that Ri goes at. The manuka honey dressings have worked surprisingly well. I’m always sceptical about remedies like this, but it did seem to make a noticable difference. Enough that I’m keeping hold of the honey left over, in case we need it again!


So, still no beach for Rio. It might be Hare’n’Hounds next May before she gets a trip, at this rate!

Return of the Summer?

I’m not holding my breath.


Dylan and Rio got a short walk yesterday, I like to give the dogs a Down Day after a big hectic competition. But it was lovely weather out and who knows when we’ll get that again, so we had a 40minute wander. Both dogs were a lot quieter than normal, more mooching and less sprinting like idiots. I like it!

Rio 10 Months

No agility training for Rio today, she’s getting a few weeks off now. That probably won’t go down very well! We’ll continue with her contact training at home and see if she matures any more in the next month or so.

Digley May 2012

Hopeful for a Toy Emma and I took Bailey, Dylan, Diva and Rio around Digley this afternoon, since the nice weather is continuing and the dogs could do with the swim! So much of the path is in dappled shade that we didn’t have to worry about them getting too hot, and it’s such an easy walk that even Bailey could come (under supervision, since she’s technically still injured. Not much sign of it though, she was swimming for England!)

The water was beautiful dark blue when we arrived, but the ground got churned up pretty easily by four madcap dogs running around. I think I ended up with more mud on me than they did though, in the end. Dylan and Bailey are crazy swimmers, they just set off swimming optimistically and if something gets thrown it’s worthwhile. Diva swims too, but we could not convince Rio to get in. I think she needs swimming lessons.


I took an empty plastic bottle with us to throw. Floating toys tend to get wrecked too easily and then sink, and a plastic bottle only needs to last the hour we spend swimming. Filled with a little bit of water and even I can throw it a fair way out. It was hard to get photos though, the bright sun glare off the water was too intense for my camera to deal with.

Stalker Aussie

We were kind of tempted to join them in the res, but common sense prevailed. We walked two-thirds of the way around and then doubled back, so the dogs have had a lovely long walk. I was really pleased with how sensible Rio was, she raced around a lot with Diva but didn’t lose her head, and she wasn’t rude or obnoxious as she can be with Dylan. I think Dyl appreciated the break as well!

Hi D!

Summer Days

Dylan in Bluebells It has been too hot to walk the dogs during the day over the past week. They aren’t at all acclimatised to the heat, especially since last weekend I had a coat on Dylan between racing so he didn’t get cold (and we all wore hats and gloves to ring party, to prevent freezing).

Rio is suffering the most, but that’s mainly because she’s still running around at 100mph and she can’t swim to cool off like the others. The girls and Dylan are taking things at a slower pace, wisely, and chilling out in the river a lot on walks.

I didn’t forget about Dylan’s birthday last month, but I didn’t blog about it. He was six on April 21st, which seems quite bizarre to me. I don’t remember when he grew up? Looking at his photos from earlier today I can see this amazing, mature, gorgeous dog and I think he’s pretty damn awesome. It’s strange, because he’s not the dog I thought he would be; it took me a long time to reconcile my expectations and ideas of what he should be, to seeing and accepting the dog he actually is. For all his neurotic, insecure, and fear-based quirks, he’s the kind of dog that was always in the books I read when I was younger. He is a Good Dog, it’s written right into his blood.


He also played with Diva this week, which is a fairly massive milestone in his life considering he’s seen her every week for the past 2 years and has spent most of that time trying to pretend she doesn’t exist.



april3 Finally something other than rain!

Rio’s puppy training day sadly got cancelled; the high winds and downpours made being around the equipment unsafe, and I’ll admit I didn’t much fancy going out when I saw the state of the weather on Sunday morning. Hopefully we can find another training day some time soon.

Today we mooched around Digley, with all the dogs. It’s getting increasingly difficult to take them all out together, because Dylan and Rio are off on exploration mode, and old dogs have a tendency to get left behind. On the other hand, Dylan is improving so much in his interactions with other dogs (or lack of), that I don’t feel so anxious about taking Rio out with him rather than super-awesome socialite Kim. He’s been perfect on our last two meeting-other-dogs kind of walks, ignoring and moving away from other the multitude of other dogs without panicking, including some extremely persistent small dogs who wouldn’t take a hint or listen to their owners.


Rio has learnt to nose touch a target in an afternoon yesterday, so our goal today is learning to stack on blocks. Which should be interesting if nothing else!

April Snow

Rio in the Snow

We got snow! A little worrying as I’m camping this weekend at Hare’n’Hounds but I’ve been reassured that there is no snow up in York. I’m pleased Rio got to play in some wintery weather whilst she is still a pup, puppies in the snow is adorable.

Still, a huge contrast from last week where we were playing in the stream to keep cool. Climate change is really screwing with us!


I didn’t do much at agility training this week; Rio went back in the car after 10 minutes, she wasn’t interested in working from the start and once she’d run off to do a meet-and-greet and didn’t recall, I put her away. I want her to have fun but she also needs to know that our 30mins of agility time is precious. She’s just a baby and I’m sure this won’t be the last time!

Crazy Rio

We cut our last session short as the snow was falling heavily by 9pm. Our venue is exposed and accessed via a steep road, which none of us wanted to get stuck on heading home! That worked out quite well for Dylan as I only intended to do 15 minutes of work anyway, I want to keep him fresh for the weekend. I think our biggest challenge will be maintaining over three days, we’re back outside after doing indoor 1-day shows all winter and it does make a difference! It also means he didn’t get to go and play in the snow today. I feel like a heartless owner but he got a nice chew instead. Of course, not even that could keep him safe; when I came home I had to stick my fingers down his throat because he’d got it stuck to the roof of his mouth and was panicking. Over caution = justified.

Old Ladies