Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Out with the old, in with the new...

I'm at that point now where it's likely to be the end of any serious cycling endeavours for me, you see I no longer have the desire to swing a leg over a bike... it's gone... all gone... dead... You all know the reason why, I think you've all worked it out now that I'm fearful, a scardy cat... Cycling has lost its joy simply because I do not want to smack the floor with any part of my body, I do not want to spend any more time in hospital, I do not want any more metal in me, no more rehab, no more additional constant pains...

But I'm one of those people that NEEDS to do something and do something different, something that may be a little weird for some people but hey it's my party. I can't do the cycling I used to love but I do have other hobbies, photography is one and another, the one that has me all excited is training my dog haha weird aye? I'm one of these people that gets really immersed in things, no half measures with me, something now has to replace the energy and enthusiasm I put into my cycling..

If you've been reading my blog you'll know that I have a Dobermann puppy, heck there's a photo below so you know what he looked like a few months ago but now that little lovable bundle of fun is 7 months old now and weighs 7.5 stone with his head the height of the metal in my hip. He's also a handful, he's boisterous at times, he's bitey when he wants to be, so he needed an outlet for all this youthful pent up teenage aggression, what did I do? I took him to obedience classes that's what I did but he'd just lay into me all the more, not nastily you understand, he's just playing with me, he was telling me he was bored, he'd grab my leg with his mouth as we were marching up and down the field when he was told to heel or he'd jump up and grab my arm, very embarrassing, nearly as embarrassing as getting doggy humped (not happened yet)... "NO!!!" I was told to shout at him, don't use a choke chain that's too primitive just use your most disapproving voice, well to cut a long story short this namby-pamby type of training does not work with him and I had to look for another training method...

People in the know told me that this bitey thing is his prey drive developing which is how it should be with a Dobermann. The Dobermann as a breed was originally bred for guarding and personal protection and with Ozzy that breeding is coming out to play. Now I've always wanted to get my dogs into a training activity that's over 100 years old called Schutzhund but it's pretty new in the UK and there are few clubs, getting into these clubs is fairly hard as they will only train dogs that have the right temperament, not shy and not vicious. A few weeks ago I was invited to a club in Leigh near Warrington and I was very very excited. The Saturday came around and me and Ozzy drove up to the club. Ozzy had a lesson in obedience where he was also being scrutinised for his temperament and ability to train then came the main test, a simple test that will decide whether Ozzy is suitable for training the Schutzhund way, a bite test. The helper (trainer, man wearing the bite suit) along with a German bloke, (the bloke who brought Schutzhund to the UK) took myself and Ozzy out into a field and the helper lashed a rag out in front of Ozzy resulting in Ozzy lunging for it and holding on. The German guy called Kurt simply said "he's got it..." (the right temperament) - YES, YES, YES, WE ARE IN, YES, YES, YES.... I was excited to say the least, I was on a high for the next week...

Anyway we've been attending the club now for 3 weeks (Sat 12 till 5) and Ozzy is coming on in leaps and bounds, he's progressed to the stage when he's ready for the sleeve, the bite sleeve the helper wears around his arm, he's started tracking and is coming on great on obedience but all this takes time, at least an hour a day but I love it and so does Ozzy.

If you are still reading and not bored witless, I will leave this blog entry with some photo's of moi and Ozzy being worked in bite work last week.

Many more photo's here

So this is what I do now, sadly and I do mean that, cycling is part of history for me, it really depressed me to have to stop but as one chapter ends another one starts and I hope that I am up to taking Ozzy far in this sport, yes it is a sport, there are competitions to participate in, honours to be won, titles to be gained, it's hard work but fun, not a vicious bite to be had not a nasty liability to be made, it will make Ozzy a well rounded confident dog with a fantastic discerning temperament and as obedient as hell to boot, and for me all this training gets the heart going it keeps me fit and outside and very interested.

That's it I think, my cycling has come to a premature end and I can't see this blog being updated any more but I'd like to thank all my cycling chums for the time I've spent with them, all the boys n girls at North Cheshire Clarion who allowed me to ride with them and those that came to my aid when I needed it the most, you're are all the best, I will and do miss your friendship and companionship.

Thanks for reading, it's been a pleasure.


  1. Mark, was a pleasure to ride with you and a shame you're calling it a day - but understandable. Good luck with your new hobbies and all the very best. Ade

  2. Sorry to hear you are parting ways with the saddle but reading your blog makes it totally clear why and I remember that fateful day all too well. Was a pleasure riding with you. The dog training looks fantastic and I can't believe how big your dog is now - given the previous photos were of it being a small puppy.

    Have fun Mark. And take care... Adam

  3. Goog luck with the dog training Mark, it looks like you are both really enjoying it. I enjoyed our rides together right from the beginning and wish you all the success with your new passion.

    Antnee - and yes, this version of my name is YOUR fault :)

  4. Mark, sad times but also you've got a cracker in Ozzy right there and spending this much time with him and getting into Schutzhund is fulfilling a livelong hobby and passion. Good luck pal, I'll be keeping in touch and might even join you on the fields one day if I can find my own Ozzy!!

    Andy Meade

  5. Mark, it was always fun riding with you mate, especially when you took the jump on the 'youngens' when a sign was coming up on a club ride :-)

    We all understand your reasons and it's excellent you've got a new interest to get behind with Ozzy.

    Anytime you fancy a beer, just shout.