Biggles’ First Trieball (Urban Herding) Lesson

Biggles had his first Trieball (Urban Herding) class last night. And boy was it fun!!!

His teacher, Heather, explained to him that the sport involves ‘herding’ several gym balls (representing sheep) into a ‘pen’ under verbal command from your humie. The balls have to be collected in a specific order that changes every time so it’s important to be able to listen to your humie and follow commands.

Heather explained to him that we were going to practice five skills:

  1. A send away
    (To send you away from your humie to where the balls are)
  2. Turning left and right
    (To guide you to the ball that your humie wants you to collect)
  3. Going around an object clockwise and anti-clockwise
    (To get you behind the ball you are to collect)
  4. A ‘down’
    (to get you in position behind the ball you are about to push)
  5. Pushing a gym ball towards your humie with your nose
    (Your humie is standing in the ‘pen’ so if you push towards her the ball ends up in the pen).

We had one or two teething problems at the start. Biggles misunderstood Heather’s instructions. He thought she said “Wait until the other doggies in the class are practicing these things then go raid their treat bags”.

Found some!

Biggles new best buddy Ozzy had the most amazing treats – it’s fortunate that Ozzy is more interested in his ball!

Once we’d explained the rules to Biggles again (or more precisely, when he’d eaten all of the other doggies’ treats) he did rather well.

OK Heather, I’m listening now – gimme a treat!

We managed a very eager ‘send away’ (although it has to be said we did come back via Heather’s treat table):


We spun ‘left’ and ‘right’ until we were dizzy:


We lay ‘down’ behind the ball waiting to be told to push:


And we pushed:


…and pushed:


After just a few goes I turned my back for a second and when I looked back Biggles was scooting across the room pushing his ball. He loved it! He even had a go at pushing the other doggies balls (sorry about that folks!)

At the end of the class bestest buddies Biggles and Ozzy shared a well earned bowl of water:

Did I mention that Ozzy had the most amazing treats?

We think Trieball might turn out to be the perfect Biggly sport. It’s right up his street. The class was lovely – a really nice room to practice in and nice doggies to chill out with. And the best bit – NO GIRLS IN THE CLASS. And when you have a big sis like Beanie it’s kinda nice to hang out with the boys now and again!


If you want to find out more about Trieball or Biggles’ wonderful teacher Heather then visit her website.

Beagle Cross

It was a lovely sunny day today with a nice crisp frost on the ground. The ideal day for a bit of Beagle-cross! What is Beagle-cross I hear you ask?

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Enjoying a cross country romp…with a difference

We all know that the ideal sport for a Beagle is drag hunting – a pack of Beagles running across the countryside following an aniseed trail with humans following the hunt on foot. In the old days the pack would have been hot on the tail of a bunny, but that’s illegal now so an aniseed trail laid by a human is the next best thing.

There are two obvious drawbacks for the typical Beagle owner:

  1. Finding a farmer that’s happy to let a pack of Beagles go careering across his land is not easy (Although it has to be said that the farmer next door to us has offered. In fact the fox hunt used to meet at the end of our road!).
  2. How likely are you to get your Beagle back? Are you willing to take the risk that he’ll favour deer or sheep over aniseed?

The next best thing we could think of was to have our Beagles follow the trail whilst on lead. Sounds dull? Well actully it’s superb fun because you run with them! Here’s how it works:

  • The trail layer runs off dragging an aniseed rag behind them. Their objective is to loose the Beagles.
  • A little later the Beagles are set off to follow the trail. They’re attached to a runner via a harness, bungee line and belt. The Beagles will go full pelt and stick to the trail like glue. Through streams, mud, woodland, over walls and fences….the level of chaos depends entirely upon the imagination of the trail layer. For the humans it’s the ultimate cross country running experience! The game ends when the Beagles catch the trail layer.

We aim to make it last for about 2 kilometers. Of course a Beagle can run much further, but when attached to a human they’re pulling a heavy load. They won’t let you know they’re tired as they’re driven to hunt so for safety reasons we think it’s best to keep it short and sweet. In addition, you’ll run much faster over a shorter distance and that’s more satisfying for your Beagles!

The more Beagles in the ‘pack’ the better, but in our experience it’s best to let them hunt as a pack. That means everyone runs at pretty much the same speed. It’s not fair on a little Beagle to be left behind the pack just because he’s attached to a slow hummie. Staying with the pack is very important to a Beagle!

Warming up with a 1k cross country run

Other tips are a good warmup first – we even do a little 1k cross country run before hand to really get their blood pumping. And a nice long cooldown walk afterwards. If you try Beagle Cross with your Beagle please send us a video of the fun!!

The Cobbler

The morning started out very misty, but the forecasts assured us that it would burn off during the day leaving blue skies and sunshine. At the unearthly hour of 8am two very disgruntled little Beagles were hauled out of (our) bed and bundled into the car. We were soon on our way to Arrochar to climb Ben Aurthur – more commonly known as the Cobbler.

At the start of the walk we were shrouded in mist and couldn’t really see much at all. However, it didn’t really matter as the first Kilometer of the walk winds up through the forest. As we emerged onto the open hillside the mist seemed to evaporate in an instant leaving some lovely views.

Looking back across the forest to the hills on the other side of the Loch.

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Looking ahead to the three summits of the Cobbler

A good, not-too-steep path leads most of the way up the Cobbler.


Of course, Beanie and Biggles manage to complicate even the easiest of routes by one parking her bum exactly where you were about to put your foot whilst the other unexpectedly lunges in the opposite direction:


There is however a very steep climb up to the distinctive, rocky summits.

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Beanie and Biggles stop to admire the views just below the little ridge between the Northern and Central summit.


If I look a bit tense in this next picture it’s because I’d just accidentally wandered a little closer to a sheer drop than any sane person would want to be whilst attached to two crazy Beagles!!




The Cobbler has three summits, but only the North and central summits are accessible without climbing skills. We headed up the North summit first. There are some scary sheer cliffs once up there, but the route up isn’t exposed – although it is a bit scrambly and tricky with two inquisitive little Beagles in tow!

We start to make our way up the North summit – you can see the central summit behind us and the infamous ‘eye of the needle’

The North summit – it was a busy little hill today!

The views from the North Summit were amazing!

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IMG_0733 - The Cobbler


Beanie and Biggles made lots of new friends:

Nothing like sharing a meal to cement a friendship

Up until this point Beanie and Biggles had been surprisingly good. In fact a lot of people commented on how well behaved they were. But as we started to scramble down the North summit they figured this was the ideal time to go off on a noisy Beagle frenzy. There was much baying, squabbling, lunging and general commotion. We reluctantly concluded that with all things considered the safest way was to shuffle down on our bums! It’s one thing to have to use the “bum” method at all, but it’s quite another to have to do it when your dogs are ensuring that all the other walkers see you. Very embarrassing. But then embarrassment is a way of life with our two mutts


By now the central summit was shrouded in thick mist. There didn’t seem much point in going up if we couldn’t see anything. We hung around for a few minutes to see if it would clear then headed back down saving the delights of the central summit for another day.

The route up the back of Cobbler. You can just make out the ‘eye of the needle’ on the central summit. Our destination for Monday, weather permitting