A busy week

All in all you can see that it has been a busy week. All the posing for pictures:

IMG_0710 (1)

and having to beg for dinner because clearly they are starving:

IMG_0749

is just super exhausting, so I think we will need  a few days to recover. Thankfully for the boys, I am working this weekend so they are getting a chance to sleep!

IMG_0702

IMG_0745

A cake disaster

There has been so much good news from my friends this week (one getting engaged the other is having a baby!), that I thought I’d make a cake for us all at work. Well, in my haste I only put the mixture in one cake tin; which would of been fine had it been the deep tin, but I picked up a regular cake tin without thinking and well, you can imagine the mess my oven was in! Needless to say the cake was a total disaster. However, the boys were on hand with moral support and a little elbow grease:

Nice Day for a Swim

The good part about doing shifts is that you do get to enjoy a few weekdays to yourself. Having two dogs that will wait until there is an audience to embarrass you, a quieter week day is a god send! I have started having to put Zephy on a stretchy lead on walks but that is proving more problematic than anything else. Luckily for the boys, the beach was deserted the other morning. They had a great time off lead, bouncing about, playing fetch in the water and generally getting me soaking! The sunrise was pretty spectacular as well.

IMG_0727

“Something touched my feet!”

IMG_0721

IMG_0729

“Whoa, bit chilly mum”

IMG_0724IMG_0725

After all that running about and swimming, the boys had a chance to dry off in the sunshine. It is so exhausting being spoiled!

IMG_0730

A Lost Dog

I didn’t realise I’d left the bedroom door open last night. Ben was at training with Echo so it was just me and Zephy. Well it suddenly dawned on me that it was awefully quiet. I had a panic, I could not find him! Well a little snuffling came from the bedroom and I found our boy…

IMG_0699

I’m just having a cuddle.

Wee sooky boy that he is. He tried to convince me that it was allowed but he was swiftly removed! Cheeky monkey. Here is a wee pic of him with his teddy a few months ago to let you see how big he’s gotten:

IMG_0701

Obedience Training.

For awhile now I’ve been ‘having a go’ at Ben to do something with Echo. Being a working spaniel he’s the kind of dog that needs to have a job, needs to use his brain or he gets himself into mischief. Between us, we found an obedience class and Ben has now been to two sessions so far. From what Ben has told me, the wee guy has been doing really well.

Once he gets over his initial excitement, he can heel off lead past other dogs, he can sit stay and lie down stay all with a crowd of others around him. It is fantastic! and he looks so tired after it all. He is in the bronze class at the moment but with the way he is going I’m hoping he can pass his first assessment and move up to the silver class. Such a clever wee boy.

Once Echo is up into the Silver class we are hoping to take Zephy along to the same class and start him in Bronze as well. Until then, we’ve been working on training for both of them. In the safety of the dog park, I can make them both sit-stay, lie down-stay and I can also have one staying while the other walks around them at heel. It is fantastic!…as long as there is no distractions!

 

I have ran into a problem with Zephy recently and I think it may be due to him ‘becoming a man’. His recall at the moment is non-existent. I don’t know if anyone else has or has had this problem. He is so overly friendly that he just bounds off to see other people and dogs. He worryingly has an absolute love for little kids which well, you can imagine the issue I have with that! I am working on his recall in the dog park at the moment because there are distractions but he can’t get to them. I am trying to make me really fun by taking toys with me and when he comes back he gets to play. I know that if we had him snipped already he might be better, but obviously at the moment that’s not really an option. I have just ordered a stretchy lead to use in the parks etc for the moment. If anyone has any ideas on how to make his recall better that would be super. My other option is to make his sit stay really good that even at a distance I could make him sit and stay if he won’t back. It’s a difficult one and unfortunately Zephy has no idea that he’s a ‘big scary’ Rottweiler.

Needless to say, all this training is very tiring for all of us!

 

Another Show Weekend

In preparation for Crufts I have entered Zephy into loads of open shows as practice. He is starting to chill out even more but he is desperate to play with every dog and unfortunately I just can’t let him! I have given in and decided to take a cage with me to shows. It’s more stuff to carry in but Zeph seems to like having a place to lie down in peace.

We had two shows this weekend, one in Edinburgh and the other over in Lanarkshire. Well we got first place in Junior Rotti, and then Best Puppy in Breed on Saturday:

This was followed by 1st in junior Rotti, Best of Breed and then 4th in Best Working Puppy today! (We beat the same rotti in the junior dog category two days running!):

12657327_10153220900356493_7518076052507321843_o

We had a great time and Zephy was so well behaved. Really pleased with him.

One thing I cannot stand at shows is the complete lack of sportsmanship. I was always brought up to be polite and encouraging to everyone so I try my best to just that (granted everyone gets caught up in competition sometimes!). I always try to say congratulations to the winners of classes and I compliment other dogs etc. Not everyone has this ability to be nice and if you open your ears at shows, you can hear some pretty nasty things being said. Now there are some breeds and dogs that, yes shouldn’t be bred from but as a competitor that is not my place to say. It is upto the judges to be harsher in their decisions and I do think they should be harsher, even if that means we don’t win as much. If there is a defect in a dog that could be bad for the breed then the it is the judges that should be penalising dogs for the defect. AND the owners should accept that the dog is not suitable for breeding. Unfortunately, that’s not how shows work. It is a very complicated world. One that I am trying to get my head around.

Now that we are home both dogs are having a case of the sillies. They are running about the living room like nutters growling, biting and rolling about; having a whale of a time. I love them to bits the crazy dogs that they are.

A controversial topic.

Before I go into this; if there are any images I have used that people wish me to remove, please just ask.

 

The more I am involved in showing the more it horrifies me, as I knew it would. As a young child I stopped watching Crufts because even then, I could see that certain breeds in particular where being ruined. Now, as I am on my way to Crufts, I find myself apprehensive at the prospect of being around people that are so wrapped up in the dog world that they fail to see the very thing that is wrong with it. People!! I have recently come across people praising breeders for their dogs and honestly, looking at particular dog(s), I can only see generations of interfering for the worst. Can we honestly say that dogs now are a credit to their predecessors? Are healthier? Better to look at? I sadly have to say no to all three of those questions. I have a few images to show my point:

The first set of images is a ‘working’ Neapolitan mastiff and the image next to it is what you will find in the ring at dog shows and Crufts. How is a show Neapolitan any relation to a working mastiff? And why are the dogs shown in the ring not a credit to the breed? Surely the dogs in the show ring should be the same as the ‘working’ dog? The Neo was originally a fighting dog and used in wars and then later as a police dog…

Neo before and after

Unfortunately, as in a terrifying majority of dog breeds, due to the level of inbreeding, the dogs we have today are subject to the recessive genes of their family. And due to inbreeding, these recessive genes are now no longer masked by the dominant genes that should be passed on! Breeders are so set on mixing pairs that ‘look’ right that they have zero consideration for the genetics involved at all. The challenge for today’s breeders is to find dogs that are suitably unrelated. A challenge to say the least. Purebred dog lovers are their own worst enemy. They refuse to add in new genetics by adding in different breeds. I understand that defeats the purpose of a ‘purebred’ but, surely it could open the breed up to diversity. For instance, there is a gentleman in America that breeds Dalmations; and unfortunately Dalmations lack the ability to break down uric acid. To solve this problem, the breeder bred a Dalmation with a healthy pointer, and then bred one of the pups with another Dalmation. The resulting pups looked identical to Dalmations but minus the defective genes. The American Kennel club refused to accept the ‘fixed’ litter as Dalmations. What dog people forget is that the breeds we have today did not magically appear but they were originally a mix of different dogs! Why can’t we accept some mixing, as long as the dogs themselves are healthy and if it fixes common health problems?

I have a few more examples of the changes humans have made to dog breeds and sadly I think it will be too difficult to get back to a healthy dog unless we make severe changes.

 

Due to nothing but looks we have changed dogs faces, ears, legs, spines etc. Anything we could tamper with we have and unfortunately the dogs we have in the show ring today could not compete with their working counterparts or indeed their predecessors.

 

If anyone would like to have an honest discussion about this I am more than happy to have a chat.

 

Bad weather, new toys and snoozing.

Well as you may well be aware, we are currently being battered about by Storm Henry, with Storm Gertrude only just having left us. In terms of storms and the damage they can cause I think we have been pretty lucky on the East side of Scotland but there is still more to come! I can tell you that the boys have not been particularly keen on going out which isn’t like them at all! Only the other day did I find them like this after disappearing to the kitchen to make myself a cuppa:

They were not keen on moving at all, as you can see. Even my disapproving scowl and usual howl of “Get of the bloody sofa!” didn’t shift them. Needless to say they were moved and taken for a walk. I will need to get a picture of their sad wee faces when they are made to go out in their raincoats!

After spending hundreds of pounds on nice new beds and toys, as all dog owners do, it has swiftly come to my attention that I shouldn’t have bothered. After destroying yet another bed, I replaced Zephy’s bed with an old duvet…he loves it! typical. If I’d known that I would’ve given him it in the first place! Now onto the toys, I have watched the pair of them destroy countless toys and I happened to pick up some rubber rings from the pet shop the other day. They have gone daft over them! The cheapest toys I have ever bought. I really could’ve saved myself a fortune! Anyway, lesson learned I suppose.

IMG_0569

In preparation for all the dog shows and Crufts coming up I have bought Zeph a wee soft crate. I’m hoping it will give him a quiet place to settle in between being in the show ring. He doesn’t seem overly fussed at shows but I think he could do with a place to lie down in peace from all the people. I’ve started getting him used to the crate by telling him “in” and giving him biscuits everytime he walks in it and then giving him a biscuit for sitting/lying down in it. He so far doesn’t seem particularly upset by the process:

IMG_0572