Friday, 20 February 2009

Where does the time go??

Have had quite a busy past week, the usual stuff with the puppies and dogs but then we had a really hectic weekend with the family to celebrate my gran's 80th birthday. It was all organised pretty last minute but my Auntie Jan came up from Cornwall, she came up to Birmingham on the coach and I drove down there to pick her up on Saturday afternoon, she stayed with us 'til Tuesday which was really nice. It was a big suprise and no-one else knew she was coming which was great! Sunday morning my grandparents came for breakfast and were really pleased to see Jan. I took Teal to agility training, I must confess, I'd set up some jumps and the channel weaves on Saturday morning and spent 20 mins or so doing some bits with her so she was a bit of a class swat when we made it to class ;) lol I'm really pleased with everything she's doing at the moment, she's so fast and so ethusiastic about everything she's an absolute pleasure to work with. We did A frame and dogwalk, running over both to a tennis ball...she just has such a lovely action over both :) curved pipe tunnel (she loves this too), jumps to teach lefts and rights, tyre and channel weaves, no problems with any of it she's loving it all! We were both absolutely knackered after our session though!

I got back and had a (very) quick shower and change and we all went out for lunch to the Birley Arms (which is actually in Bryning) ...28 of us!! lol It was a nice meal and good to catch up with all my aunties, uncles, cousins and their kids. Everyone (yes, all 28!) came back to our house after the meal so the puppies had LOTS of cuddles which resulted in a phone call from my cousin Barry the next day asking if they could take the half white face boy from Kitten's litter...they've been talking about having a dog for ages (in fact Ella has been asking for one since she could talk!) and they'd all fallen in love with him (he is a super pup) so 'Patch' will be staying local which I'm really pleased about :)

The evening took a rather dramatic turn after everyone had left when my brother noticed a fire in the farm yard at the back, a boat stored on the yard was ablaze with flames reaching some 20 or 30 ft high and the yard owners car parked some 6ft away (he'd gone out in another vehicle)...pretty scary stuff! We called the fire brigade who arrived within 10 minutes (thankfully we're not too far from Preston fire station!) and they quickly got the flames under control and then continued to fully dowse the boat to ensure there was nothing left burning.

Charlie, my (nearly) 4 year old nephew thought it was all brilliant and calmy announced that he thought he might like a fire engine for his birthday next month! lol

I took Monday and Tues off work. Monday was my gran's birthday so we went for a walk and picnic at Cuerden Valley Park, my gran outstriding and outwalking us all! I just took Squirrel and Lori so we had a nice peaceful walk ;)
Lori on the lookout for Squirrel...

Ah, there she is...the seldom seen lesser spotted parson!!

My Gran did keep commenting on how like Spangle Lori is, she is very similar in character and temperament which I guess isn't that suprising since Lori is both Spangles great grand-daughter and niece. Both my grandparents still really miss her, she was a very special girl. We did a bit of shopping in the afternoon and I bought Charlie's fire engine, it's fab, has flashing lights and siren and everything! :) (hope he isn't reading this??? lol). Jan treated us to dinner at our local pub which was really nice but we were tracked down by Barry and Sarah and two very tired little girls, Ella and Niamh, desperate to see their new puppy again! He absolutely loved the fleecey ragger they'd bought him too.

Tues morning I drove Jan back down to Birmingham coach station and then carried on down to Oxfordshire to see Joy and Becca since it was Joy's birthday. We had a nice lunch and did a bit of shopping, popped to see Sally with Digger and Skye at their lovely garden centre near Banbury, Purely Plants (and spent more money!). Well worth the visit if you're in the area, they have some really beautiful things for the garden and home and some lovely gifts. Sally was also preparing for a vegetable lecture, offering help and advice to people wanting to start growing their own veggies at home, some really great ideas. We could have stayed there all afternoon (well, we nearly did!). It was great to see the dogs, I haven't seen Skye since she was a tiny baby and she's grown up into a really beautiful young lady, she's very like her granny Dazzle to look at (only better ears!), carrying less coat at the moment but I think that will come as she gets older. Digs was his normal bouncy and smiley self and had great fun playing chase with Spark, all round the garden centre!! Batty pair! lol Skye wasn't quite so sure about her dad (well, he does look a bit like a big hairy yetti at the moment!!). Wish I'd taken some pics...I am useless!! I also took Beau and Casper (pup still waiting for the right home) with me and they were great in the car, no screaming and no sick! They had a wonderful time tearing round Joy's garden!

We made it back to the house in time to do some training, I wanted Joy to see Teal just to make sure that we're not doing anything that might cause problems going forward. Joy is very good at picking up on things that I don't see (benefit of experience and a whole load of dog sense I guess!) but was happy with the contact training so we'll just stick with what we're doing and try and get in as much practice as possible. We then did some jumping exercises to teach Teal to look for the jump wings and keep working forward to her toy, so she sees her toy at the end of a sequence of jumps but knows she has to do all the jumps first before she gets it. This is quite hard for Teal because (a) she LOVES her toys more than anything else in the whole world and (b) she likes to please so wants to do it right. The beauty of that is of course, that once she knows she has to do (b) to get (a) she does (b) as fast as her little legs will carry her!! She's already proving to be one speedy little cocker, wish we'd video'd some of her work because I'm really proud of her. I'm starting to feel a bit nervous about having a dog whose ability and potential in agility far outstrips mine!!

Friday, 13 February 2009

The long awaited 'pupdate'!!

Well, I finally got round to snapping some pics of Kitten’s pups last night, they're not great but I was single handed and that's never easy with 5 week old puppies! Tania is coming over next weekend so we will hopefully get some nice stacked pics of them while she's here. I am really pleased with the whole litter, they're lovely little pups and exactly what I would have hoped for from this combination. I have however decided which girl is staying and in light of her very adventurous (slightly kamikaze!) nature she will be called Dora, since she has been nicknamed 'Dora the Explorer'since she was 3 weeks old! lol (that will mean nothing to those of you that don't have young children, nephews, nieces etc).

here she is...

I need to think up some registered names for them all now, am still awaiting inspiration... lol

These pups are all noticeably smaller than I'm used to seeing in my litters and there is a vast difference in size between them and Lori's litter but I am confident they will all grow on and be decent sized adults. While Kitten is obviously on the small side, her parents and the rest of her littermates are not and Sea is big lad! Viggo was also a very small pup and he's grown up into a good sized boy now with plenty of bone and leg (it's just his brain that doesn't seem to be growing quite as fast as the rest of him! ). They're all weaned and eating well, complete kibble, tripe, raw lamb mince, chicken wings and lamb bones...they'll eat anything!

Another thing I've noticed with these, and Lori's pups is that some have developed puppy tear stains, it's not a problem, I have seen this before in other peoples litters and it does of course dissapear very quickly but it's not something I've really had before. I am wondering whether it is linked to the fact that these two litters have been in the house the whole time. Usually I have my pups out on shavings at 4/5 weeks old in a large pen where they have lots of room to play and they stay nice and clean and dry on the shavings (their coats also smell much sweeter, like freshly cut wood!). I can't really see any reason why that would make a difference though? Since the utility room at the new house is easily big enough to accommodate older litters I had intended to have them inside all the time but I am thinking that I may build an outdoor pen in one of the garages for future litters. It does just give them more room and they do definitely stay cleaner.

Tuesday, 10 February 2009're it!

Well, now I've finally caught up with all the blogs I follow I found out that I got 'tagged' by Brenda and Hazel, the idea is that you...
open a document or file folder
Click on the fifth folder and then the fifth photo
Post the photo and describe it
Then tag 5 other bloggers
Now...what this doesn't take into account is my highly organised and multi layered file structures!! lol
So I actually had to open a folder, select the 5th folder and then another folder inside that folder before I actually came to any photos! This folder happened to contain pics of my cocker pups from last year and 5th photo down was this one of Radley (Bryning Truly Radley Deeply) who belongs to my Auntie Jackie, Uncle Conrad and cousins Amy and Jess, she lives close by and I get to see her regularly. She has grown up into a beautiful, affectionate and (mostly) impeccably behaved member of the family, she's an absolute joy :)

She is pictured here at six weeks old in Amy's arms, god she as cute wasn't she?! :)

Ok, near everyone I know has already been tagged but these are the 5 blogs I am tagging... (might encourage an update from Sue!! lol)

Monday, 9 February 2009

One big update...

Ok, so I've been offline for the past 10 days while we moved house. There's loads happened in that time so I'm going to try and make this update as short as possible!!

I took the Thurs and Fri off work to finish packing stuff up and get ready for moving all the furniture on the Saturday....D-Day! I have to say we are SO incredibly lucky to have such a fantastic group of friends and family who have offered so much help and support in so many ways it's just untrue. I must make special mention of Gemma who had worked like an absolute trooper for the last few weeks, helping with all the packing, cleaning, DIY and decorating on all her days off, I know how precious those days are and your help is greatly appreciated. The move itself went really smoothly with our little army of helpers and Sat evening saw us mostly unpacked and a chance to relax all cosy in front of the open fire in our new lounge (haven't had an open fire for years, it's lovely at this time of year). This really was no mean feat, although we only moved a few miles we did take 15 adult dogs and 17 puppies with us!

The pups were the last thing to move, once we'd got everything set up in the utility room at the new house, here they are at the old house waiting to go....
Lori's litter...

Kitten's litter...

The dogs have settled really well, they now have their own huge 'dog room' in one of the garages that Gem and I have insulated and boarded and painted the floor etc, they have access in and out of here all the times and have loads of room with their toy box, a radio, lots of beds and crates and best still...the tops of the crates are boarded with carpet on top so they have somewhere to sit and look out of the windows! lol I wondered how they might be not sleeping in the main part of the house as they've been used to but our new kitchen is just not big enough to accomodate them all and they seem quite happy in their own 'dog room' and have adapted to the new routine very quickly. I guess one of the advantages of feeding at bedtime is that everyone is always keen to go to bed!! lol There are two large concreted areas, one of which they have access to all the time and a nice grassed area that they can go out and play on ( hole digging allowed! lol), I will also have some flyball and agility equipment out on this area for training too. There are loads of footpaths close by as well as the canal that has a nice wide towpath for walking down so we have quite a lot of exploring to do! The location is just ideal, we share the lane with only two other houses...the nearest of which is at the farm a couple of hundreds of yards further fact the cows are our nearest neighbours!! lol

Here's the view to the East of the property (taken out of the spare bedroom window)...hello cows!! lol

And this is the view directly out of my bedroom window, to the front of the house

and this is to the West, out of my side bedroom window ( bedroom is twin aspect, nice huh?)

and this is out the back (from the landing window)

and this is out the back showing the outside of the 'dog room' ...and one lonely puppy...the others were out there too just hiding round the other side of the extension, I promise I didn't shut him out there all by himself! lol (incidentally, this is the puppy that's still looking for his new home)

Sunday we had lots and lots visitors
Here's my nephew Charlie having a cuddle with Drew

and here's my auntie and uncle's cocker, Radley, saying hello to 'Beau'

We basically spent the rest of the week getting the old house cleaned up and painted, tidying up the garden and powerwashing the yard, stables and fence ready for renting it out...if I ever see another paint roller!! Again...loads of help from our wonderful friends and stars! :))

I've also had Lori's puppies leaving this week. Drew was the first to go when Julie braved the weather and came up on Tuesday. Incidentally, while the rest of the country has been snowed in and practically ground to a halt, we've had only a tiny sprinkling of snow and blue skies and sunshine for the bulk of the week. Needless to say, the news bulletins were becoming rather tedious...'will everyone please shut up about the bloody snow!!!!' lol

'Fiddy' (boy 6) was the next to go as Clare and her daughter drove down from Glasgow on Friday. Here's a couple of pics Gemma and I managed to snap of him before he left (still a little damp after his bath but gorgeous nontheless!)...

Bryning Celtic Sea aka 'Fiddy' (Fiddy is short for 'Mufidy' which is a gaelic name meaning 'man of the sea'...nice eh?)

3 more pups left on Saturday...Baxter (boy 1) and the two girls...Flo and Spider (loving that name! lol) and Chance (boy 7) left early Sunday morning for the long journey back down to Essex so we're down to just 3 'til Chico leaves tomorrow...feels very quiet!!

Once Chance had left on Sunday we headed up to Hest Bank Kennels for Teal's agility beginner class. It was outside this week and it was really nice to catch up with everyone from Faith's training group afterwards. Can't wait to get Faith back training after she's had her litter...will be really weird having two dogs to work. Overall I was really pleased with Teal. She was much happier and more confident outdoors and working forward over her dogwalk nicely, she was also jumping her full height (small) with ease making no attempts to duck under at all. She was happily running through a long curved tunnel no probs and did the A-frame and tyre for the first time happily too. I did some 'wait' work with her last night at home. I've never needed to teach her a wait before so she doesn't have one (oops!) but she's picking it up. I also decided to teach Squirrel a 'sit' which took no time at all (she's a smart little cookie that one!) and started them both doing left and right spins. I may start doing a little agility training with Squirrel once she's running reliably in flyball, we'll see. I will get some of my equipment set up at home so I can do more training with Teal over the weekends, will be better when it starts getting lighter in the evenings and we can use that time too.

I think that's about it for the update...a little longer than I'd hoped for...sorry!! lol

It will be another week before I have internet access at home so my postings and replies to e-mails etc might be a bit slow in coming for a little while longer.