Let me introduce myself. My name is Bramble (Blairburn Bridal Veil on rare posh occasions) and I am a 5 year old Tri-colour Cavalier bitch. Although not "perfect" enough to be a show dog, my 'Mum' thinks I am gorgeous, so who am I to disagree?
At the tender age of 15 weeks, I started at training classes and, I have to say, I took to it like the proverbial duck ............ Everyone found it amazing, that this small black bundle of fluff could do a perfect recall, the length of the hall (many of the larger pups hadn't a clue!!) and I loved going to class, because everybody made such a fuss of me.
As the pups progressed, Leven & District D.T.C. offered three certificates. Much to my 'Mum's' delight, I duly obtained all three. Then, two years ago, my 'Mum' and some of her friends at the club, decided they would like to try something a bit different. As a result, the D.A.F.T. team came into existence. D.A.F.T. stands for Display And Fun Training and for the past two summers, we have given displays at local events, such as galas and exemption dog shows. We have up to 12 dogs in the team and, needless to say, they are all much bigger than me, except for my good friend Jasper, a very handsome Shetlie.
Our displays consists of a mixture of basic obedience and fun items - i.e. we dogs perform a perfect 'down stay' in two lines, while our handlers march round us to a medley of traditional Scottish music. The dogs also work in a wheel formation, with Jasper and I taking pride of place in the middle, marking time to the music.
The humans do not always manage to match our moves to the music, but perfection is not the main aim of D.A.F.T. though we dogs will try to ensure that they improve. The aim of the team is to promote dog training as FUN, and proceeds raised from the displays and other fund-raising events, are divided between animal charities in Fife.
All in all, the summer months are very busy, and it's just nice to socialise at our weekly D.A.F.T. meetings, in the winter,and try out new moves for the next year. In the Autumn of 2001, the team hosted a talk by Jan Fennell, author of "The Dog Listener" and this is to be repeated in November 2002.
The Kennel Club Good Citizen Dog Scheme is followed by Puppy classes at Leven & District D.T.C. and the recent Puppy Foundation Assessment is proving very popular though, once again, there are very few small dogs in the classes. Sometimes 'Mum' asks me to demonstrate and, despite my shy, retiring nature, I do love showing off in front of these large and sometimes unruly pups.
So, my message is clear - all small dogs, and certainly Cavaliers, can do anything larger dogs can do. Come on, all you Cavaliers and small doggy friends, head for your nearest training club and "strut your stuff."
Bramble (and Wilna) Roger, Leven & District D.T.C.