Barking Mad Dog Weekend, Church Stretton, Shropshire
31 October to 2 November 2008
We joined a group of fellow dog lovers for the second 'Barking
Mad' weekend, which included country walks, agility training, introductions to
flyball, first aid talks, massage for dogs, talks on rescue, and some time to
relax and get to know each other.
On the first afternoon, the group of 18 or so dogs and owners splits
into two and takes to the hills
Exploring the local woods and streams - some of the dogs went paddling,
but ours just settled for getting a bit muddy
Galloping cheerfully along the path and over a small bridge
George and Ellie come charging back to encourage us to catch up
The Long Mynd hotel
Still with plenty of energy, the dogs hurtle down the steep path.
Back at the hotel we had a talk on first aid for dogs, followed by a
Early the next morning, a pre-breakfast walk.
There were some fantastic sculptures around the hotel grounds
The hotel from a different direction during the longer-than-planned
pre-breakfast walk - the dogs enjoyed it but got very dirty doing it
The hotel and Church Stretton
However it didn't matter as we were off for our day of agility fun,
where they got even dirtier. Here Ellie is getting the hang of the 'dogwalk'
piece of equipment, which would eventually be placed at the top of the
frames you see, making it two steepish slopes with a high walk between
Ellie concentrating as she soars smoothly over a jump
Ellie prances confidently through the rigid tunnel. She also pushed her
way through the collapsible tunnel with ease, much to my surprise.
We couldn't do spaniel agility without a 'flying ears' shot!
In the afternoon there was a fun agility competition, which George came
a very close second time, possibly only beaten because the stopwatch
failed to work so the winning dog got a 'free' second run. Here he is
with his second place rosette. Thanks for these last four photographs to
Paul Howell Photography.
Back at the hotel we had an interesting session on massaging your dogs,
with information about different techniques such as the Tellington
T-touch. After dinner was an informative talk about Springer spaniel
The following morning was to be a short introduction to flyball, which
became much longer than originally planned. We should have then had a
long country walk, but as the flyball trainers were not set up when the
session was originally intended to start, we did a shorter walk beforehand
The idea of flyball is to send your dog over the 4 jumps to an apparatus
at the far end. The dog puts his paw on a release mechanism which fires
a tennis ball out, which the dog catches and takes back over the jumps
to his handler. There are usually 2 teams of 4 dogs competing as a
relay; the first team to get all 4 dogs and tennis balls back is the
After spending some time teaching the dogs to touch the target pad to
release the ball, we practised sending the dogs over the jumps, first
one or two, then building up to three and then all four.
Ellie enjoyed this part, though as neither or our dogs are interested in
tennis balls they didn't quite get the idea of the whole game. Ellie
just about learned to pick up a tennis balls, though she couldn't jump
with it, but didn't seem to want to touch the target pad.
George was happy to do the jumps of course
and to touch the target pad which he did very nicely, but had no interest
in the tennis ball it produced!
But they both had great fun. After this the group broke up, and after
lunch we drove to some nearby spots for
Stephen and the dogs to bag a couple
before driving home.
A very enjoyable weekend, though slightly lacking in organisation and
communication at times.