In the Netherlands we have had snow and frost the past week. For the Aura litter it was an introduction to snow and the litter app group was generously filled with snow fun photos. We managed to get a head shots of the whole dozen.
Having had the fields covered in snow and the water frozen – was also an opportunity to observe their personalities and skills a bit closer. I can conclude that there is nothing wrong with their noses (finding hares hidden under snow) – they still love to swim even if it is very cold and they are still sensible in not jumping onto ice or taking major risks on slippy surfaces. Especially the last bit I am pleased with. Having high drive dogs taking unnecessary risks can be quite a disaster. So I am very pleased with my “puppies” that are now in the middle of their adolescence.
The term lockdown puppy has over the past year been added to our daily vocabulary. Up until dec 20 most of the Aura litter dogs were able to train in groups. As the stricter lockdown closed down group training, we came up with the Christmas challenge (see earlier newsletter) to keep the eager Flatastics busy. It included training for a great recall, even with distractions. To be able to let go of distractions such as toys and game scent it was important to have the value of returning to handler up high, so some had to work a bit harder on the relationship part. It was a mental game for the handlers too as they had to decide how to build up the runway of distractions taking care of wind direction and doable goals.
Two judges were given the difficult task to choose a winner. One judge looked mostly at the technical performance and the other took a close look at any possible stress signals showing signs of pressure. The level of performance was very high and it was at close call that we could announce Lieuwe & Gurbe to be the winner of the 2020 Flatastic Christmas Challenge. Congratulations to this great duo. Lieuwe had a high level of distractions (cold game and toys) and a very good recall. Gurbe really showed fun when arriving in heal position.
More importantly – all the flatastic dogs were kept in training, their handlers did an amazing job setting up partial goals and I am so proud of them. Mostly because they showed great understanding of their dogs and took them a step further if they were bored or stepped back a step when it became too much. The judges were generous to provide feedback for all participants for them to continue training. Thank you for the effort and time you donated.
For now it is lockdown time – hang in there all my dog friends – keep training even if it is as simple as maintaining your recall and good relationship with your 4 legged friend.
At this point we are in winter hibernation, taking our time to contemplate and design new dog plans for 2021. There are some great ideas on the drawing table – if COVID allows we will have an Aura litter reunion with more retrieving challenges and we hope to be able to continue the planned weekend workshop in spring. Lots of great dogs events to look forward to.
In the Netherlands were are in lockdown – again. Most European countries are struggling with increased Covid-19 infections and we adapt to the situation. Up until now most of us have been able to train the young dogs – thanks to flexible trainers adapting to guidelines and offering small groups. But for the moment it is not possible. It is a bit unfortunate because we are at the doorstep of adolescence and the flatastic bandidos are starting to suffer from the so-called bananas-in-the-ears syndrome. So we decided to call for a challenge for the owners to have some home training. After Christmas we hope to have all the videos uploaded to our judges (gundog trainer and a behaviorist) and 2nd of Jan 2021 we hope to announce the winner of the challenge. The assignment includes heelwork, obedience and impulse controle, but also taking the well being of the dog into consideration aiming for a low stress level as well as technical performance. So far we are having great fun at the app and in the training field. So far – a few good performances have been entered and the rest of us..are still training. Take care all of you out there – stay healthy and make the best of these times – especially with your dog friends- they bring us such great joy if we allow them to.
Today we are celebrating that the Aura puppies from Brösel & Rumi are 6 months old. They are all doing very well – healthy and thriving. All youngsters are in gundog training and having adventures with their human owners and friends. I am privileged to see half of the litter every week at gundog training and it is a joy to see their process of learning as well as their personalities. I am very thankful for the fact that they are all doing so well and that their owners are enjoying their dogs to the extend they are. Unfortunately the partial lockdown due to COVID-19 in the Netherlands forced me to postpone our planned litter get together. We hope to meet up with all the dogs in the beginning of 2021.
Today Kaspar & Lotte (5 months old) had their first grooming session – just a little bit of getting used to standing on a table and the sound of scissors. They were comfortable with the handling and trusting of me cutting a bit of the end tail hair. Afterwards we had a short baby show training session – not that we have any show to attend due to COVID but now seemed a good time to practice a little.
As mummy was getting jealous of the cheese tube we let her have a go at it too. Rumi is not yet in full shape after the litter and we are taking our time to allow her to build muscles and endurance by exercising on the treadmill and swimming. But she enjoys everything – as long as it involves some action.
It is Autumn and game season has started. Covid-19 has changed everything for events and many dog competitions have been cancelled. For Rumi we hope to join a bit of hunting soon when she is back in shape. Having had 12 puppies took a lot from her body and even though we are training – she is not completely fit yet.
Luckily Rumi’s brother Déroy had the opportunity to show his qualities at the early competitions and it is with great joy that I can tell you that he achieved the double SJP A qualifications this year with a respectable score. My big congratulations to Frans de Vries.
Frans and I train together on a weekly basis and our passion for gun dogs has been the ground for a growing friendship over the years. It has been a pleasure to be witness to his adventures with Déroy as they grew together and our reflections on each others ways of handling dogs has been an ongoing proces of learning and influencing each other.
Frans has an enormous perseverance in getting the technical details right and the fact that he spends hours getting it right is one of his keys to success in my opinion. Of course, having a talented dog that matches one’s personality is also a major part, but how you influence a diamond in the rough is certainly just as important. Another key element is Frans’ willingness to be open. This quality is often lost as we become more skilled and experienced – remaining open and asking questions is a virtue for the experienced handler, I think. So my big compliments to him for holding these qualities.
Déroy was over summer a frequent visitor to our Aura litter – he turned out to be a great uncle, with clear dog language and he made an excellent puppy teacher. When the puppies see him again, they run directly towards him with wagging tails. He is the best play uncle one can wish for. Rumi of course still adores him as much as always and they have their own special relationship and play rituals.
Thank you Frans for many great training moments, competitions, hunting and endless many dog-whatsapp’s over the past years – I am looking forward to many more to come and especially looking forward to you bringing out the new little Aquamarine nephew. He will have big shoes to fill, Déroy and you are going to show us much more great stuff in the future. Go get’m Tiger!
Having a litter and taking good care of it is a lot of work. Having had 12 puppies and a mother with mastitis – during corona period was really a challenge but also a mind blowing experience. Some days were pretty tough, but the sweet pink puppy love and also the unexpected kindness from people around us – even from people at a distance who supported either by kind words or helping out with practical stuff was a big blessing. So I want to thank you all for the support, interest and kindness that came our way.
First of all I want to thank my husband – he was confronted with a huge amount of work keeping the household going and as he said: “keeping the New York rush hour deli” going (referring to the milk-production we had to provide).
Secondly a huge thank you to Anita from Arista fotografie. Thank you for all the beautiful photos but even more for all the caring, helping, especially the kind manner you handled the pups. Could not have managed this whole thing without you. Also Jos thank you for the helping hand.
Another important thank you to my friend Marguerite who supported with behavioural advice for the imprint period of the puppies, providing a lecture with me for the puppy owners and individual advice for some. But also for all the home cooked meals – you saved not only my dinner on several occasions but also my sanity with your moral support.
A huge thanks to Frans for bringing uncle Déroy for socialization and all the puppy proof tech solutions, but mostly for being a true friend and support.
My list can continue – let me end by the words: Thank You everyone who helped and supported the Flatastic Aura litter and thank you to the devoted new owners for providing heartfelt warm homes for the flatastic puppies.
The biggest thank you goes to Rumi. My fantastic girl – you were and are an amazing mother🙏💗
Those of you who kept count of the dirty dozen may have noticed we only announced 11 puppies to have a forever loving home, so far. This means we are missing one little star in the row. Let me introduce you to:
Flatastic Red Strength
At seven and 1/2 weeks away in the litter we were confronted with the withdrawal of one of the puppy buyers. For us this was a sad thing to have to go through and it left us without a forever loving working home for wonderful Mrs Red. But let me first tell you a little about this great girl..
During the nursing period “Marjory” presented herself being a charismatic showgirl, the only puppy having milk brought to her privately in her “penthouse” in the back of the garden. The nickname Marjory arised due to the fact that she slept/sleeps on the potty tray resembling the Oracle from the freggle show. Despite her nasty sleeping habits, she is talented and extremely clever. She is Rumi 2.0 – lots of passion, but with more will to please than her mother – a great spirit and she runs towards everything interesting when she gets a chance. From day one, up front – a go getter and a very sweet girl at home. She is very gifted in reading people’s energy and responds very accurately and if you ask me she is rather pretty too. She is not suitable for inexperienced handlers (because of her love for adventures & passion), though.
We decided to name her Lotte. After the Dutch word “lot” meaning fate or lottery ticket.
As she deserves a good match too we have decided to offer her a shared home with Rumi and Kaspar, hoping that my ability to manage this unexpected family expansion will be sufficient. Exciting times to look forward to for us, training two puppies and bringing Rumi back in good competition & hunting shape. I must say, experienced breeders warned me up front: “expect the unexpected” – they were right in a manner I could not ever have imagined. First hurdle to take in this new and unexpected future is getting a bigger car to fit this pack of dogs and then I need to figure out how to walk 3 eager dogs on the leash. Enough challenge for me for the coming time I think.
Of course all the arguments of training two puppies at once not being ideal etc. plus the impact of bringing up two of the same age made our decision very difficult. But due to the circumstances I simply cannot bare to let her go to anyone not being close to our hearts. By keeping Lotte we also hope to have regained access to future possibilities of breeding. But who knows what the future will bring.. we hope to make the best of it for our trio and trust the way of the world to guide us.
Rumi is very happy with her two puppies. It turns out that they make excellent playmates and they love to copy whatever mischievousness mummy is coming up with. Today I caught them all having a little pull game with my fittflop slipper-in the vegetable garden..The look on Rumi’s face was priceless 💕
Here he is – our new family member, the dog who stole my heart the moment he entered this world. The most handsome puppy I have ever seen (yes I know I cannot think clearly):
Flatastic Black Peace
From the very beginning he and I had a thing and this will probably be the last time in my life that I allow myself to fall utterly silly in love with a goodlooking hairy black fellow – taking the risk to be heartbroken and loose all senses 😂
He is everything I was looking for: clever, somewhat laid back (compared to his mother), funny, charming, has will to please, thinking before acting, moderate will of his own, sense of right and wrong with a very friendly character and he likes to work with a very good nose. We named him Kaspar keeping in mind that the name origins from the African wise man who came to bless baby Jesus. If that should not fit he can always be connected to the friendly ghost.
I hope that he and I will have a long and healthy love affair together.🖤