Thursday 10.50 am . . .


Thursday 12.20 pm (local time) . . .


The whole route!!


Thursday evening and for several more days!!


Friday, Saturday and Sunday!!

Here on "my" mountain in the forest, the midge season starts at the beginning of June and lasts about a month . . . it can be horrendous!! In addition there are the flies (which are always prevalent near sheep, although more so in the hot weather) and assorted other flying pests! Although I tend to cover myself with all sorts of probably noxious substances in an attempt to repel the little blighters, I'm not keen on doing that to my dogs!! I have used this mixture very successfully for many years.  It was originally suggested by a Danish Barbet owner who walks dogs in the forest every day. Some of the essential oils are not cheap, but they last for years if stored in a cool dark place. Here is the recipe . . .

In a mister bottle - Mix  . . .
  • 2 teaspoons “Plush Puppy” Seabreeze oil
  • 1 cup of water (8 fl oz)
  • 4 drops of citrus oil,
  • 2 drops of peppermint oil
  • 2 drops of lavender oil
  • 2 drops of sandalwood oil
Shake well before using, then mist this mixture over your dog everyday, and you should see no fleas, ticks or any other nasty bugs on your dogs.
IT WORKS and an added bonus is that it smells lovely!!

Disclaimer : I do not claim that this is as efficacious as chemical treatments or is a replacement for them, but I believe it to be safer and I have found it to be a safe and effective compound.

Some of those who style themselves “breeders” seem have few criteria determining the number of dogs they keep; no matter their declared motives or what they say, in my opinion their aim is usually to maximise their income and/or their status and they are often not overly concerned about their relationship with their individual  dogs. I am NOT referring to all people who breed a litter . . . just some of those that style themselves “breeders”! That is not to say that all other dog owners are responsible, far from it; both “breeders” and “ordinary dog owners” can be equally guilty of keeping too many (in my opinion) dogs!!

So, as I said, how many is too many? There is, of course no single answer to this question, there are many qualifying conditions. Here are a few to be considered -

  • Is the owner at home all day every day?              
  • What is the size of the owner’s house
  • Is there a good-sized garden?
  • How much time can be given each day to each individual dog (not the dogs as a group)?
  • What is the required exercise regime for the particular breed?
  • How much grooming is required by the breed in question?
  • Does the owner have other time-consuming responsibilities (albeit ones in and around the home)? e.g. does he/she have children? Is he/she a carer for another family member? Does she/he work from home?
  • Is the owner able to afford a large number of dogs under all circumstances (food bills and vet’s bills, for example can add up very quickly even for the basics) without having to “scrimp” on important things mentioned above such as prophylactics, other veterinary treatment, food quality etc.
  • Does the owner have sufficient training skills and general canine knowledge to obviate the development of the “pack mentality” or other bad behaviour in his/her dogs?

Incidentally these points also encompass the topics about which “breeders” should question prospective puppy buyers . . . they may say they do, but very often they don’t, or they do not check up on whether the answers from the would-be puppy owners are honest!

There are other considerations, but these are, perhaps, some of the most important factors to consider. I have known people, with five or more dogs, who work and have a family; how they can achieve, and maintain, a close relationship with each individual dog, train it, exercise it, groom it (depends on the breed of course . . . there’s a BIG difference between a GSP and a Barbet for example!) etc is beyond my comprehension. I know of one person (with a large breed) who kept 11 dogs in their house and another, with a giant breed who kept far more than that, also in the house. In my opinion that is irresponsible, for many reasons!!

SO . . . how many is too many? I offer no definitive answer; as I said, there is a wide variety of factors to be taken into consideration, the most important, and OBVIOUS, is the amount of time the owner has to give to each individual dog. It might look or sound good (to the uninformed) to declare that you have 6 or 7 (or more!) dogs, but think! . . are you acting responsibly and in the best interests of the dogs by so doing?

This fantastic setting is the venue for the French Game Fair which takes place in the grounds of the biggest of the Loire châteaux . . . Chambord. We will be there !!! for the three days of the Game Fair which starts next Friday, June 21st, and which will cost just €23 pp. For three days at the CLA Game Fair in this country you will pay a whopping £77(€ 90!!) pp for three days (unless you are "working" there, although a few £s cheaper if you buy in advance)
For more information on this prestigious event see www.gamefair.fr In the unlikely event that any of you are also going to this event . . . do email me . . . maybe we could meet up there!!! Unsurprisingly, you'll probably find us in the Village Chiens!!
Apologes for the lack of recent posts! Dog activities have taken over a lot of my time and then there were severe technical problems (now hopefully overcome!)

When I bought my first and only (........ so far!!) Barbet I had the naive expectation that, being such a worldwide numerically small breed, compared with other breeds with which I’ve been associated, most, if not all, owners would be able and willing to co-operate and work for the good of the breed and that the politicking I’d encountered within previous breeds/clubs would be non-existent .......


Although there are bound to be cliques and factions in any breed or community, within a numerically large breed these are less likely to cause foment through opportunities to grab and exercise power and influence. Initially, many of those who have been in a breed the longest assume the mantle of knowledge and experience which, very often (although certainly not always) is totally justified; this may be done consciously or by default. As time goes by there is an emergence of “Young Pretenders” and the “old timers” (rightly or wrongly) often feel their position to be challenged or even threatened, but instead of opening their metaphorical arms to these newcomers and sharing their experience openly, they close ranks and take every opportunity to tighten their grip on their power! Whilst this is understandable up to a point (many of the newcomers ARE out to challenge or threaten the “old timers” – I have experienced this in the past) I find it sad that it just serves to emphasise divisions and reinforce differences. Newcomers are “recruited” by one faction or another; some breeders demand or encourage “undying devotion” from their puppy buyers, who then become their acolytes, by laying down all manner of conditions and the situation becomes more and more entrenched. In my opinion this is not good for any breed. Knowledge and experience are often not acknowledged and shared graciously but are seen as a threat rather than an opportunity to develop and improve a breed, community, club or other institution. Provided any criticism is reasoned, positive and constructive, I believe that it should be able to be accepted by any intelligent adult without fear and not seen as a possible putsch!

I have entitled this piece “Facebook – Friend or Foe” because although I am an internet “addict”, use Facebook myself and believe it to be a great tool in many ways, it can also be very divisive. Whereas, in pre-FB days there were large fora where all interested members of any particular community, canine or otherwise, could engage, now, with individual pages, community pages, open group pages and closed group pages those people with a common interest are channelled into smaller cliques and factions often operating behind “closed doors”, or even worse, in public, but anonymously. Rumours and gossip abound. The concept of FB “Friends” is a dangerous one – individuals ask others “Are you friends with so-and-so?” The reply is often “Yes” when, in fact, the two parties in question have never met, never had a proper conversation and are basing this so-called “friendship” on a perceived affinity, click of a mouse, a desire to know what’s going on in another clique, a fear of being excluded, a desire to be with the “in crowd” or other spurious motive. One has only to look at the number of FB friends sported by some people to realise that the whole situation can become farcical!

Recently I have observed a lot of “back-biting” in a  “community” to which I belong. I try to stay out of it most of the time and make it my policy not to be unkind or rude to others in a public place; I make every attempt to stick to facts (except when openly writing “opinion pieces”, for example on this Blog!) Text too, can be dangerous as subtleties of meaning can be misinterpreted, translation misunderstandings abound and as a result all sorts of falsehoods can be unintentionally (or intentionally) promulgated; again, in my opinion this can be extremely deleterious to the community, or the individual, concerned

A previous post “Pride, Megalomania or Money” covers some of the same ground as this piece, for which I make no apology. Of course any individual is entitled to his or her own opinion (as you can see, I am always willing to express mine!!) but surely these opinions should be able to be expressed without individuals having to suffer vitriol or “cyber-bullying” as a result?