An Action Packed Weekend

The big Beagle race at the Caledonian Thistle Open took place today. We’d been looking forward to it for some time – not least because Beanie stood a good chance of winning! In last week’s time trials she ran a whole second faster (some 15 lengths) than her nearest rival, Murphy.

Unfortunately it wasn’t to be. We’ve had a lot of new dogs joining the club recently and whilst there is some real talent some are still a little unruly. Little Beanie has born the brunt of a few ‘fouls’ in recent weeks. She’s still very young, and also very small compared to the other dogs. So we felt that it wasn’t in her best interests to race again until things settle down.

Beanie and Biggles took the news in their stride – trophies and titles mean nothing to Beagles. They just enjoy the thrill of the chase. But poor mum and dad didn’t take it quite as well. Fortunately we had a great weekend to make up for the disappointment.

On Saturday morning we headed to the park as usual. Within moments of letting Beanie and Biggles off lead the familiar “aaaarf, aaaarf, aaaarf” started up – in stereo. This could only mean one thing – both Beanie and Biggles were hot on the tail of a fast dog. And sure enough when we looked around we saw Beanie disappearing over the horizon, hot on the heels of a lurcher. And bringing up the rear (not that far behind either) was Biggles. The lurcher was really shifting, but Beanie managed to keep her in her sights. After what must have been a mile or two of sprinting around the meadow Beanie finally wore down the lurcher and moved in for the kill (well, a sniff and a play):


Later in the day we headed off to Allers Farm Hydrotherapy for a swim session with buddies Cullin and Jamie. I’ve never seen Beanie or Biggles swim so well! Beanie was in the pool for a good 40 minutes playing fetch with a sausage loaded tennis ball. I had difficulty getting her out when it was time to go home. Biggles didn’t stay in for as long, but he too is getting very confident – and he’s a cracking little swimmer now!

Today we went to flyball. And as luck would have it our teacher, Sarah, had decided to do time trials. Paul took all of his cameras along and we managed to get excellent footage of the dogs. Here’s our two little hooligans in action:

Beanie managed a very respectable 5.98 seconds and Biggles set a new Lomond Flyball Beagle boy record with a whopping 8.23 seconds!

I’m amazed at how quickly Beanie has learned to do this. She’s only had a few classes.



Biggles doesn’t yet do flyball properly – he’s too young. Mainly we work on teaching him to retrieve the ball. But he gets a couple of goes at running the course over low jumps in classes. Until now it’s been very slow and puppy-like. But he surprised us today with a couple of glimpses of real athleticism.



Although most of the time he was busy trying to figure out why daddy (his usual handler) was standing on the other side of a fence with a camera and how he was going to take the ball back to him so he could get his treat.

Here are some more shots – first some of Beanie & Biggles’ classmates:






And finally a couple of pics of the advanced class in action:






What a day Sunday was!

It started with a trip to Balloch for another lesson with the Lomond Flyball Club. Unexpectedly good weather allowed the class to be held outside, and for the first time the sides of the course were fenced off. I don’t know if it was the fencing or the change of location, but both Beanie and Biggles suddenly became more focussed! They had a couple of stutters on their first run, but after that they both retrieved the ball flawlessly several times in a row. The last three runs were timed and though neither of our two were blisteringly fastĀ  (6.4 secs for Beanie, 7.5 for Biggles) it was just amazing to see each run completed without any unsheduled sniff breaks.

After flyball we drove over to Kincardine for another round of Beagle racing. Plans for a prompt 2.30pmĀ  start were quickly abandoned. We had a long chat, a hole-digging session..


..a raffle draw and an impromptu dog show before the racing got under way. That was OK by us though, because a certain little Beagle boy did rather well in the show.


Rival Murphy is looking good


So Biggles wows the judge with his classic pose: Blue Steel!


Murphy looks longingly at the winner’s rosette, but it’s destined for the Biggly boy!


Beanie tries to eat her runner up rosette while Biggles enjoys a cuddle from the judge

Yep, Biggles won the prestigious “Best Beagle” award, and Beanie came second. As we celebrated, the whippet show got under way..


The competition was intense..


..but a winner was finally chosen

Having won their respective breed titles, Biggles and his Whippet counterpart would now face each other in a walk-off for the “Best in Show” title.


That’s right – it’s a walk-off!


Biggles has to pull out something special to win. And there it is – the new look: Magnum!

Our little boy’s superior catwalk dogwalk technique won again. He was declared Best in Show, and unlike Derek Zoolander he didn’t even have to remove his underpants while still wearing his trousers. He got a lovely gold medal for his trouble which unfortunately wasn’t edible, but we had plenty of treats to make up for this critical oversight.

Finally it was time for some racing! Since the first few weeks of the season don’t count towards any prizes, racemeister Graeme gave us a series of quick-fire, handicapped races to give each dog a taste of glory. It was a great recipe for fun! Here are some of the better shots. Firstly, a little series involving Murphy, to make up for losing out to Biggles in the earlier dog show:




Beagles weren’t the only ones racing on Sunday!


And now a rare sight – Beanie’s pal Sophie charging to victory (although Beanie almost caught her at the line, despite a huge handicap):



And here’s an even rarer sight – little Biggles not coming in last!




Interestingly, both Beanie and Murphy seemed to run their best when they started from slightly behind. With other dogs already ahead of them I suppose they ran harder right from the start line. Biggles also runs better with other dogs in front of him – not because it spurs him on, but simply because he hasn’t yet twigged that he’s supposed to be running after the lure. He certainly does understand a good old fashioned chase though!

Hup Hup Oops

Beagles! Who’d ‘ave ’em?

Just as we’re making progress with Beanie’s pickpocket habit, she develops a new way to stress us out. Her latest naughty habit is leaving the puppy field at the park to roam the paths that surround it. She’s still a safe distance from any roads but it’s particularly annoying to us because we’ve invested so much time and effort on improving her recall. In fact the more we work on her recall, the more she seems to delight in going off on her own private expeditions.

We’re coming to the conclusion that it’s just another of those phases she goes through every so often and if we just weather it as best we can, maybe in time she’ll calm down a bit. It doesn’t help that she’s lost interest in playing with all but the fastest dogs at the park. She seems to have gone up a gear recently, and while this may mean some wins when Beagle Racing starts up at the end of the month, it now takes a whippet-cross to give her any decent challenge in a chase. They are, sadly, in short supply.

By contrast, Biggles is behaving himself remarkably well. We took him to see the head trainer at his obedience class for a little help with his only significant problem – growling when he’s got hold of a sock – and since then he’s been almost angelic. He’s also incredibly affectionate. Male Beagles are as a rule supposed to be more affectionate than the females, and he never passes up an opportunity for cuddle. This morning when he was allowed in our bed for a bit he snuggled around my head. It was like wearing a big warm fur hat, albeit a fur hat that farts.

Our little boy also showed his sensitive side last week at Beanie’s flyball class. The trainers kindly let us bring him in with us and try some of the easier exercises, like retrieving a tennis ball from the flyball box and bringing it back to the start line. He was on lead and doing really well, and spurred on by the flyball chant “hup hup” we started walking the course a little faster. Too fast for me as it turned out, as my well worn trainers slipped on the vinyl floor in the hall and I went flying. My well padded bum saved me from physical damage, but the fall scared Biggles. He wasn’t at all keen on approaching the box after that, and refused to pick up any tennis balls.

To help Biggles get over his shock and to hone Beanie’s flyball skills, I’ve spent much of my free time this week constructing our own flyball box.


Hup Hup! Bring the ball back Dad!

It’s modelled (sort of) on the Canadian style flyball box, and should let us train Beanie to use the more efficient “swimmer’s turn”. There’s no release mechanism for the ball as yet – other than prodding it with a finger (or a paw, as in the above pic) – but it’s good enough for our purposes, and certainly seems to have cured Biggles of his fear!


I don’t know how long it’ll stay in one piece though!



And finally, it looks like Beagle Racing is going transatlantic. I got an email from a US Beagle Owner who’s seen some of the photos and videos from last season and is in the process of organizing his own races. He’s got a blog at – I can’t wait to see some pictures!