Well, what can I say about this past week, I know the dogs have enjoyed playing in the snow but not so easy for those trying to get to work and stay warm. Spare a thought also for those with larger animals, Debbie Penniston- Fleming who has a small farm in the hills outside Glasgow overlooking the Clyde and who together with Pat Williams owns Ch/Am Ch Visions Dino At Trollheimen who was BOB 3yrs running Crufts. She posted on FB ‘The farm track is just one solid ice sculpture on the left side where it has drifted across the fields, nothing can get up or down, I tried the quad bike today with plans of using that to get out but that had to quickly be dug out .Our neighbour’s pick up could not get up their track either, our sheep have started to lamb and the water is frozen in the house upstairs and it is the first day of Spring’!
Before the ‘Beast from the East’ set in I attended an AGM of another numerically small breed; they were talking about all the activities the breed could do to become better known. This made me think about the various activities Buhunds do with their owners. Championship, open and companion shows of course are one of the most obvious ways for a breed to be seen, some years ago I was at an open show with my three Buhunds, someone in another pastoral breed asked what they were! I know if a Black Buhund is in a group the owner is often asked what they are, with the comment ‘oh I did not know they came in Black’!
One of more recent activities that is gaining popularity is Bikejor, which is riding a bike with your dog pulling you along, if you are interested you need to go to an event or group, and chat with someone who has been participating in the sport for some time, as you need specialist equipment and you will need to learn how to train your dog, so that you can get the best start in the sport. Julian Collins takes part with his and Neil Hood’s Ch Arnscoft Di Nah Sawr Us Rex SHCM.
Canicross is the same idea but here you run off road with your dog, it was first introduced in the Uk in 2000. The handler wears a waist belt which attaches via a 2 metre bungee line to a padded dog harness. There are competitions held all over the country including Crufts. Jenny Shorer- Wheeler takes part with Ch Arnscroft Di Nah Mo Farrah of Koromandel JW SHCM when she has time, with a young family it is not always easy.
Then there is Obreedience which was started by the KC to encourage more breeds to try tests associated with competitive Obedience and Good Citizen. It is a team event for four handlers and dogs all of which have to be of the same breed. There is a round of heel work which the dogs all do together, then there are four set exercises, with one dog each doing an exercise these are ‘Stop on command then play with your dog’, ‘Go to Bed’ any size and shape can be used, ‘Retrieve’ an article and ‘Scent’ where the handler’s article is placed with the judge’s articles and the dog has to find the handler’s article. We have had Lisa Strong with Loki Snowfake,Jacqui Cobb with Knytshall Angel Delight( R2Ex ). Sarah Stonton with Trelowen Andrea (AWS) myself with Trelowen Ancorya and daughter Debbie with Ch/Bel Ch Tonylynn’s Charles Lafitte(Fizz) (AWG) (R1 Ex) all have been in the team at various times. So far we have never qualified for Crufts, but were 1st reserve two years running.
Rally is another of the more recent activities recognized by the KC and like the others is becoming very popular. Here the handler and dog negotiate a course with numbered signs indicating different exercises, you could look at it as a mixture of agility where there is a numbered course and Obedience as many of the exercises are ones that might be done in Obedience. The great thing about Rally is that although it is helpful to belong to a club, you can get the signs from the KC and practice in the back garden or even your living room with individual signs. There are 6 levels the first are done on lead although the lead must be loose at all times and the other four off lead. You have to win out of a level before progressing to the next, but when the dog does win out of a level it can have letters after its name. So Fizz has RIEx which mean he won out of Rally level 1 with an Excellent score with each win. Angel is R2 Ex. In competitions the course is set by the judge and as in agility you can walk the course before the competition starts. At the moment you need 3qulifying score under 3 different judges to progress.
Then there is scent work, dogs love to sniff things and now there are clubs that will teach you and your dog how to harness this skill, it offers a great way to have fun with your dog. There are different ways to do this so it is suitable for all types of dogs and abilities. Maureen Lake with Knytshall Cora Sun Drop of Maurbrea(Fern) has been doing it for some time, having first tried agility and fly ball, Fern really enjoys it and is proving to be very good ,Maureen hopes they will be in team competition later in the year.
James Stewart’s Sasha has won rosettes in fly ball, here teams of dogs race against each other as a relay, from a start line over a line of hurdles to a box that releases a tennis ball, which is caught by the dog when it presses the spring-loaded pad, they then go back to the handler carrying the ball. The hurdle height is determined by the shoulder height of the smallest dog in the team. You need to join a club to train for this, it is also rather phonetic so might not suit every dog.
I will talk about agility next week; we have a number of Buhunds doing this at various levels.
The views expressed in Margaret’s Breed Notes are hers and hers alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Norwegian Buhund Club of the UK