My dogs and their achievements
When you choose to take responsibility for a dog, I feel that you should provide them with the social and behavioural skills they need to be enjoyed by all who they encounter, both fellow canines and humans. It always amazes me how willing dogs are to learn, you just have to offer what motivates them as their big reward and with patience you can have your dog achieve great things – and have fun doing it. When dogs know what is expected of them, they are usually much happier and a pleasure to have around.
Dogs like people have their own individual personality, traits and characteristics. So it makes sense that my relationship with each of my dogs is quite different. The bond I had with my first dog Candice is similar to the emotional bond I now have with Freya who is a very special little dog. Not only is Freya very intelligent, and always gives of her best, but she also has a good sense of humour, and constantly makes me smile. Freya goes everywhere with me and we have travelled to many countries together.
My affinity for Hamish (when he was alive) and Ostara is very similar. Our bond is very much a working relationship. Both very clever dogs, and like to think. Hamish loved to work, but sometimes thought about things too much. He would come up with his own version of what you had just taught him. Ostara is a workaholic like Hamish was. She lives for her agility, but is also a bit ADD, so is sometimes over-hyped and struggles with concentration at big events.
Aradia whom I co-own with Rob Evans is a demanding little madam. She is a lovely little dog, but very high maintenance, and tests my patience. Rob works her in agility and they get on extremely well.
Whatever my relationship is with each of my dogs, I love them all very much.
Ever since I can remember my Mum was involved in dog training so I grew up around dogs. With no less than five German Shepherds and a little Spaniel-Yorkie-cross at home, I learned to handle dogs from an early age but I remember always wanting a Border Collie.
I begged and pleaded with my parents to allow me to have my own dog, they said we had too many dogs already, and that I would just have to wait. As any nine year old would be, I was disappointed because I really wanted my own little dog. But then, on Christmas eve, 1987, my Mum arrived home with a big surprise, a beautiful, little fluffy cuddly Border Collie puppy. She was just so cute. At first I thought she was there just to visit, but she was mine to keep. I was so happy, the best present I have ever received.
I named this beautiful little puppy Candice and we became very close. I had a very good relationship with her. She was not from the best breed line but I loved her to bits. She was so special with lots of character and looking back, had an extremely high-drive which made her quite a difficult little dog to train. A very busy dog. Up at 5am and straight in the pool, and then would spend the rest of the day running around the plot like mad, herding the gardener, the lawnmower or the other dogs.
Candice was spayed at an early age and unfortunately stopped breathing for several minutes during the procedure due to a reaction to the anesthetic. She did recover but became progressively neurotic and scared of loud noises. Still, I managed to get her into B-test in obedience, and she also qualified in Working Trials with a Companion Dog Excellent grading.
With her high-drive and slight build she was perfect for agility and absolutely loved it. I was so young and we had so much fun doing it but I retired her from competition quite early in her career as we had a couple of scares with her reacting to loud bangs which resulted in her running away. On one occasion we only found her two hours later playing football in a field with some young lads.
She taught me a great deal, and undoubtedly without her in my life I would not have achieved what I have with any of my other dogs.
- B-test Obedience
- CD-Excellent in Working Trials
A good friend of my Mum and Dad had a litter of Border Collies and again I begged and pleaded to be able to have another dog. Finally it was agreed I could have one of the puppies but only if my Mum could name him. I spent a lot of time visiting the puppies, and chose Hamish when he was only a few weeks old. I could tell even then that he was an extremely intelligent dog. During my visits I was able to teach him so much even at 4 or 5 weeks old .
I was 13 years old and Hamish only 6 months old when we entered his first obedience competition – Novice. He got a second place, but the judge on the day was so impressed with how we worked that he gave us a special judge’s prize.
It was really rewarding training and competing with Hamish. I had a very strong working relationship with him. He wasn’t an easy dog to train as he would grasp concepts very easily but then would go and have a think about what he was supposed to do and come up with his own ‘better’ version of it. He would make me laugh but also drove me mad coming up with his own theories for things. I always said that he was like a super nerd with his scientific calculator and pens in his blazer pocket.
When I taught him distance-control for C-test, he grasped all the positions very quickly and knew not to creep while doing them. But as was typical of Hamish, in the ring, before the steward could display the next position and I could give Hamish the command, he had already done a sit, down, stand about 20 times in quick succession. He thought that he didn’t need a handler and would do the exercise all by himself. So getting him to understand that in fact he did need a handler was very testing.
Hamish and I achieved a great deal in obedience. He became a C-test Champion at the age of two. When I was just 15 Hamish and I won the C-test Dogmor Dog of the Year competition. He went on to become a five times C- test obedience Champion by the age of five. He achieved CD Excellent in Working Trials and did really well in agility too.
- 5 times C-test Champion
- CD-Excellent in Working Trials
When I was at University I took a break from regular obedience and agility competitions, so I had no intension of getting another puppy at this stage. But, my boyfriend at the time wanted a puppy. So I researched potential Border Collie lines to see who was expecting puppies, and when we went to see a litter. I immediately fell in love with one of them. He was just the cutest fluff ball and so pretty. As Candice and Hamish were quite old now I decided that perhaps maybe a puppy was a good idea after all.
Odin was a light-hearted playful little dog, out-going and full of beans. But, at just 6 months old he was caught up in an armed robbery at our home and suffered being kicked down the stairs while trying to protect me from the delinquent robbers. The experience altered his temperament but after a lot of work with him, I got his gentle soul to reappear and shine again.
Odin began to trust again and brought much love to many suffering people through our activities with Paws for People. This therapy work required the handler and dog team to pass the American Kennel Club Canine Good Citizen (AKC CGC) test and the Paws for People® skills and aptitude test. Odin sailed through with flying colours.
During the therapy calls we visited many people at facilities like the Ann Harding Homes – for people with disabilities; old age homes; Salvation Army children’s homes; and drug rehabilitation centres like Viva.
Odin’s soft approachable personality was perfect for bringing relief to people who were dealing with difficulties in their own life. He brought joy to all who interacted with him.
Besides the therapy work I took Odin to B-test in obedience and only did a little bit of agility with him as he was a huge big bear. I miss you Odin but not your whining for your breakfast in the mornings.
- B-test Obedience
- American Kennel Club Canine Good Citizen (AKC CGC) test
- Paws for People® skills and aptitude test
Freya joined the family when Odin was seven. I always wanted to get a dog from good breeding that would give me the option to breed from myself at some stage. I was looking for a line that had a proven good work ethic, stable temperament and high drive. I chose the Giftnell line. I visited the puppies at 4 days old and I immediately knew from then which puppy I was having.
Having selected puppies in the past I knew what I was looking for: Even markings, good conformation, good angulation, intelligence, drive and independence. I further visited the puppies every week until I could take mine home. Freya was very independent from the time they were mobile, she was always off on her own mission and didn’t like spending time with her siblings. She was inquisitive and wanted to spend time with older dogs.
From the moment I got her home, Freya was a very busy little puppy. She is still very much like that at the age of almost sixteen. She loves spending time in the garden hunting for lizards, or bees; or runs up and down stalking the birds. She is a very intelligent little dog and loves to work. I did some obedience with her when she was young, but once I started doing agility with her, I could see how much she enjoyed it and the obedience fell by the wayside.
When she first started competing in agility she was unfortunately measured just over 43cm so she competed in the Large category. At the age of seven Freya was re-measured to compete under UK Kennel Club regulations and she measured just under 43cm and so could compete as a Medium.
Although Freya achieved a great deal in Large, she was always at a disadvantage being so small but she always gives of her best and loves competing with Rob in Medium these days. She is a pleasure to train, and learns things very quickly. Her stable temperament has a calming influence on Ostara who has the tendency to be neurotic.
Freya spends a great deal of time with me as she goes everywhere with me. She has travelled to many countries with me, not only for agility competitions but also on holiday. She is my one-dog-in-a-million.
- 25 SA Agility Championship Certificates
- 2 times Reserve KUSA Nationals Agility Champion
- 4 times at the FCI Agility World Championships
- 2 times UK Kennel Club Championship Certificate winner with Rob Evans – Thames show, Tuffley show 2012
- KC International Festival ‘If Only’ winner 2012 with Rob Evans
- Qualified as reserve for Team GB 2012 FCI Agility World Championships with Rob Evans
- UK Kennel Club Reserve Championship Certificate winner with Rob Evans – Tuffsbury show 2013
- Qualified and competed in Crufts Singles 2013 with Rob Evans
- Qualified and competed in Crufts Championships 2013 with Rob Evans
- Qualified for Olympia 2013 with Rob Evans
- Qualified for Crufts Team for 2014 with Rob Evans in Team Thames Dog Training Club
I had just started competing in agility with Freya and wasn’t thinking of getting a new puppy at this stage but Rob was. I gave it some thought and decided it would be nice to have two dogs to compete with. I knew the sire of the litter and knew that he had very good drive. We never actually went to visit the puppies, so this was the first time since Candice that I didn’t actually choose the puppy myself. A good friend saw them and took a few photos and videos of them for us to see, which I made my choice from.
Straight away we could see that Ostara and brother Zildjian, Rob’s puppy were going to be very quick and competitive in agility. Ostara loves running flat out and has a great deal of energy. She may not have Kennel Club conformation for the breed ring, but she has the perfect build for agility. She is very competitive by nature, and loves doing well displaying pride in her rosettes and trophies.
Retired now, Ostara is selectively hard of hearing but enjoys her laidback life at home and still goes on walks and plays fetch in the garden.
- SA Grand Agility Champion
- 59 SA Agility Championship Certificates
- 2 times KUSA Nationals Agility winner
- Finished top place for the Team GB 2012 try-outs
- 4 times at the FCI Agility World Championships
- Kennel Club Championship Certificate winner UK 2012
- Competed in Crufts International 2012
- Silver medal Crufts Team 2013
- Qualified for Olympia 2013
- Qualified for Crufts Team for 2014 Team Thames Dog Training Club
- Silver medal Crufts Championship 2014
Very impressed with the Giftnell line, I chose Laga to add depth to my Freyasway line. Laga has produced eight beautiful puppies from three litters all clear of any hip, elbow and eye problems.
- Breed Champion
- Mother of 8 from 3 litters
Aradia is a puppy from Laga’s first litter. Chosen for her build and out-going nature she is a very loving little dog but quite demanding as she is very vocal and whiney. Having spent two years living on the farm with my Mum in Magaliesburg, South Africa, she now lives with us again in the UK.
Aradia produced 15 KC registered puppies from 2 litters. Many of which are now very active in agility and doing well.
- Fastest dinner eater in the house
- Biggest whiner in the house
- 15 pups from 2 litters
“Aeracura is a Celtic and Germanic Goddess who is an Earth Mother, Fairy Queen and a bridge between life on earth and the hereafter. She is devoted to blossoming. She represents the “blossoming” aspect of ourselves, by reminding us that the journey is part of the adventure not just the destination.” – I look forward to my journey with you Aeracura.
This clever little dog shows great promise for agility. Sired by Lauren Langman’s male Reef, reflects in her build. Her slight build, long legs, food drive and toy drive prevalent are great attributes for the working dog I was after.
I’ll keep you posted with regards to her progress in agility…
- Loves agility
- Looking forward to her first first win
Disco joins the Freyasway family from the Devongem line. We have high hopes for her in agility and with a grandfather Reef of Darleyfalls she comes from a line of great achievers in agility.
- Loves lying flat in gather position
- Enjoys agility
- Mother of 11 pups from 2 litters
Talisker lives for agility. She absolutely loves it. Of all of the dogs I have had over the years, Tals is definitely up there with agility ability. I look forward to you progressing through the grades Talisker.
- Loves her toys
- A natural at agility and loves it
- Mother of 6 pups from 1 litter
From Aradia’s first litter – the first born. She chose to stay with us from day one. An escape artist of note, the first to climb out of the whelping box, tested all of the fencing around the garden and made her way to the neighbour’s property a couple of times before we re-fenced to keep her in.
Kundalini’s high drive transfers into high speed on the agility course. We look forward to great things in agility from her when we get it right.
- Very loud squawking dog
- Great drive
Kundalini’s litter sister also from Aradia’s first litter. Muse was destined to be a Mum. Every season before she had pups, she would have a phantom pregnancy and gave birth to a rugby ball and a squeaky toy hedgehog before having her real pups. Bless her, she is such a lovely soft natured girl who has matured into a lovely companion.
She does like agility but does not live for it like others in our pack. She is a tall girl at 54cm, slight-frame with long legs, she offers a great build for agility. She does enjoy training in short sessions. She is not as fast as her sister Kundalini but who knows, she may surprise us all in competition. It is up to her whether she would like to compete or not, I am just grateful that she is in my life.
- Proud mother of 6 pups from 1 litter
First of Muse’s litter to be born. Hina Moon is the smallest puppy I have ever witnessed the birth of, weighing in at a mere 170g. She was tiny and showed no sign of life at first. After resuscitating her, she immediately latched and has continued to love her food.
She is such a sweet little thing with quite a few idiosyncratic traits. Hina Moon is still small and has the potential of being a medium agility dog which would be nice. At 8 months, we will know quite soon if this is to be. I’ll keep you posted.
- Cheeky tike – achievements still to come…
Lagertha was the last puppy of Muse’s litter to be born. A beautiful merle with one blue eye, she is striking to look at. Great confirmation and perfectly tipped, even ears, she is definitely a great specimen to carry on the Freyasway line.
With her very distinct look, it is fitting that she has a name to match. Named after the legendary Viking shield-maiden Lagertha Lothbrok, she has the Viking striking look and feisty character too.
Lagertha loves playing, has great toy and food drive. Enjoying her puppyhood for now, but I look forward to working her in agility in the coming years.
- Full of beans – achievements still to come…