Friday, December 20, 2013

Merry Christmas!

I didn't take Christmas pictures this year so instead I'm sharing this most excellent one from Jay and Sherri (isn't it the best??).

Braebrook's Going to Jackson (Soter), Jinx (rescue), Ch Braebrook's Coco Chanel Holmrun (Coco) and Frejya (rescue)

From all of us here at Braebrook we wish you the merriest of Christmases, the happiest of Holidays and a 2014 that exceeds all your wildest dreams. We have big plans ourselves here for 2014 and I look forward to sharing them with you as the year progresses.

Don't forget to check out our new website (domain name will be moved over in the new year):

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Running dogs

Usually my Tuesday and Thursday mornings are dedicated to tracking training with Pelly but today I opted to load everyone up in my big van and take them for a run instead. The weather wasn't great…a steady stream of slushy rain was falling but what's that saying…."there's no bad weather, only the wrong clothes"? Outfitted in sturdy leather hiking boots and my trusty Filson coat I can stay out for a good long time.
I find that these "hound runs" as I call them are one of the best ways to assess your dogs and see where your breeding program is going and what your strengths and weaknesses are. I'm able to watch a living pedigree right in front of me as there are several generations out enjoying the fresh air and they are freely running and trotting all around me. I can see exactly how their bodies move from all sides, how quickly they tire and I really get to know their temperaments. It's also a great way to train solid recalls as the youngsters go out with the more steady adults and learn that as soon as they hear me whistle they must come running immediately. I carry lots of cookies to reward their efforts.

Not only are these runs great for breeding program assessment but they are also good for the dogs physical and mental condition as well as my own. It's just us out there, it's quiet, we are all getting exercise and fresh air and it makes me feel so happy inside watching their joyful exuberance. While I enjoy our training and competing days very much and think that if you have a breeding program you should always be testing and proving it through conformation and performance events the days I spend running the dogs is really the heart of it all. I truly love my dogs and love spending time with them and these runs make my heart feel full.

I hope you are getting to enjoy quiet outdoor time with your four footed friends too. It's one of the best feelings on earth.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Tracking update

Thanks to some very generous friends who own a Doberman I used to show I have been able to use their field for my tracking training. The field is quite large, grass is about medium length and the best part is it is only about three minutes away from my house making it easy to fit in a training session while my little guy goes to preschool.

I am really enjoying the tracking so far and have been diligently scheduling three training sessions a week. Pelly is progressing very quickly and is showing a real aptitude for the work. I'm lucky to live in an area where you can train pretty much all year round and I love being outside so this sport is a great fit for me.

It's amazing how the weather can change from one day to the next. Look how beautiful it was on Tuesday…absolutely gorgeous day.

 This picture was taken this morning as the first snow fall of the season was starting. So far it hasn't gotten much deeper (although it's starting to pick up now!) and the light skiff is great for training as you can see exactly where you laid your track.

My tracks have steadily been increasing with each session as Pelly is progressing well and hasn't struggled at all. Last week rather than extend the track I opted to age it for a short time rather than immediately get started, only about 15-20 minutes but I didn't want to push it too much yet. In a CKC tracking test the track is aged at least 1/2 an hour and no more than 2 hours.

While looking for my son's winter jacket I finally found my tracking lead so didn't have to purchase a new one. Here's the equipment that I use for every session: green tracking lead, black nylon harness, bait of some kind (these are cut up hot dogs), tracking flags so I know where the track is laid and a bag to carry everything in. I picked up this particular bag when I was in Calgary for the Doberman National Specialty show a couple of years ago. The only thing missing from this photo are the leather articles I use.

For today's lesson I increased the length of the track a little bit and on the second track that I laid I introduced my first corner. I didn't do a complete 90 degree turn, more of a gentle arc that was well laid with food. Pelly had absolutely no trouble with this at all and easy followed the track to the leather article that was waiting for her. I didn't age the track at all.

As you can see from this photo, that little bit of snow really helps to see where you've laid your track, a great training tool!

Right now I am using bait at about every third or fourth step and once I've laid the track I walk back along it to the start, so it's "double laid". I think by the next lesson or two I will probably stop the double laying as Pelly is really doing well and I don't think she would have a problem with a single laid track.

That's it for this update, more to come soon. I'm off to my first bird dog training day this weekend with Libby and I'm really looking forward to it. The Vancouver Island Pointing Dog Club  is having a social/AGM/training day, should be lots of fun!