Summer Fun with Devon Dogs

At the begining of August. Car full to bursting, my boys and I headed off to Westpoint Summer Camp, held by Devon dogs for a week of training and competition!

WestPoint Show ground near Exeter is a great venue and the Paignton Dog show is also held at the end of the week and over the weekend giving lots of variety for dog lovers.

I attended the camp for the first time last year and had such a good time I was definately going back this year. The camp is run every year by Devon Dogs.

Its a great venue, lots of space to wander with your dogs, use of  on site shower and toilet facilites. Plenty of walks in the surrounding area and plenty of pubs and shops near by.

The camp starts on the Monday and everyone arrives sets up and meets in the evening to get to know eachother and find out what thier agenda for the week is. There are plenty of different training subjects to choose from.  Foundation skills for puppies, Life skills, Motivation and play, Agility, scent work and much more!

Tuesday, to Thursday are training days and there are plenty of additional training sessionsthat can be booked during the evenings and on Monday and Friday.

If you love puppies then there are always loads to say hi to and cuddle.

 

Young dogs find the enviroment fun and relaxed.  There are plenty of course for those wanting to start doing agility with their young dogs or just learning great life skills with postive reward based training methods.

Even the young humans can have fun. Here is my youngest following in my footsteps and having a go at action shots for the first time.

The guest agility trainers this year were Selena Bray & Martin Tait. I was lucky enough to have workshops with both of them and they were brilliant. I love learning from different trainers and picking the best ways from each that suit both me and my dogs.

I predominanty go for the agility training, especially as I have two young dogs. Start line waits, grid work, turns, handling skills, contact work, its all available. Training with enthusiastic trainers and with like minded people, it is such a great way to learn.

All breeds are welcome so don’t be put off by the collies, even though some do show off!

In the evening you can join the evening seminar or just go and relax. There is a pub meal out one evening for all attendees, friends and family and a BBQ on the last evening.

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If after all the training you want to put your new found skills into practice then the Paington Agility Show runs for four days. Sat- Tuesday along side the Dog show. There are many trade and food stands to be visited and the courses are always challenging and fun.

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Thank you for reading my post.

 

 

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A Portrait of my dog….

I have always been in love with this coat colouring and Collies as a breed. My first ever puppy, Tag was a Blue Merle Collie, a very sweet boy, followed me around like a Lamb, cried like a baby at night but contracted Parvovirus and sadly died 11 days after I had got him. The friend who I had got him from very kindly gave me his Mum as she was no longer being worked at the farm. Blue, surprise, surprise, another Blue Merle. She was a darling. Could not have asked for a sweeter, more obedient companion. She lived a great life and holds a very firm place in my heart.

Did you know that Merle is a pattern in a dogs coat, though is commonly incorrectly referred to as a colour.  The merle gene creates mottled patches of color in a solid piebald coat, blue or odd coloured eyes, and can affect skin pigment as well.

I now have another Blue Merle. Maya. She was 5 yrs this month. It seems ages ago that she was just a little pup. I wanted another Collie to do Agility with and the same friend I got Blue from had their bitch in pup to the Blue Merle dog they had. Working sheep dogs. That was it… I wanted on… but it had to be a girl and it had to be a Blue Merle… luckily on the 11th January 2009, Maya was born and two days later I was across to see her. There were no hard decisions. She was the only Blue girl.

Blue Merle Puppy

There was no going back. I fell in love and she was mine. The following weeks passed slowly but we had regular visits to watch her grow. She got nicknamed Stumpy as she had a very short tail and was rather plumb to say the least.

Blue Merle Collie PuppyI took her home at 7 weeks olds and she was greeted by the Big Bad Wolf..

Fighting Collie dog and puppy

However, what goes around comes around! She soon learned how to look after herself! She is definitely the top dog in the house now!

Playing Collies

She loves agility more than anything else and we are trained by the wonderful Jo Fraser. We have grown together in over the last three years. We started puppy with training with Jo and so far she has helped us move up to Grade 3, as you can see below she showed an interest in jumping from an early age!

Jumping

I doubt we will ever join the Elite Competitors who sit at Grade 7, but we will have fun trying. Unfortunately, last season we did very little due to my broken foot in April and Mayas leg injury later in the year. Hopefully we can both gain full fitness and maintain it for the coming season. I would like to climb to at least the next grade in 2014.  The competition is fierce with usually 200-300 dogs per class at Kennel Club events.

For those of you who don’t know what Dog agility is, it is a dog sport in which a handler directs a dog through an obstacle course in a race for both time and accuracy. Dogs run off the lead with no food or toys as incentives, and the handler can not touch neither dog nor obstacles. Consequently the handler’s controls are limited to voice, and various body signals, requiring exceptional training of the animal and coordination of the handler.

This image was taking during a training session. Sadly I have not yet learnt the art of running her in a competition and taking images of us at the same time!

Tyre Jump

Apart from Agility training, we love to walk and look for and photograph wildlife. Maya and her companion Flynn are the subjects of many of my images. I was delighted in 2013 to be shortlisted with an image I had taken of Maya in the Hamdan International Photography Award and I also had my image published in their book,  The Beauty of Light, and displayed at the Royal Geographical Society in London at their exhibition. I also gained two Gold Awards with the Society of Wedding and Portrait Photographers in 2013 with images that I had taken of Maya.

Maya is without doubt my most patient Model, there are not many places that she will not stand, sit or lie down for me and will stay until she is asked to move. Below are two examples location portraits of her.

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To celebrate her 5th birthday this week she had a play in the Studio today. I love the Pet Portrait side of my business and offer both location and Studio sessions.

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Please refer to my website for further details. www.meltaylorphotography.co.uk or call me on 01235 763359 if you are interested in booking a session.