Monday, September 15, 2014

We are not dead. Just busy.


I've become one of those bloggers. That only blog once in a blue moon, and then just dump a whole pile of crap and go. I am going to change that though. Because this blogs true purpose is for myself, and my crappy memory. This blog started out as a training log- a place where I wrote down stuff about the dogs and training, and events and that sort of thing. I use the search feature a lot. For example type in Pixel Open Leg and you will find that she has two. That's the sort of thing I forget. 

Anyway, onward to the blog post. It's been a month. Or nearly a month. Do you know how much stuff happens in a month? A lot. Here's a recap. 

Pixel is still fat. You'd think that with all the swimming and stuff she does she'd be skinny as a post. But no. So we are working on that. She also refuses to hold an out of sight stay. Like barely at all. This frustrates me. So we practice every day. Otherwise she is cute and happy and her same old normal self. 

Boonie is mostly normal again. It's like the moon and the stars and the atmospheric pressure is all just so. I like Normal Boonie. No random spinning, no running away, no staring absently into a corner. Just chilled out, hanging on the couch Boonie. Maybe it's age. 

Vito is a badass. Doesn't listen, sulks around if he gets in trouble. Really hates the bulldog next door. Thankfully they are moving. Vito has had more baths this summer than I can even count. He has a thing about dead stuff. He can find it- anywhere. And then he smears himself in it. Dead things smell bad, and then Vito smells bad. It's quite gross actually. 

Brit is making up for Boonie being normal. She has decided that under the bed is the place to be. No idea why. But if I can't find her that's where she is. Strange. We have stopped working Obedience-well, heeling. Although I am tempted to start rally with her again. But she gets so sore after. It's depressing. Whereas in herding. She is barely ever lame after. Brit is a funny dog on sheep though- sometimes quite good and other times not so much. It is frustrating when she runs away from them however... lol. I am undecided about what the plan is. 



Leo is brilliant. He is a solid worker, with loads of enthusiasm. He is so much fun to train. Living with him is interesting, but I love him anyway. He is a very good agility dog. We've got the basics and then some. What he doesn't have is solid weave poles. I have never had trouble teaching weaves before. Not like this. He is completely bizarre. He leaps through them literally, or runs really fast by them and moves his head as though he is weaving. It is very strange. I blame myself of course- I wasn't entirely motivated when I started teaching him and I stayed at the same point for too long and now I've messed him up. Good thing I like problem solving. On sheep he continues to impress me. His driving is coming along in leaps and bounds now. He still occasionally gets sticky but that rarely happens now. And exciting news- I'm putting whistles on him and Brit right now. I am excited about that! Whistles will help things to be a little more precise- and as an added bonus I'll know that he can hear me when he's 200 yds away. lol

Wicca is mostly great. She has had a few bad days. But she is mostly great. And that's what I think about. I love her so much that it hurts. 

photo by Wendy Devent
And the rest of the stuff. Work is good. My training business is busy. But I feel like I have a good balance between all the stuff in my life. Work, Dogs, Life, Family, Friends. It is hard sometimes. But lately things have been pretty great. Just have to fit Blogging in there somewhere. ;)  I've actually been able to enjoy some downtime- and am not trying to fill every second of the day with stuff. Before the thought of just sitting at home for a day would completely panic me. But have decided that relaxing can be a good thing. It's only taken 30 years to come to that conclusion. ;) 

My dad and I went to Winnipeg for my Grandpa's burial service. It was emotionally draining, but I'm glad I went. It was nice to spend some time with my dad. He is the best ever. And although it was sad, it was nice to have some closure. For him and for my Grandma.

My family is all good- my sister and her kids are wonderful. Little Avery is the cutest baby ever. And Nolen is getting so grown up! It's amazing how smart he is. I've reconnected with my brother- which is sort of weird. We never really got along, ever. But it's a good change. My dad is okay, although I do worry about him. He spends so much time taking care of my mom. It's really hard on him. My mom is worse than ever. But nothing I can say or do will change that so I push it out of my head and heart. That's about all I can do- or I'd go crazy. 

Fall is here- we had the first snow- and although it was just a tiny bit it was pretty cold! I love fall- but am not looking forward to winter. This summer has gone by so fast! It's a blur really. I did a lot of fun things though, and don't regret any of it! I'm already planning for next summer. It involves a passport! 

And on that note, a very happy Pixel- on a mission as per usual. ;) 


Saturday, August 16, 2014

Herding Demo



My friend asked me to do a herding demo for a group of kids at a horse camp. I was excited but nervous. The sheep don't actually live there, and the fencing is meant for horses- not sheep. lol. I had fears of sheep running amok through the horses, and on to the highway, or down the coulee. Thankfully none of that happened and it actually went pretty well!!

I used Leo mostly- Brit is better with kids but was a little wild. lol. Leo was good though- he didn't even notice the kids until he almost ran into them.

We used the kids as obstacles- first as panels, and then someone had the bright idea to get them all to stand in a row and weave through them... talk about tricky. lol.  Kids don't stand still ever. And don't listen. You can see in the photo the kids are actually petting the sheep.

In any case it was a lot of fun, and I could be convinced to do another!

Thursday, August 14, 2014

So long little Nell

Nell leaves today to start her journey to her new home. I am thrilled for her. She is going to a fantastic home where she will be loved and spoiled for her whole life. Couldn't ask for much better than that. I wish her the very best in her future. <3

I've had a lot of foster dogs. Too many to count even. Some I remember, and some I don't. But sometimes there is that something a little extra special, and it draws me in. I think with Nell it is a combination of how long I've known her (since she was a baby!), and her temperament/personality. She is all the things I like in a dog. It's shame the timing wasn't better for me. 

But six is plenty thank you very much. 

Farewell little Nelly.

Saturday, August 09, 2014

Scenthurdle

I am not a people person. That's why I am a dog person. So I am not sure why I torture myself with the whole team sports thing. Don't get me wrong. I love my team- we are team awesome after all. But it's hard to lead a team. Being in charge has it's perks. And it's not so fun times. Mostly it balances out. But lately I feel like I am not doing a good job of leading said team. So I am frustrated- mostly at myself. I am sure that once the busy summer months are over that it will all settle back down. But in the mean time I keep telling myself how much my dogs love this game, and how much I like it. lol

And on that note I think I can safely say that this is Brits most favorite thing. She is confident, and eager, and always ready for her turn. And getting more and more accurate (which I am sure my team is happy about. lol)


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!

http://www.akcchf.org/news-events/library/articles/dogupdate0609.pdf

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 manymuddypaws@hotmail.ca. 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!!!

UPDATE JULY 24TH.
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!!!
Teeter!

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...

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Well Hello Again and the ABC's

Horrible Blogger. That's me. I blame facebook. It's just so easy. Slap a photo up, a few words, a joke, a story. Post. And done. I'm lazy. That's really the problem. The other problem is that I have SO MUCH TO SAY. And feel as though I can't, or shouldn't say them here. So then I don't.

So here is stuff that I can say.

A) My sister is having her baby any day now. I am excited. To be an Auntie again. Kids are awesome, when they aren't yours, or annoying. ;)

B) I missed Leo's Birthday. I feel horrible about it. Not that he cares. But it was June 10th. I will have to make it up to him. He is Four.

C) I am so busy, which is funny because I am actually trying to be less busy. I've cut down on the amount of teaching I am doing. Especially private lessons. It helps to have someone decent to refer people to now. Makes me feel less guilty about not helping.

D) I've recently learned that I can say No. But I still say yes! or sure! far too often.



E) Boone can feel a thunderstorm long before the weatherman says one is here. Maybe he could go work for the weather network!



F) Brit is still lame. It's a mystery really. I don't like mystery. I like definite diagnosis. But that's my luck you know. Sciatica, sort of. Two treatments in two weeks- this time was much better- her sacrum actually was good, her neck and back too- but her tail. That is still a mess. The vet thinks now that there is an old trauma... In any case it's hard to do much with a dog who ends up on three legs after ten or fifteen minutes of exercise. It is depressing.

G) You know what else is depressing? My car. It's broken. And I am still poor. So this should be interesting. I will find out tomorrow what the scoop is.

H) Was too personal. So I deleted it and was too lazy to re-letter everything else. lol (See V)



I) Wicca is amazing. Even more so than in her younger days. She is my heart. Still.



J) Pixel did NOT get her CDX at the Obedience trial. She had a good time, and had the best heeling score I've ever had. Losing only 1.5 points between her heel free and figure 8. Amazeballs! And my students rocked it, and totally made me so proud. All of them, Q's or not. It is just amazing how good they all are.

K) I realise that I do indeed miss agility. And am really looking forward to trialing with Leo this summer! For the first time in a few years I actually have an "Agility Night" Super awesome. Can't wait.

L) Further to K, Leo can now weave in sequence, and sort of do the teeter in sequence too. Yay for training. lol

M) The countdown is on to the Herding Clinic/Trial in Vernon. Only a few weeks away! I am stoked!


N) Leo is a rockstar. Really. I enjoy him a lot. I am sad that I missed out on a whole year of actually owning him and training him. I mean, he lived with me. But as a foster- which isn't the same.



O) I looked after a Dalmatian baby for a friend. I loved him. He went back to his breeder on Saturday. I miss him. I could have a Dalmatian if it was like Sport. Such an awesome puppy. And actually it was two spotted puppies. Started with black spots, and then traded for liver ones. ;)



P) My cat got into a fight with the neighbor cat and has a puncture on his foot. Do you know how much fun it is to convince a cat to soak his foot in Epsom salts and warm water? Not fun at all.

Q) I volunteered at the AAC AB/NWT Regionals on Saturday. It poured buckets all day. But it was still a great time. Lots of talented dogs and handlers.

R) Not as awkward as I thought (see Q)

S) Vito is old all of a sudden. I mean mature, and old. He is lazier than ever, and is constantly on a diet. lol. This morning he didn't get out of bed until he heard the kibble hit the bowls.



T) I am obsessed with clouds lately. I blame my sister.



U) And this. I am trying. Really, I am.

V) But this. Lazy. That's part of my trouble. Between putting things off for "later" or "tomorrow" and just not caring enough to do some stuff it is really putting me behind.

W) That's a wrap. I will try and be a better blogger. If nothing else but for me! How else am I supposed to search back for photos, and results, and "what did a I train for in July 2014?". So yes, better blogger.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Field Trial

Running behind on this blog again, but last weekend the Border Collies and I headed to the Sheep River Sheepdog trial. It was a lot of fun, and I had a great time with my dogs, and with my friends.

Brit ran in intermediate for the first time. That is a class where I stay at the post (no helping the drive), and not only does she have to do a drive away, but a cross drive too. Oh, and the outrun is bigger too. I was a little worried we were in over our heads. But I worried for nothing! Brit did a great job! In fact our first run she won first place! The second day we lost one. ;), and the third day was a good try but the sheep were heavy and fighting and Brit doesn't do well with that sort of thing. I got on her case a bit, and she quit. lol. That'll teach me. I need to find the balance between making her do the right thing, and taking her sensitivity into account. She is definitely a challenge sometimes! Our homework is to work more on taking a "Steady"- and whistles. She is so far away now that whistles are becoming neccesary- especially if it's windy...

This is Saturday's run. She came first in her class. I was thrilled with her cross drive on this one. Driving is not her strong point. Lots of things to work on though- my timing for one. lol. And steady- as in go slow.




Leo was in Novice and did a pretty good job! We had some trouble here and there- my timing, his pushy ways. Some wrong flanks. But-  We have been working so hard on our drive that I am just thrilled with how well he did on that part! He is getting it- slowly but surely. On the second run we lost our sheep. (same as brit actually). He was too forward and fast, and I didn't stop him in time. I thought he had caught it but I should have left them alone to settle a bit longer before walking him up. Live and learn! I need to learn to be more proactive with him- anticipate that he is going to be a little pushy and get on his case a bit. I didn't use my "time" nearly enough and by the third day he wasn't listening to it at all. He is a really fun dog to run though, I need to not get caught up in the excitement of him. lol. The best part of the weekend for him aside from the drives- was the pen on sunday! The sheep were very difficult all weekend and there were not many pens the whole weekend. But he had a great handle on his sheep on that last run and we got it! He came in first in the run.

This is Mondays run- the last day. I was pretty happy with him! 



So lots to work on with both dogs, and with myself. Each trial I come away knowing a little more about my dogs, stock, and myself. 

Friday, May 09, 2014

Agility Leo Update

Agility Leo is happy, and ethusiastic, and doing great.

If I managed my time better, and was more motivated to train he would be a lot farther along than he is. But we are having fun with the stuff we've done so I'm happy. ;)

I was hoping to have him running at a trial in a few weeks. Just Jumpers, BUT. My chute is not here yet, and he has done exactly two tires. So. We will wait- and in the mean time we will train some more. Leo likes that idea- a lot. He finds the whole running, jumping, running, tugging, running, playing thing very exciting. ;) 

photo by Cindy

photo by Cindy

restrained recalls over the a-frame make Leo a little crazy...

see? lol. I think the A-Frame may be his favorite thing.
agility leo is happy.

Thursday, May 08, 2014

Wicca's Best Day

If possible I love this dog more each day. Today she came along on an adventure and had the best day. She completely stole the show, and truly was the highlight of my day. She is hilarious, and even at ten years old is the boss. Of everything.

She came along to agility practice, and the farm. She didn't listen at all, rolled in stuff, got in the way, nearly caused a stampede, chased gophers, and a cat or two. And just generally was awesome.

Some photos from the day...

supervising... 

toy thief

part of her victory lap after I let her do a tunnel. <3 Her Joy was heartwarming. 

Satisfied. 

Rolling on a dead worm

it was a good roll! 

mooching treats 'cause she worked so hard. 

at the farm. on chicken watch. 

a gift. 

she wasn't sure she liked it. 

In the lambing pasture. She was helpful. 

and pushed all the sheep out. LOL

She then spent the afternoon supervising the working dogs. It was a tough job. 
After such a busy day she is now sleeping in a sun spot at my feet. <3
Never change Woo.