Monday, April 28, 2014

Nosework Trial!

Western Canada held the first SDDA Trial this past weekend in Red Deer. The SDDA is the Sporting Detection Dog Association. There has been a few trial in Ontario, but it is still very new. This trial was Started level only as no one had ever done it before around here! 

I was pretty nervous. Wicca can be really on, or off. (Typical Corgi!). But she really struggles with vehicle searches. For a title, the dog need to pass three components (three different searches). A container search, where the odour is hidden among 12-18 boxes. An Interior search, where the odour is hidden in a room somewhere. And finally an Exterior search, where the odour is hidden on one of three vehicles. The dog must pass one of each of these in order to earn a title. If the dog passes all three on the same day they earn a different title than dogs who don't. 

We started with the Container Search both days- Saturday was an S shape, and Wicca was working right off the bat. She did a great job, and I quickly called Alert before she wrecked the hide. The second day they were in four rows- tightly together. We nearly DQ'd for going out of bounds but I called her back just in time. She alerted just fine on that one once she was focused. 

Saturday we did the Vehicle Search next. I was SO nervous. For one, this is her worst thing. Second, one of the vehicles was a quad- which she's never worked off of before. And Three- there were LOTS of exciting and distracting things outside.... It took as almost two minutes but she did it! I think we walked around each vehicle two times, and the outside of all three at least two more times. She had her mind on other things and needed some prompting to keep working.  Sunday the Vehicle search was last and we left before my turn. I wanted to get home at a decent time!

The interior search was hard both days. A whole room full of random stuff. Saturday Wicca nearly alerted on the wrong thing- she was very sniffy against the wall at a box, but was quick to leave when prompted. So we did find the right thing- on the bottom of a chair. Which again her alert was teeth so I had to call the alert really fast! I didn't want her to retrieve the chair. lol. The second day it was my error that failed her- she knew where it was and I didn't let her have a chance to get close enough to alert on it!!! I was so focused on the stuff that I didn't let her get near the wall... But what a good dog! She tried to tell me. I need to listen more! 

So because she passed all three elements on Saturday she earned her Scent Detection- Started title. So SD-S sp. The SP signifies the one day finish. I am so proud of us! Wicca is just such a great little dog. She was keen to work, and was excited to be out. I really like this sport- it is so great for dogs with physical limitations- I think Wicca was the oldest dog there though. There were lots of malinois, shepherds, and the like. But the people were all very nice, and I learned alot from the judges. They were just great, and were eager to share their knowledge. 

I have some good training ideas- and now is the right time to start working on an actual alert. In the advanced level your dog needs a consistent alert that the judge needs to be able to identify. I am going to start on that today!

We are going to start looking in to seeing what it would take to host a trial in the south. Red Deer is far. lol. And more trials would be a lot of fun! Because this was the first one, there were definitely some things that need to be improved. I don't think the organisers had ever ran anything like that before though, so you have to start somewhere I suppose! 

Anyway, I'm pumped! Who knew Wicca would have a chance to do something fun/work again! Love that dog. To Bits. 

Monday, April 21, 2014

Easter Weekend

Easter weekend was jam packed. Full of family, friends, and dogs. I didn't sleep in once. But I wouldn't change any of it. 

We did some herding. I didn't take any photos of my own dogs. This is Scamp. 
the easter bunny came. and I cooked turkey. 

the dogs got into the spirit of things
Wicca and Vito both had baths and all that jazz. Wicca is still shedding but looks better at least! 

We played follow the leader, I mean went on a walk. 
and Wendy took beautiful photos of my girls. <3

this one especially melts me. <3
and more walks, and more herding, and even a tiny bit of agility. Oh, and I even cleaned my house. See, jam packed full! Oh, and you want to know what there wasn't? Nosework practice. Not once. This spells trouble for the upcoming weekend.... 

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Prairie Girl Pixel

I really, really love this photo. I don't know why. Other than it is 100% Pixel. Doing her own thing, tail in the air.
Such a Princess. <3 
Something blowing in the wind. 

Monday, April 14, 2014

Falling Behind

It's like the story of my life! Lol. So much to say, to write down, to remember. But by the time I get to just sit at the computer the last thing I want to do is waste the time to do it.

And so the blog has become more of a dumping ground. I have good intentions, but life sometimes gets away from you.

In any case here is a recap of last week.

I took my Grandpa's little dog Tucker to be euthanized. It was sad. And hard, and easy all at the same time. Easy in that he was suffering, lived a long life, and was truly heartbroken, his body and his heart both gave up. So it was the right decision. But it was still hard, to hold him, to explain that although his condition looked bad- he was well loved. His passing was peaceful. It was hard to say goodbye to the last connection we had to my Grandpa, and my Grandma. After my Grandma died Tucker became everything to my Grandpa. His companion- followed him everywhere. Always at his feet. As routine oriented as my Grandpa was. Even when he moved to my parents a few weeks ago- Tucker demanded his supper at 5pm on the dot, and bedtime was 10. No exceptions. What a funny little guy he was. <3

Wicca and I are training for the nosework trial in a few weeks. She is awesome, mostly. The vehicle search will be our downfall. Of that I am certain. I am going to work on indication and commitment this week. Back to basics and see if I can convince her that the rules are the same on a car. She is a challenge- even at 10 years old. :)

Leo has ignited my spark for agility again. We had a fantastic training session late last week, and then again this weekend. He is coming along nicely. Understanding more and more, and with that comes confidence.

Brit is lame, mostly. It is frustrating. And I try not to think about it. We need to go and see Veronica again. Although I have been down this road and I know that the outcome is not good. My hope is that she will have more good days than bad. And that I can manage it.  (She has some nerve trouble in her back, for those that haven't been following along)

We did a photo shoot with 55 dogs in a group stay. It turned out awesome. 
Lorelei is a very talented photographer, and while the shoot itself with a little difficult to manage- everyone did a great job with their dogs.

Spring is here- my grass is turning green. And I am really looking forward to the time when I can sit in the yard with the dogs and just be. I have serious cabin fever- even though I've been out all winter- it's not the same. Bring on the sun, and warmth!

This week is a short work week. It's going to be awesome. I have five days off in a row. Talk about lucky! I intend to spend it all with my dogs, my family, and my friends. Lucky, Lucky Me!

Monday, April 07, 2014

Arena Trial Finale

The Highwood Stockdog Series is over- the last trial was held on Sunday. It is a GREAT way to pass the winter months, and is a lot of fun. Once a month we all drive to the High River arena and run our dogs. Last year was the first year, and this past year was even better than the first. It's like a well oiled machine. We can set up the whole arena trial (panels, fences, pens), and unload a trailer full of sheep in twenty minutes.

It has been a great learning experience for me. Last year I was SUPER new and each time to the post gave me a bit more confidence, and a bit more experience. How to read my stock, how to trust my dog, and what to do in general. This year has been more about learning my dogs- and giving them both that valuable experience.

It has not been without it's ups and downs though. I moved Brit to the Ranch class- which is a bit more advanced than Novice. The handler stays at the post and there is a longer drive (up the length of the arena). Novice is a small easy course, and the handler can walk on the drive (which is only half way up the arena at most).

Brit handled that no problem to begin with. We even won our class a few times. And then the sheep got heavy. And when that happened it was hard for both of us. lol. The drive seemed even farther and I struggled to keep her moving. And one trial she wouldn't. So back to novice we went for the last two of the season. I am glad I made that decision for her- the sheep got worse. But she handled them okay with help from me. Her run yesterday was the best she has ever done. Calm, Confident, and reading her stock. It was a great feeling only marred by a DQ caused by my handler error. I didn't know, and made a mistake at the pen. It doesn't matter in the big scheme of things but I do feel bad about it. And it wrecked an otherwise perfect run, and a great feeling. But you win some and you lose some! All things about this sport are variables- even the rules! lol. I am proud of Brit- this game is not easy for her, and although she is keen she often lacks the confidence to back it up. I've worked very hard with her to get her where she is now. And I feel that I can get her even farther if we keep marching on. At our own pace, step by step. For as long as she is able and willing we will continue to train and trial.

Leo has come so far- from his first time at the post, to the run yesterday. Consistently placing in the top three in his class every time, ensured that he brought home First Place in the Aggregate. Winning the Novice Class overall! The class is a fair size, and there are lots of good dogs. I am so very proud of him. I know I am biased but he is a pretty special dog. Talented, Keen, Honest, and is the type of dog who will look after me. He has taught me a lot already, and I am looking forward to a great summer of farm work with him. When it was announced that he won the Novice class I was happy, but it didn't really sink in. It has now, and I am just thrilled with him. What a dog he is!

Winning, or losing. It is all part of the fun of the game. For me it is never about winning, but doing my best, and pushing my dog to do his/her best. My favorite part of any sport is the training. I am a dog trainer. I love that part. So for me trialing is a test of my training- and that is for all sports- not just herding. Herding is the most difficult thing I have ever done, and I am very new. So it has been a challenge. I have a great support team though- people who have shared their knowledge and helped me a long the way. I am forever grateful for that! I know that I am very lucky!

Here are their runs from yesterday- lots of good stuff in there. And most importantly- Improvement from both of them!



and Brit

and a token photo. Leo and I after winning the aggregate. I'll get a fancy jacket with our names on it, which I may never take off! ;)

Sunday, April 06, 2014

Agility Leo!

Leo's first agility video! Just little clips from the seminar and match yesterday. Lots of breaking things down, and lots of rewarding. You can really see the wheels turning on some of the stuff. Some progress in just a few weeks even!

The video only shows the good stuff, I assure you there was plenty of second, and third tries before getting it right. ;) We are a little rough around the edges, but are working it out! I am feeling pretty pleased with his progress, and have a whole bunch of stuff to work on! So damn exciting.

One of my friends asked me how it felt, and at the time I couldn't really figure out how it felt exactly. But now, reflecting on yesterday I know that it felt just right. Seeing some agility friends for the first time in almost two years...Hanging out with friends, laughing, visiting, learning, running, cheering, feeling that connection with the dog... all things that just felt perfect.

I want more of course. ;)

Wednesday, April 02, 2014

Signs of spring

Boone got shaved. 

Pixel is shedding

Wicca is muddy. (trust me)

the border collies are dreaming of swimming, and are ready to get fit again.

see? these are dog who are ready! for spring.

Leo's tongue made an appearance today. And he tried to lay in a snow/ice puddle...

Vito has no ears now that the gophers are out....
All sure signs of spring. ;)