It's been a long while since I wrote an update on Otto but he's now 3 years old and a much more grown up boy. Last year was a bit hit and miss as he picked up various injuries through silly accidents so missed lots of shows, working tests and training.
However he did make it to Wales for the Welsh Kennel Club championship show in August, coming second in the post graduate class. This show is a special one for him as it's home soil, being just 30 mins away from the farm he was born on. It was even more special this time as Otto's baby sister Jesse was also showing.
He managed three Novice working tests, scoring well in the first two to finish in the top half of the competitors and then right at the end of the summer we managed a 3rd place which was a really nice surprise as the various injuries meant we hadn't trained as much as we hoped to.
The training we did manage to do was mainly with a new group set up by Brenda Moss and Larry Wilks of Arany Gundogs at the Commonleys Clay Shoot. Brenda put on an excellent Natural Ability Test which included hunting and pointing partridge, a pigeon retrieve over a jump and another from water, a track of a rabbit off the leash and a gun sensitivity assessment. Otto performed beautifully all day scoring really well, particularly with the pointing and tracking.
When the shooting season started we were stopped in our tracks again with Otto getting injured for a third time, so we missed out on a shot over training day for newbies. However once Otto was better Brenda & Larry invited us on a rough shooting day which was very educational and fun, I learnt a lot and realised I need to do a lot more training with Otto.
Frustratingly Otto has started to not retrieve game properly, fussing with it rather than bringing them straight back. Frustrating as his retrieving has always been his strongest part of the Hunt, Point, Retrieve. Best advice for now is to take a break and revisit game next year to see if he grows out of this... I really hope so!!
A couple of videos of Otto pointing some pheasants in the summer.
On the 8th October 8 more beautiful Golden Retriever puppies were born into the Eveninghill lines, carefully bred by Linda Harding from her stunning bitch Grace (Pandreft Grace Kelly for Eveninghill).
Following the success of our last two photo shoots with Linda's previous litter I was very excited to be booked for another two photo shoots. So off I went on Saturday and met these beautiful 2 week old puppies.
If you love dogs I seriously recommend finding a breeder who will let you meet young puppies, as watching them with their mum, feeding and interacting with their brothers and sisters is fascinating!
Here's a few photos for you to take a look at...
In the summer I did a photo shoot with Clara, a lovely little Jack Russell.
Clara wasn't overly interested to see me but did seem to enjoy exploring the garden so that's where we headed for the photo shoot. Normally most dogs run around and show off for the camera, but not Clara. She was like a professional model who once she got into position that was it, she would just pose perfectly still until I was ready to move on.
Probably the easiest photo shoot I'll ever do!
Here's a few photos...
Back in May (yes May) I had a photo shoot with Winnie, a lovely yellow Labrador Retriever.
Michelle her owner contacted me looking for a photo shoot with the bluebells but was concerned as she described Winnie as:
"mad as a box of frogs & very excitable around new places & people."
She wanted to know if I was up to the challenge... I laughed to myself and thought no problem I have a GSP at home!
With that we booked in a session at the local playing fields and here's some of the photos... I think I pulled it off.
On Saturday I was very lucky to be invited to meet and photograph three gorgeous Gordon Setter puppies, bred by Sonia Upton-Lovett - Kennel name ROYDACK.
The puppies are about 7-8 weeks old and 2 of them will soon be departing to new homes - one lucky lady is being allowed to stay.
It was a bit of a damp and grey day so combined with a shaded garden it proved to be less than ideal conditions. However I'm really pleased with the photos I took. Here are just a few to take a look at...
A lovely sunny August Bank Holiday was the perfect weather for the second running of the Bovingdon Green Dog Show.
As official photographer you can find our gallery of images here where you can purchase images as digital or printed photos.
If your dog isn't captured in the gallery, why not book a dog photo shoot - we are passionate about capturing photos of your dog in their natural environment - running and playing as they do with you at home.
Earlier this year I launched my Puppies - Watch them Grow photo shoots with two very special sessions with Linda Harding's Eveninghill Golden Retrievers. Linda is an experienced breeder and when her latest puppies arrived she asked me to come and photograph them so that she could provide the new owners of some special memories of the pups first few weeks in the world.
The first photo shoot was when the puppies were just 3-4 weeks old and still living with their mum Phoebe in the welping box...
About 3 weeks later I headed back to see the pups just a week or so before they left Linda for their new homes and we had a very fun photo shoot out on the decking...
When the puppies went off to their new homes their owners were gifted two photos each - a very special thing to have. Hopefully in the future I'll be able to do some follow up photo shoots with these lovely dogs.
So if you're a breeder and would like some photos of your litters or you are a new puppy owner who'd like photos of their new best friend then get in touch to find out more.
Here's a behind the scenes montage showing me and the cheeky puppies having lots of fun during the photo shoot...
April / May 2016 and the bluebells have been amazing this Spring! Here is just a few of the images we have taken in the beautiful bluebell woods across three different locations in Hertfordshire.
There is probably about a week left in the bluebells so to book your dog in for a photo shoot get in touch via the contact us page or send us a message via Facebook.
I came across My Itchy Dog's Duck and Neem Sausage Dog Treats on social media and volunteered Otto to be a tester.
Safe to say he loved them! Well what dog wouldn't like an air dried duck and neem sausage???
Not knowing much about neem I was pleased to find that on the website it tells you a bit more:
As the sausages are a nice size, not too big or small I've been using them as a handy treat for Otto when we're out and about for a long day and he needs a bit of a healthy snack - with RAW food this can be tricky but these sausages were ideal.
All in all it's a thumbs up from Otto and I on these treats! You can order some for your dog on the My Itchy Dog website. See some photos below of Otto tucking in!
We feed Otto RAW dog food, produced and supplied by Natural Instinct. Otto went onto this when he was about 10-12 weeks old and it suits him and us as well. He looks great on it and he is so calm at home whilst being extremely active outside. For us RAW food is as close to what dogs would eat in the wild and that just makes sense to us.
That being said RAW dog food does have some drawbacks, mainly the handling & storage. We have two freezers in the garage and even after a year, we are still constantly having to remind ourselves to get a few packs of the frozen food out so that it is defrosted in time to feed. Add to this complications of going away for a few days with frozen RAW dog food without a freezer and you can understand why some aren't keen. So what are the alternatives?
Well of course there are loads of wet and dry foods that aren't RAW but it's a bit of a minefield that's for sure! One of the newer types of dog food is cold-pressed which means you can have many of the benefits of RAW dog food in a dry non RAW format. The biggest problem with dry kibble food is the extrusion process which cooks all the ingredients and can take a lot of the goodness out. Cold pressing doesn't do this. To find out more about the different types of food I'd suggest you head over to All About Dog Food and take a look at their feeding guide.
Guru pet food is one of the new cold pressed dog food companies and they recently sent Otto a sample to try along with one of their field trip bones, a handy sized treat which can also be a meal in itself.
Well when Otto smelt the food he went mad for it, trying to jump up at the side and steal it away! This is always a good sign. With the small sample we gave Otto a few of the little nuggets of food as when trying new food it's good to see how they take to it. The answer was it was gone before I had time to get my camera ready!
With the field trip bone I was a bit quicker off the mark, as you can see from the photos. I liked the idea of being able to have a treat or meal in a handy size which you can't do with raw food treats. Otto obviously liked the idea too as he chewed through it in no time.
If you’re interested I'd suggest to learn more about cold-pressed food you check out the Guru website where they have a wealth of information available. If you are interested the various types of dog food and reviews on them from dog owners take a look at All About Dog Food, a really useful website.
Interestingly for me Guru and Natural Instinct receive similar scores and positive reviews on All About Dog Food. If RAW becomes unmanageable in the future I’d be confident to try switching to Guru. For now I'd be keen to keep using the treat bones as handy snacks for when we're out and about for a day trip. Otto tells me he'd be happy with that too!
This is my blog about what I am up to with both my camera and my dog Otto.