Sunday, 29 November 2015

My home visits include Italy !

Over the years I've used "Skype" to help dog owners from all over the world, including the USA and the Australian Outback.
But an invitation to help owners in Umbria, Italy was something that really required a home visit !
Having landed at Pisa, I left Tuscany and made my way to one of the many hillside villages surrounding Perugia, where I had the pleasure of working with some lovely expats and their dogs.

My office, with Poppy (L) and Joe (R)
Joe the Cocker is a real character who fancies himself as the guard dog of his home ..........

............. which is a big responsibility given that a large pack of Maremma Sheepdogs guard their flock very close by ! When a wild boar strayed onto their patch, he was quickly chased away.

Maremma Sheepdogs make their presence known
Not that any of this worries Poppy, who looks like butter wouldn't melt .... if only !!
Poppy takes time out
This was always a wonderful view to wake up to - and not a sound to be heard apart from the single bell around one sheep in the flock.
Room with a view
I've always enjoyed visiting churches and when I saw the light shining on this particular statue, I felt compelled to photograph it.
A shaft of light hits Christ on the Cross

Thursday, 29 October 2015

Meet Wilf

Meet Wilf, my latest residential training dog. At 18 months of age, this English Setter is a lovely, lively character. However Paul did manage to settle him down just long enough for a few photographs to be taken this afternoon.

Eight month old Inca and adult male Deefa are two very impressive German Shepherds who stayed with us recently - but neither could catch Lily when she was in full stride !

Next time you're stuck in the traffic, with your stress reaching dangerous levels, spare a thought for me as I struggle to reach my office without any mod cons.

Charlie's first ever fashion shoot ! With Rachel in charge of his wardrobe and Paul looking after the camera, the poor lad doesn't stand a chance !

Wednesday, 30 September 2015

Toddle Cottage - a home with a view

As we were having dinner recently, Paul glanced over to the Scar and we knew immediately that the two silhouettes could only be those of our daughter Rachel and her boyfriend Ross. The sunset highlighting the two out for an evening ride emphasised once more how fortunate I am to live at Toddle Cottage and in the area that I do.

A home with a view
A recent boarding guest has been Josie, an extremely fit 8 yr old Cocker Spaniel. A small dog with a wonderfully warm and friendly personality, Josie was at her happiest when out in our field with a ball being thrown for her - then having the chance to

A great catch in the outfield by Josie
And now a chance to recover
Scooby is a residential training dog who arrived almost two months ago. This lively Beagle is from working lines and his natural instincts have been very much in evidence over the past few weeks ! However Rachel and I have worked hard to train this youngster into being a family pet, able to be off a lead and to remain closeby, to respond to his name and commands

Scooby in full flight
A very attentive little dog
One year old Hugo has been with us for six weeks now, staying for residential training. This big Doberman has a gentle character, though for the first few weeks he was extremely stubborn, refusing to even sit. But with persuasion and consistency this lad is a much reformed dog and I'm very pleased with the way he now behaves.

A proud looking Hugo

And finally a new addition to the Ardley household, Bert an 8 week old Border Terrier belongs and lives with Rachel.

Bert the Border Terrrier

Friday, 7 August 2015

Sadness comes in many forms !

With Rachel being away for a few days, it's fallen to me to look after her lovely lad Charlie, to keep him happy and make him forget the temporary separation he's having to endure. But is that sorrowful expression due to his best friend not being with him ...... or the grouch aka me, not wanting to play ball with him for the umpteenth time ??

One Sad Little Dog
The Deadly Duo of Fraser and Molly have returned for a few days boarding, creating mayhem wherever they go These two Yorkies are wonderful little characters as this photograph demonstrates.

Fun fun fun !!

Now where is Honey ? Our big dog is more than happy to constantly keep an eye on the decorating ..... even if she has to go undercover!

Honey has been discovered

The first photograph says so much more than two dogs playing. It's taken weeks for Dodger (L) and Frankie to be at the stage whereby both can play together without need for a lead, safe in the knowledge that they respond to a recall. Although they've not completed my residential training, such behaviour shows that both these young lads don't have much more to learn. And instrumental in their training has been Rachel who has worked tirelessly with me to turn these two into lovely dogs. Thank you Rachel!

Dodger and Frankie

Two weeks ago I met Milo for the first time. When he arrived he was very hyper and unfocused, but that initial lesson and the subsequent training his new owners have put in place are really paying off. Today he was much calmer and I know that with his owners, this rescue lad has really landed on his feet and will have a great life. Well done Milo.

The lovely Milo

Meet Dodger, a rescue Doberman who's just turned a year old. He's staying for residential training and it's very satisfying that this youngster is now off lead altogether in my field, listening to commands. Now for some open ground work where I have full confidence that he'll not let me down. Well done Dodger !


Chester's back again ....... making everyday feel like a Sunday afternoon ! No need to rush, no panic, no stress ....... just take it easy and relax. Now you know why this beautiful lad has been accepted as a Pets for Therapy dog.


Thursday, 2 July 2015

The Pack

Our daughter Fran is in Montana USA and I've been left in charge of her Pack - quite an honour. She's due back in a few weeks time and I know she's already looking forward to seeing her beloved dogs again - and with good reason ! (On the group shot, L to R - Maddie, Nellie & Cash)

Meet Maddie, a highly trained gun dog who's won competitions for trialling after a spot of mousing !!

Back in for a few days boarding are Bailey and Fudge, who stayed with us earlier this year for residential training. They were a pair of loveable monsters when they arrived then, but when they were dropped off this time they were excellent and it's so good to see that their owners have maintained the training !
And with those tails there' little chance of us losing them !

When our fields grow as many buttercups as they do, it's not surprising that Fudge comes out the colour that she does.

I thought I would post this photograph I'd been sent from my youngest daughter Fran, who's currently on a ranch in Montana. No wonder she loves the state.

Toddle Cottage a mad house ? Surely not !! Believe me, this was not staged. Paul had his camera near him when Tod inexplicably chose the comfort of this bed over his own ...... I just hope Honey our Chihuahua doesn't find him in it !

Meet Ruby, one of my residential training dogs. She's a Podenco x Husky. The Podenco breed comes from Spain and are used as hunting dogs. I've been assured by her owner that Ruby enjoys off lead exercise and that if given the chance will just run and run and .... So as you can imagine, Ruby is not allowed off lead yet !

Few dogs can resist the temptation of laying in the sunshine, and boarding dog Spot is no different !

Annie, my two year old, is a very curious youngster .......... which is not always a good thing !!!

Wednesday, 27 May 2015

How To Make Your Dog Sit Up ..... and pay attention !

Tilly and Annie both have lovely markings and Paul enjoys photographing them - if they sit still long enough!
Walking them with our son recently, he decided they'd arrived at a suitable spot for a photograph, but they weren't so sure .... until our son got some sweets out of his pocket and began to rustle the wrappers !

Tilly & Annie
We have a really biddable young lad staying named Freddie. And if one thing makes Freddie really happy it's the chance to play with a tennis ball ! Only a few days ago a really biddable young lad named Freddie came to stay. It quickly became apparent that Freddie liked to play with a tennis ball, so we forged an immediate bond using one.

Freddie keeps his eye on the ball .........
..... got it !
Running in the opposite direction, though with equal enthusiasm, is Honey, our 4 yr old Chihuahua who we were given at 6mths of age.
Capture Honey when she decides to suddenly run rings around you and you'll capture a little dog with a huge smile !
A few turns and she's having a turn, resting by my side panting heavily, glint in her eye ....... before something in her little head tells her to do it all over again !

Believe me, you'll never catch this little character !
And finally there's always Maddie you can rely upon if you want a mouse ! Despite being a well trained gundog who's won competitions, nothing shows where her true feelings lie better than her face !

"Can we come here again tomorrow .... and the next day too ?"

Saturday, 25 April 2015

Bailey goes back to school

My daughter Rachel has been working with me for some months now, both walking and and very occasionally, helping to train dogs (with the owners knowledge). Two weeks ago, she was given the responsibility of turning around the behaviour of young tearaway Bailey, a Cocker Spaniel. He arrived pulling, no recall and having absolutely no eye contact. But with persistence and a little hard work, things are really starting to change !