Dancing Queen

Beanie and I have just got back from our first Heelwork to Music class. We went to a workshop a year or so ago and Beanie really seemed to enjoy it. We’ve signed up for a six week course with the same teacher (Heather Smith) and the plan is to take Beanie to the class one week and Biggles the next.

Here’s a video of our teacher Heather with her dog Skye at crufts:

Beanie was very good. It all got too exciting for her once or twice and she wandered off to raid the coats and bags that had been left on the chairs around the hall. But for most of the hour long class she didn’t take her eyes off me (or more accurately, my treat bag!). She learned all the tricks very quickly and enjoyed every minute of the class.

Paul and Biggles took the opportunity to have a boys’ night in, so sadly no photographs of the evenings shenanigans. Maybe next week!

Paws In The Park, Beagle In The Rucksack

Recently Beanie & Biggles’ obedience club – the Glasgow Dog Training Club – had its 30th anniversary. To celebrate this milestone the club held a huge fun day in Rouken Glen Park called “Paws in the Park”.

As Susan is a member of the Glasgow Dog Training Club committee the whole family was roped in to some degree.  I had been asked to take photographs for the club website and Beanie and Biggles were featuring in the flyball demo which was being provided by their club – Lomond Flyball.

When I’d dropped Susan off at the crack of dawn the sites for the various attractions had been marked out but nothing had been erected. By the time I returned with Beanie and Biggles just a few hours later the change was amazing – stalls selling all things doggy-related had sprung up everywhere, enclosures were fenced off and ready to go and visitors were already starting to gather. There wasn’t much time to admire the transformation though, because the flyball demo was starting shortly and Beanie & Biggles were in it!

Given our two pups’ superb performance in a recent competition, I had been confident that they would play their part well. However, when I heard the music blaring around the main ring, pipe bands, cheerleaders and dogs everywhere  I was beginning to wish that Susan hadn’t said to quite so many people “Make sure you’re there to see Beanie and Biggles in the flyball demo – they’re amazing!”.

My fears proved well grounded as you can see in the following video:

We often joke that Beanie has a faulty nose as she’s often hopeless at finding things. But somehow she sniffed out  bonios in a rucksack from yards away. She remembered her training to a degree and when the time came for her first run she flew over the jumps and headed for the box to release the ball. But at the last moment temptation got the better of her and she sharply veered off to the right and made a bee-line for one of our team mates rucksacks. Club instructor Sarah quickly left her station behind the flyball box, extracted Beanie from the rucksack and prised a couple of bonios out of her mouth.


From that moment onwards, in Beanie’s mind the rules of the game had changed. A flyball run was no longer complete without a trip to the bonio rucksack! The audience seemed to thoroughly enjoy the chaos that followed.


Err.. the ball’s right here!


Little Robbie – one of the few who stayed focused on the ball


But eventually Biggles..


..and even Beanie managed to get it right!

The more advanced dogs followed and showed the spectators how it should be done.




Of course while the other dogs were running, our two weren’t quite finished letting the side down. What’s the most embarrassing thing that your dogs can do when you’re wearing your obedience club polo shirt and there are scores of people watching? How about a noisy round of play fighting while you demonstrate that you clearly have no control whatsoever over your dogs?


Fortunately order was restored fairly quickly.

Naughty? Who me?

After the flyball Susan had to rush off to work on the  ‘Dogstacle’ or mini agility stall.  There was a gazebo beside the course so we popped Beanie & Biggles crates in there and settled them down for a nap while I went off to check out the other attractions.

The Dogstacle course was running throughout the afternoon and proved to be very popular – there was a queue at it all day long!



Beagles seemed to be very well represented and we even bumped into Thomas who we’d previously met at Beagle Racing. Here he is having a go at the Dogstacle course:


Sue and Kevin Rose (the couple that host the lure coursing events that Beanie and Biggles enjoy so much) came all the way from Rumbling Bridge to set up a lure coursing run, free for all visitors to try. Obviously there was only room for a short course, but still it was enough to give dogs and owners a taste of how much fun the full thing can be:



This fellow got the idea of chasing the lure straight away


Cuillin was also a natural (Cuillin’s mum plans to take him to the next event at Rumbling Bridge!)


But the best lure chaser I saw was Tess – particularly impressive given that she’s only recently returned to full activity after her spaying op!

The flyball team also set up a have-go course that proved to be very popular. Not all of the newbies managed to return with the ball on their first go, but at least none of them raided any rucksacks!




In the main ring there were presentations by the Greyhound Awareness League and Dog’s Trust:



..and a demonstration of heelwork to music:




This was followed by a series of very popular dog shows (including junior handler, pedigree and crossbreed categories) and finally a doggy fashion parade featuring the latest and greatest from The Pet Stop.

The Dog’s Trust also ran a Doggy Dash competition throughout the afternoon – a short, timed restrained recall with some handsome prizes going to the fastest dog. I fancied Beanie’s chances in this and before the competition closed I prised Susan away from the Dogstacle stall and we gave both Beanie and Biggles a chance at glory. They both ran well and came straight to me but sadly their times just weren’t good enough to claim any prizes – the competition winner was a very cute little 7 month old Tibetan Terrier who shot over the line like a shaggy, fur-covered bullet.

Lining the path between the various have-a-go events were a multitude of stalls. Some were simply aimed at raising awareness about animal issues, while others sold anything and everything from personalized gift cards to hand-drawn portraits and of course a wide range of pet products:






It’s just as well that yellow duck can’t read ;)

The time flew by and at 4pm everything came to a close. If the setting up of the stalls and enclosures had been impressive, the clean up operation was even more so. As the event was closing I took Beanie and Biggles up to the meadow for a nice walk while Susan was helping to pack everything up. I came back within an hour  and everything was gone and the park was left completely spotless. Well, perhaps not completely. One or two rawhide chews had been left on the grass, but fortunately Biggles was able to help with these. Beanie does the giant Bonios in other people’s rucksacks, while my boy takes care of stray rawhides. What a team!

As always, all photos of the event are available here.

Read more about Paws in the Park here.

Two New Hobbies for Beanie and Biggles

Heelwork to Music

Last night Beanie and I went to a ‘Heelwork to Music’ workshop that was organised by the Glasgow Dog Training Club. This is something I typically wouldn’t touch with a barge pole as I have two left feet and absolutely no sense of rhythm. However, our obedience teacher Val assured us that it wasn’t about dancing but more about clicker training and teaching tricks.

It turned out to be perfect for Beanie as it’s so fast paced. The handler doesn’t have to dance – it’s more like getting the dog to do tricks around you. We’re starting classes in the next week or two. So watch this space – you might just see a video clip of Beanie and her gawky mum doing a rendition of the Sugar Plum Fairy ! Not sure what music we’ll get Biggles dancing to – the theme tune to Roobarb and Custard suits him well.


Paul wrote about our trip to Muirshiels Park at the weekend and Biggles and Beanie’s determination to pull us at break-neck speed accross the countryside.

At the time, we talked about finding a hobby for them that satisfied this urge for cross-country running. We thought perhaps tracking, but Paul has reservations as he feels that if they learn what their noses are really for it might be a bit like opening Pandora’s Box.

We think we’ve discovered the perfect sport for them (and us!). Paul and I have always been fitness fanatics until the last couple of years when family bereavements and injuries took their toll. We hope to get back to full fitness but it’s hard to find time with two active, impossible-to-tire beagles to amuse. Cani-cross sounds like the perfect activity for us. In simple terms it’s just cross country running with your dog. However, the difference is that the dog wears a special harness on a bungie lead that attaches to waist belt. The idea is to gain extra speed by letting the dog pull you up hills (Which Beanie and Biggles LOVE to do). The sport was invented by husky owners whose dogs needed a good daily workout but could not be let off the lead. Here’s a clip of a recent cani-cross event:

We’ve already ordered the harnesses and leads and some good cross country trainers for us. Paul’s fitness is quite good so he can run with Beanie. I’m still recovering from a hip injury so Biggles and I will make a great team – we can slowly build up running fitness together. By the time he’s a year old and allowed to compete we should both be fit and raring to go!