Meeting Mary Ray



Hurro, It Ludo!

Way back last year in March my dog club (West Lakeland Dog Training Club) hosted a cabaret evening with famous UK Dog Trainer Mary Ray. Mary be a very good dog trainer, probably one of the best known in this country and she be one of the pioneers of bringing Heelwork to Music or ‘dog dancing’ into the public eye. She performs a routine every year just before Crufts Best in Show and it really amazing! Mary be very successful competing in obedience and agility too and has beed for many years.

mary ray, levi + ozzy heelwork

Mary, Levi and Ozzy doing heelwork. 

In the cabaret evening Mary showed all the peoples how she trains her dogs. Which all be very positive, fun ways, lots of treats and letting dogs figure things out for themselves, using clicker training. Well, we dogs is very clever you know!  And she clearly gets lots of good results.

I love learning tricks and it just shows how useful they is for other stuff you want to do with your human (like, agility, or just being a Good Dog) and learning them together helps build a really special bond with your human too.

Mum loved the event, although she got a bit carried away trying to get good piccures for the club… and then lost the memory stick she put the photos on! But… she has done findings of it again now. But it did cause some very panicked searchings for quite some time!



The crowd all enjoyed it a lot and Mary be very good and funny, answering questions in the interval and talking to everyone afterwards, even though she must has beed tired from coming such a long way, all the way up to Cumbria. Mary brought a few of her amazing dogs with her, including Lyric, who beed a little puppy at the time and did very well and enjoyed showing off what she could do and even learnt some new stuff there.

Mary also had her border collies, little Chihuahua Vinnie, Ozzy the sheltie and of course, the star, Levi, Who did a little dance routine at the end. Mum has also shared a youtube video of Levi performing at Crufts at the end of the post.


Mary Ray's dogs pose

Lexi, Levi and Ozzy pose.

Mary Ray Cabaret evening, dogs pose, cumbria

Don’t get ideas mum, Arran’s not leaning on me!

Since the venue did only be a little way from our house, at the end when everyone wanted to talk to Mary, Mum rushed home and got us and so Mary very kindly agreed to pose for a photo with us! Did you know that Mary has owned and worked with two shelties with similar breeding to us? One of her dogs was my Auntie on my Dad’s side (Note from Mum/Dee – We got shown all about her and Mary when we first went to meet Ludo, Joseen, the Myndoc breeder was really proud.) and was also pretty closely related to Arran. In fact, when Mum brought us into the room, some people asked if he be Mary’s dog Gypsy, although Gypsy had passed away. Arran did be a bit scared and did not want to sit next to Mary but I thought she nice and I does not mind what I do, go to a strange room with lots of people and funny smells? No problem, I just goes along with it.

Lucky us, to get to meet one of Mum’s and ours all time favourite dog people, huh? We has had two of her books ever since I be a little puppy and we has learnt lots of things from them. Thank you Mary, if you ever read this, for your patience with Mum’s poor camera skills!

Ludo, Mary Ray and Arran

Mum says if you ever get to go to an event featuring Mary Ray please do go, it totally worth the opportunity just for seeing Mary’s skill with the dogs and their joy in performing and working with her, and Mum got lots of good training tips too.

~Lickies, Ludo

Pee ess from Mum: If you would like to learn more about Mary Ray, visit her Website Here.

Here is a video of Levi, Mary, Richard Curtis, who is another fantastic dog trainer performing at Crufts 2014 before Best in Show. Well worth a watch… or two… or three!

Dancing and ‘Discipline’ – at Crufts!!

Still Dee here, sorry! Two of the bigger activities at Crufts are the obedience and the various levels of ‘dancing’; heelwork to music, freestyle etc.


The obedience ‘holding’ area. I loved seeing everyone’s cards and messages of support. What a great community.

Competitive obedience has it’s own ring and it was often busy at the sides and so I didn’t get any photos. There were displays in the activity ring and I did watch the Good Citizen special pre beginners obedience. The Good citizen scheme is one open to all dogs, and is described as the kennel club as being for ‘Domestic Obedience’. Ludo has his bronze and silver awards.

One of my dog club fellow members had qualified for the pre beginners with her dog Snoopy and I went and cheered her along. The Good Citizen competitions are designed as a bit of an introduction to competitive obedience and they make sure that ‘ABC’ (non collie) dogs get through so it was lovely to see so many different breeds taking part. They all did really well and I can’t imagine how nervous their owners must have been! The test involved most of the things from the bronze award: heelwork, recall, playing with your dog, examining it as though you were a vet and going safely through a ‘gate’.


Mel and Snoopy

melsnoop gc3 gc2 GC1

Then there is the dancing!

I managed to catch the end of the freestyle final and saw the wonderful Richard Curtis with his dog Whiz. They won and went on to represent Britain in the international rounds! I also managed to see Richard do a demonstration in the Good Citizen ring too, I’d love to go to a training day. All the competitors came up with great, imaginative routines, but Richard’s just flowed so well!



Richard and Whizzy



dance1dance2 dance6Lap of honour!

he Kennel Club has recently revised the K9 freestyle rules to improve safety for the dogs. You can no longer do a front ‘handstand’ or be on the back legs for longer than 30 seconds and no high vaults from shoulders etc and no lavish costumes on the dogs. So it means the competitors have really had to think about the routines and not just ‘flashy’ tricks. I loved watching them all perform!

I also watched a couple of demo’s in the activities ring, including this fun one. Again, showing any breed can do just about anything!

dance8 dance7 dance9dance10And a sheltie demonstrating some heelwork to music, which is a lot more structured than the freestyle.

One thing that really pleased me about Crufts was that there really was a lot of emphasis on pet owners and what we can do with and achieve with our dogs on a personal, and competitive level. A lot of people criticise the club as an organisation, thinking they are promoting bad breeding for monetary gain, but I do think they are trying hard to encourage, as their slogan says, ‘Healthy, Happy dogs.’


Crufts – Day 3, Toy and Utility

Crufts is over now, (boo!) but I still have lots of photos to get through! Day 3 was my last day (so there wont be lots of pics of gundogs from day 4, unfortunately) I could only stay half a day, but it was the turn of the toy and utility breeds. More utilities than toys, mostly cos that’s where I was walking through. Plus, I love the variety in the utility group! I did meet some cute little toys though.


Richard Curtis (or his feet at least) who danced with Mary Ray and Levi before Best in Show



Actually, this could be a lhasa Apso and I think they’re in utility and not toy!


I always used to wonder what exactly ‘utility’ meant in terms of dog breeds. I think of it as the dogs that don’t fit anywhere else. The Kennel Club says the utility group is dogs bred for a specific, but non sporting or hunting purpose and indeed, this year the Kooikerhondje got moved from gun dog to utility as although it was used to hunt ducks, it was used to attract them instead of help hunt them. It also seems that breeds like the bulldog and poodle, who originally had one purpose but no longer ‘work’ are in this group too. It fascinates me reading their origins.

I’ll admit, I love a specific type of dog. I like them with a stick out muzzle and preferably to be fluffy (no surprises there). I’m not fond of brachycephalic breeds, for mostly ‘my taste’ reasons but also for the health implications that seem to follow. Breeds that are particularly popular like pugs and bulldogs, I just don’t ‘get’. Bulldogs as a breed (and many other breeds) have a long way to go before they could be deemed anywhere near ‘healthy’ and a large part of that change needs to come from people not desiring them to look as they currently do.

However, I can be won over by most any dog and this guy was so adorable. He barrelled in to me and demanded scritches on his back. I can totally see why people like them so much. He was on the discover dogs stand and doing a really good job being an ambassador for his breed and his stand talked a lot about health and breeding programmes.


Now back to some fluffies.


It takes a lot of work to be a show poodle!









Beautiful dog with a ‘what you looking at’ expression. lol!




toyut3Loved this owner!
I adore poodles, a breed that many people just don’t ‘get’.

Of course Ricky the poodle won Best in Show and has generated a lot of interest in his ‘do. I do wish they didn’t poof them up quite so much, if only because so many of the dogs (not just poodles) looked a bit bored, they really clearly love being in the ring, strutting their stuff, but I bet not many love the endless grooming.

Crufts Day 2 – Terriers & Hounds

First of all ‘Hello!’ to everyone reading my Crufts posts. I’m getting a lot of new views, so welcome strangers and to our regular friends, I hope you’re enjoying/not bored and don’t worry about missing posts/commenting as I’ve got lots of photos to get through!

Back to day two (Friday) at Crufts which was the Terrier and Hound groups.


The glamourous Afghan hound


Molly the ice cream Airedale from a previous post in close up.

th3 th4

The Soft Coated Wheaton Terrier owners obviously have a keen sense of fun, a lot of them had these little miniatures made out of fur.th5

Gosh, terriers are so attentive to their handlers. 😉 or other dog’s handlers, same difference.


I’m not convinced these dogs are hounds, but it was nice seeing them relaxing/walking all over their people.th7


Another elegant hound, the borzoi.

Hounds are just so energetic.th9 th10 th11 th12

Just for Jo and Stella. This is Agatha.

agathascottie agscot

And… The best terrier of the day, In my opinion at least. Our blog/facebook friend George!

th7George is the first blogger friend ‘I’ have met in real life. I know Ludo will be really annoyed that I met someone before he did. It was really fun meeting George and his secretary/Mum and thank you for all the advice! George has much better pics of himself on his Facebook but you’ll need to be a friend of his on there to see them.

In the meantime, Grandpawents report that another little terrier is getting beaten up by one Little Scamp. Don’t mind the mess, the little balls of stuffie and chewed up TND socks seem to be a new permanent feature in my house.




Crufts – Agility

Dee here again with my reports from Crufts. You may have noticed that we like agility. Ludo just started competing last year and after a shaky start we’re getting into the atmosphere of shows.

I’ve always loved watching agility at Crufts so I’ve made sure I spent some time in the main arena. Remember you can still view the rest of today (the last day of Crufts, boo!) on the live stream. Plus you can follow links from there to see agility clips from the main arena . For anyone who doesn’t know KC agility in the UK is split into sizes small, medium and large. Your dog is measured and competes against others of a similar size to it. We start in grade 1 if you are new to agility and progress through the grades by getting so many clear round wins or points until you reach grade 7 and championship level. Crufts has competitions encompassing all the sizes, and grades from 3 up as well as international competitions and special ABC (anything but a ‘border’ collie) classes.

They also have rescue dog team displays. They have teams of 5 with a baton change in a centre box.

Various rescues were represented, these dogs are not usually as experienced as the competing dogs, but they are great ambassadors for rescue dogs, really showing what they can do.

Some of the charities represented in this event were Many Tears, Valgray’s, Battersea dogs home, the National Animal Welfare Trust and the Blue Cross.

Sorry the photos are not great quality, they were all moving so fast!


Sam a lurcher originally from the National Animal Welfare Trust



agch1 agch2 agch5



Look how happy!


I also got some photos of the singles heats Round 2, Agility. It was a tight course, lots of obstacles in eye line in the middle of the course. I do believe that in Large Greg Derrett came 1st and 2nd and had amazing runs (with two different dogs obviously). I didn’t catch the final, but I’ve just looked up the results online and he came 1st with his dog Detox, but got E’d with Rehab, which just shows even the best can go wrong.


Greg Derrett – I hope… (Great journalist, me.)




Showing the course, the next obstacle is the wall (not in picture) just where the dog is pointing.






Of course I had to finish on a sheltie!


Crufts, day 2 highlights

Day two is Terriers and Hounds. I spent a bit less time in the breed rings today and more checking out the other activities and meeting some dogs on Discover dogs. it’s been a good day and more relaxing than yesterday.

I don’t have much time to sort through the pics, but here’s some of my highlights of today.
Starting with this ‘Bertie’. various organisations had stands with rescue dogs in. The wirefox terrier rescue group had about 3 dogs there and this chap was called Charlie.


a Wire fox terrier just won the group judging! Can you believe how big Bertie’s head is gonna get! I don’t mind, since he really was a handsome chap.

Hey, this airedale is called Molly, and she likes icecream!



The agility teams lap of honour. I’ve seen some of the winning team, the cornforth crackers competing before, well done guys!20140307-191019.jpg


Activity rings demo. Who says huskies are stubborn?20140307-191028.jpg


olympic gold medal long jumper Greg Rutherford supporting the Lungworm awareness campaign.20140307-191036.jpg


The kennel club good citizen Gold award display team.20140307-191044.jpg



Richard Curtis freestyle demo.20140307-191051.jpg


and a staffie that wanted into the YCK agility demo.20140307-191057.jpg