Saturday, 31 May 2014

Instinct can never be ignored

Amazing to thing Instinct

We can pretend all we like that we contain it.

Sometimes we do.

Normally we don't.

Tips watching Springwatch and all he see is rabbit.

This intrigues me on so many levels.  We always presume much is triggers by scent though Sighthounds by nature are also triggered by sight.
How come to a dog the red green and is it yellow dots that make up a tv screen still look like a rabbit to them?

Thursday, 22 May 2014

And I cried for me

I don't want to be cynical, I feel it is lazy.

Today I had to face something I really wasn't prepared for.  A car in front hit a young Roe buck and he was paralysed behind.  They didn't stop neither did anyone else on the road.

They say you can judge a person on their compassion towards animals and children.

I pulled over in the middle of the main road in the vain hope I wouldn't be knocked down and checked the young lad who was very distressed and even more so now I was handling him.  With a broken back the dawning realisation struck me.

I was going to have to kill him.

Now I grew up in a little estate adoring all animals, from stick insects to blue whales and pretty much everything in between.  I cried when one of our many fish were ill and broke my heart over knocked over hedgehogs.

I never really got used to losing pets, stray animals and wildlife we picked up along the way.  Then I got a lurcher and I got used to rabbits being brought to me alive many I could release in the hope they would survive, the ones that were squeezed or damaged I learnt to kill as humanely as I could.   Working with Heavy horses brought me in to contact with shooting men and shooting men bring along with them pheasants, snipe and partridges which I learnt to gut and clean.  I helped out a local turkey farmer plucking at christmas in exchange for the help and support he gave me throughout the year.  Then there is the road traffic incidents where pheasants are hurt and not killed so dispatching became a little more, what is the word?  Easier?

Yet over time I have had less and less contact with such things and faced with a beautiful distressed deer what on earth was I going to do?  Phone Mr Gumps of course though in the back of my mind it was too far for him to travel so it was still down to me.


I kneeled next to the lad as quickly as I could I killed him( is there a nice way of putting that?).

Whilst I kneeled and watching him pass not one car/ lorry or passing person stopped and asked if I was ok kneeling and hunched over on a busy road in the pouring rain the spray from the puddled making us both struggle to catch our breath.

I cried.

I cried for him but mostly for me.  For me having to be the one who would put this poor beautiful young lad out of his pain and certain suffering then for the lack of any compassion from anyone else.

Tuesday, 20 May 2014

Like a window

I like to be a clear as clear can be.  Bit like a window, mind that said, most of my windows are in serious need of a good wash!

Now where was I?

In 2014 we started an interesting ( insert scary as anything) journey and it has been a injection of reality.  We have carried on with our mission and missed much of what has been going on in the world.  With peeled open eyes we have seen all that is happening and tried to embrace it and it is paying off.

So we are three
well really we are two plus one
For many years now there has been Sam and I plus one, a great balance of extra help, mutual need and a fresh look on things.

The plus one now is Autumn and wow what a girl.  A shy girl with such inner strength yet I saw and heard the doubt and yet she had only herself to convince.

Well there is now doubt now!

K9-5 is her business and I have seen it blossom into a great fledgling business, she is learning so much along the way and we merely support and entertain her along the way.  Autumn has drive and it shows.  Starting a business at 21years old with all that is put in her path, I am sure she will face some tough times, we will disagree and struggle to balance her business with our business needs however I couldn't be happier.

This does of course mean we have to balance a few balls, mix and match a few things and see how it pans out.

What does all of this mean to you?  Hopefully not a lot.  Autumn is helping us cover out holidays and our weekends anything else she can help with is a bonus.  We like being a two plus one so less dogs, take on the odd dog for training which keeps us fresh and up to date with our training and a more fluid business.  What we have found most interesting is how well all the dogs have adapted to our changes of routines and yet how hard some of our customers have found it.  Like us they found the small change hard to deal with so we are working on more flexibility and less rigidity, as we know dog training isn't just about training the dog!

We are very lucky to have a fabulous variety of dogs and customers, I wouldn't swap them though I know in time things change.  Here's to the continuation of an interesting journey and we all have one goal....the best possible care for your dog!

Framed and rehomed!

Katie the Cavalier looks lovely in her frame and has been sent to her mom to join Pepe- Cavalier['s Feathers.  Katie had an obsession with feathers and ended up going to Positively Pets- to redirect her passion!  It meant she could still enjoy feathers however she had to work for them and it was controlled.

Of course once I knew about this I had to have feathers in her portrait and of course her previous portrait had hidden feathers in so hidden feather it was.  Whilst having the freedom to choose your own style and type of portrait is wonderful it is also a little overwhelming.  How on earth do you catch the essence of a dog in one portrait?  Having Joanna involved in the process helped us achieve exactly what was wanted.

Jewellery commissions

Between immersing myself in dogs ( at times I come very close to being literally immersed in dogs!), drawing my commission pieces I am doing great guns with our Jewellery commissions.

The advantages of the jewellery designing are being able to do a design then leave it with David Baggaley to work his magic ( and it also means I learn how to loosen my style, focus on what details are important to include and more importantly the stuff I can leave out.  Now that is something I need to learn!

Here are a few of my recent pendants:

Missy the cocker with that fabulous eye patch

 Montanna the stunning white gsd
 Jess the gorgeous Yorkie
The fluffiest Papillon I have seen what a character

Wednesday, 14 May 2014

Bang Whooosh Weeeee

We were so lucky today to be joined by Emma Walker with her gun dog trained Hungarian Wire haired Vizsla and Dexter the dalmation.  Why lucky, when Emma often joins us?  This time she brought her dummy launcher.  This works by launching the dummy via a blank cap the distance it travels is phenomenal!  Our main aim was to test the dogs on their reactions to the noise whilst rewarding any of those who didn't panic with a great game of fetch.

We had a fair idea that Truffle wouldn't cope and we already know she needs support if there us thunder or gun shots, we also have our suspicions with Lottie who is currently following our advice on desensitisation with a noise cd so they stay in the van with a couple of chilled dogs who don't mind the noise.

Everyone else whilst we know them well we weren't quite sure how they would cope with 'gunshot' at close range.  we have practised this once before at a good distance away so I was happy to give it a go whilst at the field and with three people to be with them.

Well I was gobsmacked!

Not a peep out of anyone the first time.  Most shot off after the dummy probably wondering how Emma managed to throw it quite so far.

The second time Oliver jumped at noise then continued on without a flicker.  Fluffy showed confusion though no more and Bella was starting to look around so possible she was a little anxious.  Breeze didn't like it though not in a true fearful way we forget dogs can dislike something rather than just be scared.  Breeze is a failed worker though not through being gun-shy he was simply work shy haha.

The last time I could see Bella was indeed unsettled though no more and Fluffy didn't want to join in with running after dummy so we did no more and allowed free running before encouraging them to play and go back to the bottom of the field in case any associated the noise with a place.

I was surprised to see Lottie wasn't at all bothered in van and Truffle though a little anxious came straight out and found toy happy to tease Lottie with it so not as fearful as she has been in the past.

It is such a relief to have the time(we make the time!) and space to try these things as they all help us to prepare our training and walking to accommodate our guys fears, likes and preferences.  What surprised me was the increase in tension so we now know that whilst a thunderstorm or clay pigeon shoot may startle them at first we have to make sure those dogs who showed tension are popped on a lead and taken away from the area as they show increased tension with the stimulus rather than relaxing once they know what is join to happen next.

Non of the dogs bolted which is pretty much the worse case scenario, this is hard to train for whereas tension/ anxiety can be worked on as we have with Lottie. We have all the time in the world in many ways to work on this and simply playing the cd very low in the van whilst the dogs are sharing the space with non reactive dogs can help immeasurably.

You can never tell which dogs will react, indeed we had pugs, chihuahua, collies, labs and it was the crossbred bitch a tibetan and a cocker who reacted.  Truffle is a staffie cross who are definitely a sensitive breed although we know where her fear originated when we were caught in a terrible electrical storm a couple of years back and Lottie who is sensitive by nature and she is improving weekly.

We also noticed how quickly dogs associated an action/ sound/ environmental cue with the thing they didn't like.  So Fluffy on our first lap didn't want to go to the three quarter line of the field once we passed with lots of praise love and silliness he soon relaxed, Bella reacted to the moment I said Go but only when we were poised and watching so true to form showing true superstitious behaviour.

Now and again you have to step back and watch wait and enjoy.  Today was one of those days.  Despite all of the change, trauma and turmoil I am proud of how we have held it together, showing the dogs nothing but consistency, love and a smidgeon of aggravation haha.

Lots to work on as ever but a very good learning experience and good for the dogs too.

Saturday, 10 May 2014

Sometimes walking doesn't help

You walk and the simple process of putting one foot in front of the other walks you away from your tension.  You walk away your fears and silliness that bogs us down.

You can walk to still your mind, to absorb all that nature has to share, to merely smell, view or enjoy the wisp of a breeze on your face.

Only we walk and the tension increases, you take all with you and it becomes a heavy burden.

Your mind swirls around with thoughts you want to fly away, banish and batten down.

Yet I don't own any of this I am a mere spectator carrying only a droplet of what is borne by someone so close and dear.  It's wrong, it's cruel and its utterly isolating.  Help we may, empathise we try, cry tears of course yet we can never truly be part of it.

Utter hopelessness is something we will have to get used to until a day should come, if it comes, when another emotion shall overpower.

I truly long...........