Sunday, July 27, 2014

Belated Birthday!

I missed Pixel's Birthday! Bad Momma!!! 
We made up for it today though- ice cream, a swim, and fun with her best little boy Nolen. 
So belated Happy Birthday to the best little Princess. <3

Friday, July 25, 2014

Vito the Charmer

Vito is such a little charmer. Good looks and... 

he knows exactly what to say to the ladies. ;) 

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Another Herding Adventure

A few friends and I drove all the way to Dawson Creek. Which is north, like way north. In fact the town of Dawson Creek is where the Alaska Highway starts. It was a long drive, but so worth it.

The trial was small, but run amazingly well. The hosts did EVERYTHING. I don't know where they found the energy, and the time to do it all! They ran set out almost by themselves, did exhaust most of the time too, and all the other regular stuff that goes into a herding trial. And to top it off they prepared a FEAST for the Handlers dinner. It was delicious- best cheesecake ever!

The sheep were just a farm flock- a mixture of stuff. I don't know my sheep all that well yet, but I could definitely tell that there was some Cheviot in the mix! Wiley creatures that they are. My dogs did not too badly. Brit was horrible her first run- she refused to listen and had the sheep running. So I called her off and quit. She really needs to learn to stay off her stock. I was more than a little frustrated. She did redeem herself sort of the next day. We had too much speed- but the difference was that she listened. Leo handled himself pretty well- though I need to work on my timing still. I am always late! He came in second both days. And he did the drive! It wasn't pretty but we got it done. So I was happy with that.

I had a great time with my friends. And I met some new people- and I think that now "the regulars" have seen me around enough that they are actually friendly. Not that they have been unfriendly- but I had actual conversations with people I hadn't before. So that was cool. The scenery was gorgeous. I took a lot of photos with my iphone and barely any with my regular camera.

I am itching to get out of the lower level classes. But I know I need to take my time with Leo... His driving is the only thing holding us back right now. The bigger outruns will be just fine I am pretty sure. Brit on the other hand.... I am still not sure just how far she will be able to go in this... But there is only one more field trial this year, and then back to arena trials...

My training plans for both the dogs is just time, and experience. I need to focus on their respective weaknesses and work through it. I feel that we are at the point that I can do that as the other things are mostly understood. For Brit it is confidence. So some small spaces, and probably some corner work too, and seperately work on that steady so she stays off her sheep more when I ask. Leo is just driving, driving, and more driving. In conjunction with that are those small quarter flanks, and sharp stops. And for myself- whistling! I'm such a procrastinator. I can't even explain really. lol

Monday, July 14, 2014

Nell- looking for a great home!

Nell is a one year old Border Collie. I have looked after her a few times already in her life- once when she was itty bitty, and again when she was a teenage puppy. I have had a soft spot since I first saw her cute little freckles and bubbly personality.

She is from working Border Collie lines, and she herself was originally supposed to be one. But due to a possible Health Concern she has washed out of the program and is now looking for a great home.

There is a chance that Nell may develop Early Onset Deafness. A very slight chance- there isn't much known about the condition. But it is an issue in Border Collies, and a few different breeds. In Nell's case- there has been no trouble in her lines at all until just recently. When her mom went deaf. It is a hard thing to predict as it comes late in life- in this case the dog is over 5 years old! From what I've read it usually happens between 3-5 years old if it is going to happen at all.

Here is an interesting article I found about EOD. There isn't much about it- even online!

So because there is a risk of Nell losing her hearing, or possibly passing it on to puppies if she were ever bred- she won't make it as a professionally trained trial dog. But that won't prevent her from being the best dog in the world!!! (And she would likely be a KICK ASS working dog too if someone wanted to take a chance on that!)

I am very smitten with this little dog- she is really a great girl. And deserves a fantastic home where she will get lots of attention, exercise and the proper spoiling. ;)  She will be spayed prior to leaving for her new home- and the only charge is just the amount for the spay. Homes will be screened however. I am particular about these sorts of things!

Now, on to the awesome stuff that makes Nell so.... awesome!

Nell is just over a year old and is small for a Border Collie. Around 17" tall, and all muscle and fur. She is a very athletic little dog with springs for legs. Nell is great with people and hasn't met a stranger. She is also good with dogs and cats. Nell is housetrained, and crate trained. She travels well, and loves to do stuff. Nell has a great recall and is a dog who likes to please. She is very smart, and is easily motivated by treats, and toys.  Still very much a puppy- she is learning what is appropriate to chew in the house, and what is not. Shoes and Pillows are not. Dog toys are. She is learning though and is getting more and more trustworthy!

Nell loves to cuddle and is very affectionate. She is super sweet and is content to lay on your feet, or in your lap if you let her. ;) She is always happy, and sweet, and very responsive. I think she would make a great therapy dog!

We have started working on some basic obedience. She is learning Sit, and Down, and about Leash Manners. She is easy to train, and picks things up fast!

Nell has a soft spot for kids and absolutely adores them. She pulls me over to see kids at any chance she gets! She is very gentle with them though. It is this reason that I think she would make a great family pet.

Toys of any shape or size are her favorite. Really, any toy will do! She hasn't shown a preference at all, although today she seemed pretty pumped about an old Wubba she found in the toy box!

There isn't anything about this dog that I don't like- she really is just fantastic. With a bit more time and training she will be pretty perfect!!! She is a border collie though, and the home she goes to will have to be considerate of that! Plenty of exercise, and mental stimulation will help her to continue the trend of good behavior! Left to her own devices she could certainly be naughty. ;) 

If you are interested in Nell, or would like more information please feel free to contact me via email at Nell is located in Lethbridge, Alberta but if the right home came along we could arrange shipping! As mentioned above the only cost associated with Nell would be to cover her spay. 

Feel free to spread the word!!!

Nell has been placed into a loving (and awesome) home. 
Thanks for spreading the word, and for your interest! 

First Agility Trial

Leo and I attended our first ever agility trial- a CKC one. It was fun, and felt really good to be back in the ring. Leo did MUCH better than I thought he would. Training for agility is still not high priority for me, but he is SO smart that he learns quick. It's a good thing really. We are a good fit.

He earned three Q's- two JWW, and a Standard. Which is amazing because he weaved! In the standard he even weaved on the first attempt! The others we had to do a second time. I have videos of most of our runs- but only one uploaded right now. This is his very first run ever I think!

It was already more than a week ago so I can't remember details all that well- but here is a list I had made right after the weekend.

Things that were awesome
Finding a line
Jump Commitment
A-Frame- didn't miss a single one!!!

Things that need work
Dogwalk- he was trotting across, instead of running. Which shows me that he doesn't really fully understand yet what is expected. I have to revisit my training and find the holes.
Weaves- this is not unexpected. He is not fully trained on weaves- my fault of course.
Start Lines! Oh my. Startlines. lol.
Delayed Reward- he was looking on course for the reward a few times. Once he even ran out of a tunnel and picked up a pylon... lol
Warm up- into the ring. I used my leash to keep him excited and engaged, but we will get called for that eventually. So I need to work on building up some trigger words and such to keep him excited when the toys go away.

We have lots of time to train- our next agility trial will likely be an AAC trial in September. We will see if I feel brave enough to go. ;)

Thursday, July 03, 2014

Sheepdog Vacation!

photo by Jenny Glen

9 days of awesome. and brain overload. and very good dogs. and great friends. 

a friend and I went to Coldstream BC, for a Herding Camp last week. It was completely awesome, and exactly what I needed at this point in my training. It was two days with four different clinicians. We got to work in three different sessions each day. I came home with a great understanding of stock, and more importantly LOTS of training ideas for both Brit and Leo. I had some great AHA! moments, and have a better idea of where I need to go from here. I am excited to put it into practice, and get working on filling some of those holes.

The two days after that were trial days. And my dogs were super stars. Leo won the Novice class on the first day, and Brit came second the next day. Leo's score was an 84!!! out of 90! I mean I was completely floored. What a good boy! Brit also had her highest score of 72. The sheep were fantastic, very dog broke and just trucked right along. Definitely Brit's kind of sheep! There is a HUGE novice class in BC- 20 dogs!! Here in Alberta we are lucky to get four, or five!

After that we drove back to Alberta to get ready for Louanne's first ever Phantomridge trial. It's been a busy few days. Set up, and the trial all went off without a hitch. We are a good team, and I think it was a great trial- despite the hot weather and swarms of mosquitos! Leo ran his two Novice classes on Tuesday night and won both rounds! He did very nice work, though that drive continues to elude us! I am super proud of him though, and myself. Handling at a field trial is tough business!  Brit was entered in Intermediate on Wednesday, and I pulled her today. It was a complete disaster. She couldn't see her sheep, and crossed over, and then could barely bring them to me. The final straw was when one nasty ewe looked at her and she turned tail and ran away. Ugh. So I called her off. I have decided to only enter her in trials that I know has dog friendly/broke sheep, and arena trials where the space isn't so big. She just does not have the confidence for the big fields and tough sheep. In the mean time I am going to back and work on the upclose stuff, sharp flanks, stops, and steady. I am going to look into some of the other venues- where she will be able to have more success.

Leo however is full steam ahead- first up is whistles. Jenny is going to help me teach him- I can mostly do them, and I definitely need them. So now is the time! Secondly is that drive. We are going to focus completely on that- he is doing well- but really doesn't want to stay "in the pocket" so to speak, and always tries to gather them if I am not keeping my thumb on him. I am more than ready to get out of novice, and he needs a drive for Intermediate! I entered him in one trial at Louanne's and it was a gong show. lol. He zig zagged all the way up the field, and barely had control, oh, and didn't listen worth a damn. We have much to work on!

So after all that fun on my holidays I am completely exhausted. And now I need to switch gears for the Kennel Clubs agility trial! Which also happens to be Leo's first agility trial. Ha! 2 weeks of sheep, lets see how quickly we can change gears in the Border Collie brain...