Sunday, April 27, 2008

Agile dog, shame about the owner

Had agility class today, it was gloriously sunny if a little muggy, and it went fairly well. Mollie was a little unfocussed compared to usual and refused a few jumps etc, but does the tunnel and A frame really well now, and I think she just disliked the jumps and weave today because she was a bit tired.

Tracy came along and wielded a camera from a safe distance, so we have a few pics - hurrah!!

For starters, here's one of Mollie dog doing the "dog walk", off lead. She actually jumped off abit further on, but jumped back on when I patted the walk. As we're a beginner class, the dogs spend a lot of time on lead for the moment, once we've got their focus towards the end of the lesson we generally start going off lead - today we only had one dog run off round the field, which was good. You can understand them - with all those other dogs around, and the wide open space, they just want to run around and play - but they're all starting to get the idea that they're there for a reason now, and they all seem to really enjoy themselves.

Our trainer, Jill, from Harlequin Fun Agility Club, is great, very encouraging, always cheerful, and the dogs seem without exception to love her. She makes sure we all get a couple of goes at each piece that we're practising, and if a dog runs off, gets a bit barky or over-excited, it's not a huge problem. In fact if, like Mollie, they miss a jump or something, it's fine to just try again until you get it right - there's no huffing and puffing.

Eventually, you get it right. Which is a great feeling. I would definitely recommend agility. Even in just a few lessons, Mollie has become a little more attentive, and we're learning more about each other. We're not doing it with competition in mind, just in lieu of formal obedience training, and as a focussing and confidence boosting exercise - for both of us. Hopefully, Mollie will come out of it a calmer, more attentive dog, and I'll come out of it a calmer, more attentive handler and owner!!

Friday, April 25, 2008


(I know it's a bit late, but) on Sunday it was grey and drizzly, so rather than sit at home and mope, we took off up to the Peak District and went for a walk round Dovedale. It gets a bit crowded in the Summer, or on sunny days, but on Sunday it wasn't too bad.

Mollie thoroughly enjoyed it - chased her ball along the riverbank, played with a few other dogs, grinned at everyone she met and got run over by a lovely pack of whippets. We enjoyed ourselves too, it's a lovely place to walk a dog and although our knees hated it, it's such a nice place that the drizzle and rain just didn't matter.

Sunday, April 06, 2008

A Beautiful Winter's Day?!

yep, Winter has finally arrived in these beautiful Leicestershire hills - only 6 months too late!! Agility was cancelled today as the indoor hall was in use and the equipment would've been too slippy, so instead Tracy and I took Mollie dog for a walk in our local woods, and managed to find some small pockets of snow. As you can see from the above, Mollie also managed to find quite a bit of mud!! Oh, the joy of having a white dog...

I think you'll agree, although my photos really don't do it justice, that our local woods are quite lovely. And thanks to a dedicated group of locals called Friends Of Holly Hayes Woods, they should hopefully be cleaned up in the coming months. This wonderful group of people have managed to raise and secure enough funding to buy the woods and adjoining fields off the local quarry company so that it can be cleaned up (it's currently full of rubbish - you can see pics on their website) and returned to it's former glory. Hopefully I'll manage to get to the next cleanup session and help out, but even after just what they've done in the last couple of weeks, you can notice the difference. Brambles have been cut back, trees trimmed, paths cleared, rubbish removed - and it already has a different feel to it. Call me a sentimental old bat, but the woods are starting to feel loved. I really hope that other communities can find inspiration in what ours has achieved, and save their own little pockets of paradise from becoming off-road bike tracks and rubbish tips.