A big thank you from the Wales Gundog team


IMAG0121The Wales Gundog team at the Highclere World Retriever Championship 25th  – 27th May 2013 have sent us a much appreciated big thank you for our support and continued sponsorship.

The team: Alan Rees, Mark Bettinson, Kevin Lewis and Kevin Downs, captained by Jamie Bettinson, finished a very creditable 7th overall out of 14 teams, although there was a late withdrawal of the Scotland Team.Each dog was picking 16 retrieves over the 10 allocated tests. In addition, there was a captain’s choice of dog, picking the last retrieve for the team, with a long 300 yard unseen over two dykes and a field of rush. This was picked by Alan Rees, who scored 19 out of a possible 20 and secured the best result for the team.

There were no failures on any of the tests from the Welsh dogs.

The scores returned were:

Alan Rees 166 ——————— 84%

Mark Bettinson 164 ————–  82%

Kevin Downs 164—————— 82%

Kevin Lewis 146——————–73%

This was a very close run competition in mainly dense cover and woodland. The tests were well set out to challenge the skilles of the best dogs and handlers from the UK and across Europe. There was very little room for error over the two days and the tests set the competitors on a very tight course.

 Allan Rees, Captain of the Wales Gundog Team said “It was a very enjoyable two days – Wales giving a good account of themselves – and only able to compete at this prestigious event thanks to the support of CSJ.” Thanks Allan.


Bethan and Daniel Fitzgerald win gold

In the last two years Beth and Danny have achieved Gold in the National Championships and become winners of the Sled Dog Association of Scotland Championships in the two dog and four dog Open classes.

Bethanpic They’ve also raced at the World Championships on snow in Norway in 2011 and the European dry land championship in Germany in 2012.

Beth and Danny also compete in CaniX competitions in Bikejor with one of their dogs and have won the Pembrey race three years in a row…and he is only 4 years old!

How it all startedDarnaway_Forest-05_1 copy

Bethan and Danny spent most of their lives growing up in Wales and have lived and travelled all over the World. In 2005 they both decided to settle down and get a dog. That’s when their lives took a big turn they had never predicted!

Danny decided to get a Malamute puppy and Bethan got a German Wire-haired Pointer puppy.  Then at puppy classes they started talking to sled dog people and they become more and more interested in the sport. The Malamute turned out to be a natural, but it took a while to get the pointer running!

In 2006 they moved to Edinburgh, so that Bethan could follow her dream to become a vet. They wanted to continue with the sport so joined the Sled Dog Association of Scotland, which accepts any capable breed. Bethan and Danny were welcomed with open arms and they learned so much from people like Keith Johnston, Steven Lyndsay and Shane Murray, who encouraged them to be the best and have a lot of fun doing it!

Three years later they gained another German wire-haired pointer and formed a two-dog team for Beth and four Scandanavian Hounds to make a four-dog team for Danny.

Now they have two more Scandanavian Hounds (from Keith Johnson) and have produced a very fast 6 dog team who are all capable of being leaders.

Sled dog racing has become a very competitive sport and this last season has been a tough season as there are a lot of young dogs on the scene.

At the start of the 2011 season, Bethan and Danny added a baby girl (Eira) to the family. Bethan managed to squeeze in a few races, winning the National Championships and Danny won the SDAS Championship with 4 two year olds!

Eira loves the dogs and always enjoys a weekend of camping no matter what the weather is!

Big successes along the way

Bethan’s achievements:

·         2 dog National Champion two years in a row

·         2013 2 dog SDAS champion.

·         15th out of 48 at the European Championships in Germany 2012 in the 2 dog class (scooter)

·         9th at the European Bikejor competition in Cirencester 2012

·         Bronze in the National Championships 2012 bikejor

Danny’s achievements:

·         4 dog SDAS Champion two years in a row

·         28th at the on-snow World Champion in Norway in 2011

·         6th place at the Bikejor  European Championships in Cirencester 2012

·         13th out of 27 at the European Championship in Germany 2012

·         Silver in the National Championship in the Bikejor 2012

So what’s next?

Beth says, “Both of us aim to compete at more competitions abroad and continue to compete in the UK. Danny has qualified for the Italian World Championships in 2013 and thanks to CSJ, this will be possible.”

Find out more: rafiki_beth@yahoo.co.uk

Here’s what Beth told CSJ about our food…

“A good complete diet for our big strong dogs, we don’t need to add anything else. They have shiny coats and nice firm faeces – the only indication of a good food (that’s the vet talking!).”

Facebook Competition

Show us your dog in action. Win a FREE pack of NEW Fishcuits!

wildfirebanner3Post a Fishcuits1photo of your working dog in action on our CSJ company facebook page and enter a draw to win a free pack of Fishcuits.

We’ve got three packs to give away each month until June 30 2013. Everyone can enter – customers and stockists too.

We want to see all your amazing working dogs!

FishCuits treats are new from CSJ!

Great for body and coat condition CSJ’s new ‘Fishcuits’ tasty rewards are made from 100% fresh fish. You can use them as a tasty food supplement.

Highly palatable and easy to handle Fishcuits are ideal for use when you’re training for agility, show, obedience, flyball and all other canine activities. And they make a top delicious and nutritious treat for pet dogs too.

Dogs just love Salmon and we’re delighted to have developed FishCuits. Naturally high in omega-3 and packed with good things like omega-6 fatty acids, protein, essential amino acids, vitamins and mineral. Completely free from artificial preservatives, colours or flavouring.

We always take special care in sourcing ingredients and suppliers. Rest assured, we never  use frozen or waste products, so your dogs gain maximum benefit from the nutritious salmon oils and protein in FishCuits.

For a treat or supplement that delivers energy, maintains dogs’ bodily functions, helps counteract coat and skin problems and ensures that dogs receive all the amino acids they need to build, maintain and repair the body FishCuits are the natural answer.

Don’t waste time. Look out your best working dog in action shot now and post it on our CSJ company facebook page now. You could win a free pack of Fishcuits until June 30 2013.

Full competition rules and privacy policy below.

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Contest is open to the members of the Facebook community. Employees, directors, and/or officers (including immediate family members or members of the household) of CSJ, its subsidiaries, affiliated companies, distributors, advertising, fulfilment and promotion agencies and all other companies or entities associated with the Contest are not eligible to participate. Contest is void where prohibited or restricted by law. Participation constitutes entrant’s full and unconditional agreement and acceptance of these Official Rules which shall be final in all respects.

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CSJ shall select all winners at its sole discretion. Winner will be notified via e-mail and facebook. The odds of winning depend on the number of eligible entries received. CSJ will be responsible for all applicable shipping and handling fees as well as applicable local taxes. If these rules differ from any promotional or other materials published in connection with the Contest, these rules shall control.

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Gundogs locate sheep

Article by Sarah Cowan

sheepinsnowcopyAt the end of March 2013 the west coast of Britain was subjected to sudden deep snow and ice storms.  Wales, Isle of Man, Ireland, Kintyre and the Isle of Arran faired the worst.  March is a crucial time for these predominantly hill farming communities as lambing starts around then.  The huge snow drifts buried sheep, even on the lower pastures, in snow up to 12 ft deep.  Sheep can survive for some time in a snow cocoon.  However in an advanced state of pregnancy it is crucial that recovery is swift so that ewe and unborn lamb can both be saved.

The task of finding where sheep were buried on moorland is enormous – you may have an idea where they could be by field enclosures, wind direction and likelihood of sheltering along stone dykes, gorse bushes and banks, but it doesn’t make it any the easier for the farmers to access, let alone find them.  The task is  at best laborious and painstaking.

This is where good hunting dogs can be of great help.  On the Isle of Arran, two gundog handlers spent a morning training their dogs to hunt for sheep – the dogs having previously been told to ignore sheep in their gundog working mode.    That afternoon, the three dogs, two working bred Goldies and one Irish Water Spaniel accompanied a local farmer out on the moors to a ridge approximately ½ a mile long and 200 metres wide over a steep incline.  Under the deep snow drifts was predominantly mature gorse, craggy rock and patches of rush and dead bracken. The teams set to work over extremely difficult terrain, movement was slow for dogs and handlers alike as each step sank sometimes only a few inches but more often up to the top of each leg.  The icy wind swirled along the ridge. The snow drifts varied from a few feet to 12 feet deep.    The farmer had managed to locate and recover a few sheep the day before from the bank, giving a starting point for the dogs to work from and help them understand the new task  ahead of them.

The dogs worked back and forth over the area until “bang”, a very strong indicate from the 6 year old working Goldie bitch, she stopped, looked back at the handler (the “tell” previously taught by clicker that morning) circled the area and then started to dig.  The handler encouraged and joined in and 4 foot down was a buried ewe, still alive.  After much praise the dog was asked to search on.  Within a few minutes the young Irish Water Spaniel indicated by digging furiously.  The  previously successful Goldie was invited over to confirm – but she showed no interest.  The handlers still dug, you have to believe your dog, but nothing was found.  It was in fact a narrow passageway connecting under the snow to the first find, so the Spaniel was technically not wrong in her indicate.  At the same time the Goldie bitch took the intermittent wind and went out 20 yards across the snow, stumbling and staggering to follow her nose.  She persisted until reaching an area higher up the bank and stopped and circled, looked back at her handler, circled again and continued to circle and then dig again.  The handler called the indicate to the farmer again, praised her dog and went over to dig out another live sheep.  This Goldie was now well into her stride,  and a further 5 indcatses recovered 5 more live sheep.  The Irish Water Spaniel finally “twigged” the game and had her first good find at the end of the afternoon but sadly the sheep was dead.

When you consider the area covered, the time it took to traverse the ground,  dig out each sheep, drag it down the ridge to the main flock, and return back up the ridge, the total of 6  separate “finds” of   in 3 hours was remarkable.  Fading light brought a halt to work.

The following day the teams were out on another moorland and the 10 year old Goldie – who struggled over the conditions the previous day – also had a positive find.   It may be of note that the Goldie handler also had previous working trials experience as well as gundog work which helped in organizing a methodical work pattern, understanding area covered, wind conditions and noting area covered.

The main points that came out of this is understanding the “indicate” of your dog.  The Goldie handler understood her dogs‘ tells for sheep – circle look at handler and dig,  hares – dig and look up and away and dig, badgers – dig furiously no look up, voles and small mammals, dig, pounce look side to side and dig again.  Her indicates were spot on each time, the handler was able to read her dogs well which saved time and energy for both.

The handlers chose command/encouragement words that did not include the word sheep because both handlers had taught their dogs to ignore livestock on the command of  “sheep, leave it”.

As the dogs were gundogs and find commands related to retrieve – one of the handlers chose not to use a straight find command but incorporated a sendaway command  ie “away find woolies”, the other handler used “seek lambies”.  All the dogs did not chase sheep before the exercise and have reverted to ignoring sheep either in a flock or singly afterwards.  In fact it was significant that the dogs watched their “find” sheep being removed to the flock and discounted them the moment they were in a place of safety.

The handlers offer the following words of advice based on their experiences:

For trained dogs in nosework.

Sheep finding:

  • Contact farmers as soon as practicable to offer help
  • Be safe, conditions can be extremely taxing
  • Choose a command to hunt for sheep
  • Work in an an area as a group
  • No humans ahead of the dogs
  • If dog indicates, go straight to the dog (don’t ignore the tell)Understand the different tells
  • Dog to be in work mode before reaching the hunt area, ie. Under control
  • Ensure you know where you haven’t been as much as where you have searched to ensure the area is properly covered.
  •  Sheep can huddle together so where one is pulled out there may be others
  •  No collars or dog harnesses – when the dog falls in the snow branches from buried bushes can poke up through a harness and snare the dog.

Items you will need:

  • Long poking rod
  • Stick/pole to assist handler over drifts
  • Tarpaulin for sliding traumatised sheep over the top of the drift and to safety
  • Rope
  • Snow shovel – lightweight
  • Water and reward for dog and handlers – it can be very testing for both
  • Do not go out on your own

Sarah Cowan has written this article at the request of the local farmers and press to spread the advice.   Well trained gundogs and working trails dogs, particularly those working WD TD and PD have the “tools” at their disposal to help beleaguered farmers locate their precious sheep in time to save lives.  So please pass this information on in the hope that should future conditions arise, our nosework dogs can be of some positive help to our communities.

For more information, contact: slc@morayhouse.com