Several shows in the last couple of months, can’t remember what happened at them all now to be honest. My dogs in particular have suffered from my lack of time lately and are all a little ‘porky’ (by ‘porky’ I really mean FAT!) so aren’t running their best, with the exceptions of Aston, Mac, Maisie and Jovi who never seem to gain any weight no matter what their feeding/exercise regime (thankfully!). I also think this rapid weight gain is partly caused by the fact that I’ve started feeding them a lot more raw meat and bones, which they love but perhaps a bit too much!
The season has started slowly with a lot shuffling of dogs between the teams as we try to work out who is on form, who isn’t and which combinations are working best. We have also, in the last month, increased our number of open teams from three to four (eek!!) which is quite a lot of work for 8 people but we just have too many dogs to squeeze into 3 teams now (and lots of youngsters in training too).
Aston has been coming on brilliantly in training and has been running consistent 4.4’s in starters competitions (clever lad); he’s such a joy to handle…so motivated and focused, it’s very hard not to become complacent with a young dog like that and forget that he’s still a ‘baby’. He ran his first Open tournament at our very own show, Royal Umpire Caravan Park, Croston and was paw perfect bless him running consistent 4.2s/4.3s in our top team over 12” hurdles with Jovi as the height dog. We ran 18.24s which was 0.5sec faster than we have been running lately but Jovi didn’t run that well and actually came down with kennel cough after the show so I don’t think she was feeling 100%. Next time out (Eastham) we decided to try running Travis in the top team and the additional 1” off the hurdle heights (down to 11”) seemed to really suit Aston who ran 4.1s over this height all day helping us run a 17.95s despite Dylan being a little off form. At the moment we are running them Aston-Bailey-Dylan-Travis…this is because the team we’re running at the European Championships in Germany (sadly won’t include Aston as I never got him passported
There are a few photos of the dogs running at Eastham here
Tarka has taken somewhat of a backward step, after looking so promising in training I brought her out into open competition at Pontefract in May and it totally blew her mind and , as often happens with cockers, seriously dented her confidence . The last month or so have been slow confidence building exercises so we ran an NFC team in starters at our show, our planned Euros team which she really enjoyed and got very excited about. Our next show is at Osamston Polo Ground 2nd/3rd July where I am planning on running our second team (Demon Racers) NFC with the wings in to allow her to run and experience ‘proper’ racing without any pressure. From not doing any shows in July before we head to Germany we are now running at least one team every weekend for Tarkas’ benefit. Fingers crossed she gets the idea soon!
Spark has also really come on great guns since we started weekly training and I am so pleased with his progress. He’s been running starters most weekends and I’m so happy with every aspect of his training; his box is superb (he has done all his training and starters comps running on the chute), he is doing lovely tight changeovers in and out and has even been running start dog and maintaining his focus too. I think part of his progress is the fact he has been training and racing with Aston and they have a very healthy competitive relationship! Lol
I’ve also started training Flint who is doing surprisingly well. He does lovely fast runbacks for his tuggy and loves fetching his tennis ball too. He is gradually tightening up on the chute, this is going to be our second biggest challenge as there is a lot of him to turn! Our biggest challenge however is getting him to run while there’s another dog running…this is currently a work in progress.
We’ve started doing little bits of work with the babies… Jellybean is just doing a few runbacks each session. I’ve spaced the hurdles at 5ft intervals so that she learns to hurdle…as her little legs grow we will gradually move them further apart. At the moment she’s doing well and running back nicely for her tuggy…until she sees another dog…hmmmm…she is definitely a terrier! Preston is also doing restrained runbacks and is currently looking F-A-ST!! Need to make sure we get everything right with him as he’s looking very promising, I anticipate his issues will be dog chasing and ball dropping so we need to make sure those habits do not develop. Half of the battle with flyball training is anticipating the problems you might encounter with a particular dog and nipping them in the bud at the start.
EABCC isn’t even worth talking about so I won’t bother (lol), SKC was marginally better… Spark was a pillock (too busy thinking about nice girlies in season), Faith went nicely and was shortlisted as was Jovi but neither were placed, Viva was the most settled she’s ever been in the ring and went really well, she came 2nd in a really strong class so has now got her Crufts 2012 qualifier :o) Last show was Blackpool on the 26th June, I never seem to do well at our ‘home ground’ but, against my better judgment, was persuaded to enter under this particular judge…the Blackpool curse struck again as the judge was changed at the last minute (typical!) and as I expected…we came home with nothing. Viva was shortlisted (junior bitch), Spark and Faith were both binned (open dog and limit bitch) it was an absolute SCORCHER of a day with no shade in the rings and the judge has us moving around the big ring again and again, which under normal circumstances I would be quite happy about but it definitely took its’ toll on poor Spark who was just not a happy bunny at all bless him. I had headed taken him for a walk round to toilet just before he went in the ring and gone to fill up the water bottle at the same time, there was a large plastic paddling pool under the tap which he promptly attempted to climb in! I just managed to grab him at the last minute so he only immersed a single front leg but it was a bit of a mad panic to get it dried off and prepared again before hitting the ring. Poor Spark was most confused since I actively encourage him to get in the paddling pools at flyball to lie down and cool off between races lol I actually had a nice day nonetheless, just enjoying the banter around the ring with everyone :)
Faith at Blackpool
Viva at Blackpool
(photos by Wendy Lawless)
We’ve had three litters born over the last couple of months, well I say three…what I really mean is two and a bit! Lexie whelped a single puppy at Easter; this was always going to be her last litter as she is 8 in October and I just really wanted something else from her so one puppy suits me just fine. Gambit (Bryning All the Right Moves) is now 10 weeks old and a really lovely boy. Lexie struggled to produce milk with just having the one pup so I hand reared him ‘til 4/5 weeks old. He came everywhere with me as a result so is a very happy and confident little chap indeed. He then actually ‘moved in’ with Dazzle’s 7 puppies by Fynn who are 12 days younger than him. These pups are now all spoken for apart from a single black/white boy who injured a right hind leg at 7 weeks old, after numerous examinations and x-rays it thankfully just turned out to be a bad sprain but he’s still here until I’m happy he’s completely sound. I have kept a blue merle bitch pup from this litter on breeding terms, hopefully she will prove to be as good a producer as her mum has been.
Bryning Dare to Dazzle (Fynn x Dazzle)
Mercy whelped a litter of TEN puppies, now 5 weeks old and beautiful. I must get some new photos of this lot. Eight bitches and two dogs, I have yet to find the perfect homes for all ten of them though.
And we have two new additions of late in the form of Charm who is a super blue/white Spark daughter bred by Pat Ward at Starside She is such a character, so bold and bright…I just love her!
Charm - Starside Sparkles at Bryning
And Boomer, a lovely red/white boy from the Nice of You to Combye kennel in the Netherlands. Boomer is currently being fostered by friends in Belgium and should arrive in the UK early next year. I will see him when we’re out at the European Championships in Germany later this month though…can’t wait!
Boomer - Nice of You to Comebye Boomerang Boy
Think that’s about it for now!