Friday, 29 April 2022

Bru is on Team GB for the European Open Championships!!

I'm so so proud of these two!! Bru and Matt have made it onto Team GB for the European Open Championships in Belgium in July!! 💛 The hard work starts with weave bootcamp commencing this week, he still struggles with weave entries and exits so we have been doing short sessions in the garden to help him understand it better.

At the start of April I took Branston Pickle for a weekend break in Wales to catch up with my family and celebrate my lovely sisters 40th birthday (a month early but nice to be sooner!) Here are a couple of holiday snaps, it was fab to catch up with everyone and also have a semi surprise party with a fabulous cake made by my very talented friend Julie (from Julies Cake Company in St Albans) 

We have also done our first couple of shows on the year, we had a brilliant time at Kelluki! Brooke bean got to play hoopers and even managed to win a couple of veteran classes! Bru and Spark had fun playing agility on some cool courses. Here is Brus winning agility run

Branston has been practising watching the dogs in the ring quietly

Spark had a very successful weekend at Wallingford show, she won the G7 jumping and came 4th in the agility! 

This is her winning jumping run!

Unfortunately Bru did lovely runs apart from the weaves...hence the weave bootcamp this week!! 😂

In other news I got my new jumps for the field, they are amazing and perfect for young dogs as they go so low and are very pretty!

Branston is almost ten months old now and is doing more in the way of agility training. He is so enthusiastic and keen to lean ❤ He did a puppy camp a couple of weeks ago and worked so hard! It was lovely to see his Granny Lian and sister too!

Our garden is still fenced off as our fences are still not repaired from all the storms 😕 It is our neighbours fence and we have even offered to pay to fix it but she wants to sort it herself. In the meantime we have a tiny patch of grass that is ok for the dogs but are trying to make the most of it.

We found some bluebells the other day on our walk!

Branston passed his Level 1 Hooperstars and has done all his Level 2 exercises so fingers crossed he passes! He is started to really understand looking for the hoops!

And the cutest little puppy pic! Oakley is only 9 weeks old in this photo and so gorgeous! He explored my field and then crashed out in the coffee shop! 💕

Thursday, 10 March 2022

Bru makes the next stage of selection for Team GB!

 Bru went to the Pre Selection Qualifier a couple of weekends ago and had four of the hardest courses he has ever competed over to prove he was worthy of progressing to the next stage of Team GB selection. We know that weaves are his weakness and the weather was not on his side as we hadn't been able to practice weaves or contacts for three weeks with him! 😫 As predicted he missed every weave entry but only got one elimination over the four courses and made it through to the AWC (Agility World Championships) tryouts! 💛 He also got selected for the EO (European Open) tryouts as well!! The tryout weekends are in a couple of weekends time so watch this space! Now it is a bit nicer and the ground has dried out we will attempt to actually practice with him. Here is one of his runs

Tired Rupert!! 

Bru and Brooke competed at Hoopers a couple of weekends ago, they were fantastic! Again due to the weather they hadn't done much but both won a couple of classes 😍

Brooke found competing very exhausting...she needed a Toad pillow!! 

Uncle and Nephew

Mr Toad on Harpenden common

My little helper setting up at 'the office' First week back teaching there for a while...finally! 

Our phantom post box topper crocheter has made this for St Patricks Day, its so cute! 

Branston had a go at Mantrailing last week, he was a natural and really enjoyed finding his 'misper' who is showing him her scent article here. 

Lian kindly invited us to visit and Bru got to do some training with his super brother Siri who also made it through to the next stage of the tryouts! Here is Brooke and her brother Sonic who is Bru and Siri's dad and Branstons grandad ❤

And a recent Branston can see them all on YouTube if you click on the 'burdett shelties' link 

Sunday, 20 February 2022

Brodie is 15!!! And some puppy thoughts

 My special Mr Toad has turned 15 this month! 💙 I feel so lucky to have him in my life and what adventures we have had together!! He is the sweetest boy, so good with dogs and people and such a pleasure to take anywhere. Rather than put old pictures on here I thought I make a montage of what Toad has got up to over the last month 😍 He still loves his walks and goes out for a couple of 20 min walks a day usually although we did 40 mins this morning and he bounced along quite happily!

All the lovely weather we have had over the last month (very dry and quite warm...notice the dogs not wearing coats sometimes in Toads video!) has rapidly gone downhill. We had a lot of rain last weekend and then Storm Dudley followed by Storm Eunice a couple of days later. Unfortunately the garden is now like a bog, my agility field is like a swamp and we lost five fence panels! 

Branston is now 7.5 months and had a busy week last week! I taught a puppy workshop at his breeders and he came in at the end and did some proprioception work and recalls which was testing as he was sooo excited 😂 He also had a trick training workshop where he learnt cross paws, hid leg lifts and reversing round me. He loves trick training so much and I'm a bit biased but he is a smart cookie! Pickle also had a rally class, an Agility Workshop and a Hoopers class during the week. I don't usually do so much in one go but as they were all groups of 6 dogs he didn't get too tired in any of the groups. In fact it was the tricks that wore him out the most as we worked at the same time quite a lot.

For me it is the bits between the exercises that I'm just as interested in with a young dog as the actual exercises. I want them to be quiet and settled between turns...something that I failed with massively with Sparkle and I didn't realise how much it would impact on her future agility career. The sight of another dog running would send her into a screaming lunging lunatic and then she would be unable to think straight when it was her turn! Queuing at shows has never been easy and although she has got better I can never relax when I'm holding her. Branston has either been in a crate or a raised bed at classes/workshops so far. I have used the crate if its a class of dogs I don't know and there will be dogs running off lead (I don't trust other teenage dogs not to run over and I want to keep him safe) At rally and 1-1 lessons he has been on a raised bed in between turns as I don't feel there is the same risk factor. I might sound over the top but Brooke got attacked at his age and she has never got over it...its just not worth the risk! Anyway as usual I'm going off on a tangent! So apart from settling between turns (so far so good but will keep rewarding him for being quiet!) I'm also looking for him to

- be restrained happily by anyone (this is a work in progress but he is getting really happy with it)
- play with the trainer (absolutely fine with a long tuggy so far)
- ignore the other dogs while he is working (so far so good but aware hormones may change this!)
- allow me to clip his lead on at the end of his go (ok so far)
- send back to his bed/crate if I'm not putting his lead on (prefers this to the lead as it involves running!)
- swap between toys and food happily (I have worked hard on this at home and it has transferred well)
- retrieve a toy (it doesn't have to be a perfect retrieve but not to bog off with his toy!)

When I'm teaching workshops I often feel that these are just as important as the actual agility work, not to have them as perfect skills but to be aware of them and continue rewarding them making the right choices. Most teenage dogs want to join in with other dogs running, don't want to wait their turn, be put back on lead, bring a toy back and many are hitting a second fear period so playing with a trainer can be too much for them. At the moment I have upped Branston Pickles rewards to fridge raiders and stinky sausage for workshops! We have a grid workshop this week which will be a good test of all of the above as Dan and his puppy Nerd are in my group and Branston loves them both! 

Anyway enough rambling from me! Here is the latest Pickle video ❤

Brooke bean got to play hoopers this week as well, she absolutely aced the course that Jo-Ann had set! It was nice to work her as the weather has not been on our side, even for working in the garden! Her distance work is coming on so nicely, we have a competition soon so hopefully she will remember how to send out! 💚

Friday, 4 February 2022

Branston 7 months and Sparkle turns 9!

 In the last two weeks Branston Pickle has been a busy boy! He did a Hoopers puppy workshop, agility foundation workshop and rally class 😁 It is nice to get him into some groups so that he learns to take turns and watch the others quietly on his bed...something that Sparkle never managed! 

Here is a video from his puppy Hoopers workshop ❤

And a recent video of what we have been getting up to! Agility wise so far we have done a straight tunnel, a jump bump grid, just started curvy tunnels with no speed and he has done a couple of wing wraps 

In the last week Sparkle has turned 9 years old! 💜 I can't believe it as she is still my little puppy really! She certainly doesn't act her age and many people still think she is a puppy as she is so dinky and cute! We have had the most wonderful dry weather recently so Sparkle got a birthday run round in the field. We haven't trained our dog walk exits recently so I was very pleased with these! Hopefully she will have this year doing some champs with Bru before starting to wind down agility wise a bit next year.

Here are some recent photos of the birthday girly! 

And some other photos of the gang! Bru and Brooke both passed their Level 3 Hooperstars award! Look how gorgeous the rosettes are!  

Finally a photo of all four shelties looking the same way and actually looking the correct sizes! Branston is now about 39cm so taller than Toad and a couple of cm shorter than Sparkle. I think he is pretty much finished growing now so will be a nice sized medium. 

This photo makes me smile! She is learning to tolerate him and he is learning to avoid her!

Gorgeous trio! 

Wednesday, 12 January 2022

Branston 6 months old!

I have been having so much fun doing bits with Branston pickle! Now he has got all of his adult teeth we are back to playing tuggy again and I have been testing his toy play at different places (local fields and commons as well as a friends agility field) When Matthew had a workshop with Bru at the dog barn I managed to hire the ourdoor arena for the others. This is a record for myself of what we have been doing as well! We are following Dan Shaws online puppy foundation course and having great fun working through the exercises. With my own clients I am never in a hurry until they have their foundations right...for example there is no point the dogs learning contacts if they can't happily turn round, sit and lie down on a dog walk width plank! It helps keep them fit and injury free if they understand how to use their bodies well. I'm so lucky that Lian encourages her pups to explore and be confident on new surfaces and Branston is pretty good at knowing where his feet are 😁 I have done a few wraps round a cone at home and shaped it but this is his first time being asked to tight turn on a barrel and accelerate out of the turn. I don't use wings until I know they have value, understanding and the strength to wrap properly! He isn't ready for curvy tunnels just yet but he is enjoying learning straight ones! The main thing at the moment is that we generally don't do the same thing more than a couple of times a week...its nice to mix it up for their brains and their bodies!

At the weekend we did a trick workshop with Nicola Smith of Lucky Dog training. It was Brans first proper workshop and he was brilliant!! We learnt lots of new things and he focused so well in a room full of dogs! 


Tuesday, 4 January 2022

December catch up and Happy New Year!

 I have been very slack at blogging yet again! A whole month has passed since I last updated and to be fair it was a bit of a whirlwind with Christmas and trying to rearrange work around the stupid weather! Covid caused a few cancellations as we have a new variant called Omicron and Matt and I had our booster vaccinations which wiped us both out for a couple of days. The doglets are all doing fine...I thought I'd do a little bit on each of them below

Toad 💙

Brodie is doing so well (touch wood!) He is enjoying two walks a day and we try and mix up a bit of time off lead in safe places for him as well as he is deaf and a bit blind as well. He has been the bestest big brother and role model for Branston 😍

Brooke 💚

Bean is enjoying lots of hoopers training, we are currently doing our Level 3 Hooperstars challenges and have done some workshops recently which she loves! She is retired from competing at agility as she will be 11 this March and we don't want to push it with her shoulder. Bean remains our best sofa snuggle buddy and the easiest dog around the house! 

Sparkle 💜

Sparkle is still a full of herself little nutcase 😂 She is loving her agility still and we have done a fair bit of hoopers recently to test her distance and keep her fitness up. Spark will be 9 at the end of this month so chances are that this will be one of her last seasons competing so we are going to make the most of every run and make an effort to do some champs now Bru is G7 as well. 

Bru 💛

Little Rupert had a great season qualifying for the Novice Cup, being selected by Team GB for the Pre Selection Qualifier and getting to Grade 7. We are looking forward to seeing how he will get on in 2022! He has a few training days booked for agility and I have been doing hoopers with him to keep up his distance work and fitness.  Like Brooke he is also on L3 of his Hooperstars awards! Apart from being the sweetest, cuddliest little boy he is so good these photos of him! 


My little pickle pup turned six months old on New Years seems like only yesterday that we brought him home! He is full of character, loving and a little bit nuts, my perfect combination!! 😂 He takes everything in his stride and is into everything! I have done weekly videos of him that are all on my YouTube page if anyone is interested 
We have done a couple of puppy classes (one indoors and one outdoors), an online trick class and introducing a hoop, barrel and tunnel so far. He is loving learning! We have a puppy hoopers and tricks workshop this weekend coming and some agility foundation training days booked over the next few months so he can work in a group. 

Tuesday, 7 December 2021

Cornwall Holiday!

 We had the best time in Cornwall and the doglets had a blast on the beaches! We had chilly but sunny and dry weather. I have so many lovely photos, here are a selection but unfortunately they aren't in order so I will attempt to remember where I took them! Brodie and Branston enjoyed short potters on the beach or round town while the other three did longer walks.

Fistral beach in Newquay after brunch at the Sea Spray cafe...Branstons first time on the beach and he loved it! Almost 5 months at this point ❤

Me hanging out with King Arthur at Tintagel

Walking through the narrow streets at Padstow

The harbour at Padstow

Padstow beach

Volt beach which we found after a trip to Heligan, it was so sunny that we couldn't actually look into the camera! This is one of the last pics of Matts hat as it flew away in Storm Arwen 😂

The Lost Gardens of Heligan, what a lovely place to visit!

A special snowdrop picture for my Mum!! x

Fistral headland

Fistral beach

Brodie in the Sea Spray cafe, he absolutely loved being on holiday and did so well! Can't believe he turns 15 in Feb! 💙

Merlins cave at Tintagel

Sunset over Newquay

The funny house on the island in Newquay

One man and his (my!) dog on Crantock beach 

The most amazing pitch and putt course...this was the last hole! 

Hard to see but the tee is on the hill by the bench and you can just see the green! I actually got onto the green in one go! Matthew was a pro and won of course but I did get a Par 3 in 2 so happy with that!!

Rick Steins fish and chips at Fistral!

Branston snuggling with his big bro 😍

The best Cornish pasty I've ever had!! Beef and stilton and Matt had lamb and mint...they were HUGE!!

Warming up with a coffee and mince pie in Cafe Nero

Proud Rupert on the rocks

Branston lost three teeth on holiday...he is very proud of his new nashers!!

Brooke was the best golf caddy!!