Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Spoilt dogs

Bless them, they were cold, wet and very tired and too little to leave to drip dry in the utility room.

Happiness is......

Three boys who like running, water and a completely empty beach.Life doesn't get much better for a Barbet.

Hallie and Bobby

I have already mentioned that these two dogs are now the best of friends but they spend the whole time trying to share small bits of paper, if you click on the photo you can just see the glimpse of green paper in Hallies' mouth!

The Kennel Club

Well, the good news is that we cannot apply again for recognition of the Barbet in the UK by the Kennel Club until 2014.
I am being very positive as this extension of time will allow the Kennel Club to realise the error of their ways and start to see sense and perhaps have a greater understanding of rare breeds.
Rare breeds do not make money for Kennel Clubs, as there are not normally many breeders and therefore not normally many puppies and the consequence of that situation means not many registrations and registrations of litters means ££££££.
Sounds rather harsh doesn't it?
But I do know of one breed that was recognised by the Kennel Club, they took the advice over recognition and imported dogs from overseas, and so fulfiled the desired amount of dogs that made the breed viable in the UK, and yes the Kennel Club was thrilled and granted that breed recognition. Did the Kennel Club do their homework though as several of the dogs which had been imported were already dead, some didn't pass health checks, some had a bad charactor and the worse thing I heard is that the British lost all respect from those good breeders overseas as suddenly the dogs in the UK were not so healthy and had bad charactors. So the dog world is a fickle place to be, if you start producing bad dogs then it becomes harder to import the better quality dogs from overseas. I am looking at the future for the Barbet, and I may be wrong but I firmly believe at this stage it is quality not quantity. The Barbet is a healthy dog and can have a very healthy future but that will only be down to breeders taking the time to combine the right lines together. If our numbers worldwide are only approx 1600 then the showring has to be about promotion rather than beauty. We have produced some beautiful Barbets in the UK, Novaforesta Eton is one example and his background is 0% COI over 5 generations, almost an impossibility in a rare breed but it can be done and should be done whenever possible. So we have produced some beautiful dogs, but that has never been my intention so I have been lucky. In a rare breed, sometimes you make choices, and for all those people out there who want a Barbet in their lives I hope you will understand the work done by some of the breeders in the UK, it is worth doing your research and looking at the GB barbet Club website at the results of the dogs produced in the UK.
So going back to our Kennel Club, and our rejection of recognition for the Barbet.
My recent communication with them has resulted in them admitting an error over dates of FCI recognition of breed, they thought it was 2006!!! they have overlooked the second reason which was the high incidence of hip dysplasia ( totally and utterly incorrect as we have outstanding hip results in the UK) and have replaced it with health concerns over the small genepool. So if you read the above again, what do you think? The Kennel Club are proud to promote themselves as a Club which looks after the welfare and well being of dogs in the UK.......but not the Barbet.....grump! If the Kennel Club have concerns over health with a small genepool, why don't they help us and tell us what their concerns are, instead they slam the door shut...grump.
Don't get me wrong, we do need Barbets imported but with careful consideration so that we improve the breed rather than just increase numbers, and once we have a solid foundation of dogs then we might be ready for a barbet explosion.  

Barbet puppies everywhere

I know I am biased but I think you all have to admit that Eton does look good.

Hellllllllooooo Eton

I have good vibes about 2013, will it be a bumper year for the Barbet in the UK.
2012 saw the arrival of 19 healthy pups, and in 2013 some of these pups will start being health tested for possible breeding. When I look at Hallie, she is just a babe so it is hard to imagine the future but I hope she will be part of the foundation that we are laying for the Barbet as a breed. As I have said before, without a strong foundation of excellant health and charactor we will not have the stability for the future. 

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Naughty Hallie

Now this settee was bought for us (Humans) to be able to sit in the evenings and  have some quality time in the kitchen with the dogs. Hallie has different ideas about the settee, it is certainly her launch pad for attacking Bobby as he walks past, if she stands on the arms of the settee she has a great view of the entire kitchen and as she is now a qualified counter-surfer she can see any food left out from her increased height! We have a few times managed to quietly sit on the settee without her knowledge as if she spots you, her manners disappear and within seconds she will land on your lap, throw herself backwards for the ultimate tummy rub. It is rather sweet, but I do wonder what would happen if someone ever came to our house that didn't like dogs.
Hallie is growing up rather nicely, she has a brilliant coat still and a lovely brown hue to her curls, so some days she looks completely brown and other days she looks black, its a bit like owning 2 dogs.The best news of all is that Bobby has learnt to share his toys with Hallie, they spend most of their time together and the best game is a piece of cardboard that measures an inch square, they must both hold it with just one tooth, and their heads look like one, but hey it keeps them quiet and they seem to enjoy the challenge!

Barbet dog and interesting facts

I have been thinking about how committed some people are to the Barbet,we are lucky as there are now so many websites and so much more information available in the UK as well as overseas. But actually the majority of work involving a rare breed is rarely mentioned as it is rather boring and not really news worthy. Breeders can spend hours looking at pedigrees trying to find a good male for example, and then once decided approach the owner only to find out the male has already been booked for use by others and is not available, or the owners are on holiday when you think you may need to use him.
Although I have a list of jobs to do, today I sat down and worked out how many miles had been driven by the three foreign owners that have now used our three stud dogs in the UK.

In 2012, 4554 miles or 7328km is the combined mileage to use a UK stud dog by the 3 breeders. I am impressed as having travelled now 4 times abroad for matings, I know how difficult and costly it can be, and sometimes you don't even have any puppies :) so folks when you look for a Barbet puppy, and you find that a male has been used from a different Country, those breeders show commitment, they are looking ahead at the future.
It is a nice thought, Eton, Dudley and Duplo are desirable males and I certainly hope that in the future they will be sires that I will be able to use, but obviously not with my little Hallie......    

Barbet puppy news

Duplo at 8 weeks old
I am very pleased to say that Novaforesta Duplo is the proud Daddy of 3 pups born in Finland. He was a beautiful pup and always very sweet, so lets hope he has passed his genes on.
 Above shows Duplo in France after his confirmation, he is on the left with the white flash on his chest. That was one of our weekend away trips and brings back such good memories. Hopefully we have 3 lined up for 2013, and I am already looking forward to it, as we do have alot of laughs.

A big congrats to Duplo and his new wife Emma, and welcome to their 3 new puppies, photos when I get them.

Sunday, 21 October 2012

Dog training or Gundog training or socialisation

Yesterday was a big day for Hallie as she went out on her first shoot. Hallie will be 7 months old in November. It didn't occur to me that she was too young, but one could tell on our arrival that when I mentioned her age there was an element of doubt about whether she should be there or not. Luckily, I am used to people doubting my judgement and with the explanation that Hallie was Bepops' grandaughter, there was a sigh of relief from most. We had a wonderful morning, I was in charge of Hallie, and I made myself aware of where all the guns were, so that we could avoid being too close. That worked well, although a couple of times we found ourselves rather near to a gun, and it took a quick shout to ask for clearance so that we could move away as I had a young dog.....teamwork on a friendly shoot.... Anyway back to Hallie, at the sound of any gunfire, she was praised, asked to sit and rewarded and I am pleased to say that after 3 shots she had learnt that we were sort of doing training which meant a cheese reward after a big bang as long as she sat down....Bingo. So first test achieved, and now my job is to maintain her confidence which is harder, one wrong move could ruin a dog so she will only go back to the shoot when I know that I can totally focus on her. What I found interesting is that when Hallie and I investigated a bit of fur in the grass, and it jumped into the air and ran off, we were as surprised as each other and out came the cheese and she was rewarded as she showed no desire to chase, the same happened with a deer that headed straight at us, Hallie hid behind me (which nearly threw me to the ground) I remained still as deer in theory go round you not through you, and yep you have guessed...out came the cheese, Hallie soon learnt that anything weird all you do is sit and cheese appears. My best moment was hitching a ride on the trailer, Bepop knows that you get lifted in and lie down as it is a bumpy ride and you can see the ground rush by, it is scary for them but dear Hallie even accepted the trailer, and learnt within seconds that life was more stable lying down than trying to stand, more cheese......So my summary of the day would be, her age was perfect and she learnt alot, she had fun and she enjoyed it and where ever you take a pup you need to watch their reactions, a gunshot is no more scary than airbrakes on a bus, or a youngster appearing round the corner on a skateboard. The downside of yesterday were the BURRS, Bepop as shown in the photo was covered, and Hallie and I didn't escape either but hey it did keep Bepops' fringe away from her eyes. I am pleased to say that Bepop was fantastic yesterday, although she was a little grumpy over all the male attention she was getting as all the dogs on the shoot are males, she didn't deserve the attention she was getting and she did get a tad bored with it, it must be her  doggy perfume, but she worked exceptional well and lifted the birds, she worked close to Julian and no running well done to Bepop as it is hard for a dog that one week picks up, the next week will be beating and as most of you may realise, Bepop is a free thinker and generally thinks her way is best, but not yesterday all it took was a quick reminder of her name and she returned. Gold star Bepop and Hallie. So is nearly 7 months too young to go on a shoot, I think it depends whether you know your dog or not........               

Friday, 19 October 2012

Welcome to Hallies' sister

This site has some lovely photos of 'Nessie' the first Barbet in Scotland

Although if you study the history of the breed, there was a wonderful story about a rough haired water dog living in Scotland that was so well known that when it perished it was stuffed and on view in a local museum. Sadly the museum has no trace of this dog as it would have been very interesting to see how similar it was to the breed we know today. 

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Dogs and bones

Life doesn't get much better than this, and it kept the dogs quiet all afternoon. The youngest dog Hallie picked the biggest bone.

Betsy Bonheur

Betsy Bonheur caught on camera, the day before Hallie had been blamed for breaking the shrub. One can only assume that a stray dog biscuit is in there.

Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Hallie the Waterdog

Hallie at nearly 6 months , not sure what she was waiting for, but she was in the water when we arrived. I have read recently that some Barbets do not swim, is that a concern? certainly the majority of Barbets in the UK like water and retrieve well in water so it is not an issue here. There are also owners who buy a waterdog for the reason that it does not shed its coat, and ofton those dogs are not taken to water so they do not get the opportunities that dogs like Hallie get from an early age.    

Dog training and Barbets

The first rule for training is that Barbets are sensitive dogs, if you train your dog so it is fearful of getting it wrong then you will have altered one of the main character traits of the breed, these dogs are happy dogs that are eager to please. Hallie is an outrageous thief and with 6 people living in the house she has far too many opportunities to steal things that she should not have, so this has to be turned into something positive. Firstly no chasing, no shouting, and strangely enough no recall, stay calm and smile.Now every puppy owner should have ready a pot of treats or a trophy toy as a reward, either on their person and in every room in the house for these stressful times.
So now you need to be cunning, depending on where the puppy is will depend on your next move, so as an example Hallie is in the garden with my iphone doing acrobatics, my next move would be to either hang something on the line, clear up dog dirt or put something in the compost (you can pretend these actions as they are not that bright!) and remember at all times that you are very happy and not remotely concerned about your iphone!, nor are you interested in your puppy as you have to totally ignore them. So curiosity will win, as puppies like to be with you and part of everything you do and when the puppy approaches you to join in you may have different Scenarios

Stay calm and smile

1.Iphone left in flowerbed
 Distract your puppy, you have treats so throw them on the floor as you need to get your iphone from the flowerbed unaided and ideally without the puppy seeing or ask your pup to sit and then reward that behaviour or do a silly dance and just play with the puppy as remember at all times that you are happy then casually move back to the house avoiding the iphone route if possible. Then retrieve your iphone
2.Iphone still in her mouth
 Don't try and take the iphone until you can exchange the treat, the best way is to have your hand ready under her mouth and in the other hand make sure she sees the treat, think of toddlers and if needed turn the treat into a low flying air plane. It is all about timing......and it can be tricky.Never ever grab the dog or the item as that will be a short term solution.  Remember at all times how much fun you are having. If this works and the iphone is released to your hand then you reward immediately again and tell the puppy how fantastic she is. If she drops the iphone to the floor or you failed to catch the iphone before it hits the floor  for the treat, do not reward but ask her to do something else like a sit and reward the sit. Think about this......if your children threw your iphone on the floor you would not be happy and certainly you would not reward them, So taking the iphone out of the mouth or the iphone dropping into your hand is only what you reward. But you always need to find something else behaviour wise to reward, no puppy must ever fail....
3.Iphone dropped within reach
 This one is the hardest as you know that with one lunge you have your iphone, but resist as next time your puppy will try it again , as it is a common problem that dogs drop balls, dummys etc just within grabbing reach, it just begins the start of a game. So be cunning, walk backwards, sideways or whatever it takes to distract and move away from the iphone and do as you would as though the iphone is in the flowerbed.

An easy shortcut when your puppy has something that you don't want it to have and you are just leaving the house, stay calm and distract by even picking up the dog lead, most puppies love the thought of a walk so put the lead on, make the puppy sit and then reward ( don't forget to remove the stolen item which was probably dropped in the excitement), then unclip the lead and hang it back is still training as putting on a collar or attaching a lead may not always mean a walk. So adapt situations in the house and garden, and don't ever overwhelm the puppy by rushing training, if you have limited time, reward a sit, if you are home for the day then really all your actions with your puppy are a form of training.

One final word over using commands:

Only when I think that there is an understanding that she mustn't drop what is in her mouth, do I start to use a command, and being rather British I say ''Thank you'' when I take the item from her, then she has the reward.
You may read that a dog is better trained without food rewards, but I think you do what works for your puppy and as they grow up you will find that you reward with food less and less as they read your body signals better, it is teamwork from the start, I am learning from Hallie as much as Hallie is learning from me........ 

This is of course only my view and it is working very well with Hallie, but you do need to be consistent and the results are not overnight all I am doing is allowing her to work out what I want her to do and I am now finding that she will appear with sometimes her favourite ball or even a plastic bag and follow me, and she holds on to her trophy until I ask for it and then she gets her reward. This morning she found a tube of toothpaste, and I watched her playing in the garden from the house, amazing how much pleasure something so simple can bring and how high a tube of toothpaste can go, puppies are puppies and they grow up quickly so sometimes you just can watch them having fun.

A shoe minus insole
Waiting to give me her favourite trophy, an insole!

A tube of toothpaste

Tuesday, 2 October 2012

Novaforesta Darcy

Another wonderful day as Darcy, daughter of Bepop and Caya came to visit. A sensible option for Darcy is a short back and sides as she is rather a rural dog and like most barbets likes to swim and find mud. Darcy lives in a family home with young children, and is a very sweet little girl. She was a gentle puppy and has grown into a very gentle dog.At this time last year she was very ill, but as you can see she is back on her feet and now looks a picture of health.  

Guardian homes wanted

The Barbet breed is expanding worldwide and there are some beautiful combinations being made that should produce some wonderful new blood to the UK. If anyone is interested in a puppy from abroad can they please make contact with me as we are actively looking for homes to place potential future breeding dogs.
 If you feel that you wish to become involved with this rather exciting venture then email me for further details at
Novaforesta Doug

Puppy news from Holland

 Novaforesta Effie is living in Holland and has had a beautiful litter of 8 pups, these photos are when the pups are about 4 weeks old. The father is very handsome and has a wonderful charactor, and his name is Gauche, he has sired before and his reputation is outstanding so he is a worthy contributor to the breed

Effie is being a good Mum which is nice to hear as she has a special place in my heart as she stayed with me until she was 16 weeks old, and you just can't help getting is my failing as a breeder!

A happy couple of Barbets

Novaforesta Eton has been unfaithful to his first wife, more good news hopefully to follow.

Hallie at nearly 6 months

Bathing is needed as Hallie loves mud, luckily she seems to enjoy the shower . 

Hallie and dog training

Well, Hallie has now been enrolled in weekly dog training classes and after two weeks she has settled in nicely amongst the labradors which outnumber her by 5-1. I am helping out at the classes as I am very interested in not just the training but also the behaviour of pups and Hallie at not yet 6 months old has to lie down and watch the first class for an hour. To be honest I didn't think it would be possible that Hallie could be that good!.
The first week we sat together and watched the puppy class,  a group of 6 puppies ranging from 6 months to 8 months, it was very noisy, but  Hallie remained relatively calm throughout. Hallie then joined the older dog class and behaved extremely well and was much steadier than I could have hoped for as training with other dogs especially for a pup is very distracting.The second week she was tied to a piano on the stage, with my coat as her blanket and I sat near her whilst the first class was held, and after intently watching the class for awhile, she then lay on her side and slept. I woke her for her training session and once again she excelled, and her three dummy retrieves were all to hand :) So she is learning to chill amongst chaos, and she is learning to work with distractions and what is best of all for me is that when the classes are finished, she turns into a complete hooligan and wants to play and cause chaos with all the dogs. So she is not just a perfect puppy that is easy to train, she is learning what is expected of her in different situations.Fingers crossed for our third week, I will keep you posted.  

Bepop camera shy!

Bepop loves the camera unless she is not in the mood for a photo, and then doesn't matter how many silly noises you make she will not look at you.