Monday, 26 May 2014

Being a Grown Up, Puppies and Dog Shows

Rookie is starting to look like a grown up. It's really scary. Still acting like a daft puppy as I'm sure he always will. No sooner were we back from holiday that Rookie and I were off looking after two lovely labby boys. He loves these boys SO much but has a real soft spot for Alfie as you can see.

Seahaven's Celtic Commander 2 years old

Henry, Rookie and Alfie

Rookie and Alfie, a true bromance

We had a lot of this!
 Rookie has also been helping the community with his first trip visiting a care home. He was mostly under control! And loved all the attention.

We have a new addition to the household and at the moment Rookie is her only friend! This is Lake, my mum's new baby. Her and Rookie hit it off straight away, which is just as well as three weeks later he is still the only one who will tolerate her- but the others are coming around. 


Here are a couple of videos, one is Rookie's first few days with pup, been eventful.

The other is a video of some training we did whilst we were on holiday, just playing around but he is looking quite mature. We went to Exeter Championship Obedience Show last weekend and Rookie went in the ring for a training round. He was such a super boy, tried really really hard in the pouring rain and I was so pleased with him. This video is some heelwork, recalls, retrieve and a search square. Only his second search square he's had so he doesn't realise the articles are only INSIDE it yet! It's hard to teach my wide ranging HPR to search only a tiny area! We have our third trials lesson tomorrow, really excited.

Sunday, 25 May 2014

Cooper goes to Bath Dog Show

Here we go again. Doggie case packed up on the Friday night, Bottled drinks and food out on the kitchen worktops. IT'S SHOWTIME!

Saturday morning about 8am - into my cage in the van and off we go. We are heading to Bath - or actually somewhere near it, where the Bath Championship Dog Show is being held. Bath? Shower more like. Lots of them, torrential - all the way up the M4, and all day when we were there.

On a nice day it would be a good venue. Loads of nice green flat fields, and the benching and rings were spacious too. But Saturday they could have replaced us with World War 1 soldiers and fought the Somme there. It was unbelievable. The acres of car parking space were just a morasse of reddish mud. Not too noticeable on a toller's ginger bits but unless they were carried in, not a toller went into the benching area with any white paws visible. There were tollers everywhere being washed down from bottles, dried off, as bit by bit white socks became visible again and our breed was recognisable.

I was in the Post Graduate class - yet again - and after being bombed out in my last two shows Mam was none too hopeful about my chances. She has been evolving some new tricks to try and perk me up in the ring because, frankly, what am I getting out of it? Can you eat a certificate or a rosette? Yes - but they are nowhere near as nice as a sausage. And so Mam had decided to use the best means she knows of getting me interested - FOOD. And it's working. If I know there's a treat in her pocket that I'm going to get into my mouth soon - I'll do anything.

Even Dad saw some of the new me - and liked it. And it paid off because I (or rather Mam) was given a red card, which she seemed really pleased with. So I got an extra treat and a hug.

A little bit later I had to go back in with a couple of other boy dogs and do my stuff again. And Mam was given yet another card but a green one, for Best of Sex in Breed. Mam, Dad and lots of other people very happy with me now. Where's my food?

Then there was a longer break for me and I had to go back in to see that judge for a third time - and this time there was a young lady toller in with me. In fact she'd been on the next bench to me so we were already quite friendly. Blimey - what's going on? Another red card and a rosette and this time everyone's coming up to Mam and saying well done. What did she do? Dad even gives her a kiss. Where's mine you heartless so-and-so?

So that's really what happened. I got nowhere late in the afternoon in what they call the Group, but do I seem bothered?

Getting out of the car park was fun, skidding all over the place and mud flying everywhere. The van was in such a state that when we queued at the Severn bridge, people in the cars each side of us were pointing and laughing.

What a day!

Family are getting a toller - want to see one

Nice toller next door to me

Posing with Mam

Chilling with Mam

Best Dog, Bitch and Puppy
Time for refreshment

In action in the Group 1

In action in the group 2

Happy but Tired - home
And a video link to see him looked fab in the main ring!

(I somehow  got picked for the intro of this film, plus you can see the judge going over me at 20m53s to 22m05s. Also - bombed out at 35m23s. Think I got a little too excited with the promised treats but hope to settle down in future).

Trio's Pregnancy Progress

Can't quite believe that Trio will be 5 weeks post mating this coming Wednesday!!  Time just seems to be passing us quicker and quicker, it has helped though to get to this point and be confident that she is in fact in whelp!

There's no disputing the fact now, the changes are very subtle but evident to those that know her well.  Whilst walking them today the girls (Tasha & Eleanor) came up with different reasons for believing that she is in fact carrying puppies.  She has started to broaden a little across the back and deepen, the most noticeable change has been in her personality.  She seems to be very aware that she is carrying precious cargo, taking care not to over exert herself or charge around and get knocked by the others.  She is also being a bit picky with her food, not like her at all!!

She is continuing to be treated as the others and still enjoying her walks, something that is really important as we want her to be fit and healthy for whelping and rearing the pups. 

Monday, 19 May 2014

Cooper goes to Waterfall Country

On Saturday 17 May, Dad took me up above the village of Pont Neath Vaughan to visit some of the waterfalls. We parked up early morning in a place called Pont Melin Fach where there was once an old mill that was used as a collective facility for the farms in the area. There were already seven cars in the car park but this was solely because some people had camped overnight there. It is an idyllic spot, right on the river in the middle of nowhere - but the gnats are terrible. Barbecue facilities and bench tables have been put there which makes it a lovely attraction besides.

We set off downriver, picking up the Upper and Lower Ddwli Falls (Sgwd Ddwli Uchaf and Sgwd Ddwli Isaf). Then below these the Horseshoe Falls. A bit further on there is a confluence in the river system. This you get to after about half an hour or so of walking. The path was good when we did it but after rain you'd need a good pair of walking boots - at least humans would. At the river junction you either follow on downstream for a further half an hour to get to the village of Pont Neath Vaughan, or you turn right and go upstream following a river called the Pyrddin. We did that. Another 5 minutes gets you to a nice waterfall called Sgwd Gwladys which you can partly walk behind if you like getting wet. Dad said it was only a trickle coming over it compared to when it rains, when it can be absolutely torrential and spectacular (as well as dangerous).

At Sgwd Gwladys I had lots of stick retrieve to exercise and cool down, then we crossed the river to retrace our steps the other side. We wound our way back to the car park. Dad was a bit nervous with some of the steep drops off the path but put me under close control when we came to these. The rest of the time I had free rein to run through the lovely hillside above you of deciduous woodland, where the only dogs that get there before you are visitors like me. Great fun.

At the car park the people in tents were now awake. They were a group of youngsters and they were cooking my favourite breakfast - sausages. Two of them were playing music, one a guitar, the other the bongo drum. So Dad stayed around for a while for us to enjoy the moment - but they never even invited me to have a sausage. But fair's fair, I suppose - I wouldn't give them one of mine either.

Sunday, 18 May 2014

St David's Show

We do try to support the local companion shows in our area, particularly if they're held to raise money for charity.  They are a great place to give young dogs some ring experience, and the same for young handlers.  They can also be useful to try new techniques with a dog that is having some difficulty in the ring, you might not want to try something new at an open or champ show.  These events tend to be well supported by our ring craft club and the horse and pony community who bring their dogs to the shows alongside their equestrian pals.

The sun shone on the day, I think that last year was quite wet and cold so the sun was most welcome.  Eleanor had Eve entered in the Sporting (gundogs, terriers and hounds) class and was thrilled with her 2nd place in this huge class.  She is still rather immature at just under 18 months but looked great.
Tasha had entered Trio in the open class, open to all breeds, a class that she won to our surprise!  She then had to stay in the ring to contest for BIS, which she was awarded!  Such a lovely way to go on maternity duties - out on a win.

The girls were in the same age group for a change for junior handling, they pushed each other really hard and Eleanor was awarded 1st with Tasha coming just behind her with a 2nd. 

They both entered a number of fun classes with all of the dogs, and came home with a lovely collection of rosettes.  They also each brought a trophy for the cabinet, well done girls!

We then stopped off at St David's airfield for a lovely walk before heading home all ready for a rest.

Monday, 12 May 2014

The National Dog Show

This was our first champ show since Crufts in March, it was a bit of a shock to start the day so early!  Anyway, 4.30 saw us on the road, a wet start but we hoped that we would leave the rain behind - which we did.  It wasn't exactly glorious sunshine when we arrived but at least it was dry.

9.00 o'clock saw a very prompt start for junior handling and LMs.  Eleanor and Tasha took themselves off to the BIS ring for their classes whilst I got Morry ready to go in the ring.  Rookie (Seahaven Celtic Commander) was first in the ring for us with Jess in the Under Graduate class, which he won.  He looked fab and has matured so much over the last few months.  Morry (Seahaven Celtic Psalm) hadn't been to a show since last summer, but he was such a little star and settled back into it like an old hand.  He gained a VHC in the Post Graduate class, and moved like a dream so very pleased with him. Rookie was back in for the challenge, but didn't go any further.  Eleanor was asked by Lynn to move Alfie (Raycris Quite the Charmer) for her as he has such a big stride and she felt one of the girls would get the best out of him.  Eleanor did a fab job handling him to a 3rd in Open Dog.  Can't wait to see what he and Trio produce with her puppies next month.

The girls were in soon after, with Megane (Seahaven Celtic Cariad) in both Undergraduate and Post Graduate.  Hazel had worked so hard to settle her before going in the ring, and it paid off with her winning both classes!  She also qualified for the challenge, and didn't go any further, but this was a fab achievement for her and Hazel.

Seahaven had put together a team for the breeders competition, and we won the best breeder in breed with Rookie, Morry, Megane and Trio!

LM Team in the Breeders Competition, best breeder in breed and gundog group 3

For the first time ever the tollers were in adjacent rings, and after a very short break were in the ring.  Bron (Seahaven Gloriana) and Eve (Seahaven Parish Bell) were both entered in a large Junior Bitch class.  Bron was awarded 3rd, and Eve VHC so pleased with this results is such a strong class.  Bron then went on to beat her older sister Milly (Seahaven Red Andromeda) in Post Graduate Bitch!  Bron having a 2nd and Milly having 3rd.  Tilly was in Open Bitch and went well, even if she was very short on coat to get a Reserve.  Tasha had been asked to handle a couple of younger dogs who were having their first time in the ring, she did a great job and like Eleanor was delighted to be given the privilege of handling for someone else.  We also entered the breeders competition with the tollers, the first time we've ever had the two breeds entered at the same show.  We we managed to best breeder in breed for the NSDTRs as well!

We were very quickly ushered over to the main ring as they were waiting for us to start the judging of the breeders group comp.  So not much time to gather our thoughts or strategy!
NSDTR breeder team- Eve, Bron, Milly & Cooper

The girls led a team each, Eleanor with the tollers and Tasha with the LMs, so a little bit of friendly sibling rivalry! Well the Tollers won the group, with the LMs getting group 3!  So very proud to have the support of owners staying for this, it really does mean a tremendous amount to us.

Sunday, 11 May 2014

We've Been on Holiday!

I set off for Pembrokeshire with the pups this last week for a long awaited break!

We stayed in a place geared towards dog owners so it was perfect, a static caravan in 1/4 acre enclosed by a 6ft fence!

We arrived in the evening and had a quiet night after the long trip. In the morning we set off for Marloes beach, which was lovely, but I had read the tide times wrong :) whoops. So we nearly got stuck!

We then met up with Donna and the Seahaven girls and after a lovely lunch headed out for a walk (minus my antisocial girls!!)


Trio looking gorgeous

Tilly and Rookie

Rookie a bit upset that toller is stepping on the ballie haha

Rookie, Eve, Tilly and Trio



Day 2 we went to Freshwater East

Day 3 Freshwater West which was completely beautiful!

The next day we headed to Sandy Haven, a very pretty inconspicuous little place.

The next day we had a more relaxing day and decided to explore the fields and the woods around the area we were staying.

The most dramatic point to date haha. Rabbits in the undergrowth!

And the final day we went to Barafundle bay, a lovely cliffside walk with RABBITS EVERYWHERE!! So the gundogs stayed on the lead until we got to the beach! 

An early start the day after to go to Stafford for the National Dog Show, where Rookie won Undergraduate Dog. 

He was a good boy and enjoyed his day out with lots of attention! Well done to the rest of the Seahaven crew, a great day and fab to see you all :)

Jess and one sleepy munster Rookie.