Monday, 11 July 2016

Dog Days of Summer 2016

My dog Reggie is a local legend. My little Lhasa Apso has already had a double-page article in Nene Living magazine, that charted his low-impact walks around some of the many dog-friendly beauty spots in the Peterborough area.

Read the full article in Nene Living May 2016

This weekend took the dog biscuit, as Just Dogs Live came to Peterborough Arena.

Over three days in July, the air around Orton is filled with the not unpleasant sound of excited dogs. In fact, this particular show is a pleasure to live near as what noise can be heard in the surrounding estates is pretty minimal, especially at night. This must be a testament to the skill and care of the thousands of dog owners and handlers who descend on the showground to show and show off their dogs' abilities and appearance.

Although Just Dogs hosts a professional dog show on behalf of the East of England Champion Dog Show, there is also Companion Dog Shows for dogs that are not quite in the professional league, a School for Dogs run by Wood Green and an agility course.

I usually enter Reggie in the Companion Dog Show, but as we had only just returned from a week on a farm in Cumbria - and I'm still picking bits of flora out of his tail - I decided that we'd give it a miss this time and give some other dogs a chance...

However, I was really keen to take Reg back to the Wood Green School for Dogs to find out if a year of daily recall training had made the slightest bit of difference to his ability to follow simple commands.

Reg and I are put through our paces at the Wood Green School for Dogs
Reg and I are put through our paces at the Wood Green School for Dogs

I adopted Reggie from Wood Green a year ago when he was seven years old. Lhasa Apsos were originally bred by Tibetan monks as watch dogs. They make lovely pets, but keeping an eye on things is their main concern. They are less interested in doing what you ask unless it suits their agenda (which it usually doesn't). However, I believe you can teach an old dog new tricks, so I've persisted with Reggie and he gets no treats unless he has in some way earned them (you can choose to believe that or not).

I demonstrate how I check Reggie's eyes for anything untoward
I demonstrate how I check Reggie's eyes for anything untoward

To my astonishment, perseverance has paid off. He was a little star at the Wood Green School for Dogs and did everything that was asked of him. He won a rosette and I was very proud.

Later in the day, I bumped into my friends Caroline and Roy who have a Rottweiler called Bruno. Reggie and Bruno get on really well. The Lhasa Apso is sometimes referred to as 'lion dog' as it's said that when a Lhasa Apso looks in the mirror he sees a lion (while the rest of us see a cross between a teddy and a koala bear!). Caroline told me that Bruno had just completed the agility course and encouraged Reggie and I to have a go. HA! I knew public embarrassment was on the cards so with some reticence (on my part, not on Reggie's) we decided to give it a go.

Fortunately (or unfortunately) someone was there to capture the entire thing on video.

Not the fastest around the course (nor was I), Reggie gave it his best shot and I was amazed at how he kept focus with so much interesting stuff going on around him. I was very proud of the little man. I thought he'd have nothing to do with anything. Just shows, you should never underestimate anyone, including dogs that look like koala bears.

As well as taking part in a few things for fun, when the rain came we moved inside the Arena to have a look at the show dogs. We keep Reggie's hair short for his comfort and highly recommend Handsome Hounds in Bretton who do a brilliant job trimming Reggie's coat the correct way for his breed (they were at Just Dogs Live too!).

We saw a few other Lhasa Apsos who had their hair styled in various ways. We've grown used to Reggie with short hair and can't imagine him looking like this!

Believe it or not, this dog is the same breed as Reggie
Believe it or not, this dog is the same breed as Reggie

Another Lhasa Apso
So is this one...
Another Lhasa Apso.
And so is this one.

Peterborough Dog Walking Group

Just Dogs Live wasn't the only activity for dogs and their owners in Orton this weekend. On Sunday, over in Ferry Meadows, it was time for the monthly Peterborough Dog Walking Group walk, organised by Emma Wood. This FREE on-lead walk takes about 90 minutes and all types of dog are welcome (although, if your dog is reactive, you are asked to keep him under control and muzzled if necessary). To find out more about the group join its Facebook Group.

Reggie and I have been on the walk a couple of times and thoroughly enjoyed it. The next one is scheduled for August. Perhaps we'll see you there!

Dogs being walked around Ferry Meadows
Reservoir Dog Walkers

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