Bienvenue à La Belle Vilaine
Self-catering, holiday cottages on the South Brittany/Loire Atlantique border in France. Pet friendly, family-run gite accommodation - dogs welcome. Residential Dog-training Courses now running - optional extra, fees apply. Agility Course in the garden (now in new enclosure - scroll down for photos)- come and train with Elaine - Elaine is now a fully registered Professional Dog Trainer
Certificat de Capacité No. 56-313
Awarded by the Prefet du Morbihan
Full Member of the Pet Professional Guild for Force-Free Pet Professionals Elaine has competed in agility at National level in France and represented the regional team with Gracie in 2011 (Pays de La Loire)
- quite an achievement when you consider that she only began competing in 2009! We now offer residential dog training courses - see link above.
Cass, our new rescue dog from Ireland, has learnt so much in the 2.5 months since she joined the family. Her huge prey-drive has been the biggest issue we have had to help her with. She can now stay calm around other dogs working (in my weekly training class with my clients' dogs) and she can play ball or frisbee with Gracie and Haïyla and focusses on her own toy instead of chasing them or the cat!
She now even ignores cars that drive past the garden and stays calm if a car passes on walkies as long as it is at a distance of about 50 m (which is a huge breakthrough ..... we choose our route and timing of walks to manage this whilst we work on the issue in separate training sessions).
So I have begun agility training ...... learning to stay calmly on her mat and take turns.
Since having our Facebook page, we have been sharing our videos and much more on there - hence the gap in posts on here!
1st July, 2012
Haïyla qualified up to the next grade - equivalent of Grades 3-5 in the UK (as there are only 3 Grades in total here). Then we went on to the Grand Prix de France round. The first 2 courses of the day had involved the same start "Jump, jump, dog walk". H, in her wisdom, decided she knew her way and just touched on the dog walk before I called her back to me .... Eliminated. But we carried on and she did me proud and impressed the judge and the crowd.
She also took all the ambiance of a large, county show in her stride and didn't show one single fear-reactive episode all day. Thank you Grisha Stewart! :-)
Footnote : I took Haiyla out of competition in October, 2011, due to her anxiety around crowds and unfamiliar places. We spent the winter (not competing again until the end of April) working on this and she has made great improvements.
She had begun barking and running away at anything new or unfamiliar (a sudden road sign on the verge, people on the horizon, sudden movements or noises).
Thanks to Behaviour Adjustment Training, I now have my happy little girl back again and she is calm outside the ring - which means she can listen to me on the course at competitions, as she does in training.
Agility Nuts Agility Competition in Bilsthorpe, Mansfield April 2012.
We attended and sponsored this event. The plan was to run Gracie in 'The veterans' events & Haiyla with the 'youngsters'. Sadly Haiyla suffered an injury and had to miss out. Elaine decided to run Ficelle in the veterans 'for fun' . Ficelle does not usually compete, she just joins in at home during our dog training sessions. Watch this video to see how she got on!
Haiyla Contact Training
Update 2012 - Haïyla and Elaine won through to 2nd Degree in July, 2012 (equivant of Grades 3-5). In her first year of competing in 2011 (she actually did one competition in 2010, but Elaine suffered a serious injury and couldn't compete again for over 8 months) .... Haïyla did Elaine proud.
Home-trained by Elaine, she competed just 7 times during the year and had
3 x 1st, 2 x 2nd and 1 x 3rd places amongst her results ! She and Elaine have received many compliments from fellow competitors and from both French and English judges.
Please note : if video stops, pause it and wait a minute
With the national agility competition in mind and in an effort to speed up Gracie in the weaves, we have been taking our ' training weaves ' to various locations. Gracie powers through the weaves at home, but usually is a good bit slower when in competitions. So the idea is to help her with working in 'un-familiar surroundings'. This agility 'jump and weave entry' training session was carried out in nearby La Roche Bernard.
So far in her first 5 competitions, Haïyla, now 2 yrs, has won
two 1st places, one 2nd place
and one 5th place - she is entirely home-trained.
Agility competition in Vertou. Torrential rain was the order of the day....That said, some great results by Cheryl with Daisy and by Elaine with Haiyla. Gracie was, of course just dependable ol' Gracie, clear rounds all the way!
Elaine and Gracie recently attended the regional agility finals. They worked hard during the day and earned a place in The National Agility Finals. They will be competing in the south of France in July for the Pays de la Loire team. Well done both!
18/07/10 saw us attending an agility competion at Lucon (our club). The video on the right tells the story of this day.
Latest video of our dogs training on their agility course here
at La Belle Vilaine
Since filming we have a new seesaw and
added a long jump. Wall coming soon.
See photos of the obstacles below the videos
on this page.
Haïyla and Daisy* have now learnt to weave
and have begun competing.
Daisy has been placed 1st twice so far - after just
just 2 competitions!
Haïyla did well on her first competition - a fault
here and there, but earning praise from the
judges and fellow competitors
as over 90% of the work
she did was excellent.
*Daisy is our daughter, Cheryl's dog - they live
nearby and train with Elaine.
Today it was so hot that I decided that the dogs needed a swim.
I needed one too!
Gracie, ficelle & Haiyla on their walk to the nearby river Vilaine.
This was Haiyla's first visit to the river bank!
Here we see Elaine & our daughter, Cheryl along with Gracie & Ficelle giving a demo' of Doggy-Dancing. This was at a local Kermesse (School-fete) for the school in La Roche Bernard where Elaine teaches English. It went down very well!
In May 2010, 'Team Clark' made a trip to Jersey to attend
'The Jersey Agility Festival'.Two of our dogs, Gracie & Ficelle entered.
Haiyla, our 3rd was too young for this years event. Also our daughter
Cheryl came along with her Blue-Merle Border Collie, Daisy.
This was to be Daisy's first ever competition. Have a look at the video
to see how they all got on.
Last year Elaine was asked to do a demonstration of obedience and agility for the children at one of the other schools where she teaches English. She started with Gracie.
Then came Ficelle.
Finally to the delight of the children, Haiyla , then7 month's old puppy 'did her bit'. Update 2012 - the Head Teacher of this school now brings her labrador for training with Elaine and has asked that we repeat this demonstration for the school again this year, as the children are still talking about it and she feels it is an important part of their education !
Gracie and Elaine competed in agility for their very first time on
19th April 2009. They were both very nervous, first time in front of a
large crowd in the agility 'circuit'. Despite their anxiety they performed
excellantly. 62 dogs took part in this particular event, with around 30
of them being eliminated. Gracie & Elaine completed a 'clear round'
which gave them 9th position, beating many experienced 'old hands'
in the process. Well done both!
Update 2012 :
Gracie and Elaine were selected for the Pays de La Loire Regional Team 2011 and competed at the National Champsionships of the Grand Prix de France - in reality they had been competing for less than 2 years (due to Elaine's serious injury in July 2010) !!!
Elaine took the decision to retire Gracie from competition in September 2011 as she will be 10 years old in February. A short, but very successful agility career for Gracie Girl. xxx
Gracie and Elaine were asked to give a demonstration of their dancing in Chateaubriant on 11th April 2009 to promote the opening of a new Dog Club. A total of over 200 visitors were able to enjoy the displays of dancing, agility and obedience throughout the day. Elaine didn't drop the cane during the other 3 dances (but Gracie did stop to have a scratch during one - which delighted the crowd!). The video here was the first dance in the morning - for the Mayor and the press.
Gracie now wants her own dressing room with her name in lights!
Haiyla also joined in the fun - showing the visitors what a 5-month- old puppy is capable of in the obedience ring. She made us very proud and everyone was suitably impressed!
Dog (Cat?) Agility
Gracie flying through the weave poles
whilst Ficelle waits patiently on the table.
The table is rarely seen in agility competitions in the UK. In France it is a commonly used obstacle.
The tunnel was too difficult for our humans to make
themselves, so it was ordered from a company near Paris
at great expense. We love it so much that we run through
it even when we aren't supposed to be doing our
Known as a "sack tunnel". This was another 'purchase' for us by our humans. This one was collected whilst visiting family in Derby. We all had to 'squish' up in the car to brging it home. It was worth it though, as we love it!
Cheryl's dog Daisy and
the new tyre.
Long jump - a bit squished-up here. It can be spaced out
to the official 150 cm for large dogs,
but can be adapted
for all sizes of dogs (smaller dog = less elements)
Here our girls (including our daughter's blue merle Border Collie, Daisy)
pose with the prizes they won at the
Jersey Agility Festival
in May 2010.
(Haïyla was too young to compete, but is in the photo
Walk over - modeled by Gracie for height comparison.
Gracie jumping at competition height.
The following photos are of our dogs jumping at this height.
However, 90% of their training is done at the height
below - for obvious reasons. In competition they
all clear their jumps 95%+ of the time.
Haïyla jumps very low, but accurately and fast.
Here I had given a "left" command
and was placed to her left,
so she is already positioned to
land ready to head to her next obstacle.
Ficelle loves agility - providing there
is no see-saw involved!
She proved herself to be faster over
a jumping course than Gracie at the
Jersey Agility Festival.
If you want to compare Meercats, simply ......
Next project - a wall ... watch this space.
A natural progression was to get into Dancing with dogs.
Ficelle learns the "High Five".
Many gite guests have enjoyed interacting with
our dogs - especially doing the "High 5"
with Ficelle La Belle!!!!!
Who ever said that Agility was just for dogs? I (Harry) love racing through the tunnel after my big sisters Grace (left) and Ficelle (out of shot already!).
Yes Mum, I can see where I need to go - I'll be there in my own time!
Harry now has a "little sister" - Ginny.
They are the best of friends ... most of the time!
She also loves to shoot over the agility course
One of these days I will be quick enough to
catch her on camera too!