Monday, May 20, 2013
The best part was my dog. Brit had a FANTASTIC time. She was keen and excited to work and tried so hard to do what I asked. I have a lot to learn- my timing was off, and I need to think quicker on my feet. Oh, and I need to work on my ability to see and follow an invisible straight line. It is tricky. lol.
But even with our bobbles I am just so impressed with my dog. She is just so amazing. It was an incredible feeling to stand at the post with her. I can't explain it.
Here is a break down of our three runs (as best as I can remember them....)
Saturday- 10pm. No video because it was too dark....
Yes, you read that right. The day ran really late and unfortunately it was nearly impossible to see our dogs. I was the last of the group that chose to run- after my run it was even darker and not safe anymore. I didn't realise that we'd have to lift off a setter on horseback so was a bit concerned about that when I sent her- but she didn't even notice. In fact she didn't even bother to go around him when he was in her way... She was fast, but her outrun had decent shape- we had full points on our outrun and our lift! The fetch was a little offline but not too bad. She had the sheep running so the turn around the post was a little wild, and the drive was pretty awful. We lost a lot of points. lol. And we did not get the pen as the sheep would not settle and my dog wasn't helping by zipping here and there. We scored a 35.
In the daylight!
Brit knew exactly the game this time, and was a little snug on her outrun. I didn't want to take a chance to stop her so let her go. We lost only two points for it though. Her lift and fetch was not bad- we struggled to keep them online- I need to work on that- getting her to push in on them to change the line. It showed up in our other run as well. The exhaust is to the right in the video- where they are pulling to. So the turn around the post and the drive was a bit of a mess. I didn't really know how to set up the drive properly after the split at the post... I was proud of her when she covered the run aways though- she had to really motor to catch them and get control. We played ring around the pen until we timed out. i couldn't seem to get them settled, or in the right spot. The pen is a real weakness for us as Brit struggles with confidence walking into their heads. We need to work on some upclose stuff for a bit I think to get some of that back. We ended up with a 35- same as Saturday.
She cut in on her outrun so I stopped her and redirected to get a better top half. I was pretty impressed that she listened. lol. The outrun was definitely the longest she has done yet... Unfortunately she overflanked at the top and then was too tentative to put enough pressure on the comebye flank to push them back online. She should have been coming up the middle- not off to the side like she is in the video. The exhaust was over there- and the sheep knew exactly where they wanted to go. Brit covered though and did bring them to me. But we lost 7 points on our fetch...
The rest of the run I am pretty pleased with. The sheep were settled for the most part and I was pretty proud of her on the drive. She overflanks a bit- which is why they zigzag a bit- but I think that will come with more experience and a faster down.. Also watching the video I really should have just lied her down instead of flanking her anyway.... And we got the pen! Which was great. Truthfully the sheep pretty much knew the routine by then and had been going in pretty easily for most of the intermediate/novice class. But still- we got a pen!!! Our score was 50! Which is pretty awesome actually because we automatically lost 10 points for me walking on the drive with her- so really only10 points off for the other stuff!
This weekend was a fantastic experience- and a great first time I think! I am very proud of how far Brit and I have come. It's pretty amazing really. We have a lot to learn, and this weekend showed some pretty big gaps in our basic stuff so I've got some ideas of things to work on. I am completely hooked however- more so than before if that is possible. The next trial won't be until July. My goal is to have the drive by then! She is close- we just need to work on quick flanks, and faster stops....
Score Breakdown for those that asked. Each part is out of a total points, and then as you mess up you lose points. The Novice was out of 70. However, I lost 10 right off the bat because I chose to do a walk and drive- which is allowed, but penalized. Here is the score sheet from Monday- the only one I can find. :)
Friday, May 17, 2013
This weekend there is a Sheepdog trial. A real one. And we are entered!!!
My dog is not quite trained enough. And I don't have a ton of experience- I've only done it all together in practice two times! But we will have fun, and we will do our best. I mean how awesome is it that we are even close to being ready?!!!
The fantastic thing about this game is that you never really know what you are going to get until you are out on that field. The sheep play the main role. ;) So fingers crossed for a good, calm, sensible set of sheep for our first time.
Regardless of the outcome *the potential for running sheep, a dog who won't stop or listen at a distance, the disaster of driving, and the pen problems we have...*. It is absolutely amazing to think that we have made it this far. I mean, it doesn't seem like that long ago we were struggling to get any distance or shape on her outrun. Lie down was completely optional, and flanks were completely reliant on my body position. We still have MUCH to learn, and practice. But to think that I will be actually standing at a post at a field trial! Very, very cool.
Last year I did the CKC Arena trial- in the Started class, and this past winter the Arena trials and now the real thing. A pretty great progression I'd say! Anyway, I am very excited about the weekend. Seriously Awesome.
Tuesday, May 14, 2013
Or you're sinking like a stone
May your past be the sound
Of your feet upon the ground
Agility aside, I do a lot of other things with my dogs. It's not like they are lacking in the fun department. But I really, really miss it. So getting back to that would be pretty awesome. It's like that old pair of shoes you just can't throw away.
My mom is home from the hospital. With no further answers. It is frustrating. And although I am often angry at her, I had an actual conversation with her yesterday. And I realised that I missed her. For years I've missed her. But yesterday- she was clear, eyes wide open (literally). There is a glimmer of hope. I am not holding my breath that she won't sink back into the darkness- but I offered my hand to help her stay afloat regardless of that fact.
One day I hope to look back on this blog post and know that this was the day that things started looking up. That I moved forward with my chin up, and eyes forward. That is what the point is you know. Carrying on, doing the best you can, and taking each step one at a time.
Monday, May 13, 2013
I hate that I have quit Go Dog Go. Officially.
I hate Cancer. And all that goes with that. I especially hate the sadness.
I hate that my mother was released from the hospital. See ya they said. Good Luck they said.
I hate that the Tramadol doesn't seem to be working for Drew. On to the next step.
I hate that I am wallowing in self pity instead of enjoying this great weather with my dogs.
I hate that I pretend everything is okay, until it isn't.
I hate that I hate.
So, I will change the only thing on the list that I can. Good thing the sky is blue, the sun is out, and my dogs are ready to go. We are off to the coulees to burn off some
Sunday, May 12, 2013
This photo is for my 52 Weeks Flickr Project. But I thought I'd post it here too..
There is so much that I love about this dog. But the thing I love the most is her heart. She is pure, and sweet, and just so full of Try.
She may not be perfect. But she is perfect for me.
Saturday, May 11, 2013
I have been training Pixel at least once a week- sometimes more with Obedience stuff. We need only one more leg for her CDX. And I hope to get it this summer.... She is SO wonderful in training. Happy, prancy, and just really seems to understand the job. We have been working in new and different places and I've really amped up the distractions. This is a photo of her "audience" one day while training. Very realistic we thought. ;) She was quite scared of Santa when he was on the floor near her Drop on Recall, but once in the chair she figured he was alright.
On the herding front we are doing plenty. Scott and Jenny are off on their summer adventure so that means LOTS of sheep time for me and the Border Collies. I take full advantage and have been out twice a week- and even a few weekends.
|bowling for sheep|
Leo is amazing. Really. He is so different than Brit. It is a completely different experience. His outruns are coming along nicely- and he finally understands that slow is often better. And he has stops now- and is calm(ish). All the farm work has made a big difference for him I think. We have a lot to learn still though- and I'm looking forward to that next step with him.
|Boone chasing waves- photo by Wendy|
Wednesday, May 08, 2013
Tuesday, May 07, 2013
My friends dog had a part of her toe removed because she had a cancerous lump on it. Thankfully that went off without a hitch and hopefully all comes back good. Lacey is so young still! Cancer sucks- but hopefully this was caught in time and she will be good to go back to her cute little sassy self. It seems that there have been so many dogs that I have loved that have died, or are sick. I am really done with that.
I had booked an appointment for my old family dog to be euthanised. And then when I saw him I couldn't do it. It was not time. He is still happy, and only a little wobbly now and then. His quality of life is still pretty high. He likes to eat, he goes for walks and is just the same old Drew. However I did take him in to the clinic to talk about some pain management. At 11 years old he has some pretty severe arthritis going on. He just needs some help to keep his mobility. I was very relieved that he actually checked out pretty good. Now to wait and see if the tramadol helps, or if he will have to go on Metacam as well. I think he's got a good while left in him- he is the bestest dog in the whole world. So I am very glad that I went with my gut.
My Mother. Oh, my mother. She will be the death of us all I think. She struggles with some mental health problems, but on top of that has some severe health problems. Real problems that need to be addressed. But she won't help herself. I'm sure to be her doctor would be the most frustrating thing of all. She will not change or try. So my guess is that the doctor has stopped trying as well. Because I am not sure how even though my mother goes to the doctor every single week that she never ever gets better, or feels better, or is any different. She has given up living and is content to sit and watch herself die. Today she nearly did die. And you know what is the most awful thing? That just for a second I thought that maybe it would be good if she did. It has been hell. Pure Hell. Watching her die slowly. Becoming this person that none of us really know anymore. A shadow of her former self. In any case, she is now in the hospital- and hopefully will get some things sorted out before they let her go home. My poor dad. He is sick with worry. :(
And on top of that it really hit me today. That things have changed. Like never to be the way they were. It is devastating really. Even though I've known for months. I think it is harder today because it was a tough day, so that when I thought about this other huge life changing problem it really just knocked me on my ass. Ugh, I hate being sad. And emotional. Tomorrow will be better. Such is life I suppose. One day I'll explain more about about this. But I'm not ready to talk about it yet.
Oh, and today I really, really miss my Grama.
Thankfully I have my most awesome dogs to come home to. Wicca is even snuggled with me as I type this. Which is completely out of character. But I'll take it.
Tomorrow will be better. Things have a way of looking better the next day. And although I am a pessimist by nature, I do try and roll with punches and make the best out of what I've got. And what I've got is some great dogs. Some awesome family. And a few really good friends.
Sunday, May 05, 2013
|Brit and Pixel played Scenthurdle on Saturday. We had a great time!!|
|Saturday afternoon we headed to the farm for an overnight visit. And all day Sunday was spent hanging out, doing chores, playing with dogs, and of course a little sheepdog stuff in between.|
|All of the dogs had a great time- there was much crittering, and sniffing, and rolling around. Here Wicca is supervising while I gave the Chickens new water etc.|
Friday, May 03, 2013
Tuesday, April 30, 2013
Leo was a very good boy today- he starts really fast and a little crazy, but settles down after a few minutes. Today we worked on pace and the start of our outruns. Jenny's voice was in my head the whole time- a good attitude to start means the rest will be good too.
Brit was very good- her outruns are looking better and better. I tried to stretch it just a bit too far today though, and she sucked back in. There is much to work on! But I was really happy with her today- she worked hard and tried, which is all I can ask!
One more of the very handsome Leo. To get these photos I had the dogs (one at a time!) hold the sheep to the fence. I shot on a wide angle and blindly- but I got some interesting photos! The light was really nice today for photos- overcast is perfect.
the real imposters are the shorties, and Boone. lol. They are very bad farm dogs- Vito rolled in something dead and had to be hosed off. Pixel ate enough sheep shit that I'm sure she will be throwing up tonite. And Boone ran around chasing cats and such. Wicca was mad because she was confined to the small yard. But I didn't want her to aggravate that shoulder anymore.
And yes- it is the end of April and we still have snow. It's weird. Even for us. lol. Hopefully Spring is really on the way this time. I'm about done with winter....
Sunday, April 28, 2013
The weekend Rally workshop was great. Lots of really keen people wanting to learn about rally- and really interesting breeds which was cool! An Irish Setter, Airedale, Toy Fox Terrier, and a Bulldog! (to name a few). All were really great working dogs. It was neat to see such a big difference even from day one to day two. The bulldog was super awesome. Enthusiastic and super smart.
Pixel and Brit were very good demo dogs. Everyone thought Pixel was adorable. So she soaked up the love. Leo got to come and socialise and was very good and had good manners which was nice. He likes to jump up on people now so we are working on that part of the greeting.
Wicca had a rough appointment today and was still sore when I picked her up tonite. :(
Her lower neck, right shoulder and surrounding areas were all very sore. She is on a few days of metacam, and rest. We will see how she is in a few days and go from there. I may need to take her in again. It's like never ending really. It makes me sad to see her uncomfortable. :(
The Boys were happy to see me, but reportedly had fun with my dad. They seemed happy and relaxed so that makes me happy.
This photo doesn't really go with any of my updates, except that it is the very first actual standing photo I've ever gotten of her. Jolene was playing with her at the park this morning and she happened to be standing in anticipation of the toy. She has changed to much- even this past year. Filled out more- muscle in places where she had none before. She's always been a pretty girl, but now she looks less like a noodle, and more like a dog. ;)
Friday, April 26, 2013
The first thing I noticed today is that my dog (Brit) has certainly grown up this winter- we had help (thanks Mack and Scamp!) with our chores today, but I am confident that we could manage just fine with little fuss. Leo is slowly starting to get it. I kept a cool head and didn't get frustrated with him. It was a good session. I think he will be very handy this summer- he has no problems with confidence. lol. I'll slowly start to let him do some of the farm work- once I can trust that he will call off, and stop when I ask...
I could totally live on a farm by the way.
The solitude, the peace, the sights and smells.
Totally up my alley.
In other news I am teaching a Beginner Rally Obedience seminar this weekend. I've never taught a Rally seminar before so it should be interesting! I love teaching. Obedience is one of my most favorite things, and Rally is just an extension of that. The group I'm working with is very keen, so it should make for a fun weekend!
|yes, that is my bathtub. I'm not sure why either...|
And in even more news Wicca is seeing the vet Sunday. She has been a little off for the past few weeks- once yelping when I picked her up to put her in the car, and another time when she was jumping around on the couch. And then just this week she was VERY off one morning- enough that I gave her a half dose of metacam so she wasn't uncomfortable in her crate all day. :(
I'm very worried about her- but I'm confident Dr.Devall will fix her up this weekend. I owe Jenilee big time! A trip to Marble Slab might be in order next week...
Monday, April 22, 2013
A great dog died today. A dog who lived and loved with every ounce of his heart. A dog who had enthusiasm in spades. A never give up attitude. And most of all a dog that you couldn't help to love.
I've been trying to come to terms with his death all day. It was not unexpected. But was sooner than they had thought. I am glad that he is not suffering. And he has probably stolen all the dog toys wherever he is now so we know that he is happy.
Death and grief are strange things. Each person deals with them differently. Kaleb is not the first dog that I've loved that has died- and yet the grief pulls at my heart so hard that it hurts.
I remember the day I met him. An itty bitty baby. They brought him to my work so I could see him. I remember the daily walks. The training. I used I help lay articles and tracks when he was training for search. He was always SO proud of his found treasures. And would do Anything to earn his kong.
I remember when the switch from search to sports happened. When we had to tie our training bags to posts and zipper them shut so he wouldn't steal toys and or the whole bag. I remember trying to catch the bugger when he'd run off with something valuable. What a brat he was. He once launched at me on a walk from five feet away. Almost knocked me on my ass. I was too shocked to do anything about it. Lol. He was totally oblivious.
For all the hard work and sweat and tears that Sarah put into the dog you'd have thought he would be the best behaved of them all. Not so much. He marched to the beat of his own drum and even as a senior did things on his own terms. Because he was such a hard dog to train I was so incredibly proud of them whenever they did something great. A new title. A clean run. A solid recall. No success was too small because man was he a tough nut as a young dog...
You can learn a lot from a dog like K. Passion, determination, confidence and friendship to name a few. Kaleb did everything with gusto. Nothing was too big or too scary. He never met a stranger he didn't immediately love. Valuable lessons I'd say.
Kaleb leaves behind a large fan club. Everyone knew him. Most loved him. How could you not love a dog with a perma-grin on his face. For all his obnoxiousness he was truly wonderful.
I will miss him so much. Even the things that were annoying- like his slobber, heavy breathing, morning grumpy-old-man, the ever wagging tail (against your shins!), oh the barking too and so much more. What a dog he was!!! It's the last of an era- almost. Wicca is the only of "the originals" left.
Sometimes Life has a way of smacking you in the head. This morning I wrote the final piece to a newsletter and in it I wrote that I am going to try harder to live in the moment- in the now and not the tomorrow. Stop looking ahead to the next "thing" and really focus on what is in front of you. It was a day late. Shoulda' Coulda' Woulda' I suppose. But I really regret not making that last visit happen. I am so sad that I didn't get to tell him what a good boy he was. One last kiss. The sadness is overwhelming. And he wasn't even my dog.
I don't even know what else to say really. How can you sum up 11 years of awesome in one blog post.
Ugh. Dogs. Why do we love them so? Why is it so unfair? That a creature with a soul and heart purer than our own have such a shorter life.
Rest in Peace K. You will be so missed.
Sunday, April 21, 2013
I audited a herding clinic this weekend on Handling for trials. I got to see Scott do his thing, and even though I am a long ways away from a field trial I understood everything he was saying!
I was a bit worried that it would be over my head- not only skill wise, but learning wise. And although my dog(s) can't do even a part of what we talked about- I think it will stick with me, and I'll be able to draw on the knowledge later on.
The clinic itself was great- the hosts did a fabulous job. The food was yummy, and it was a small group of happy people so the atmosphere stayed pretty low key. The weather was crap. Cold and Windy Saturday, and Sunday was better even though it snowed. At least the sun came out to warm us up!
My dogs were very bored. I did my best to run the crap out of them in the morning, and walk them at lunch. I also brought Kongs for both days to entertain them in the vehicle. They weren't miserable by any stretch, but they weren't happy about being cooped up either.
The had lots of opportunity in the morning and the evening to run because we stayed at a friends place in Okotoks. J & D offered to let us crash at their place- and it was so nice to catch up. They are agility people so I haven't really seen them for a LONG LONG time. It was awesome to chat and just hang out. I've missed them.
I came home early today so I'd have time to recharge for the week. Instead I've been puttering around the yard, cleaned the house (somewhat), and trained the dogs. Now I'm really tired. ;)
|Leo was not happy to just have to watch. He was very well behaved though!|
Friday, April 19, 2013
Annoyed. Irritable. Short tempered. I should probably come with a warning.
All I want to do is stay home. And mope. Which is not like me at all. I usually hate being home doing nothing. I like action and being busy and having things to do.
Such is life I suppose. But here's hoping some fresh air, friends and fun will make me feel better!
The dogs and I are off to Okotoks this weekend to audit a Herding Clinic. I've been looking forward to it. We are not advanced enough to participate but there will be lots to learn! The weather is supposed to be rainy with a side of snow so that's crappy but Im going to buy a bottle of Baileys for my coffee.
That'll make me less grumpy for sure!
Sunday, April 14, 2013
This particular seminar was supposed to be about Observation Skills, Arousal and Brakes. It was really about much more than that. It was about behaviour, and understanding, and taking the time to ask why, and how the dog feels about things. It was about teaching, and learning from our dogs. And being kind, and patient. And even though I already have good observation skills (I do work at a daycare, and a multidog household. lol)- I learned stuff!
Suzanne is a great trainer, she is fabulous with dogs and genuinely loves them all. She speaks very well, and kept the whole room engaged the whole time. And seriously funny. Like laugh out loud funny.
What I loved about her whole methodology and reasoning is the simplicity of it. Her main thing is asking the dog "How is this for You?" As in- are you comfortable, are you stressed, are you happy, are you and can you actually learn in this moment/time/place. Showing us how she works the dog through the stress/arousal etc to get them to a learning space. By thinking about the dog and where their head is at really is just so simple. But so smart. I mean, we (well at least I) often recognize if the dog is not able to focus etc, but to look a little deeper than that and to catch it from the very beginning. It is just so much about giving the dog that extra understandng.
One of the things she talked about is how SOME Dog Trainers are like the Captain of the Titanic. In that they head straight for the iceberg (i.e issue) instead of looking for the edge, feeling it out. How close can you get? And still keep the dog in a learning zone? I have been all about that for a very long time. Since the days of Kate. Small steps towards your goal. But to have it explained like that really hit home. It was one of my most favorite quotes from the weekend. Instead of attacking things head on, take the time to really figure it out. There is nothing wrong with skirting around the edges until you know exactly how big that IceBerg is...
Some of my other favorite quotes and thoughts from the weekend:
Your dog is telling the truth. -Believe them. Believe their fear, their arousal, etc.
You Cannot Respond to what you don't see. - Simple, I know! But really think about that. If you aren't looking, or paying attention, or you miss that little ear flick or head turn. It's too late. This really hit home for me with Leo right now. Who is this giant puzzle I am trying to put together. lol
Identify the Moment of Decision. -Know your dog, read your dog in order to know the moment they make a decision regarding the trigger. The "sticky-ness" is usually the first to start. Once you've identified that you now have time to work with the dog through the issue.
There were many, many more ideas and thoughts that will stick with me- and help me to be a better dog trainer. Lots of reminders about why I train the way I do, and some validation. Which was much needed at this time of my life. I already have been doing so much of what she talked about, and my theories are very similar to hers. It made me feel good. lol.
I would go to another seminar of hers again- I'd really love to do the Fearful/Reactive dog one. But unfortunately I missed that one last November. :( I think that she has so much to offer dog training in general that I would highly, highly reccomend her.
Thursday, April 11, 2013
|Fleece looks all adorable and innocent doesn't she...|
|It's the Border Collie Smear...|
|Kisses on the fly|
|Sucking up to Leo|
|Fleece (aka Spaz) on the move...|
Fleece went home today, and we are puppy-less until next week when little Joe will come home to meet some people and see the sights. I take the pups as a favor to a friend- living in the country they don't see much, and their mom is known for her less than ideal temperament. lol. So the more socialising the better! Fleece had a great time in the city, and is looking to be a very stable, well rounded kind of gal. ;)
Tuesday, April 09, 2013
Monday, April 08, 2013
Because I really love this dog.
Like completely, and utterly.
I will be crushed without her.
She has longevity in her genes though, so fingers crossed I've got a good long time with her.
Regardless, every night I tell her how wonderful she is.
And hold her close (even if she doesn't want to).
I want to appreciate, and remember everything about her.
It's sucks that they age so quickly.
It doesn't seem fair really.
So, Take nothing for granted.
And Enjoy every moment.