Monday, November 28, 2011

Sheepdogs training at Downsview Park

Well, now that the pups have gone, we are slowly (really?) moved back to our normal routine. Sonic is desperate for some 1-2-1 attention and the most needed training and so do Sizzle and Sipzie. Both Sizzle and Sipzie have qualified for the UKA Finals this coming weekend at The Hand Arena where the held the First WAO. I think it is about time to put my training shoe on for them.
I always fancy to try herding with my shelties, whether they have the natural instinct or not. Over the last few winters, I have tried herding with Sing and Saturn, both of them were keen on the sheep and we had a lot of fun. I remembered Sing as a puppy like to herd those wild animals he saw at walk. The most scary moment was when he was just over a year old, we went to Dartmoor on holiday, he herd the wild ponies; then he often jump into the pond in Wimbledon Common to herd the ducks (this is one of the reason we hardly go to Wimbledon Common); and then at Seven Sisters Country Park, he tried to herd the sheep ...

We thought about training him in herding, I was looking everywhere to find a place near us to take him herding. I cannot remember who we spoke to but he told us not to do it IF we do not intend to work him around the sheep. Oh, that is the time well before I know anything about Agility and Flyball, so that is many many many years ago ...

The first time we tried the sheepdogs herding was 4 winters ago, we thought we are going to have some fun. Sing (he was 5) & Saturn (he was 2) had a go and Saturn was the one that is really keen and was working really well around the sheep.  Then, we tried again 2 winters ago and he still was very good but yesterday, he looked rather confused. We learned to try balancing the sheep, which means the sheep is between the handler/shepherd and the dog, and if the handler/shepherd moved to the left, the dog should move to the right and vice verser. 
To be honest, I was disappointed, not sure why. I haven't done much agility training with Saturn. He was injured after Crufts and never seems 100% right again, he have a lots of treatments over the summer and we have been keeping up on the exercises. When Sipzie was in season, I took him to training, the 1st week, he knock the jump wing down and was limping was a little while; then 2nd week, I took him back training, his back hasn't got the strength to power up ... we are back to do more exercises to help him build up his muscle. But, I think I am considering to retire him from Agility. He is still a young dog, only 6.5 years old. I was hoping to find an activity to keep his mind occupied. I thought he work really well around the sheep, maybe herding suits him but now I have doubt. Also, I am not sure if it was the bitches in season affected him. The boys, to be honest are very good when the bitches are in season but of course, being an entire male, they are very interested in the bitches when they are about, so I was very strict and control them over their over excited behaviours. At the sheepdogs training, when we tried to balancing the sheep, I got him to lie-down and he daren't move! Good that he is obedient, Bad that he isn't moving!

We were very lucky to be able to get a space from Downsview Park, very well-organised by Lynn Parker and a super fantastic roast lunch with all trimmings and lots of different puddings afterwards! I don't want to move after a satisfying lunch! Robert Putnam, that trains handlers and dogs at all level was very good. Well, I think to put up with a crap handler like me needs a lot of patient! Many of you probably don't know that I am actually scared of sheep, I am alright if they stay at a distance but when they are close to me, I get panic. Trust me, when the extremely friendly sheep surrounding me, I really don't know what to do. How on earth I want to try herding? I know I sacrifice myself a lot for the dogs!

Saturn took the morning session, of course he wasn't any good, so after all the handlers had a go, I was called back to have another go with the sheep with one of Robert's dogs. When Robert asked me which dog I want to work with, being such a silly woman, I pointed at Seren, the most experienced sheepdog and also the best assistant sheepdog lie-down at the corner of the ring. Believe me, I was so embarrassed when I can't get Seren to move! Apparently, she is the most loyal dog to Robert, she only works for him! After a couple of minutes of embarrassment, Robert brought out his other sheepdog Sis for me to work. Hehehe ... Sis is probably a good sheepdog but me being zero knowledge about sheep herding, we had a lot of fun but it didn't last very long as other handlers have to had a go too!

After lunch, I tried it with Sonic. I don't know what to expect from an 8 months old puppy. I know I have to give him a chance to meet the sheep. He was kinda keen at one point and then lost interest, then back on the sheep again. Robert thought our "stop" is not perfect and him being young so we only tried him for 5 minute. I am quite happy, hopefully we get more chance in future to try herding with him again.  All in all, I had a fab day.

here is the little clip of introducing Sonic to sheep:

And great thanks to Dennis Bay for this photo of Sonic

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Bye Bye pups!

Today, I wave good-bye to all pups. I know there are three very happy families enjoying their new pup today.

First one to go is the cheekiest little Scampi-man. He is going down south to Cornwall, to make Chloe very happy and hopefully to be in charge of three Border Collie and some other animals such as horses, ducks, chickens ... Have fun my boy! 

 Licosateria Mai Sunbeam, is calling Scampi at the moment, name might change.

Then, follow by Miss Fly Fly. She is joining the Booty family up North in Manchester. She has a big sister Beth to play with. Again, I have the feeling, she will be the boss :D
Licosateria Mai Sunflyer, aka Fly

Savannah felt lonely without her brother and sister and soon joining the big boys on the sofa snuggle to grand-dad Colin but not for long. She now go and in-charge of the Karyta family. Hopefully she learns some good manners from Honey & Spice.

 Licosateria Mai Sunseeker, aka Savannah

 I guess big brother Sonic is missing the pups the most!

I wish all the pups the best and hope they will make their 
new mummy and daddy very happy 

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Sonic 8 months and first puppy training day

Sonic and sister Brooke turned 8 months yesterday. Where all these time gone? I know I am bias but they both are such wonderful puppies. Brooke is well and truly loved by Matthew and Rhoda Burdett, she is a little princess and is very clever too. I am so very proud of her. You can catch up with her on her blog

Sonic has grown into a handsome young man. He is growing through teenage stage at the moment ... the recall is not 100% but is 99.9%. He started to get distracted by other dogs at training but all under control which is very good. 

He now has two puppy classes to go weekly; Thursday evening indoor school at Leah's and Saturday morning outdoor at Lin's. He absolutely enjoy his training. We are doing puppy foundation at both places and learn all different things from different environment. I think this will do him good. He is very confident and doing very well at home in the garden but at Leah and Lin, he didn't understand the plank on the ground. I am hoping to take him to other places to get used to the plank on the ground. To me, I believe, he SHOULD be able to do plank on the ground at anywhere. Hopefully when the puppies have gone next weekend, we can back to training and start working hard on that.

I didn't get a chance to take some recent photos of him, the puppies have taken all my attention. I feel very sorry that he has been neglected. This photo was taken yesterday after we came back from 3 hours training. You think he should be tired? NOPE! When he got home, he was playing ball for half an hour and then chase the puppies around the garden for an hour ...

 a real daddy's boy, tennis ball mad!

playing with sister Sweep

Sonic went to his first proper puppy training day yesterday at Leah's. It was a 2 hours training day. There were two other shelties there, his sister Brooke and a very handsome tri colour Shark. Brooke and Shark were the great distraction for him. He wasn't too bother by Brooke as I have been training hard to get him to pay attention to me when Brooke is around and it seems to work rather well but Shark, oh Sonic loves little Shark. Shark is such a friendly little sheltie. They have met at the agility show when Shark was really little and Sonic loves puppy. 

I was very glad to be able to watch Brooke work with Matt. I think they make a great Team. Brooke loves her daddy a lot and Oh My, she is so fast and furious! Her wait is fantastic, I am jealous!!! I thought Sonic is pretty good but not after I see Brooke. We are beginners in front of her. 

We did some little exercises, working on control, drive and pre-agility foundations. I have taught Sonic Susan Garrett's "crate game", well, I haven't finish watching the DVD yet so our "crate game" is not up to that standard yet but we are working on it. It works brilliant for us especially when Brooke and Shark were next to him. Although he was so tempted to go and say hello to them but he was really focus on me and stay in his crate until I released him, and he drive to his toy! WooHoo! I am a happy mummy!

We did some ladder work, I've only done the "forward" ladder work with Sonic when he was a puppy puppy and have never try the "reverse" version. It was great to have learn something new with a ladder. He knows the reverse but its always gone sideway when he does his reverse. I am hoping to use the puppy pen to build the narrow lane to teach him to reverse in a straightline but he has to wait until the puppies have gone. For a first timer, I think he did great and I am going to practice that. 

We then get to do the jump-tunnel-jump sequence. As we have done a bit of tunnelling so we get to do from an angle which is great. I am very happy that he beginning to learn to pick up the jump/obstacle in front of him. Also, proofing wait. I have been practising our "set up" routine, he isn't great yet, so I didn't do that a lot at the training day. I think he pick up some tricks quicker than the other and this one isn't the quick one for him. I want to make sure that he is very good at it before I reinforce the routine at training. 

His wait is pretty good but not as good as Brooke. We will practice a lot of that, especially crossing behind him. He really dislike me walking around, so he either move or stand up to look what I am doing. Look like we have some homework to do.

One thing he amazed me was the "send on" exercise at the end of the training day. I know his "send on" is pretty poor at Lin's. He is not a human-friendly dog, he is reluctant when there is someone there chucking his toy for him or recall him. At home or at walk, we have been practising the "send on" and he is good but soon if there is someone out there, he will not go for it.

here is the compilation of some clips at training day:
Soon we finished at the Training Day, we have to rush to our Saturday puppy class at Lin's. I thought Sonic would be tired after the 2 hours training but he was still full of bean. He still going at full speed at Lin's. Then, when we got home, he was playing ball for half an hour and then chase the puppy for another half hour. He did sleep very well last night though :)

Friday, November 18, 2011

Sooty, Sweep & Scampi 7 weeks

I can't keep up with the puppies anymore! Either this litter is very active or I am getting old! I am exhausted just looking after them. They are very fast and one always go different direction to the other two! They get to go out in the garden a lot more, thanks to the mild weather in November. We are very lucky. All pups enjoy the garden so much that I struggled to "catch" them and put them back in the pen. And they don't sleep anymore!!! They can go on and on and on ... for hours!

Licosateria Mai Sunflyer will be called FLY

 Licosateria Mai Sunseeker, will be called SWEEP for now.

Licosateria Mai Sunbeam, will be called SCAMPI for now.

All three of them have great characters, obviously the girls are the boss but Scampi stands up for himself, which is really good. He won't let the girls bully him. He is really cheeky and fun. He responsed to his name the best. His recall is the best, of course :) He is the most inquisitive one, carry him around the High Street or anywhere we go no longer satisfy him, he wants to get down on the floor! He loves the cat just like Sonic. What's wrong with all the boys bred here? I need to try to get a video, it is hard as each time I took the camera out, the cat runs away! She is camera shy!

Fly is crazy ... she probably is the bravest of all of them. She loves any noisy thing. I gave them a "babble ball" to play, Scampi and Sweep weren't too sure about it but she loves it. She used her paw to hit it and chase/roll it and she even pick it up with her mouth and run away with it!

Other than this "babble ball", her other favourite is the empty milk bottle filled with coins. She loves the rattlling noise, that makes her go crazy. She such a funny girl and her tuggy skill is getting stronger each day. OMG! Can she tugs?

Sweep is a sweetheart. She is the cleverest of all of them. She will watch before she approach anything, she is not scared of them but she takes her time to something new. Having say that, she didn't take long, just a quick pause. She is a poser, everytime I take my camera out, she will sit and look pretty.

As they approach 7 week, I can see that Scampi and Fly are Sing juniors and Sweep is Sunny junior.

The pups also get to go out quite a bit this week, they travel well in the car together but not individually. Separation anxiety. They came with me to training, watching the horses in the stable yards and watch some agility as well. They were so excited each time a dog goes. All three are! They want to do agility as well. They've also been to supermarket carpark watching the noisy trolley; also the noisy children at the school gates ... we have visitors most of the times to help taking puppies out which is great too!

 pups travelling in the car with uncle Saturn and big brother Sonic

 Oh Blimey! Not easy to have the Family photo taken with some naughty puppies! There is always one that look away or do something naughty! As you can see, Sing is run out of his patient with his very naughty offsprings who thinking biting his fur is fun!!!

 They are watching their daddy swimming in the pond, hopefully this lots will be another swimmer!
showing his children how to swim :)))
are you learning, kids?

  not that I encourage them but these puppies are pretty agile and they seems to take on their daddy's diving skill :))))

 mama Sunny has gone home and they are doing very well on solid food now. Daddy Sing and big brother Sonic has the responsibility to teach them good manners :D

Friday, November 11, 2011


I haven't posted much about Sonic. He is such a good big brother, he plays so well with the pups, all the pups love him, especially Scampi. He thinks the big brother is great and he always try to bull him :)

Our training is going well at the moment. He now also go on Thursday evening puppy Agility class. We are not doing a lot in the garden, but practice the basic like "wait" and the "set up" routine and a lot other little tricks. I've realised that he is not tunnel mad like a lot of other puppies/beginner dogs, so we do a lot of tunnelling this week, basically doing a lot of sending him into tunnel from various angle and distance and a lot of reward at the exit.

I also tried to be brave and put him on full Dog Walk this week, this is the result:

Sooty, Sweep & Scampi 6 weeks

Sooty (aka Fly), Sweep and Scampi are 6 weeks old today! Where all the times gone? These puppies are so demanding, they are not happy to stay in the puppy pen anymore and they wake up a lot longer and sleep shorter. They got to go into the garden this week for quite a bit and they are loving the garden. I can't get them in easily. Scampi and Fly love tugging a lot, they just loved the toys, whatever you give them, they are happy to play with.  Sweep needs a lot encouragement, once you get her going, she will not stop. 
The puppies get to go on car ride daily, individually. They come on the ride with me every day to send Colin to work and pick him up from the station. Can they scream? I need ear plug to drive with the puppies! They also get to see busy and noisy traffic and crowd of people coming in and out from the station.

Sooty, aka Fly

 she is crazy about the baby slide, she loves to run up it and slide down
 Sweep and Scampi