Wednesday, 1 December 2010

Go on then - more snow fotos

I know most of the UK are a little fed up with the snow but I know people from all over the world pop in here (and I am totaly amazed how many people drop in and say hello to my pair of nutty dogs - thankyou all!)

Thought I would share some more snow walks with you all

Not easy to get nice calm photographs of my pair when all the want to do is run and play

But it is amazing what you can do with a pocket full of sausages and a tennis ball

I know the snow is disrupting peoples lives. When its a total whiteout with the wind howling I hate the snow (or sky puke as C says)
But when you get days like this then its makes up for it

errm ben I think you have a little something on your nose
and your head

You have been making snow angels again havent you??

Sunday, 28 November 2010

What a difference a day (or two) makes

Friday was a wonderful day for walking the dogs along the the clyde.

But two days later look what we wake up to

Ben loves the snow, he loves to roll in it
Dig in it

But most of all he loves to drag his tummy along the cool snow, poor mad boy

Mia has only one real love in life

she loves to BOING
Crunchy leaves - boing
Long grass - boing
New people - boing

but most of all - SNOW BOINGGGGG

They just dont understand why I need to be on the step huddled up in blankets when there is so much fun to be had

Saturday, 4 September 2010

September walks

Im still waiting for the summer - but Ben is pointing out that its a bit late for that.

But still it was a lovely autumn day.

The leaves are already begining to turn and everything smells lovely!

Mia was attacked the other day but thankfully not hurt.

As you can see it dosent seem to have effected her mental state too much either - although it was a GSD AGAIN! so I dont know if she will ever like them

She was in the bushes out of sight for about 10s, I set the camera up thinking I would get an action shot of her running - but nope - she was bringing me a little gift!!

I know its natural!! But dosent mean I like it

She left it in a hedge - I make myself feel a little better by imagining the nice free meal we have left for a little fox or something

Ben mainly plodded around with me and tried to get in on all the photos - he knows sweeties follow the camera

Although he looks a whole lot better if he hasnt been driming out of muddy puddles.

Two tired happy dogs

Saturday, 17 July 2010

No you be the leader

All too often nowadays people are obsessed with becoming the 'pack leader'
Always suppressing our dogs and seeing a challenge to their status in every little thing the dog does.
This is all unfortunately because of flawed research done years ago in wolf packs.
The researchers thought they saw packs of wolves with an alpha pair who were the bosses leading with paws of iron

and the rest of the pack was made up of lower ranking wolves all trying to climb the social ladder to be the alpha dogs.
The alpha wolves were the only ones to mate.
People assumed this meant that only the strongest in a pack ever got to mate and submissive animals never got the chance to pass on their genes.

More recently researchers have realised that view was wrong.
A pack is not a group of individuals fighting to get to the top

A pack is a family. The alpha pair are the parents.
Wolves do not become sexually active till they are at least 2 so the other wolves in the pack are older cubs of the alpha pair.
There is no point in the younger animals striving to reach the top - that would mean them breeding with their parents.
When wolves become mature they go off and find their own mate and create their own pack - even the submissive ones.

So rather than the pack leader we should think of ourselves more as a 'parent' role.
Yes dogs need rules, guidelines and training.
But letting your dog on the sofa will not mean he will chase to postman.
Making them wait to eat after you will not make her recall when called

If you have a training problem address the actual problem rather than making up rules that make no sense for the dog

So for today's walk I let Mia be the leader. She found us a wee path to walk along - it seemed like a wee deer path - but I gave it a go.
Then it opened into the most lovely park and then a forest walk

and even me letting her 'lead' she still stayed when I asked for a photoshoot and she recalled when I called.

So I guess all this power hasn't gone to her head and she isn't going to steal my credit card just yet

A little felting change - a lil family

I decided on a wee change from animals.
Kokeshi dolls
I am learning all the time while I am making them - the one on the right is the last one I made and I am much happier with her than the others.
They are around 2 - 3 inches tall so it is fiddly but good practise to get all the tiny tiny detail in.

Saturday, 10 July 2010

In the garden - Lavender

As you all may have guessed now my fingers are not the greenest.

Infact my parents used to drag me out of garden centres incase I could kill Bonsai trees just by being in the same room as them

I love them but they dont last long with me!

So in the past few years I have tried to only plant useful plants, herbs and veg,

I built myself a little raised bed outside my kitchen door and loaded it with herbs.

and I left them too it

Gardening by Darwinian principles

One of the winners in the battle of the herbs has been Lavender.

This really is the king of plants.

Not only a stunning purple colour but loved by bees.

I always have some essential oil lavender in my house as it has so many uses
Helps you sleep
Sooths and heals cuts and burns

and it zonks crazy puppies out totally.

What better plant to have outside your door??

Friday, 9 July 2010


Careful Ben
Theres a lion on the prowl!!

My latest felt critter

I had splatted a Lion so I thought I would have a go at another 3D one

I did get a little carried away with his mane, couldnt help myself he just wanted a big fluffy mane :D

He took about a week to create but I just wanted to make sure he was totally solid with plenty of detail.

I was thinking of a teenage Lion here, mane grown in, strutting his stuff but still not grown into his paws yet.

Now to think of a name!

Thursday, 8 July 2010

Eeeppp Blood!!

I was tending to the garden and letting the dogs play about in the garden
When out of the corner of my eye I spotted red on Bens fur

Mind racing - who is hurt?? What did they get hurt on??

Then I looked closer at what the dogs were up to

I had been leaving the mushy strawberries on the grass for the birds or whatever.

Normally my pair dont like fruit

Today there seems to be a little more interest.

Ben grabbed a nice fat strawberry, happily rolled on it and then munched it down

So Mia had to try too

Then Ben cleaned the 'blood' from his fur

Whew - they do worry you!!

Wednesday, 30 June 2010


Wimbledon is on and for a change the weather has been perfect for strawberries.

Last week I took my first crop - yum

For some reason yesterday I was tempted by some in the supermarket - then I thought to look if any were ripe in the garden

£3 in the supermarket for the forced mass produced ones - or FREE from my garden
I know which ones have Bens stamp of approval

Tuesday, 29 June 2010

Drawing - on location!!

OK I am not v good but I thought I would share anyway :D

A good friend was visiting this weekend. She has just started art classes and is loving it.

As it was a lovely weekend we thought we would have a go at sketching things

We found a lovely spot to sit with this view - and she suggested we sketch

Perspective is something I have never been v good at and the angles looked interesting here

Not amazing I know, but a great way to spend an afternoon.

Great friends, great weather, 2 dogs and a sketch pad

Using the magic of photoshop I superimposed them

Actually - not as bad as I thought!!!

Dont give up the day job eh??? :D

Wednesday, 26 May 2010

Kiss the dog - the website is live

Finaly I have started work on the website for my dog training classes.
I have a fantastic venue for classes but for the summer I have decided to be more European and run outside classes. This means dogs and handlers can have more space from each other, but it adds real life distractions.
I have only got a few pages up so far but please let me know what you think - cick on the log to get there

Tuesday, 25 May 2010

More pencil drawings

I guess practise makes perfect so I thought I would try some more pencil sketches of dogs.
These are only a few inches high
I know I need lots more practise but I thought I would post them so I can come back and compaire when I get good :D
Please be kind!

Monday, 24 May 2010

Car manners

Sorry I have been lazy posting for a while!!

I have solved Mias stress problems when I am driving!! After months of driving her places and rewarding her for being calm around cows, horses, dogs, sheep she was progressing, just very sloooowly
But I got a new car. Its big enough for her to be crated in the boot and not see out.
Result - very calm car rides and a much calmer Mia when we get where we are going.

As this is a totally new situation for the dogs and it would be very dangerous for the dogs to just race out of the car when I open the boot I have done some training on getting them to stay in the car till released

The only commands I am using is for the dogs to get into the car and then the release word. I dont want to have to keep telling them to stay, I expect them to stay until released.

I have done lots of stays in place and impulse control work with my dogs. If your dogs want to bounce out the car then you are not rewarding them enough. They cant jump out of the car while you are rapid fire treating, then you can slowly build up pauses between the treats and slowly build up you moving away from the dogs.
The more you treat at the start the easier it is for the dogs to understand what you want them to do and the happier and more confident they become.
If at any point the dog jumps out of the car you have asked too much, take smaller steps or reduce the time and reward more. Dont tell the dog off just calmly put them back and start rewarding again.

If you punish your dog for breaking his stay they become less confident, staying in the crate becomes a stressful place and they will often creep towards you for reassurance.

My next steps are to release each dog one at a time and leave the other in the car.

Saturday, 17 April 2010

Ben Agility April 2010

Here is our first oudoor show of the year - 6 runs at Dundee

We had a fantastic weekend, lovely sunshine and well run rings ment we got the afternoon off playing in the sea.

Ben usualy gets about 75% clear rounds at shows but this weekend we didnt get a single clear!!

Sloppy handling from me and we need a lot more work on the weaves!! But looking back he didnt do too bad

The second agility run (4th run) the sun was quite low and the seesaw was right into the sun. He has never jumped off one before but lots of the dogs were doing it that run, I guess the light might have made it look strange - I will have to bear that in mind if it happens again.

Monday, 29 March 2010

Ne'er cast a cloot till May be oot

Introducing my Granny. Who sadly died in the early 90's.
Many of us have lots of phrases that have been passed down to us from wise old ladies.
Granny Duthie - or 'Granny up a north' as we called her because she lived in Sandhaven which is about 50 miles north of Aberdeen, a long way from our Midlands home.

A few weeks ago I was on the beach with the dogs, almost warm and feeling summer on its way. Saturday the clocks sprung forwards so the weather should be getting better.
I was even thinking of putting my big coat away for its summer rest.
But it seems no one told the weather it should be getting better as tonight on the last dog walk I got snowed on AGAIN!
It reminded me of an old saying

' Ne'er cast a cloot till May be oot'

I always thought this was a Scottish saying, as many of the terms are unknown to my English friends but it seems it is an old English saying.

Anyway, to translate for those who have lost touch with the roots of their language ;D

Cloot - Can mean clod of earth or a smack round the head but in the case of this saying it means cloth
Ne'er - Never

So the first bit means Dont put away your warm clothes

Oot - out

There seems to be some confusion about what May it is - some people even say 'ne'er cast a cloot till the month of May be oot'
But the Hawthorn tree used to be called the May tree and its blooms were called 'May'
So it is likely that the May in this saying is the Hawthorn blooms rather than the month of May
Dont put away your warm clothes until the Hawthorn blooms are out

The Hawthorn blooms late April early May, but as we are further north up here in Paisley I think I will wait till the end of May before retiring the big coat.

Wednesday, 24 March 2010

A sneaky peak, Ive been splatting wildlife

Thought I would share my latest splat!!

In a craft shop I found this amazing leopard print felt and thought it would be fun to make a leopard splat
He was great great fun to make but very hard work.
After making the base in white fleece I then had to try and blend some colours to match the felt as close as I could

Then came the spots!!
3 Hours of felting to work in all these spots! When I shut my eyes I can still see little dots!!

I hope you think he was worth it!! I should put him up in my shop in the next day or so.
Any ideas which photograph I should use as my first one in my shop??

Saturday, 20 March 2010

Happy birthday Ben, 3 today

Today is my little boys birthday, 3 today
Or 21 if you go by the 7 dog years to one of ours.

So thats it - he is a grown up now!

Today was the Glennifer agility show.
After stupidly doing a really long nearly 4 hour walk yesterday both Ben and myself were a little stiff

He did really well tho, 3 runs, 3 clear rounds.
Unfortunately we didnt get any places as there were some super fast dogs there today but I am really happy with him.

Mia was a little angel too, offlead running and then onlead a collie charged her all snarling and reactive and she wagged her tail and went into a play bow!! WTG girl!

Then after a quick visit to the pet shop for birthday toys we headed off to the rhubarb fields that friends have been telling us about.
The dogs had a great fun run about and have been sleeping ever since
I think he had a good day


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