Goldendance Golden Retrievers
Goldendance Golden Retrievers


4/11/17 Rowan has sired another litter of Pups. Not one of our girls this time, but with a girl called Tess who is a full sister of our dearly departed Bramble. Tess had 3 boys and 2 girls, and we know that a couple are still available. So if you want a Rowan pup, and can't wait until Amber has her next litter then contact us and we'll arrange for your details to be passed on. We'll be having a boy pup, and I know Tess's owners will be keeping a girl, so don't hesitate if you want one. Rowan is also now back with the girls after Haze's season has finished - he was a bit ken around her to start with, but all 4 have settled back down with each other quite quickly - partly because they all want to lay in front of the log burner. We've really enjoyed the decent weather recently, with lots of long, dry walks and no mess in the house - long may it continue.....

26/10/17 Wow I can't believe how much time has passed since the last update! My fault of course but such a lot has happened here to keep me busy. In fact, It's taken 10 minutes to get the laptop up and running again after being off for so long....

Anyway, Dog news first. Rowan has mated with another girl! She's called Tess, and is a full sister of dear Bramble (but not litter mate) Tess is not owned by us, but she's a full working goldie, with a cracking pedigree. The pups are due to be born soon, and we are helping her owner with names of people who want a pup. Our fingers are crossed, as we want a little boy pup - a sort of "Son of Rowan" - really looking forward to it to be honest - although not the toilet training in the middle of winter! All our dogs are ok, Hazel's in season at the moment but we won't be mating her this time of course as it's far too close to her last litter. Holly has had a little "pampering" session in that we took her to a dog grooming palour to get her coat sorted. It's quite funny really, but as she's gone into her "old age" her hair seems to grow much faster and is really quite fluffy! All very cute, but a bit of a bind to keep clean with dirty wet roads to walk around.

Secondly, we have had our second "inspection" by the kennel club Assured breeder scheme. This as some of you know is a scheme run by the kennel club to encourage "best practice" by dog breeders. I'm pleased to say we passed with flying colours, after an inspection which lasted 3 hours including a pretty thorough examination of our premises and all of the paperwork.

Finally, to non-dog news. After all of these years, Carol now has a nice new shiny kitchen (and dining room)! Yes, we finally took the plunge and gutted the kitcken and dining room, then had a new floor in the kitchen, and new units etc put in. I've had lots of fun slavishly painting walls, ceilings and skirting boards, and seemingly 1000's of other little jobs that needed doing. It's all finished now, apart from finding a couple of new units to go in the dining room. I thought that I'd be able to rest over the winter, but Carol is already making dark mutterings about me finally finishing the lounge off.....Heyho!

Oh, and of course there's the football - up until last week I wouldn't have mentioned it, but finally we got our first win on the road, up at Wimbledon and yes,Dan and I were there to see it! We're still bottom of the division but I'm a bit more hopeful now.

8/9/17 Gosh a whole month or so has gone by without and update! My apologies for this! I'd like to say I've been on a long holiday but I haven't. It's mainly because I've been catching up on a lot of DIY jobs, along with following Plymouth Argyle around the country as the football season has started again. Anyway all of the dogs are ok, Hazel has recovered her body shape after her recent litter, and her coat has finally started to grow again and she's beginning to look like a peoper working retriever again. otherwise, its just been lots of exercise and training for them all. Even Holly has had some fun retrievng in the back garden!

17/7/17 Firstly birthday wishes to the following pups! For the 16th July 2013: Mini, Sally, Kiba, Jasper,Simba and Reuben. And for today, 17th July 2014: Dunnock, Merlot, Ollie, Lottie, Kara, and of course Amber and Hazel, our two girls. It always astounds me how fast the time passes by, especially as I seem to remember all of them as puppies, rather than full grown dogs!

Anyway, on to more serious news: Dear Holly has been through another operation to remove another lump from one of her teats. This involves the removal of the complete mamory gland and is quite a large operation. Unfortunately the lump was cancerous, but I think we caught it earl and our vet is hopeful that it won't have spread. Our fingers are crossed. Holly seems ok at the moment, just a bit restless as she can only have limited exercise. I have kept her separate from the others whilst she recovers, but she seemed a bit lonely, so now Rowan is with her - as long as he behaves himself. Amber and Hazel are ok: Amber's season is over, so Rowan has calmed down, and Hazel is slowly recovering from having her litter. She's lost quite a bit of fur (which is normal) and she's looking a little underweight, so she's still on a little puppy food mixed in with her adult food. All are enjoying their early morning qalks as its nice and cool.

4/7/17 All of Hazel's pups have gone to their new homes now, in fact the last pup left us on sunday, 25/6, but I've been so busy since that this is the first time I've been able to find time to sit and update the diary (more on that later). So far, all of the puppies; Holly, Luna, Rosie, Freddie, Monty, Oggie and Rusty have settled in well and seem to be behaving themselves! By all accounts our starting the crate training has helped in their new homes and its always good to hear that our hard work is helping in this way. And so, as another litter has left us, we now return to "normal". It does seem strange not rushing around thinking about what needs to be done with / for the pups, but I've been very busy: Firstly cleaning and disinfecting everything we used with the litter. This is a long, laborious task, but essential to ensure that there isn't any disease lurking on the whelping pen/ bedding / crates / boxes etc. Also, the garden has been a bit neglected so I've been getting back on top of that. And I've had a bit of a break! Yes, Carol packed our son and I off to London this weekend to see Green Day (and some other rather good bands) at Hyde Park. We had a brilliant time! And what's even better is that football is back this Saturday! It's only pre-season friendlies, but anything is better than nothing.....

22/6/17 VT day: or otherwise known as Vet Trip day! Oh what fun the pups had. Actually it all went rather well. Thankfully the weather was kind so thed pups had a good play outside before we made the trip and they were all pretty sleepy in the car: They soon came awake at the vets though, and had a fine old time playing in the consultation room as each pup took their turn for their examination and microchip insertion. All the pups are healthy and with all the boys have their testicles in the right place. One of the pups even managed to fall asleep on the floor! Then it was back in the crates for the journey home. They were so well behaved that we stopped off at my local fruit and veg shop so that the people who work there could come and meet them (They all knew about the pups as I use the shop regularly). Back home and a quick feed later, all the pups had a good long sleep, tired out by all the excitement. And so, we are now at the final stage: Saying goodbye to the pups as they start leaving for their new homes tomorrow. As always, we do get attached to each of the pups. We have watched their characters and personalities develop over the last 8 weeks and it's going to leave a large gap in our lives when they leave. Both Carol and I each have our own favourites, differents pups, and we do wonder sometimes which one we'd choose if we were to keep one. I'm not say who of course, so don't ask when you come! There will be a couple of new pics in the gallery of our trip to the vets.

19/6/17 Phew isnt it hot all of a sudden! This means that the puppies are drinking more of course and we try and keep them a little cooler with a large fan blowing most of the day. It's also meant that they can go outside to play, and I have errected a gazebo to keep most of the sun off them. We bathed them on saturday morning after outside play and he pups really enjoyed it. We used a large baby bath and some just sat in it, whilst others tried to catch the bubbles. Then a quick run on the grass to dry off a little followed by a rub down with a towel. The crate training is going ok, and hopefully tomorrow I'll put a crate in the car for their next bit of acclimatisation.. And now we look forward to Thursday and our visit to the vets......

14/6/17 Finally, finally the better weather has arrived! This has meant that the pups have been able to go outside for a playtime all together.This has a number of benefits for the pups: firstly it gives them a chance to "burn off" some energy by running around in a bigger space.Secondly it gives them another, different experience, and thirdly they get some awareness of what "outside" is. We have also been taking the pups individually out to play on the grass. It's far too difficult to just let them all run free on the grass as they do like to explore with their mouths! One consequence of all of this exploring has meant that the pups have been having regular baths which they all seem to enjoy. On a slight sad note, Hazel has now finished her motherly duties. We like to take the mum away from the pups when they are around 6 weeks of age so that the pups are used to being without mum before they go to their new homes. It also helps the Mum with her recovery process after looking after the pups and supplying all the milk. In the wild, by now most of the pups would have naturally passed away, leaving perhaps two or three for the mother to look after. However, due to the domestication, and the care that the pups and mum receives, the litter is much bigger at this stage, and its very hard for the mum to keep on supplying the milk. Dear Hazel has probably lost 2 or 3 kgs from her normal weight, even though she's had 4 meals a day, with added protein. So now, it's time for her to recover and take things easy for a while - until we start training again of course! I think Hazel has missed her pups more than they have missed her to be honest, but that's pretty much normal as the pups are now eating so much food! Hopefully there will be a couple of photos of the pups playing outside in the gallery shortly

6/6/17 Time seems to by flying by at the moment. We have now completed worming at 5 weeks, and again the pups behaved very well considering. Hazel, however definitely does not like the paste! Hazel is still feeding the pups, but now in a slightly different way: The pups will have their "solid" puppy food first, and Hazel will then come in after to top them up. This reduces the pups voracious appetite for her milk, and they don't hurt her so much. Hazel is also standing for them to feed from, a left over instinct from before dogs were domesticated and I think this is also slightly easier for her as well. It'll soon be time for Hazel to stop feeding her pups: A sad day for us to see, but very necessary for the pups to be fully accustomed to being without mum before they leave for their new homes. The play area outside is now ready! Unfortunately the weather here has been absolutely awful since I finished it, so they havent been out ther yet! How frustrating is that?

31/5/17 Weaning is now in earnest! The pups are now eating four meals a day, spread equally throughout, along with Hazel coming in as well. It never ceases to suprise me how greedy the pups are, as they will suckle on Hazel immediately after eating their food. Over the next week or so, we will increase the amount of food, and decrease the number of visits Hazel makes to feed them, until the process is completed by Hazel not feeding them any more. The pups are playing more now, and we have given them a baby play gym to play with. The pups learnt pretty quickly that by pulling the toys then the gym plays tunes and now we have a musical accompanyment to every play time! We met most of our new puppy owners over the course of the weekend and it was a great pleasure to meet you all. And now we are over half way through; the pups are over 4 weeks old so its time to look forward to outside playtimes, some crate training and of course worming at 5 weeks......

26/5/17 Sorry about the typing in the last update - I was having "issues" wth the space bar! Anyway, the final re-arrangement of the whelping pen has taken place - The separate toilet area is now in place. I'm pleased to say that the pups have started to use it, and although it's a bit hit or miss at the moment it should improve, and will help with toilet training when the pups go to their new homes. We started feeding twice a day yesterday, and it will be up to 3 times probably on sunday. All the pups seem to love their food, and the result is - normal looking poo!!! In all seriousness, it's really good to see this as it means that all of their "insides" have developed as they should. And now? Well, all of the major physical developments have happened, so it's time for the pups to grow and play!

22/5/17 Weaning has started! Yes, the pups had their first "proper" meal yesterday. This is basically puppy kibble which has been soaked in warm water so it's like a paste. This is then put into7 individual bowls so that it's easy for me to check that each pup is eating ok. They start off quite hesitantly, but after a minute or so they were all eating furiously! Then they decide to swap around, put their feet in it, or just roll around on the bowls! It also helps Hazel a little as they aren't so hungry for their next lot of milk. We will build up gradually the number of meals they have to 4 a day, and we'll also reduce the amount of water. The aim is to have them eating dry kibble by the time they leave us. Hopefully I'll get some pics into the gallery shortly.

19/5/17 worming was completed on monday, and the pups behaved brilliantly! Hazel, however, didn't really like the paste and I had a fun time with her! Normally it's a tablet of course, but whilst she's feeding the pups it needs to be the same brand as the pups, so she has to have the paste we use. Anyway its all done, until we have to repeat it all again at 5 weeks of age..... Some other changes have occured. I have taken out the roll bars as the pups are now sufficiently strong and mobile enough to move out of the way. This gives them more room to move around and less chance of them getting stuck as they have started to climb on the bars. We have also put a wee mat in the corner. This is to try and start their toilet training, in readiness for the proper box to go in next week. It's all a bit "hit or miss" at the moment, but the pups will work out where to wee (and poo) quite soon - hopefully!!! We have also started to play the "noises" CD to the pups: Yes their hearing has started to develop now, and the CD is designed to "de-sensitise" the pups to all sorts of everyday sounds, including fireworks before they leave us. We find it especially useful as it also has the sound of shot guns and its important that all of our dogs don't react badly to the sound of gunshot. Hopefully I'll get another couple of up to date photos into the gallery in a moment.

14/7/17 I can't believe a whole week has gone by! Such a lot has happened for the pups: Firstly and most importantly, all the pups eyes are now open! It's wonderful to watch the way they open, it starts off with just a slit, which gradually widens over a couple of days to being fully open. They can't focus properly yet, and that happens in the next few days. At the same time, all the pups start struggling up onto their feet. Again, its a gradual process, usually starting off with the front feet, then the back. It's incredible to watch as they wobble on all 4's, then fall over as they're not sure how to actually make the first steps. All of this development means that Hazel has to lay down pretty quickly when she goes in to feed them. Hazel is now spending more time out of the whelping pen, and this is a natural thing to do: She is confident that the pups are safe, and that they will be ok if she leaves for an hour or so. This mimics what would happen in the wild as a mum would have to go out hunting for food. Talking of food, Hazel is having a wonderful time with hers, as her normal diet has been supplemented with fresh chicken, pilchards, sardines and tuna (amongst other "goodies"). The pups are now two weeks old and that means...... worming! Not our favourite job, but necessary. We've very rarely seen worms in our pups, as we try to keep everything as clean as possible, but we still do the treatments. A note on the photos. I have tried in the last couple of days to take some decent shots of the pups standing, and also with their eyes open - I havent done very well as may be apparent from the latest photos in the gallery!

7/5/17 Sunday evening already, isn't time flying! The pups are just over a week old now, and we're in a "quiet" period for them developmental wise: Basically the pups are growing quite quickly, and behind the scenes so to speak their eyes are beginning to develop, to the stage where they will start opening in the next few days. In fact if you look closely at one of the pics in the gallery you may just be able to see the darkening around one of the pups eye slits - a sign that it will soon be opening. The pups will also soon be trying to get up on their feet  - it's wonderful to watch this, but it does mean that Hazel must lay down quite quickly when she wants to feed them or else they will get underneath her! Hazel seems to be thriving at the moment, she's eating well and her "no. 2's" is back to normal thank goodness. She is still cleaning them and making sure they do their toilet and I think her motherly bond with them is really quite strong. She certainly gets quite concerned if one wanders too far away or starts squealing a bit too much.

3/5/17 The good news is that all the pups are growing and feeding well on Mum. I have weighed them all twice since being born, and they have all added approx 8oz to their birth weight. This is pretty good going, showing us that Hazel is producing plenty of milk, and all of the pups can suckle well. The pups are now much more mobile than when they were born. It's incredible to watch how quickly they can move towards mum when they want a feed. They move with a sort of crawl-swim action at the moment, but it's quite effective when they want to move. Direction is by scent, so the pup smells where mum is and then moves towards the smell. Occasionally a pup will get disorientated and then it'll start whining with quite a high pitched squeek as if to say "mum come and get me!" At this point we usually end up moving the pup so that Hazel doesn't disturb the others that are feeding. Hopefully there'll be some new pic's in the gallery shortly.

30/4/17 The first 24 hours have passed and all the pups are thriving. Hazel has been absolutely fantastic with them, she doesn't want to leave them at all apart from needing the toilet. She doesn't even want to leave them to go and eat her food! Ok, Hazel had a total of 7 pups, 3 girls and 4 boys. They all weighed between 14 to 16 oz's when they were born and I will weigh them tomorrow to make sure they are all gaining in weight. I have set up a special photo page for Hazels' pups and I will start putting photo's in it - as soon as I manage to take some decent ones!

29/4/17 HAZEL GIVEN BIRTH TO HER PUPS! Yes it's happened! After a very restless night, Hazel went into labour at 7am this morning, and gave birth to her final one just on 11.30. Hazel was absolutely brilliant and has taken to motherhood better than I would have thought possible. Hazel did rather look at the first pup with astonishment, but with a little coaxing she started to lick it and then there was no holding her back. We then made a trip to our vets this afternoon to check both mum and pups and everthing looks fine, so we're back home now, Hazel's had a good evening meal and she's now cleaning her pups as they feed from her. We now enter a critical period for the pups, and for the next 24 hours we will be in constant attendance to make sure all is well. We will contact as many of you as we can, but please be patient as we're both very tired and also need to eat ourselves. Thanks, Rob

Hazel being very attentive to her newly born pups, 29/04/17

20/4/17 Gosh isn't time flying by! With all this good weather we have concentrated on two things: dog training, and trying to get as many of the "outside" chores completed before Hazel has her pups. Hazel is progressing well, she's really "showing" now and her milk has started to come through. She can have the pups safely from now on, but it should be another week or so hopefully. I have set up the whelping pen, and I'm in the process of getting everything else ready for her. Hazel is still going for her morning walk, but its a bit shorter now, and I'll probably stop this weekend, just to minimize the risk of infection. Hazel is eating three meals a day now, along with some tasty treats such as boiled rggs, pilchards, tuna and chicken (but not at the same time!) Training for Amber has continued, with plenty of the boring obedience "stuff" thrown in for good measure. I took Holly out on Dartmoor last night for a good run - dear Holly has never had formal training (although she's a "natural" retriever) and therefore she misses out on some of the fun. But not last night! We walked over to Trowlesworthy Tor stone row and circle and she absolutely loved it - muddy paws all round! We've also had a wonderful visit from some of our previous pups: Honey and Buster (who live together) came to see us whilst their owners were on holiday in Cornwall, and Ember also came again. It's wonderful to see them all grown up and it brings back pleasant memories of their dearly departed mothers: Pippin, WIllow and Bramble respectively. Carol has also been on a bit of an adventure: She went upto  north somerset to see one of Amber's pups: Kyle. Much fun was had by all - except me of course as I stayed home and got on with lots of chores! Anyway, for those of you who know me, I just can't resist typing this next bit: Plymouth Argyle, "my" football team, have gained promotion to League 1 - I'm a very happy person at the moment!!!

03/04/17 Well, having missed an update, I have some really good news: HAZEL IS PREGNANT! I took Hazel to our vets on Friday evening for an ultrasound scan and there they were, some little pups on the screen! We couldn't tell how many of course as its's difficult to get a three dimensional image on a two dimensionl screen, but we could see two banks of 3.The main thing is that there aren't too many or indeed too few: A large litter gives problems with milk supply for mum, too small (say 2) gives a different problem in that the pups grow too big and birthing is much more difficult. So, all being well the pups are due to be born at the end of April which concides with "my" team's last home game of the season! Hazel comes first of course..... In other news, Amber has resumed her training as we hope to gain her working gundog certificate in september. We are currently "teaching" her to jump over obstacles on command - which is a little more difficult than may at first appear. This is especially true for fences which can be seen through. Rowan will be going out for a session on Dartmoor this week, just so he can have a good run and to brush up on some techniques and terrain that I can't train him on in a field.

21/03/17 A quiet week with not a great deal happening. Its still too early to tell whether Hazel is definitely pregnant, although one or two signs show that she may well be: Her teats changed in appearance for a while, and, more noticeably she hasn't been so keen on her morning meal as she usually is. She's also a little quieter than usual and not quite so playful. We will be getting her scanned using ultrasound, but this will be in a couple of weeks time. Otherwise, all of the dogs are ok, we are still trying to keep as dry as we can when out walking, but it seems to be a losing battle at the moment. And today, the day of the spring equinox, when we should be looking forward to the spring proper, has seen us suffering rain, hail, gusting winds and ice on the roads first thing this morning!

13/03/17 Such a lot to get through on this update! Firstly all of Ambers' pups have now settled in with their new owners and all seem to be getting on really well. Thanks to allof you for your updates via our facebook page; it's a real joy to see pictures and videos of their progress, especially the "training" ones. Please remember that we are always here if you need any advice or help, as we've usually already experienced whatever problem / concern you may have.

Secondly, we mated Rowan with Hazel a week or so ago! What a fun time that was.... Hazel behaved pretty well considering how keen Rowan was, mind you, she made some rather strange "grumbling" sounds the first time she mated: Not growling, it just seemed as if she was having a bit of a moan at Rowan! Anyway, if all goes well, and if she is pregnant, her pups are due on or around the 29th of April. This unfortunately clashes with my team's last home game of the season!!! Hazel comes first though, and I'll miss it even if it means missing the celebrations if we get promotion. We won't know for another couple of weeks whether she is pregnant or not, so our fingers are crossed. Our waiting list is already growing, so if you'd like a pup from Hazel, then I suggest you contact us (via our email) as soon as you can.

Finally,  our warmest congratulations go to Vicky and her dog Digby on achieving his Gold Good Citizen Dog Scheme award. Digby was one of dear Brambles' pups, with Rowan as his father, and its wonderful to see him grown into a beautiful dog. Well done Vicky for achieving this with Digby.

A proud Digby with his certificate and rosette.

Well done Vicky and Digby.


06/03/17 I'm a little late in typing this, the last update on Amber's pups: Well "our" pups have now gone to their new homes and it was a wek of mixed emotions for us. Firstly we are always pleased to see how happy and excited the new owners are as they collect their chosen puppy, but at the same time we are rather sad as we say goodbye to each one, as they have become so much of our life over the past eight weeks. We have seen them grow from helpless, blind and deaf little creatures into almost fully independant animals with their own personalities. I am always amazed when I watch this development as it's so rapid, and I'm always very relieved when the pups are 6 weeks old and fully weaned. We had a number of "firsts" with this litter, some good, some not so..... Firstly, this was the first litter that never "dirtied" the boxes I use when cleaning the whelping pen. It was also the first litter that decided to have a "midnight" party (well 1.30am) and they actually moved the toilet box to the middle of the pen and were running around it! (I will now use a clamp to keep it in place for future litters) Very sadly, this was our first litter that we lost a "live born" pup - The poor fellow only lived for an hour, and he had a very difficult birth as he was the first one out. He was born at the vets and our vet said at the time that he probably wouldn't survive. I named him Rambo (after rowan and Amber) And he's buried with our other still born pups from previous litters (not too many thankfully). And so, after a week of cleaning and disinfecting, our house is back to normal - but how long for???? More news in the next update.

20/02/17. Life goes on here at Goldendance, and today was a big day for all the pups; their first visit to the vets. We have prepared them for this, by firstly getting them used to being in a crate, and yesterday I put them all in the car and started the engine. This helps greatly with reducing both the pups' anxiety and our worry at making this journey, and to be fair the pups all behaved brilliantly, with no "accidents" in the crate and only one "wee" at the vets. It's really quite amusing to watch them react to the movement of the car as they sway around in the back. Anyway, the visit went really well, with all the pups given a clean bill of health, and all have their microchips. It's really quite funny to watch other peoples reactions when they see the pups, and all of the staff at the vets come out to take a quick look as well. The journey home was uneventful and the pups ate heartily as soon as we had them back in the pen. And, now they've had a really good sleep, I'm just waiting for them all to wake up and start their play time. Hopefully I'll get a couple of photo's into the gallery of the pups at the vets.


This is quite possibly one of the most heartbreaking updates I've ever had to type: As a lot of you are aware, Bramble has been suffering from a limp after a couple of training accidents last summer. After many x-rays and biopsies, it was found by a bone specialist in Exeter, that her bloody supply to her ulna bone had ceased. After a serious operation to remove part of that bone in December, things were looking up and the limp had almost gone. However, she started limping again 4 weeks ago, and it bcame progressively worse. After another trip to Exeter and more X-rays and tests, we had the worst possible news: More bone was dying. So, on weds morning we took the immensely difficult and heart wrenching decision to end her suffering. I spoke to both the specialist in Exeter and our local vet and we all agreed that this was the right decision. So after taking Bramble for one last walk around the village, which was extremely painful for me to watch her limp around, and a little retrieve in the back garden, I took her to our vet for the last time. I have to admit, that both myself and Ruth, our vet, were in tears as we prepared dear Bramble. Ruth was the vet who performed Bramble's cesearian only 16 months ago. And now dear Bramble is running free with our other dearly departed dogs up at Rainbow Bridge: Willow, Maple (and her unborn pups), Pippin, and of course Bramble's two stillborn pups. Good bye Bramble and God bless you; you were a fantastic dog, with such a wonderful temperament and a real will to retrieve. We will miss you dearly. xxx

Bramble, waiting for her last retrieve, 15th Feb 2017. RIP my darling, we miss you so much. xxx

14/02/17 A busy, busy time for us now, as Amber has relinquished her duties.... We are now with the pups all the time that they are awake, and this is helping with their toilet training as we can ensure that they go in the correct place. We also stimulate them more by playing with them and having playtime in the kitchen. The pups love this as they can run around to their hearts content, and be amused by the washing machine when the drum turns around! The pups have also had their first "proper" bath in the sink. They all seemed to enjoy being in the water which isn't really a suprise as goldies are quite at home in it. (Goldies paws are partially "webbed" - a feature that was bred into them when they were first "created" over 100 years ago. This was so that they could retrieve on water). Hopefully I'll get a couple of pictures into the gallery later on of their bathtime. All the pups have pet names now, and in no particular order they are: Mazli, Merryn, Kyle, Duke, and Hudson, with the girl being named after her mum, Amber. The kennel names are based on the first names of the characters from the Poldark books and television serial, which was of course based in Cornwall. I'm still waiting for news on the tests Bramble had, and our fingers are still very much crossed.....

07/02/17 Again, apologies for the time taken to get an update done, I'll explain more later. Today was a momentous day for the pups: Amber has not been in to feed them. It's always a difficult time, both for mum and pups, but this has to be done so that the pups are well adjusted to life without mum before they go to their new homes. Amber has suprised me for a couple of reasons: Firstly, she always wanted to lay down for her pups to suckle. Usually at around 5 weeks, the mum will stand so that the pups have to stretch up, but Amber was never comfortable to do this when I tried to encourage her. Secondly, she never tried to re-gurgitate any of her own food, in spite of one or two pups trying to make her do it. I'm glad she didn't, as I wanted Amber to absorb all the goodness from her food. Today, Amber has been a little restless which is not suprising, but tonight she has been out for a nice walk (with Hazel), her first in over 7 weeks. She really enjoyed sniffing around and she's now curled up in bed fast asleep. Amber has been a wonderful mum, looked after her pups really well, and now it's time for her to rest and to recover her bodyweight and condition. Otehr news on the pups: 5 week worming went by without incident. THe pups all behaved impecably and didn't really notice me squirting the paste onto their tongues. At 8 weeks they'll be heavy enough to have a tablet, which really is much easier. The whelping room has now been re-arranged. The bed has gone and been replaced with a crate and a chair. The crate is the one tha we'll use to start their crate training and also one of the ones we use to go to the vets. And finally, the pups have had a wonderful time exploring our kitchen for the first time today! As usual, they start off all quiet and unsure of where they are, then after 5 minutes they're up and running around as if they were born there.

In other news, and the reason why I'm so late with this update. Dear Bramble's limp has slighlty worsened, so I took her to the specialist in Exeter on Monday evening, ready for examination on Tuesday. This was basically some more x-rays and another couple of biopsies and I picked her up yesterday evening. The good news is that there is nothing obviously badly wrong, but in some respects this isn't so good as it's difficult to know whats going on. Results from the tests should be with us tomorrow, so our fingers are very much crossed - again.

02/02/17 Well February already and the pups are 5 weeks old today. Sorry for the lack of updates for the last few days, but I've been very busy, and also had an evening off to go and watch "my" football team at Yeovil on Tuesday evening - a frustrating evening as we lost 2-1 and my son and I got very wet on an open terrace - I must be mad.... Anyway, We shall celebrate by starting the 5 week worming doses tonight. The pups are now eating 4 "solid" meals every day, in preparation for when Amber comes away from the pups for the final time. We have started to reduce the amount of water in their food, but it's still quite squishy. The pups nowe have a baby play gym to keep them amused, and they love to dangle and pull the toys that hang from it. The toilet box is being used sometimes, and hopefully it will be used more as they grow older. Our next step will be for the pups to start playing in the kitcken. This is to give them more stimulation when they are awake, and also expose them to new sights, sounds and floor surfaces.

27/01/17 The days seem to be flying by at the moment, and it does seem that our dogs and pups are occupying all of my waking hours - apart from when I'm at work of course.The pups are now on two meals a day, and this will increase to 3 tomorrow. Truthfully, this litter have been absolutely brilliant with their solid food - so far..... They all eat together, and pretty much keep to their own bowls until they've nearly finished. It's better this way to start with as it gives me a chance to monitor how much each pup is eating. Soon, I'll change to having 2 or 3 larger bowls. This itroduces an element of competition for the food, and hopefully means thatthey never develop the habit of "grazing" when they grow up. Its much better for toilet training that the pup / dog eats all his or her meal in one go. Thankfully all of our dogs eat the food in one go, and usually pretty quickly as well. I weighed the pups last night and they are all in the range of 3 to 3.5 kg now. The girl is slightly lighter than the boys and this is quite normal. Thankfully some of the pups now have the names from their owners, so we can start using them when we handle the pups. The pups have pretty much finished on their development, sight, hearing, walking, eating solids and lapping water is now normal for them. However, the final part is still to come. This is the day that we take Amber away, and they live on solid food alone. It's not a day that we enjoy, as the mother can sometimes become distressed, but it is very necessary and must be done well before the pups go off to their new homes.

23/01/17 What a busy weekend! Lots of changes for the pups: The main one is that we've started weaning. Their first meal was saturday afternoon and they all coped really well. I don't think they actually ate a great deal, but they all had individual bowls and each pup certainly had a few mouthfuls. However, by this evening I was adding more food to each bowl so they certainly seem to enjoy it. Tomorrow we start on two meals a day, and this will increase so that by the weekend they will be upto 4 meals. This obviously will help Amber as hopefully the pups wont be quite so demanding for milk. The pups also have started to lap at the water bowl! We start off by gently dipping their mouth into the bowl and they quite quickly get the idea of how to lap.Unfortunately they also like to stand in the bowl, so we dont tend to leave it in the pen for very long. The roll bars are now out, so the pups have a little more room, although now that the toiletting box is in its a bit smaller! The pups are a bit hit and miss with the toilet at the moment, although today for the first time a couple of pups have used it for a wee. This is pretty much the set up for the next four weeks. But we have our favourite time to come: This is when we let the pups have the run of our kitchen for an hour or so each day - lots of fun and games for both the pups and us. Unfortunately what with the cold and wet weather I dont think we'll get too much opportunity to havbe them outside all together, but we will take them out individually from 7 weeks old.

20/01/17 Friday evening, a time to relax? Not really as I plan for what needs doing for the pups this weekend. I will be introducing the toiletting area tomorrow and also removing the roll bars. The bars can now come out as the pups are strong enough and mobile enough to move out of the way of Amber if she accidently lays on one. It will also stop the pups from getting stuck! The toilet is a seperate cubicle with a wee mat in it. The pups soon start to learn how to use this instead of weeing anywhere - it's a bit hit and miss at first - but come 8 weeks old, most toiletting will be done there, and this helps with toilet training when they go with their new owners. More development has occured; the pups' teaeth hsve now started to come through, and this now leads on to the next step: weaning. We have lots of fun with this - and I'll explain why when it happens!

17/01/17 Another milestone reached- worming at two weeks is now complete (well yesterday). This is something I always do, and consists of a small liquid dose administered three days in a row. It's only a precaution: we very rarely see any worms and this is partly because we always worm our adult dogs at the correct intervals, and also because I keep the whelping pen and Mum as clean as I possibly can. I'm glad it's over though, as the pups don't really like it and they do wriggle when you're trying to put it in their mouth! The final part of the pups' outward physical development is now happening - they are now starting to be able to hear things. We know this, as the range of sounds they make has changed form the simple cry - which is used to tell mum that they're hungry - to attempts to both "woof" and "growl" It really is so funny to listen to. I have now started to play a special CD in the whelping room. This consists of all sorts of household noises, along with fireworks and gunshots, and other odd sounds such as babies crying. The idea is to start the volume low, and gradually increase it over the coming weeks, so that come 8 weeks, any odd noise won't scare the pups as they have become "de-sensitised" to it. This is obviously important for a working gundog with gun shot, but will also help with bonefire night etc. I do have a stock of these disks available and its a good idea to continue this when the puppies leave: I still play it on odd occasions to all our dogs.

14/01/17 The pups eyes are now all but open! It will take a few days for them to start focusing properly but we always feel very relieved when we see this. They are also becoming more confident on their feet, especially when they're in a hurry to get milk from Amber. Once they have had their fill however, the pups then go back to the old method of crawling around especially if they are tired. Carol trimmed all the pups' claws last night; we do this as the claws are quite sharp and they do hurt Amber when the pups "poddle" Ambers' teats to stimulate the milk supply. Dear old Holly popped in to see the pups yesterday. As usual with Holly, she was very keen to see them, but certainly did not want to go into the whelping pen in case the pups tried to get milk from her! Rowan has shown absolutely no interest in his "children" and if and when he does decide to pop in, all he will do is to try and steal the pups' toys!

11/01/17 A milestone reached! Today the first pup to some faltering steps! It really is quite endearing to watch as a pup gradually pushes itself onto its feet, then wobbled, before trying to move a paw so it can go forward. They don't go very far and usually ehd up in a heap, but a really is a huge leap forward in their development. Their eyes are now discernably open and this is very necessary now as they need to be able to see where they are walking. We both especially love to see the pups during this period as they transform from being helpless into an almost independant animal, capable of making decisions about where to walk and what to play with. Carol has now introduced a few soft toys into the whelping pen, which helps them to start to focus their eyes. Hopefully some of the new photos in the gallery will show this. Bramble has been into see the pups today! Amber seemed quite happy for her to be in the room, which is quite pleasing.

09/01/17 Today Carol saw the first pup to stand on "all fours"! The pup was very wobbly and he didn't manage to actually walk any distance but it was wonderful to watch. Their eyes are now beginning to open as well. This first appears as two black slits, and these gradually widen over the next few days. I'll try and take a few decent photo's for the next update. And now it's time for me to weigh the pups again.

07/01/17 10am

Firstly, my apologies for not updating this last night. I did intend to, but ended up falling asleep on the sofa, catching up on my beauty sleep - which Carol says I need every minute of!! Anyway, Amber and pups are fine, the pups are growing fast, eating and sleeping but not much else - at the moment. This is a relatively quiet period in terms of their development,soon to be shattered when their eyes open and they start to walk. Amber is spending a little more time now out of the whelping pen as the pups don't need to suckle every 30 minutes any more. It gives her a well earned break and time for her to catch up on some sleep as well!

Other news is that Brambles recovery is progressing really well, she's still a little stiff on her leg after resting overnight, but otherwise it seems pretty good. I'm now allowing her out into the front garden on her own without a lead and she really enjoys sniffing around trying to locate our (rather annoying) resident mole. She has one more check up to go, and then hopefully I'll be able to resume proper walking with her again. - She needs it as her heel work has deteriorated somewhat!!!

I'll try and put lots of new photo's in Ambers Gallery, but its quite complicated to do......


Another eventful two days have passed, and the pups are a week old tomorrow - gosh hasn't that time gone quickly! Firstly we have weighed the pups tonight and they have almost doubled their birth weights. This is the normal rate of growth, but it always amazes me how quickly they grow. The pups are now really quite mobile when they want to be, and quite often fall asleep as they crawl around - very endearing to watch, Amber (and the pups) had another trip to the vets yesterday as Amber has been having pseudo-contractions: as if she wants to give birth to another pup, but there isnt one in there! Its a bit odd, but can be caused by "bits and pieces" left in the womb, or indeed the womb and birth canal starting to return to it's normal shape. The down side to this is that it makes amber think she needs a poo and /or wee, and as this was happinging quite regularly, we were making quite a few trips to the garden, day and night. So, she's had an anti-inflammatory injection and thankfully this has stopped the contractions and her need to go outside so often. The vet also checked over the pups to make sure all was ok, which it was. Our next mile stone for the pups will be for their eyes to open, and for them to start getting up on their legs. This happens almost simultaneously, and will be within the next week.

02/01/17 6pm

What an eventful 24 hours! Firstly all the pups are doing really well and are certainly much more mobile now. Amber however has been through a bit of a "time". It started early yesterday evening with her not wanting to eat, this continued all evening, so around midnight we took her temperature. She was a degree or so above where she should be, so off to the out of hours vets we went. After a good exam, and a calcium level test, we found that she was rather low and this was causing some "issues" for her. So Amber had a calcium injection there and also hassome tablets.We have obviously been monitoring her very closely andthankfully her temperature has come down a bit now, and she's finally got her appetite back. Wearenow feeding her boiled chicken and puppy kibble, soaked in the boiling juices. She certainly seems to prefer this to fish and boiled rice (which is what we tried first). We will be keeping avery close watch on Amber for the next few days.

31/12/16 11.00am

Last update of the year- where has 2016 gone? Firstly Ambers' pups. Well she had 5 boys and 1 girl - a litle bit unbalanced but all healthy which is the most important thing of course. I weighed them all last night and they've all put on 1 to 2 ozs which we're really happy about. Amber is being a fantastic mum and just doesnt want to leave them for an instant. She will whine when a pup strays more than a foot away from her, which is very endearing during the day, but not so good at 3.00am! The pups are much more mobile now, scrabbling around and jockeying around for position on mum's teats or "the milk bar" as we call it. At this time, all the pups do is eat and sleep, but it's amazing to see how quickly they grow and develop. Their eyes are shut, they can't walk and they can't hear at the moment, but they can smell - which is important for them to find their way to the teats. All this will change in the next three weeks of course.....

We have now contacted everyone who will be having a pup, so if we haven't contacted you then I'm very sorry but there won't be a puppy for you this time.

Onto Bramble; well our special girl has made remarkable progress since her operation and is now walking pretty well. There is a slight limp after she has rested for a while, but hopefully this will go as the healing process continues. She is still confined to the lead outside and isn't allowed to go on long walks but all this will change soon! We will be eternally grateful to both our vets, Patrick at Albert cottage, and the specialist Peter at Exeter St. Davids vets for idintifying the problem and for carrying out the rather complex operation to remove the bone.

29/12/16 10.00pm

GOOD NEWS! Amber has given birth to her puppies! After another restless night for Amber (and us!), her waters broke at 7.30,and after a little difficulty delivering her first pup (requiring a rather quick drive to our vets), Amber then proceded to give birth to the rest reasonably easily. It was all over by 4.30pm, although we're never quite sure that she finished until quite some time after this. Amber, for a first time mum, has coped extremely well so far, cleaning the pups and generally looking after them. I have weighed the pups and they are all within 3 ozs of each other, ranging from 14 to 17 ozs. This is a pretty good birth weight for working goldens and I'll be monitoring it over the next few weeksa to make sure all is well. We will be in contact with all of you who've been lucky to have a pup in the course of the next 24/ 48 hours. How many? and boys / girls? Well I'll reveal that later, although if you look at the photo below you maybe able to work out how many!

Amber and Pups this evening.

27/12/16 10.00pm

No signs of puppies yet! However I dont think it will be very long now. Amber has been ruffling the sheets and vet bed to try and make a "nest".This is an instictive thing: a left-over from their wild dog ancestry. It's also a very good sign that she's getting ready to give birth. We are also monitoring her temperature as this can indicate when "things" are about to happen. She's already had the first slightly lowering of temp, and the second one tends to indicate that whelping is about to begin. It is this second drop that we are now waiting for......


A Christmas Day update!  Well, I don't know how many of you will be reading this today - I guess most will either be snoozing and/or watching the rubbish that now seems to be broadcast on the TV, but it seemed a rather appropriate time for an update on Amber. Firstly she hasn't had the pups yet. We took her to our vets on Friday for a last check up / scan and everything seems ok; we could see the pups inside Ambers' womb and also their little hearts beating - it was wonderful to see. Amber is now in the whelping room pretty much full time, along with Carol. This leaves me to sort out the others, and poor Hazel is wondering whats going on. I don't know if dogs can work out what's happening with another; I guess both Holly and Bramble know as they've both had puppies, but I think Hazel is a little confused and rather concerned about her soul mate. We make up for this by going on longer walks (not Amber of course) and I'm spending a little more "quality" time with Hazel so that she doesn't feel left out. Finally and most importantly, a big THANK-YOU to everyone who's sent us pictures and messages of our grown up pups today. It's brilliant to see them all grown up and having so much fun at Christmas. Hopefully I'll have some time soon to sort out the photo galleries, especially for when the pups arrive.


Finally, finally, a chance to sit at my laptop and do an update! As you can imagine we've had lots to do in preparation for Amber's impending whelping. Over the weekend just gone I have set upthe room we use for whelping. This involves re-arranging most of the rooms downstairs, and means that our christmas dinner will be in our lounge this year! (good job its a big room). The whelping pen is set up now, along with Carol's bed and all of the other items we'll need:@ towels, weighing scales, heat lamp etc. Amber has started going in there so that she can become familiar and comfortable with the room, so that she's not worried about it when the time comes. Hazel is a little put out because she (and the other dogs) are not allowed in there. And so we wait.... We're taking Amber's temperature twice daily as it will drop when she's about to give birth, and can help us know when its going to happen. Bramble is recovering well from her operation: The stiches and bandages were removed last friday and the wound has healed really well. The poor girlis wearing a collar to stop her from licking it and she's coped with this very well. It's a long rehabilitation from the operation: she has to be on a lead at all times outside for the next six weeks, and she's only allowed minimal walksfor the same period. When she's a bit stronger, we'll get a massage therapist to helpher muscles recover. Finally, Thanks to everyone for the christmas cards and photo's of your dogs, it's wonderful to see the photo's and how they've grown up and especially those of you who've made the cards using pictures of them!


I have delayed typing an update for one simple reason: We really weren't sure whether Amber was pregnant or not. She hasn't had morning sickness, or gone off her food; her shape hasn't changed and her teats haven't showed any signs of changing: So, last night we took her to the vets for an ultrasound and I am very pleased to say that AMBER IS DEFINITELY PREGNANT! The ultrasound showed a number of puppies in her womb, but its very difficult to try and count as its only a two dimensional image of something that is 3 dimensional. The pups, if all goes well, are due between Christmas and the new year, so I'm not bothering to put the decorations up (One less job to do)

On to a more serious note, some of you know that Bramble had developed a slight limp after a couple of unfortunate training accidents during the summer. Unfortunately it has turned out to be rather more serious than a strained muscle or damaged tendon. Somehow, and very unusually she has damaged the bloody vessels connected to a bone in her leg, which has meant that the bone has started to die. A very serious condition (but not a bone tumour as we first thought after a series of x-rays) but thankfully something can be done. The bone affected is called the ulna, and in a dogs leg its not actually used for anything, so it can be removed and Bramble will, after a period of convalescence be back to normal. Such a relief, and we can't wait for thge op (next week) to be over and for her to start her proper walking and training once again.


Gosh it's fireworks night tomorrow! Thankfully none of our dogs mind all the bangs etc as we desensitised them when they were all pups using a very good "noises" CD. This can be used for dogs of any age, but its easier and quicker when they're young. Anyway the main news since the last update is that Amber finally came into season and after some testing at the vets to find out exactly when she was ovulating we mated her with Rowan at the end of last week. Rowan, who's now an "expert" (ho ho ho) was actually very well behaved and considering that this was Amber's first time, everything went rather smoothly. They mated twice, once on the wednesday and once on friday. This should mean that we have a good chance for the mating to be successful and means that the pups will be born in-between Christmas and new year (no  festive drinks for us!). It is far too early to say whether she is pregnant, and we'll have her scanned at 4 to 5 weeks to see what's what.


Unfortunately I've had to delete the photos from this page. To edit this page (ie add entries) it was becoming increasingly slow and cumbersome, so I've taken the painful decision to delete the galleries, and set up a new page for them - which is also slow and cumbersome, but at least I'll be able to do the diary without wanting to take a hammer to my laptop! Anyway onto our dogs; All are ok, and such a lot to get through. Firstly we had the real pleasure of taking Bramble to see one of her pups, Dolly, competing in some obedience classes at the weekend. It was brilliant to see Dolly performing and also wonderful to see her and Bramble together - I'm sure the mother / daughter bond was still there (Mums and pups are supposed to recognise each other for approx 18 months after birth). We now are looking forward to seeing another of Brambles pups, Digby, who will be popping in to see us on Monday as his owners are coming to Cornwall on holiday. Amber and Hazel's training is progressing, we've finally started their formal retrieving from water and what a lot of fun they've had with this! (And I've been quite wet at the end of it as well....) I've been looking for suitable training grounds closer to home but its difficult to find what we need: a filed is ok for the simple stuff, but we also need broken ground, cover (bushes etc) wooded areas and of course water. Our former favourite area, near a place called Lee Moor, has been totally destroyed by a tungsten mine - its now just a huge scar where once it was a beautiful, if rugged landscape - such is the price of "progress"..... Rowan is still as quick and keen as ever, even though he is nearly 7. He's got a little grey in his muzzle but otherwise as fit as he ever was. And dear old Holly? Well she's finally slowing up and I've had to slightly shorten her walks. It's such a shame as she loves her walks, but the old route is just a bit too long for her now. Rowan enjoys it though as he goes on both! Finally, a quick note on the seasons, and breeding our next litter. We have decided that the next litter will be for Amber, and we are now waiting for her to come into season. I was expecting it to be when Bramble and Hazel had theirs, but for some reason Amber has decided to "go it alone". It should be soon, but as usual, with all things female, only she will decide!


Well its been 3 weeks since our dear Willow passed away and its still very hard not to look for her when I come home for work, or when I call the dogs in the pack order at feeding time, and in lots of other ways. I'm just so glad that we kept two pups from her last litter to remind us of her. Life with the others goes on, as they all still need their daily walks and training. In the last couple of weeks we have concentrated on Amber and Hazel, doing some quite useful obedience themed sessions with them both together. This teaches them to work with each other, and around other dogs: Especially for both dogs to learn that not every retrieve is for them! Holly has been enjoying her walks, butI've shortened them a little as she's now a grand old lady at 10 years old. She had some blood tests this minth to ensure that there's no sign of cancer, and the test was clear for this, but showed that her cholesterol was a little high-she's now on low fat / low sugar treats! Rowan and Bramble are fine, just enjoying life and having fun when we train with them.


A Short note on the website appearance / layout.

Yes, it's changed. Oh what a painful / fraught process it's been, and it's not over yet. Briefly, the old program I used for years has been obsoleted and replaced with this one. It was supposed to transfer all the data / photo's etc, but it didn't like the old photo gallery and therefore jumbled all the photo's and lost all the titles and dates. I'm not happy. (an understatement). So please be patient as I try to sort out the mess it's left as I'm not really computer "savvy" and I've limited time to sit in front of this keyboard. Thanks, Rob

21 August 2106

It is with deep sadness and regret that I type this; On Thursday, 18th 0f August our beloved Willow passed away after a short illness. Willow, our first dog (along with Holly) has been our constant companion for nearly ten years. She was our introduction into the world of working golden retrievers, and she was a wonderful, even tempered, very affectionate girl. Up until this year, she has been remarkably fit and healthy and her passing has come as a shock to us all. Briefly, Willow developed a shortness of breath on tuesday evening, so we rushed to the vets and had an x-ray. It appeared to show that air had escaped from a lung into her chest cavity. Willow stayed at the vets overnight, and this was confirmed by another x-ray on wednesday morning. A drain was fitted so that the air could be removed, and this seemed to improve the situation, but unfortunately on thurday afternoon, the leak became uncontrollable, and so we took the immensely difficult and upsetting decision to stop her suffering anymore. I took Willow for a little walk and was there for her at the end. We both miss Willow terribly: Her enquiring look, her wonderful nature, her enthusiasm for walks and retrieving sessions and her ability to read our minds and to comfort us when we were upset will be sorely missed. RIP my darling xxx

11/07/16 Where did June go? When Carol said to me that I hadn't updated the diary for a while I couldn't believe how long ago it was! That's part of the problem with light evenings, so many distractions outside that mean I don't sit at the laptop in the evenings. Firstly, to mention two of our puppies: Kara, (Amber and Hazel's litter-mate) has just passed her Elementary Agility course and came 2nd out of 9. Well done Kara, and her owner Lily For keeping up around the course. Secondly, our congratulations go to Mini (from Holly / Lancer) who Lives on the Isle of Arran. She recently helped in the search and rescue of some lads who were washed up in their dingy and stranded on rocks on the coast. Mini is also capable of "spelling" her name using letters on a board - not sure how she's been trained to do that!!!Ok, on to our pack. Firstly dear Holly has been in the "wars" again. We found a lump on one of her teats, and this was removed three weeks ago and at the same time she had a little "tuck" on her eyelid to keep her eyelashes from touching her eye surface (the same eye operated on in may). Analysis of the lump showed that it was cancerous, but again it looks like we caught it early, so hopefully it wont spread. She was x-rayed at the same time and her lungs etc look clear so again its fingers crossed. Carol is really good at checking all the dogs for things that are "not quite right" and its thanks to her vigilance that both Holly and Willow were treated so promptly. Holly is wearing one of carol's T-shirts to keep dirt and wet out of her wound, and she really looks like a little thug with it on! Training for the others has continued, Rowan spends most saturday morning on the field with me, Bramble trains with The West Dartmoor Gundog club evenings, and Amber and Hazel spend most Wednesday evenings on Dartmoor. Amber and Hazel are doing quite well, but both have separate little "issues" to resolve: Amber's is that she likes to eat horse / cow/sheep droppings (ugh) and Hazel's is that she doesn't mark the fall of the dummy very well. Right, enough of this rambling, it's now 5am, it's getting light, so it's time to get outside!
24/05/16 Gosh a whole month has gone by since I last updated! My sincerest apologies, but we've had a rollercoaster of a month, seemingly consisting of mainly visits to the vets!, along with lots of dog training, gardening and of course football.... Firstly, both Holly and Willow have had small operations. Willow's actually turned out to be more serious: We took both Holly and Willow up for a general check up, and to examine a couple of small lumps. Willow had a fatty lump on her rear leg, and also a lump which appeared in her ear flap quite suddenly. Holly had a skin growth on her eyelid. The worrying lump was the one on Willow's ear, which resulted in having part of her ear being amputated and the lump being sent away for analysis. We held our breath and hope for the best, and in a way we were lucky. It was a cancerous lump, but fortunately we caught it early and the whole of the lump was removed. Willow has recovered really well and is back to her old self, if a little "lop-sided" looking!!!! Holly however has had problems. The operation was a success, but she was very down, as her eye didn't want to open properly. We've had antibiotics, artificial tears drops, anti-inflamatories and finally antibiotic eye drops and finally, finally its just about back to normal. Dear old Holly actually was quite depressed for quite a few days, and I did wonder if she'd ever recover. She is back to normal now and dancing around when there's a walk in the offing. In the middle of all this, Amber managed to get stung by a bee / wasp late one evening. We didnt see it at the time, but her face was really quite swollen the next morning, so an emergency trip to the vets at 6.30 am, a steriod injection and a hefty vets bill sorted her out. Dog training has continued apace, I just wish the weather would co-operate. Last weds we were out on Dartmoor, cold, wet and trying to train in a fog. And of course for those who know me, the football: Our son Dan and myself are huge Plymouth Argyle fans, and we're off to Wembley on Bank Holiday Monday for the league 2 play off final. I hope we win!
24/04/26 Another two weeks have gone by! The days seem to be going so quickly. With the (slightly) warmer weather and lighter evenings we are really busy both out in the garden and more importantly training the dogs. Bramble has been going to the Gundog training sessions, and we spent a VERY wet, cold and windy thursday evening on the side of an exposed Dartmoor hill practicing "walk-up". Walk-up is where a row of dogs walk slowly along in a line off lead, a gun is fired, the dogs all sit, a dummy is thrown and then one nominated dog retrieves it whilst all the others (are supposed to!) sit still. Bramble was very good, and didn't run when she shouldn't. Our other training has been with Bramble, Hazel and Amber and this has been tackling obstacles (e.g. a wall) on command, and "memory" retrieves. All a bit more complex than the normal throw a ball and run after it! Rowan of course doesn't need all this formal training, but I still take him retrieving every couple of weeks, just to remind him of what's what and to keep him fit. Holly and Willow are ok, Holly has slowed down a little on our walks, but they are both approaching 10 years old now, so I'm not surprised. Willow still has a good turn of speed, especially when she want to beat Holly to a dummy. Willow and Holly were never trained to be "proper" working retrievers, but they can still do most of the basic stuff, and really enjoy their time on the fields.
10/04/16 Whoops, missed a complete week somehow. Anyway, training is now stepping up with both individual training for Amber, Hazel and Bramble, and we also take Bramble to club training evenings with the West Dartmoor Working Gundog club. We find the club evenings very useful, as although Bramble can do all the retrieves, it helps in encouraging steadiness as she has to wait her turn and watch other dogs retrieving. It certainly helped with Rowan's and dear Maple's training. Unfortunately the change of clocks doesn't seem to have improved the weather much in Cornwall, and I'm still drying the dogs after most of our walks. Holly and Willow are soon to go to the Vets for their teeth to be cleaned - the first time, and I think they've done so well because of the dried food we feed, and a "dentistix" every other day. Mind you, the vet has advised us to start brushing their teeth - that should be interesting!
29/03/16 A little late, I'd like to blame it on the clocks going forward, but I can't! The changing of the clocks didn't change the weather unfortunately and it's been back to drying the dogs after pretty much every walk. Friday was the best day down here but unfortunately it was the day I chose to go and stock up on dog food. A bad choice both in terms of wasting the good weather, and getting stuck in a traffic jam getting back into Cornwall. Still, not as bad as some fellow Argyle fans who tried to get to Morecombe for the away game on Friday. They didn't get there until after the match had finished! Anyway, its been a quiet week with the dogs, a little obedience training and thats been about it. They all eat together in the evenings now, and no-one has tried to steal another's food so far.....
20/03/16 What a glorious weekend - no rain! I finally managed to walk all six together this weekend. I was up at 5am yesterday and decided that there wouldn't be any cars on the road that early so I tried it, and, it all went rather smoothly, with all the dogs walking at a steady pace and not wanting to swop positions that often. I took Rowan up to the field yesterday to give him some refresher lessons and to have a good run. Today it was the turn of Bramble, Hazel and Amber to have some training out on a windy Dartmoor. All of them performed quite well, and it's beginning to show that all of the "boring" obedience stuff, i.e sit means sit etc was worthwhile doing. This is what we mainly concentrate on during the week. Hopefully another photo of Teague at Crufts will appear below - if this website builder stops playing me up!
15/03/16 Not quite sunday evening, but some really good news to share: One of our dear Pip's pups, Teague, and her owner Angie Bailey were competing at Crufts this year in the inter-regional obedience competition, and the team Teague was in were runners-up! Congratulations to Teague and Angie, I've watched the video of Teague and its wonderful to see. Anyway, there's a photo added below. Our dogs are up to their normal things, lots of walks, lots of short training sessions for the youngsters and generally lots of sleeping... That was all upset however when I finally managed to find time to paint our lounge ceiling - yes it has taken nearly 5 years to get around to doing it, as I needed to empty the room for three days and have all the dogs in the hallway. To their credit there was no nonsense, and none of them even looked to go upstairs. Anyway a photo a of Teague:
Teague with her Rosettes
6/03/16 Back to a sunday evening again! A busy weekend over and done with: Yesterday morning we began training again in earnest, on a very windy part of Dartmoor, with Bramble, Amber and Hazel. It was good to blow the cobwebs away (quite literally!) and start doing the serious "stuff" again. Our time over the winter wasn't wasted though, as all three dogs were quite good. Today has been a "lazy" day for all of them, which means just laying in front of the log burner, and inadvertently tripping me up as I try to get past without stepping on one of them. Hopefully the weather will be good again this week so we can do some more training in the evenings.......
29/02/16 Delayed for a day just so I could type in the leap year date! A quiet week, but I did manage to get this photo taken below. Finally,finally a photo of all the dogs, all looking at me at the same time! What with that, the dry weather over the last couple of days and the lighter mornings, I'm beginning to think spring is here at last. And therefore its time to begin gundog training in earnest again.
From left: Holly, Rowan, Hazel, Willow, Amber and Bramble(laying down) 25/2/16
22/2/16 A day late, first time this year! I fell asleep on the sofa instead of doing this last night - whoops. Our battle against the mud and road dirt continues - all of the dogs went on long walks yesterday, and I varied who walks with who as well, so come the end they were all covered in that dirty grey - brown muck, which is quite difficult to get out of their coats. The final integration of Amber and Hazel continues, with them walking with Rowan in the mornings now. I look forward to the sun being up before I start walking, but its getting lighter every day. I also aim to be able to walk all six together sometime soon, but it will be early mornings at the weekends as its difficult to get them all out of the way if a car comes in the narrow lanes. I also intend to try and get some updated photos on the website soon, but we do have a facebook page called Goldendance retrievers which has some of the latest photos on it, along with some of the pups that we've had over the years. Thanks to all of you still sending photos via email - its much easier for me to save these as I'm not particularly computer literate!
14/2/16 Thats it, all our dogs' seasons are over, Rowan can now relax and finally all the dogs can spend some time with each other. This makes it a lot easier when feeding, exercising and taking them out for their toiletting. We "celebrated" today by taking Amber and Hazel on one of the long walks that we do so we could see the water level in the river Lyner. It's been quite high, but it doesn't look like it had burst the banks near us. It's also getting lighter in the mornings thank goodness so I'm not having to use the head torch so much. It does get a little bit boring seeing the same hedgerows and not a lot else during the winter months so I'm really happy to see daylight before I go to work! We start gundog training again in march so we need to brush up on Ambers' Hazels' and Brambles' obedience. It gets a bit "samey" but very necessary. My aim before we start is to get Hazels sit/stay extended to 15 minutes with a single command. She's a little "fidget-pants" so this might be a little difficult!
7/2/16 That'll teach me for wishing for a few dry days! Even worse this week, culminating in a round trip to Yeovil yesterday to watch "my" football team (Argyle) only for the game to be called off at 1pm! We (my son and I) had just about got there by then, so it was a 360 on a roundabout and a drive straight back home. - most annoying! Anyway, the dogs are all ok, and probably getting fed up with me drying them every time we go out. Hazel, Amber and Bramble's seasons are just about over now, and these three having been spending some time together in the kitchen and out walking. Rowan is still very interested so he's kept away. Storm Isobel is about to hit Cornwall tonight, so there's still no let up.......
31/1/16 All I want is a few dry days! Its getting a bit beyond a joke now, having to dry all the dogs after nearly every walk, and I'm also wiping their paws after they go into the garden as the grass seems to have given way to a muddy morass.... I don't mind it that much apart from the last one in the evening, as all they want to do is get back in the house, and I just want to get to bed! Anyway, enough moaning, Hazel, Amber and Bramble are nearly out of their seasons now, and Rowan has behaved quite well considering. He hasn't tried to jump the gates, or indeed made any serious attempts to get to them. I'd like to think it's because he's so well behaved, but I think it's more likely that I'm very aware of what he's up to and where he is in the house. Thankfully he doesn't howl like some dogs will, he just whines very quietly. Training has been very curtailed this week, just the basic heel work for Amber and Hazel, especially when I walk them together. Just a quick house keeping note: I'll be deleting last year's diary entries next week, so if anyone wants to copy my ramblings (though goodness knows why you'd want to!) then it's your last chance.
24/1/16 Well with three girls in season poor old Rowan doesn't know which way to turn! He is a little confused as he also sniffs around Holly and Willow, but they soon tell him to "go away". Bramble, Hazel and Amber are kept well away from him of course, but Bramble has been looking for him today, so she's probably very close to being "ready". Rowan had a bit of a treat this morning as I walked him on his own and we had a couple of retrieves in a deserted back lane. In fact all the roads were deserted this morning - not surprising I suppose at 6am.
17/1/16 3 in a row now! A quiet week really, apart from both Amber and Bramble coming into season! (therefore not quiet at all really). This means that our three non-speyed girls are together in the kitchen and hallway, Rowan is completely separate, and Holly and Willow spend their time equally between them. This is so Rowan doesn't get completely isolated, and also so the girls all remain in their pack order, which might be compromised if anyone is kept apart for too long. It's also a bit of a faff getting them outside at different times so Rowan doesn't pester the girls. Walking has been made much easier as our 17 year old son has decided to go on a fitness drive and he gets up to walk with me every morning now. We usually take 3 dogs at a time, with the three in season being together and Rowan with Holly and Willow. We'll have to keep this separation up for a month or so. Training has been fairly limited by this and the continued inclement weather. It's pretty much been the "boring" but very necessary obedience stuff.
10/1/16 Crikey, 2 sunday evening updates in a row! The weather is playing a big part in our lives still, trying to keep dry and trying, rather unsuccessfully, to keep the mud and dirt out of the dogs coats. Willow is the worst for this; she seems to be able to flick her paws as she walks, and it sprays up all underneath her tummy and chest. Mind you, they all like the attention of being rubbed down with a towel after we come back. Hazel's season has started this week, presumably meaning that Amber and probably Bramble will soon follow. This means that Rowan will be kept separate from them when the time comes, so he'll be spending some of his time with Holly and Willow, who've been speyed.
3/1/16 A prosperous New Year to you all! We hope you've all had a restful break and are looking forward to the new year. Personally, I'm wishing for some better weather as it's been a battle to keep our dogs dry after each walk. I've not known such a period of sustained wet weather as what we've just experienced. We've tried to reduce the problem of damp paws by trimming the fur on their feet. An interesting experience in that its the first time I've had to cut Rowan's and he's now 6 years old! I thought he'd be a bit of trouble but he behaved really rather well even when I pulled the feathers through his toes to trim them. Christmas dinner for the dogs was all the left over veg and turkey bits, and I've never seen them eat so fast! Rowan also took a particular liking to a father Christmas cuddly toy that was placed under the tree, and he tried to retrieve it at every opportunity- our tree was in the dining room, with the door closed, and yet he still managed to sneak in and get it if anyone left it open for more than a few seconds. I couldn't tell him off of course as its his instinct and its what I want him to do, but it was partly infuriating, but also very funny to see him wandering around with it in his mouth! Finally, A big "thank you" to everyone who sent pictures and christmas cards to us. Its wonderful to see all our pups grown up and to know that they are bringing such happiness to their owners.
Cassie (left) and Bella, two of Pippin's pups back to visit us, 3/4/15
Holly, Rowan as a Pup, and Willow looking for treats, 1st January 2010
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Goldendance dogs are contented dogs