Latest news:   3/11/2016 - The next Lodon GPS litter is due in the spring of 2017 - to reserve a puppy contact Andrew and Jane on 01885482273 or email us at av.morris@btinternet.com

Lodon Morgan

 

Week 8 - 12
Our first four weeks with Mo have revealed a pup not only with the perfect temperament but bursting with character and personality and devastating good looks.

Whilst house-training and night-time separation anxiety are distant memories Mo's artistic tendencies are currently manifesting themselves in his penchant for 'hands-free, baby-tooth' topiary.

Early 'bumblings' have matured into manic shuttle-runs the length of the kitchen but first adventures into the big outdoors have transformed our usually bold and headstrong boy into the epitome of obedience, ready to 'come' instantly… for now.

Mo is a wonderful addition to our family; we love him so much and are so proud of him. We can't thank you enough for arranging his genes in the way you did. You did a wonderful job! Thank you.


Week 12 - 16
Weeks 12 to 16 have been all about great leaps and bounds. Early excursions into the great outdoors have seen Mo grow from a nervous pup where the exact moment you thought you had lost him was the moment that you would fall over him as he found his way under your feet into an increasingly confident dog running exuberant circles at breakneck speed.

These weeks have also seen Mo start basic obedience classes. In just three weeks he has gone from trying to hide under chairs away from the riotous barking and the manic scrabbling of the claws of others on wooden floorboards to being a 'little star' whose efforts are only let down by a handler who has much to learn.

Mo is an intent observer and is learning quickly by watching his compatriots. He astonished everyone when, at the first attempt, he successfully completed the 'scent discrimination' test by smelling and disregarding other scented cloths before correctly identifying and retrieving the right one prompting exclamations that he is a 'natural'.


Week 16 – 20
Crates, kennels and graduations. Mo had been confined to his crate in the kitchen at nights and for periods up to 2 hours when the house has been empty from day one.

This worked well… for a while! Night-time confinements; no problem, confinements after breakfast and the morning walk; no problem. But afternoon confinements were becoming increasingly problematic manifesting in bed destruction. Mo was obviously not sleepy and worse, bored.

There was only one thing to do… leave the crate open and hope for the best. So we did… and braced for the worst we returned to find... absolutely nothing! And ever since? Nothing! What a star!

Necessity imposed on Mo a two-night stay at kennels. I have to confess that it was more painful to put Mo into kennels than it was to put my children into playgroup but it had to be done. It wasn’t just the inability to reassure him that we would be ‘back soon’ that worried me but the weeks of routine that would undoubtedly be turned on its head. I wasn’t wrong as we now have a dog that thinks it’s his duty to add to the dawn chorus.

Finally, I am pleased to announce that Mo has graduated from his obedience class to one a little more advanced but more on this next time.


Week 20 – 25
A Lament for the Crate. With the crate now redundant it was time to claim back the kitchen and introduce Mo to a ‘Big Dog’s Bed’. He took to it immediately, going in and out of it all day trying out various positions and arranging his blankets the way he wanted them.

We thought it was too good to be true and we weren’t wrong. That night saw Mo vocalising a mournful lament that could have only been in memory of the absent crate. Fortunately this only lasted a couple of nights and Mo now sleeps soundly like a ‘big dog’.

For the most part Mo has been holding his own very well in his new obedience class. The class instructor had made recommendations with regard to the treats that are most likely to return the best obedience results.

With liver cake being the most highly recommended treat it seemed to work very well for many weeks. However it was also suggested that new treats like cheese and sausage might invoke fresh enthusiasm in the dogs so I thought we would try the sausage. Mistake! Mo likes sausage. Mo likes sausage too much! I believe the smell of it in my pouch and on my hands drowned out my voice to the point that he was so distracted he could no longer hear me let alone work out what it was that he was supposed to be doing. We have since reverted to liver cake.


Week 26 – 7 months
We were told… we were warned… ‘He will manipulate you… you must not let him.’ These are the words that are ringing in my ears now and will continue to do so for a long, long time.

Mo has always slept in the kitchen but does enjoy an early morning lie-in with our son so when he asked if Mo could spend one night with him in his room we thought ‘What harm can one night do?’ Untold… that’s what! Mo thought all his Christmases had come at once.

It was obvious he was thrilled and we were pleased that he was pleased. But not for long!  The next night saw Mo voice his indignation at the resumption of the usual sleeping arrangements in a protest that lasted for three interminable hours. He barked, he whimpered, he howled, he whined. When he got no response he tried them all again at a higher pitch and with greater intensity. His heart-rending and soul-wrenching performance was worthy of a Shakespearean actor.  Indeed, his efforts exhausted him so much that he fell asleep during his obedience class the next day.

Public opinion in the house was unanimous. Never again was Mo going to sleep anywhere but in his own bed. Mo’s protest lasted for five days. And it is with great relief that normality has resumed.


7 months - 9 months
Over the last few months we had been careful to try to acclimatise Mo to kennels with a first visit lasting for just one night and a second for two nights so we thought we had done enough to ensure he would not be too stressed by the forthcoming 6 night stay. We tried to keep everything as normal as possible by maintaining the same routine on the morning of our departure but it goes without saying that Mo sensed that there was something up. It was upsetting to see Mo reluctant to go with the kennel maid but it had to be done and we worried all week.

On our return we rushed to retrieve him as quickly as we could. Mo was outside when we arrived and on recognising us went crazy to the extent that we feared he would injured himself in his attempts to get to us.  It materialised that Mo had not handled his stay well.

We were told that he had not settled and had exhibited signs of stress manifesting itself in ‘naughtiness’. Having to be manhandled out of his run for his exercise and chased back in afterwards. Also, on later examination, we discovered that he had lost a significant amount of weight.

Fortunately we currently have no travel plans but needless to say Mo will not be put in kennels again and we are presently in the process of looking for a carer.

10 months – 1 year
Birthdays are traditionally times for reflection and looking forward. This year has seen Mo’s puppyhood superseded by an interesting adolescence of two halves. Initially impossibly disobedient, questions were raised as to whether it was his ears or his brain that didn’t work. Thankfully, however, this phase lasted only a matter of weeks and Mo has now matured into the loving, amenable dog that we are so immensely proud of.

Obedience classes have continued as a means of reminding both Mo, and us, of what we expect from each other but with his first birthday comes the opening up of new horizons. Mo is now eligible to compete in the relatively new sport of Canicross, (CaniX), with, all being well, his first 5km race due to take place in December. Initial indications suggest that Mo is a ‘natural’; unfortunately, initial indications also suggest that his running partner is not. This being the case Mo’s training will necessarily revolve around the notion of ‘teamwork’. Should prove interesting!

Looking ahead a little further it won’t be long before Mo’s bones will be hard enough for him to make tentative footsteps into the field of agility.

1 year to 18 months
Mo’s much-anticipated first attempt at CaniX also brought its share of nervous trepidation. For those not familiar with the sport both dog and runner are joined together via a bungee line and together must complete a cross-country course in the fastest possible time. We had practiced locally but as virgins to the sport neither of us really knew what to expect. What if Mo refused to start? What if a dog was to overtake us and Mo mistook it as an invitation to play? Would our lines get entangled holding back a seasoned professional? What would happen if Mo did the over-taking? Would he then not want to race on but stay and play, entangling lines and bringing us both into disrepute yet again? The potential for disaster seemed limitless… until suddenly there was no more time for worrying and we were on our way. Up until this point I had been taking responsibility for both of us now Mo took control. It seemed that he instinctively knew what to do and he was going to do it, all I had to do was hang on. It wasn’t long before he was over-taking dog after dog. If dogs have a competitive gene Mo has a complete set. He was relentless. As soon as he saw a dog ahead I could feel him surge through the bungee line. He was awesome. He was so awesome we won our race! What a hero! Mo has since won again and we have more races planned. We can hardly wait!
18-24 months

After a further two races in our age group (VF50) Mo is still undefeated and we are now entered to compete at the inaugural Canix CSJ Caninemax World Championships on 12-13th October 2013 to be held at the Pembrey Country Park in Wales. Two races over two days over the same 5km cross-country course, the first to be run at timed intervals, the second, a mass start. The fastest aggregate time would determine the champion. We had both trained hard for this moment and now with the course walked we could do no more. 3-2-1 GO! Mo took us off at speed across the 100m of flat grass to the narrow shoot that would take us into and around the woods. It wasn’t long before we were careering left and right, negotiating the turns and undulations, the fast straights and tricky descents. Mo’s responses to my directional calls were immediate and faultless. His focus, total. For the first time in our running career, I don’t know how it happened; I just knew that I could trust Mo, here on in, unconditionally. It wasn’t a conscious decision. We were functioning together, I knew what he wanted and he knew what I needed, we were working together for each other. Of this I am in no doubt. We were as much a team as any human team perhaps even more so. We passed dog after dog and it seemed effortless. Before we knew where we were we had crossed the finish line.
Results for Day One revealed that we had posted the fastest time and would be going into Day Two with a 43 second advantage over the next competitor who just happened to be the reigning European champion. It was a buffer but dogs, like people, can have an ‘off’ day and in this sport, like any other, anything can happen. Also, there was the major factor that Mo had never participated in a mass start with everyone starting simultaneously. How would he react? Furthermore the nature of the course meant that whoever got to the shoot first would have the advantage of a clear run without the need to overtake. The pressure was really on.
On the line Mo was almost uncontrollable. I had to use my entire body weight to hold him back and keep him from jumping the gun. 3-2-1 Go! Mo lunged … we were off! Somehow we made it to the shoot first! Again I gave everything over to Mo I put my complete faith in him. We hurtled passed the various milestones on the course. I strained to hear our rivals thundering up behind us. I couldn’t hear anyone. Where were they? We must keep going! All we had to do was to stay in front. Surely we could do that, we must do that! We were both running as though our lives depended on it. Two miles to go… less than a mile to go… still no-one! 500m… still no-one… the line… we had done it! We had won! We had won the World Championships VF50 together!

Jane and Andrew would like to express their sincere thanks to both Carol and Lodon Morgan for such a great story. The whole Morris family are so proud that we have breed a World Champion!!!

Mo and I will continue to run together, though not in harness, but for the sheer joy of it and for the sheer joy of being together for as long as we both can.
Lance Armstrong once said that it’s not all about the bike but it is all about the dog!

2 years and six months

Having declared Mo’s racing days over it soon became clear that we were destined for another challenge. An event called the Canix Neolithic Half Marathon (13.1m) had caught our eye and we went back into training. On May 4th we were fit, ready and eager. The race was to start from Redhorn Hill and finish at the new Stonehenge Visitor Centre, Salisbury Plain. Although the day was sunny, there was a chill breeze. Perfect! We set off and quickly went into an early lead… everything was going so well. It couldn’t have been going any better. Mo was bouncing along enjoying himself, we both were. At 8.7m we stopped at a water station and Mo had a quick drink. After starting off again in the wrong direction we were quickly put right by the marshals and sent off again, this time in the right direction… or so we thought. A quarter of a mile further on we, and two other competitors behind us, were met by a man informing us that we had all gone the wrong way. Disaster… we had lost around four minutes of time and what was worse, as we ran back up the hill, was that we saw the second place woman running ahead! But all was not lost…not yet. I had complete faith in Mo’s fitness and even more faith in his competitiveness. He would want to get back. I knew that our average pace had been quicker than our rival and hoped that if we just got back in our ‘groove’ we might just be able to reel her in. At mile 12 we did just that. We were back on terms! But unfortunately the extra effort that we had expended caught up with me and I couldn’t keep going at the pace we needed to for Mo to compete. We finished in second place in a time of 1 hour and 39minutes. Yet again, Mo had done everything asked of him and I’m sure that if I had been up to it I know that he would have done more! He’s so awesome!

We’d like to thank Andrew and Jane for doing a wonderful job: in their breeding choices and in the care they gave Mo in his first weeks.

Everyone knows the critical importance of these formative weeks and that a puppy’s environment, its care and its handling during this time will play an enormous part in determining its character. They could not have done a better job! We have the proof!

The famous Lodon Morgan!

Go Mo Go!!



Andrew and Jane would like to thank Carol Higgs for sparing time to write this article.