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Labrador Retriever

Buddy and Luna

Buddy and Luna cuddle on the couch.

Let's get ready to Rally

Buddy and I are going on a Rally course on Sunday. It's a sport I've researched for articles, but never actually taken part in before. Although it's established in America, it's very new to the UK, and we're lucky to have a course going on so close to us. As I understand it in the easier level the dog can stay on lead, which is a comfort when you have a friendly Labrador whose mission in life seems to be to meet and greet as many people and dogs as he possibly can. But what are the behaviours that we have to carry out as we work our way around the course? I have to say that while I'm excited, I'm now getting a little nervous too.

So I've been investigating online, and here's the findings of my in depth research so far: some of it we'll be able to manage, some of it we might well make a mess of. So it should be a fun day, and at least we'll give some of the other participants a good laugh.

The point is that we can have a go, and we can enjoy the experience knowing that's it's doing both of us a lot of good and strengthening our bond. I learned last year while trying out a lot of canine activities and sports (and leaving my comfort zone a long way behind) that I've wasted a lot of time standing at the edges of arenas and rings, watching someone else and their dog performing or competing, thinking, "One day Buddy and I will try that." But for so long we just didn't get around to it. Until last year, when we both learned a lot - and had a lot of fun in the process.

I have to admit that I don't think Buddy and I will ever be as good as Clarissa Bergeman (the handler in the video above) and her dog, but I suspect we're not on our own in that. The important thing is that we can try it out and see if it suits us. It will be an adventure. We may not put in the best performance, but as the saying goes, I know I'll be bringing home the best dog. The real challenge is to make it so pleasant and fun that Buddy thinks he's bringing home the best human. Fingers crossed!

Take care,

Julie x


Rain stops play

It’s been one of those dreadful drizzly days when the rain never really gets going, but having not really got going it keeps on all day long. It was the kind of day to spend inside reading a book or watching a DVD. I had work to do of course, but it would have been good to read a book or watch a DVD if you had the time.


Two gold dogs!

I now live in a house with two gold dogs - Kennel Club Good Citizen gold dogs that is. Buddy passed his last year, and Star has passed hers tonight. I am so proud of my daughter and her dog, and it's been fascinating for me to see them train together.


What our dogs get up to on walks

I posed the question yesterday of what your style of walking is - but what's your dog's? Our two do like to be out in the lead a lot of the time. I put this down in Buddy's case to wanting to be the first one to encounter anything edible we might come across, rather than any dominant traits. In Star's case, she likes to be up with her big brother; it's a comical site him loping along, with her little legs scurrying away to keep up with him.

What they will both be distracted by is mud or water. What they seem to enjoy most are really big, really


Strange dogs and unseen dangers

Friends of ours have a pet lamb. He was an orphan, and they fancied having a pet sheep, so it worked out well for them both. He's called Shadow and he's very tame, to the point where quite dog-like he enjoys a fuss! Also dog-like he goes for a walk an a lead. He doesn't wear a collar, he has a harness, but it didn't stop Buddy and Star mistaking him for a fellow canine.

They were both very eager to get to him, although Shadow was not as eager to get to them. He was happy to have them nearby, but he had no desire to come nose to nose with either of them. Buddy was


What breed is that?

Buddy and Star come over all sheepish!

Walking ahead

On a walk are you a dawdler or a dasher?

Canine communication (or dogs are really weird)

Last night Buddy and I were first to arrive at the training class, and were sitting there patiently,minding our own business, when a chocolate Labrador burst through the door, and barrelled over to say hello. I always think that being so sturdily built, it's as well that Labs are such a thoroughly friendly breed, but I reckon one at full tilt could still do you some damage! So the chocolate Lab reached us, and hurled himself over onto his back, at which point Buddy approached to check him out with a thorough sniffing.


If you can't stand the heat...go to the beach

The forecast was finally for a warm weekend, so we headed for the beach. It turned out to be so hot that we had to find shade for the dogs. They loved it down at the water's edge where the sea was cooling and there was a delicious breeze, but back up the beach, they sat happily in the shade, peeping out from time to time to see if it was time to go for another paddle.



259 - Loving Edie and 101 Dogs

Meredith May had had dogs before but was not prepared for life with Golden Retriever Edie. She discusses her book Loving Edie, which their shared journey. Nicola Jane Swinney loves dogs, so much so that she's written a book about 101 Dogs, giving a quirky insight into their characteristics. Listen during the dog walk, or cuddled up on the couch with your canine.

189 - The Dog Healers and War Dogs Remembered

In this episode you can hear Mark Winik talk about his debut novel, The Dog Healers, and listen to Julia Robertson explain why she founded the charity War Dogs remembered. Plus there's the DogCast Radio News, and what Mischief the German Spitz puppy has been up to.

188 - Service Dogs UK and Roxie the Doxie Finds Her Forever Home

In this episode you can hear about Service Dogs UK, a fantastic charity which trains assistance dogs to support veterans of any service - military personnel, police, firefighters, paramedics and the coastguard - who develop Post Traumatic Stress Disorder due to their job. Also, listen to Dr Jody A Dean, a clinical psychologist talk about how her book, Roxie the Doxie finds her Forever Home, is helping children understand and talk about adoption and other family issues. Plus the DogCast Radio News and some thoughts on the alpha dog myth.

187 - Muffins Halo and Chorley Fun Dog Show

In this episode you can hear about Muffin's Halo for Blind Dogs, and what motivates people to enter their dog in a fun dog show. In the DogCast Radio News, listen to stories about the latest dog related research. Plus there's a new member of the DogCast Radio team!

186 - Maxwell Muir on wolves

In this episode you can hear trainer, behaviourist, writer, broadcaster and wolf expert Maxwell Muir talk about what wolves mean to him personally, their plight in a modern world, and his hopes for their future. Plus we have the DogCast Radio News.