Wonderful summertime

DSC_1187.JPG

It´s raining. And it makes me happy. It makes my plants happy. We have been waiting for rain quite a while. Let it rain, I am tired of hot sunny days as I cannot train the dogs then. I just hope it will stop raining in time. In this country raining might last for weeks and then it´s not fun anymore . But right now it´s just what we all need.

We eat lots of our own veggies, spend most of the time outside and thrive. I enjoy the company of my summer guest Ala, my cousin and best friend. I even use her as a helper on a dog training ground! Though she comes from Warsaw and does not speak swedish she has learned a lot of commands and is very helpful.

I still have to do a lot of training before I feel safe to start in the highest class but the progress has been made. I even decided to let a very clever trainer to try us out and make the judgement. It will be very interesting to see how Ruda copes with this long and difficult programme.

 
DSC_1010.JPG
 

Yesterday we even went to the local dog show and a respectful judge gave her an Exc, CQ and BOB. And she really enjoyed the show as it was outside, she was really allert and her ears were up all the time! Very positive experience for a dog which does not really like to show herself, especially indoors.

I showed Basqa as well. She just got a VG as she is not mature enough ( well, she cannot be being just 14 months old, can she?). I entered her in Junior class and she shoud be judged as junior, should´t she? She has got a very nice critique though and behaved well except the part the judge wanted to see her teeth. She kept her lips tightly closed and backed so in the end I had to show her teeth myself. We have to train on that daily!

Otherwise she is as she is. Very sweet and very annoying alternately. Possesive, noisy, soft and cuddly. Her training shows slow progress as she has to focus on so many things around her! I have X-rayed her hips and elbows and they are excellent so now it would be best time to find her a new home, but so difficult to announce her! I plan to do this every day but would I ever?

 
DSC_0988.JPG
 

Prima has been nice to Ruda lately. No aggresive behaviour They both were in season so maybe that would explain their warm feelings for each other.

She is well prepared for start in class 2 and I hope one competition will be enough to get the access to the highest class. But, of course, anything can happen on a trial. I plan to enter her on Sept 8th.

Otherwise her life is happy and simple. A little wooden stick, a pine cone or a ball and somebody who would throw it away is everything she needs.

 
DSC_1150.JPG
 

Basqas little friend Merlin is growing. They really enjoy being together. The only one disapproving is Xenon the Cat, sitting in the bushes and watching them play with disgust. I think he needs a playmate, I have to get another Maine Coon maybe?

 
DSC_1074.JPG
 
 
DSC_1080.JPG
 

Xenon has got a haircut and enjoys it immensly. No more small sticks, leaves and seeds stuck in his coat and no more tangles! I think we will take off his coat every summer. He looks like a lion and certainly feels so!

Thats about everything for now. Time for a short walk in the woods with our oldie Orca, that has been staying at our place for about 3 weeks. She is 12,5 years old and still doing quite well.

 
DSC_1533.JPG
 
DSC_1543.JPG

After Midsummer

DSC_0735.JPG

Hard to believe I wrote my last post over a month ago! I always suspected somebody steals summertime from me but now I’m almost certain!

Where do I start? I suppose I should begin at Belgian Specialty where my girls did very well. The first day, with Rui Monteiro who judged, Ruda got an Exc and Basqa an Exc CQ. On second day with Emanuele Boriero judging, Ruda got an Exc. CQ and Basqa an Exc. I never thought the little one would do so well!

Both days were spent in nice company of other Laekenois lovers and warm atmosphere despite quite chilly and windy weather. It was so nice to meet Rui and talk to him for a while!

I did not have time to make pics but I managed to take a blurry shot of flying Basqa after the show.

 
DSC_0090.JPG
 

What happened between the show and our journey to Holland I cannot recall. Nothing special, I suppose. Working in the garden, training and swimming, that´s what we were doing. Occasionally even taking care of a friends puppy, a Samoyed, who became a very good friend of Basqa. I didn’t know there was a gentle part in her until I saw her playing with this pup! I discover more and more parts of her that I really like!

 
DSC_0219.JPG
 

The next highlight of June was our journey to Holland. My youngest son was travelling with me and I enjoyed his company. We changed at the wheel as well, it was a long drive! The girls behaved very well.

 
DSC_0388.JPG
 

We have visited an old friend of mine who moved to Scania. She showed us some beautiful places. I would mind living there! The climate is much better for outdoor activities and growing the vegetables. Almost no snow during wintertime. Europe is much closer. The dialect they talk almost impossible to understand LOL But I would learn quickly! I always do!

 
DSC_0412.JPG
 

Next morning we took a ferry to Rostock and drove through Germany. As usual it was a nightmare! Lots of accidents and traffic jams between Hamburg and Bremen prolonged 6 hours driving to 8,5 hours but finally we arrived to our tiny house we rented for 3 nights. Wonderful quiet place with a big river nearby situated between green fields. A place where You can watch sunset every day. I never see sunset here. We have trees and big rocks everywhere!

 
DSC_0644.JPG
 

Next two days just disapeared. The dog show which, because of bad weather, was held inside in a low and cramped building with barking and whining dogs, would not be a hit if it wasn´t for all Dutch friends I met!

All my dogs behaved super well though they did not like all that mess at all.

Both got just VG, Ruda because of her missing tooth ( the judge did not accept a veterinary certificate that all other judges accepted before!!!) and Basqa because she was not mature enough ( though she was entered in Junior class???). No, it was not my day, but luckily I wasn´t there for show only!

Everything else was just perfect! The people, the dogs, the gossip and friendly atmosphere! And I personally met both of Alexandras males, Sonny and Monty, that could possibly sire Rudas next litter and I liked them a lot!

The Laekenfun day was just as nice and we even got sunshine the whole day! I was so occupied talking to people, looking at dogs and just enjoying to be there that I missed to make pics. I took one of Rudas family, the one in the middle is her mother.

 
DSC_0456.JPG
 

The journey home went very smooth. I already miss my Dutch friends! Some day I will make this journey again!

And back home there was time to celebrate Midsummer! One of the most celebrated holidays in Sweden, the longest day of a year.

I don’t really get why I should be so happy about days getting shorter but at least we are free from work some extra days and drive to the countryside where we meet our best friends.

Our main occupation will be eating too much, drinking too much, walking in those beautiful forests and swimming in the lake nearby. I usually drive to the nearest dog club or soccer field and train obedience with my dogs. I have friends in the nearest village that make a very nice company. They own a Border Collie from the same breeder and train obedience with their dogs. I really enjoy meeting them!

DSC_0740.JPG
DSC_0749.JPG

It´s always so good to have nice company!

Otherwise we walked, played in water and enjoyed beautiful weather. There would be no black clouds in the sky if not those terrible little gnats existed. They just waited for opportunity to eat us up, especially after the sunset. But we survived, we always do somehow.

 
DSC_0849.JPG
 
 
DSC_0895.JPG
 

I discovered that Basqa likes water almost as much as her mother!

 
DSC_0829.JPG
 
 
DSC_0885.JPG
 
 
DSC_0906.JPG
 

Running free in the forest must be many dogs dream. It requres some dose of self control with so many wild animals around. I´m happy I can trust them!

 
DSC_0939.JPG
 
 
DSC_0945.JPG
 

It has been about 35 years since I was invited to this place for the very first time. Some years we would spend every weekend there during summetime. We don’t own the cottage but our best friends allow us to use it whenever we want. There are places I cherish a lot. Holy places for me. This is one of them. It´s such a long time and not so many changes. The forest would disappear at some places, the new one would grow high. New roads would be built. But otherwise everything is as it used to be. The place where one can charge the batteries, find balance and peace. The best place on Earth!

DSC_0910.JPG

Explosion in green

DSC_9791.JPG

Would like to stop the time now! My favourite time of a year! So grateful to be able to watch the life reawaken after winter hibernation again!

This is a busy time for me. I am trying to get all the veggies growing in the garden and in the greenhouse that was rebuilt after the storm that made a huge tree fall down and smash the old one.

 
May 2nd in the countryside

May 2nd in the countryside

 
 

It has been cold and dry beginning of May, we have had many nights with temperatures below 0° C and the plants are a bit late but I still hope they will recover now. Yesterday we had 26° C and today the longed for rain arrived at last.

We opened the swimming season yesterday as well. Prima, Ruda and myself jumped in our lake without hesitation but Basqa stayed on the shore and cried. I tried to persuade her to jump in but she would not. In the end I just took her on leash and then she followed in without struggle. She is a good swimmer.

Last weekend we were in the coutryside at my sisters cottage and Basqa run in the sea without problems. But swimming is a different thing. Hopefully she understands now how nice it can be when days are hot.

 
DSC_9637.JPG
 

Otherwise we train obedience quite often nowadays as I do not have to go to work so often. I still have to fight against pain in my back though so I am not able to do as much as I would like to…

But, of course we are making progress and the dogs are clever. Even Basqa, though I need to find a way to improve her speed.

I have to start training for competition now with all 3 dogs. I have to stop rewarding them all the time. This is my biggest challenge as a trainer, I am a reward-addict! As long as the dogs are in lower classes where the programme is short there is no problem. But in higher classes they have to be prepared for longer work without rewards, otherwise they will feel frustrated. They will quickly understand that competitions mean lack of rewards and their motivation will drop.

I intend to spend the whole summer working on it as well as details. Every day!

The other day I was playing with my camera trying to take so called studio photos of my dogs. Here is result of it.

My sisters Dandie was here as well. She lost her eye recently due to glaucoma but she seems to be happy anyway. I like her photo most.

DSC_9756.jpg
DSC_9771.JPG
DSC_9747.JPG
DSC_9753.JPG

Basqas ears are enormous! I am not so disturb of them in real, as her head is big too but on the pics I see nothing but ears! It will be so interesting to get to know what judges think of her. I have entered her to 3 Belgian Specialty shows, a double on 30/31st of May and a on June 15th in Holland.

I am planning to attend the annual Laeken Fun Day in the Netherlands this year and meet all the fans of the breed and old friends I have made during the years of sharing the same passion. I really look forward to meeting them all and will enjoy seeing so many Laekenois gathered at the same place!

Easter time

DSC_9187.JPG

Last day of Easter holiday is almost over. As usual it started with a dog training session out in our club and will be finished with long walk in the woods. Exactly as I like it. In the meantime there was a lot of creative work in the garden as we have been spoiled with wonderful weather this year. The dogs, of course are a bit bored when i dig in the soil so I have to play with them from time to time. I am still healing after my spine surgery so I am not in the top condition yet but I do my best. My biggest physical problem has been solved so now I just hope for quick recovery.

Basqa has become a big girl now as she is in her first season. I really hope she is going to change afterwards and become a bit more manageable and mature. She is giving both me and grown up dogs a hard time, stealing everything they own, maybe except food, jumping and barking, pulling their hair and showing she is in charge. Disobeying me when I try to stop her. And they are completely submissive to her. Prima allows every toy she plays with be taken away from her and Ruda doesn´t even want to play. When she does she will be attcked by Prima and bitten. There was another fight just few days ago in such a situation. And I am becoming quite desperate. I am thinking about letting Basqa go. I just need to find a good home for her. I would like to X-ray her hips & elbows and for that I’ll have to wait until she is one year old. She would be a dream as a single dog for an active owner or in a pack with dogs that can show her where the boundaries are. She acts just like a spoiled child, manipulating and terrorizing.

 
Here with Primas belongings…

Here with Primas belongings…

 

Of course I would rather keep her as I am emotionally attached to her and I see her qualities but I do not know how I can make it work. Neither for me nor my older dogs. The balance in the pack is gone…

 
One of the few occasions when Prima can keep her toy for herself

One of the few occasions when Prima can keep her toy for herself

 

Ruda is being set aside. Prima can play with Basqa but every time Ruda tries to join them she will be chased away. The result is that Ruda does not leave my side. She seems to be stressed and uncertain. The only fun she has is with me. Maybe that´s why she is so engaged while training obedience? Really a dream dog to train! The only quality time she has left, maybe except sneaking at the cat? I feel really bad about it…

 
My shadow

My shadow

 

We will see if I find a solution. Some bitches change dramatically after their first season. I hope Basqa does and in right direction. What I see now is that she tries to dominate her mother by, for example growling at her when she is cuddled by me. I put a stop to it but will she learn???I do not believe in punishment so I do not know what to do really, have never been in such a situation. Let´s hope for the best! It´s easier when spring is here!

 
DSC_9192.JPG
 

It seems the spring is here

DSC_8860.JPG

I don´t know how long it will stay but spring is here!

The snow disappears quickly now when the temperature raises to above 10° during daytime, last few days in a row. Training outside has been possible for a couple of weeks now. I have to look for flat surfaces in parks or soccer fields, sometimes even on golf fields in the neighbourhood. It is going to take time before our ordinary training surface at the dog clubs aroud here will be free from ice and dry.

But most important thing is returning of the light.

I need some positive happenings now as I feel I have had some backlash in my life lately.

First of all my back has become much worse over last few months and I suffer from severe pain both in my spine an legs. The laminectomy is planned on April 8th and I really hope that will bring me back to normal activity after I am healed. I am not able to walk the dogs more than what´s absolutely necessary and every step I take is a fight, despite the painkillers. I try to train as much as I can but it´s not so joyful as usually and I think my dogs can sense it.

The second backlash is the mating I attempted to carry out between Ruda and a boy called Skoll, a nice, happy, playfull Laekenois, a half brother of Compis. I was very happy Skolls owner allowed me to use him. I tested progesteron on Ruda and it was perfect for mating, I went to meet the boy and he did not show any interest in Ruda at all!!! He was just playing around with sticks and bathing in the lake and try to make her join him. And she wasn´t interested either. This was strange! Maybe the season she was in, only 3 months after the last one wasn´t a real one despite high progesterone value?

I was looking forward to this spring litter so much and I felt so disappointed! But what can be done? I can only wait to next spring. This will be the very last time I´ll try to have puppies with Ruda. I will also have more time to look for other males. The risk of getting a shorthaired Laekenois like Basqa from the combination with Skoll is the same as with Compis. Maybe I shall find a hairy male with nice, stable character?

Basqa has got some longer harsh hair lately. And she stopped growing at 62 cm which is a maximum for a bitch. I like her looks a lot but I do not think she can get a price at a show. Her body is perfect, she moves beautifully but the coat just isn´t there, especially furnishing.

 
DSC_8774.JPG
 

We will see what happens on Belgian Specialty, a 2 days show at the end of May. I have the intention of showing both Ruda and Basqa and I am very curious about the judges opinion. Both are very familliar with Belgian Shepherds and Rui is a Laekenois breeder as well. Even if we do not bring home any titles it will be nice to get a fair description.

Have to start some show training with the wild youngster tomorrow! I suppose it will take sometime before I can run after the surgery…. Well, I will deal with it when time comes. Now it´s time to enjoy every day of this early spring, winter has not said the last word yet!

 
DSC_8831.JPG
 

Ice Age

DSC_8765.JPG

This is how our driveway looks like now. The paths in the woods and around the house look similar. Pure ice. No way to walk without risk of breaking bones. Deep, wet snow outside them so it´s difficult to choose other ways but it is safer. The weather has been oscillating between mild days causing melting of the snow and cold nights making water freeze to ice. Hard time both for me and the dogs.

We have had so much snow that it is going to take ages before it all disappears. And the winter is not over yet so next blizzard is behind the corner. And everything will start all over again…

 
DSC_8751.JPG
 

Basqa runs as usual despite the ice but I have noticed she has a need to rest a lot more. Probably it requires more energy to keep balance. It´s just as well for we do not have so many possibilities to train. Tracking will have to wait until the snow disappears, and some sunny places are actually getting free from snow now, training obedience outside is still impossible. I am so afraid to train speedy excercises as it is so easy to get injured.

Last week we were on a training competition. Except that the results were not official everything else was as on regular obedience trial. Both Ruda and Prima did great! Prima got many highest marks and finished with an excellent grade despite one failed excercise. Ruda got a second place but I was very proud of her 9 points (of 10) for heelwork. She missed one excercise too, nothing that she cannot do but somehow she misunderstood me. No rewarding during the whole program, which I did not train with them yet. It felt so great to be there and show my clever dogs though I must admit I felt some anxiety though I knew it wasn´t real competition. I hope we can take part in such events more often now when the spring comes so I can start with Prima soon.

Now some disappointing news.

 
DSC_9816.JPG
 

Compis has been neutered! His recurrent problem with prostata, which made his mating difficult last time, has bothered him so much recently that his owner has decided to castrate him. Best decision for the dog, not so good for my future breeding plans…

Now I have to look for another male and it is so difficult! Ruda is related to all the males I really like. Here in Sweden I can find only one interesting male but he is just 2 years old. It´s enough for me, he is friendly and character tested, has been free X-rayed on hips and elbows so actually everything was up to his owner. And she said no. She wants hime to mature more.

To mess the things up totally Ruda came into heat only 3 months after the last one! It´s because Prima is in season. I would never have expected that!

Nobody can find a Laekenois male in just 2 weeks! So I have to wait until next spring.

I have decided I could travel to Laeken Fun Day in Holland this year and check if I can spot a nice male there. But it will take time! And Ruda is 5 years old already. I think next year would be the last to try!

Shall I try to keep my dream alive or shall I just give up?

Frozen world

DSC_8514.JPG

It is possible to walk on water provided that one would wait long enough. Last weekend we went to our favorite lake and checked the ice. It was thick enough for a car to drive on. We are having a proper winter this year. Without any exaggeration, for it could have been much colder and we could have had lots of snow, but the weather is winterlike. Which gives me hope for early spring this year. Nothing one can count on but a wish that will keep me alive a couple of months more. Until spring.

 
DSC_8425.JPG
 

The doggies don´t mind. They are not crazy about snow but they do not disaprove. However Xenon the Cat spends most of his time inside. He does not like his paws touch the disgusting white stuff. At the same time he would love to watch the birds from a closer distance. It seems like an impossible equation.

 
DSC_8443.JPG
 

I understand him very well. I TRY to love winter. I try hard every day. But I am happy watching days disappear fast though it´s my life and I do not have so much left of it. But every day gone gets me closer to spring and the life I love. Outside. With sun, green grass and unlimited training conditions…

Every now and then I take the dogs to new places for long walks where they can run free in order to compensate lost training time. I suspect it´s bigger problem for me then them. We train in a dog training hall at least once a week but it´s not enough. I can even train details in my own hallway, which I do sometimes. And I try to track with Basqa once or twice a week. The dogs seem to be happy.

 
DSC_8286.JPG
 
 
DSC_8550.JPG
 
 
DSC_8507.JPG
 

We even have another dog at home, staying for a short time, a little Chihuahua/Cairn terrier mix, almost 14 years old but very fit and happy.

 
DSC_8537.JPG
 

So nice to see how he always is ready to follow us on our walks despite the tiny size, high age and short legs. A very positive soul!

Well, Januari is almost over. Two tough monts are still ahead. I will survive!

 
DSC_8311.JPG
 

It´s Christmas time

 
Clipboard.jpg
 

The snow is here and Santa has been around and holidays are long this year so we are happy. It´s not even that cold, last night we had exceptionally -10 degrees C, but today the temperature is just below freezing point and it feels mild. Two of my kids are away on Mallorca so the house is quiet and empty.

Less time spends on cleaning and cooking, more time on training dogs. I have to fight my usual winter depression, which makes me passive, but I cannot complain, this year I get some positive feedback from Basqa and it keeps me going. Partly because she is still a puppy and I know I cannot postpone working with her until tomorrow and partly because she is such an active young lady and she wants to do things. Right now she just collapsed after 2 walks in the woods, training in a dog training hall and rather long tracking, both on the road and in the woods. She is a talented tracking dog but today we had crossing tracks of wild animals and I noticed she was more interested to follow them. Everything can easily be seen in the snow now, so cool to be able to actually see exactly what the dog is doing. We are making progress in obedience as well. This looks promissing.

 
DSC_7827.JPG
 
 
DSC_7984.JPG
 

She is as big as her mother and still shorthaired. I do not think she will ever look like a proper Laekenois…

Prima turned 3 years on Chrismas Eve. Hard to comprehend. For me it could have been 2. One year has slipped away without notice…

 
DSC_7772.jpg
 

I must say that easier dog to have around is difficult to find. Though some parts of her behaviour are completely strange to me and irritating. Like lurking at the door to bite Rudas front legs when she goes outside ( which makes Ruda stay at home) and attack her every time she wants to teach Basqa a lesson ( which Basqa really deserves) or play…

Yes, it happened again. Prima played with a toy with Basqa and Ruda wanted to join them. Prima atacked Ruda with aggression I would never imagine existed in her. I left them alone this time and run away in desperation. After a minute or so they stopped fighting and came looking for me.

I will be shaken and depressed every time it happens. It has never been any problem with my 3 Laekenois before. They could play and live together in perfect harmony. And now Ruda is afraid to move freely and every time they pass each other on a narrow path I can see stiffness in her body. I feel so sorry for her and for me in a way as well as our walks aren´t so relaxing as they used to be. Everything has started with the puppy. I suppose there was no meaning in having one…

 
DSC_7796.jpg
 

I am considering rehoming the puppy but not so seriously that I am actively looking for a new owner. I really like her and I would love to keep her but actually I should think about the future. I think in a long run it will be difficult for me to fullfill her needs and living in a house with frequent dog fights would be hard. Well we will see what happens, I hope I will find a reasonable solution soon, time flies…

 
DSC_7808.JPG