Thursday, 23 December 2010

Horse topiary!!

They obviously enjoy eating pine but do they not realise this is not a good look?

Toilet training

Puppies naturally move off the soft bed and onto newspaper to go to the loo. I have now reduced the bed to about a third of the area and paper on the remainder. I need to change the paper often but the bed every other day at the moment. they are so clever.
The weaning process has begun. I soak puppy food and being Labradors, they love it.

We have a moated island which creates a safe haven for wild birds. The moat is frozen and the fox has taken advantage of it, as this morning, I found the remains of two moor hens. Poor things but the fox needs food too.
The pheasants hoover where I have fed the horses, much to the frustration of the magpies who have to wait their turn.

Puppy fix

Having a snooze after play time.

Hey! You guys in the back it's is snooze time

Wednesday, 22 December 2010

Watch this space

I have just realised you haven't seen the puppies for a while. If I can get my partner to take some today we will update you. They are gorgeous of course.
I'll brave the elements and take some of the Christmas trees too. The horses love them!

Who loves the snow?

My partners dog (A huge Labradoodle) looks like a cartoon character with his nose under the snow and bum in the air running, creating a snow storm. The other dogs look on in amusement and a little baffled. Their curiosity gets the better of them and they join in. What fun!

Horses coats must have a great ability to retain their body heat as our young horse has no rug on, he has chosen to be out as it has snowed and has 2 inches of unmelted snow on his back.
They are coping very well. They have hard feed and unlimited hay. Water has presented a difficulty but there is always the tap in the house so we ferry water to them.

About 7 years ago I planted some tiny Christmas trees. They now stand 20 feet talk. Fabulous you may think but the horses have done topiary and very badly might I say, as to cut one for use in our home, there may be about 3 feet of green at the very top.  We had to go and buy one this year.

Saturday, 18 December 2010

All for a puppy

We are expecting a family who are travelling from Bristol to view one of our puppies.
They have had a look on Doodle Dogs Derby and obviously liked what they saw. They have asked lots of questions and they are obviously happy because what a journey to make!!!.
They particularly like the look of Jilly as she is more athletic and I am with them in that they are not too keen on the stocky, leg in each corner type of Labradors.

A puzzle  -  We live in an old, draughty farm house. We have a log burner which at this time of year eats fuel. Having chopped logs for years (4 tonnes per winter) I decided to buy a conversion kit for my burner to enable me to burn coal. Feeling quite relieved at the prospect of no more log chopping and looking forward to the ease of burning coal, I ordered 500kg of the best the merchant could recommended.
I went to the manufacturers of my burner to buy the conversion kit which was not cheep.
Within a couple of days of burning the fire my boys noticed the grill had bowed. I immediately called the manufactures to complain only to be told I was burning the wrong type of coal!!!.
I now have to burn slower burning coal which in turn does not generate nearly enough heat!!!.

If we cannot burn coal to generate the heat to keep warm, what is the point?

Why is the grill not capable of having a fire burnt on it?

Nearly sold all the puppies and they are only 3 weeks old today. Fantastic.

Thursday, 16 December 2010

Oh No!!

We have just defrosted (and mended a burst pipe) and they say we are going back to - degrees again.

I managed to leave the doors of the log burner open and yes! of course! a piece of coal fell out onto my not very old rug GGGRRRR!  Yet another expense and so close to Christmas.  

Every cloud has a silver lining though as my dogs now have a lovely new rug in their kennel. I had to fold it and it sits a little up the walls too. Snug. Lets hope they don't chew it.

The labrador puppies are doing very well. Eyes fully opened and starting to waddle. I bought wormers today. Puppies always pass worms even though I am vidulant in my worming programme for my adult dogs and bitches.

Toilet training starts now too as I cover half of the pen with news paper and half vet bed. The puppies will waddle off the vet bed to use the paper. There is no great award to be give to us trainers as this is instinct for the puppies. If the new owners use the crates wisely the puppy will be house trained with a degree of ease.

Monday, 13 December 2010

Support your local blogger!

Hi, I'm Pete Bev's partner. She doesn't know I am hi-jacking her Blog,  but I thought I would sneak in while she wasn't looking and I had a few minutes break from designing her websites! If she lets me I may occasionally add a few thoughts of my own and that is why I am intruding today.

Bev and I are very keen on green issues (I have installed a geo-thermal heating system at home, but that's another story) and when I was recommended to read a fellow blogger's first offering I was both incensed and at the same time very amused by what had been written - I do hope there is more to come! Please visit Bothered, Baffled and Bewildered to see what I mean.

By the way, talking of green things (in the environmental sense) I am hoping to contribute a blog about dog poo (!) the next time Bev's back is turned!

Anyway hello again and back to the farm...

Contented mum

Jilly is looking great and back to playing ball in between feeding the ravenous puppies. She has unlimited food and is loving it.

I have sent off for the kennel club registrations today. It costs us breeders to register them and then, the new owners have the pleasure of paying again to transfer the ownership. At least you know what you are buying.

Jilly has a separate bed if she chooses to use it but often sits with the puppies and waits for them to wake for their next feed. I have no idea how long each feeds but I do regular checks by picking each of them up and you would soon feel if one wasn't thriving.  Jilly knows what she is doing better than I do and lets face it they have trebled in size already so don't need me interfering.

Sunday, 12 December 2010

Soooo cute!

We have had a lot of interest and taken deposits to secure some, for the happy families who have chosen them. They are selling like "hot cakes".
This golden boy is  called Radley and will go to live in Liverpool with his lovely and very excited family.
We chatted today about what they could do in preparation for his arrival in 4 weeks. Things such as setting and agreeing ground rules for where he can and cannot go in their home.
Does he go upstairs, on the furniture or on beds. As long as they are all consistent the puppy will accept them and has every chance of settling in well.

What a pleasure it is to breed such beautiful puppies who go on to give their new family so much fun (and a little stress too of course).

Thursday, 9 December 2010

The reality of puppy training

Puppy training starts from the minute they are born, which is why we have them in our home and not an out house, shed or barn. 

We handle them, as long as mum is happy, from day one. The puppies get used to us, our smells and the noises we make.

Their sense of smell and hearing is far superior to ours. Eyes and ears open around day 14 but believe me they can certainly hear before then as they regularly confirm this when they squeal if I make a big noise. They are certainly not keen on me hoovering!

At around week 3 we start the weening process. We always us soaked specialist puppy food and call "puppies" when putting it down for them. By the time they are 6 weeks old (weather permitting) we could let them run around our extensive yard and call them and they will all come running.

By week 10 they should understand sit, down, stay and come. If you have done the right groundwork recall should be easy too.

Socialising is a fundamental part of training and whenever possible take puppy with you. This will aid building his confidence.

Other than feeding in the early months don't have a routine and then puppy won't fret if you break it. 

Wednesday, 8 December 2010

Puppy training

Today I Thought I would put a few of my thoughts about life with a puppy...

As I always say to people who are considering having a puppy,
"It will be as easy or as difficult as you make it"
By that I mean if all members of the household set and agree the boundaries and you are consistent the puppy will very quickly learn and accept them. This will lead to a confident adult dog who knows what is expected of him and where his place is in your pack. (Below all the humans and that includes the children).

I am an absolute advocate of the use of crates. I first used one when I had my Rottweiler who is sadly no longer with us after 12 years. The trainer I used, when he was a puppy, listened to me moaning about dreading to open the kitchen door as I didn't know what scene would greet me. My carefully placed newspaper, shredded and strewn across the room often having been used to do his business on!!! My two toddlers would be at the door too, desperate to enter the room, as being boys were "starving", so using the crate transformed my household and made owning him a pleasure. His bowel and bladder control was almost immediate and never again was there the mess!
He clearly loved the crate and if ever it was put up he would go in and the only way to get him out was by shaking him out. well! you try and drag a Rotty out.

My partner's Labradoodle has been at our house for months but he went home yesterday, he disappeared and to my partners surprise he had put himself in his crate. He loves it too.

On a practical level...

The crate helps the puppy gain bowel and bladder control. Open the door, lift out the puppy, put it outside and stay out with it, encourage it to do it's business. My partner used the phrase "hurry up" and now, as an adult dog, he still performs on his command.
It ensures your home and belongings don't get chewed. You must put things in that he can chew as he will be teething.

The puppy should come out for fun, food, walks, training and toilet but at all other times be in the crate as you are not giving him attention and that is when they get bored, wander and become destructive.

Tuesday, 7 December 2010


This is off the bridge in Findern at dusk. The canal is frozen and the hedge looks like a child's crystal growing kit. As temperatures have plummeted to -14℃ We have struggled to keep the water from freezing especially for the horses. They eat dry hay so need water more than ever.

The dogs are doing ok. They come into the house for a warm up and are happy to play and wrestle outside. They adapted to the ice underfoot now so less slipping and sliding thank goodness.

Jilly and the puppies are great. They should be opening their eyes and ears any day now. We have had a lot of interest in them and have taken a number of deposits.

Holly our poodle with Addisons is doing well. She has 5 tablets a day and appears to be stable. She is such a lovely dog and I would love to find her a home where she will be pampered.

Monday, 6 December 2010

Beautiful days

This is our dogs playground. They never go on a lead and have ooodles of fun chasing each other around our fields. They walk with me when I tend our horses. I walk in a straight ish line across the fields and they do many circuits more. They know the routine and by the time i'm back at the top gate they have rejoined me as food is next.

You can see our frozen pond. It has many fish in and the heron is oftain stood by it. I think he is willing them to come to the surface but he has no chance they go deep down for the winter and in any event there is a few inches of ice at the top. How does the heron survive the winter?

They puppies are just over a week old now. They have doubled in size and doing great.
Oscar (Dad) paid them a visit yesterday.

Jilly (Mum) would love to be back out playing ball.

Thursday, 2 December 2010

More snow!!

It looks stunning of course and my children are delighted as their school has closed.

Our dogs absolutely love it. Charging around and sliding. They wrestle and play with such enthusiasm in the snow.

Gemma (our old girl, in human terms she would be in her 80's) decided to have a burst of energy. She raced around our ice covered yard as though it were a race track. Bouncing like Bambie and just having a lovely time.

The horses are all doing ok. They have unlimited hay and we are carrying buckets of water to them. They look a little fed up but at least they can wander around rather than being stuck in a very restrictive stable.