Saturday, February 28, 2009

Nobody does it better....

On the way home today, this song came on the radio- I have always loved this song. I thought of Darci's "Bear" and her recent post about his virtues as a sheepdog. How he is everything she could want. So, that ones for you (too) Darci.

The reason I say "too" is that today, while working Lucy, she did two things that really made my day.

On the last fetch of the day, as she was fetching away from the draw (sheep were bound to run toward me, and that has always been hard for her to have pace on) Lucy came in, lifted very nicely and never ONCE broke into a canter. She maintained a very nice trot, all the way to me. I about fell over. My friend who was holding, knew that I thought it was great, because we just ended there. WOW. That was a 20/10/20 if ever I saw it, and I never said a thing.

But, the coup de gras of the day, was this:

There were other folks working sheep in the adjoining pasture, and Lucy noticed this, because it was a young dog, and the sheep were a bit crazed- along the fence.
I had let my sheep drift up to the fence, and be near their friends. I then sent Lucy away. She ran up, and was met with a milling, want to be with their friends group of sheep. She stopped at first, not sure what to do, because there were TWO groups, a bit confusing. I half heartedly yelled "away", so that she would get along that fence, and get them. At one point the sheep split/scattered. I held my tongue. Next thing I know, I have 5 sheep (what we started with), all starting to come back together, and heading toward me. My lass knew the job- bring me the sheep, just bring them. And, she did.

Lucy knows the bottom line. I will forever be thankful to the sheepdog gods for allowing me to have such a wonderful sensible dog.

Yeah, nobody does it better. Thanks Luce, for yet another wonderful memory.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Dan at 10 weeks

Here's Danny. He is growing and loving life- as all pups should :) He likes Mr Chips, as you can see. Mr Chips likes him too. Although the constant jumping on his back is a bit annoying to said cat. If you click on the photos, they will be much larger, and look very nice :)

Another week!

Another week older, and what do you get? A ten week old pup, that's what! Danny is doing well. I will get more pics of him today. He is playing with Lucy a lot, and is also more into being with me- it's interesting. He comes and checks in with me when he is playing. His ear boo boo is getting better, though Lucy put it in such a place that that ear may never come up. Snot girl that she is. She probably didn't think a BC should have up ears like a KELPIE.

This has been a really exhausting week for me. I got home from work last night and just had to chill. Seriously- do nothing. Luckily it was nice out so Danny could be outside with Tucker. I have to get some gates, and some new mats for by the door. This mud is unbelievable. The dogs are even choosing to walk on the new walk way I put in instead of in the mud.

Mr Chips the cat has taken to running out into the back yard a lot. That's all well and good, until the dogs take an interest, and then he gets worried- tail puffs out the size of a racoon's, and hair up on back- a real Halloween kitty. Then I have to go rescue him, because I know he is worried about well, the obvious ;)

Sheep work is on the agenda for the weekend- hopefully. It all depends on the weather. This winter is really not interested in loosening it's grip. This means that those who are in the north east, and running at the Chatham trial in April will not have much time to build up the endurance of their dogs, and just get them fine tuned. Should be interesting. Can't wait, actually. I will get some more video again this year.

Other than sheep work, I simply need to clean MAJORLY this weekend. I may even have this girl I know come over, and help me out for some $$. I need to wash walls, and everything.

Well, that's about it for now. Pics of the lad to follow.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

This just in!

If you know me, you know I love 1) Tom Selleck and 2) The series "The Golden Girls".

Well, as wonderful fortune would have it, they will BOTH be on this weekend. Golden Girls will be on for a marathon on Sunday, on the Hallmark Channel. Also, on Sunday night, a new "Jessie Stone" movie will be aired at 9:00 pm. COOOOOL!!!

Oh, btw, anyone else having absolutely no luck loading blog pages with pics?

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Civic duty and all that

I have been on call for Federal jury duty, and yesterday, I got called up. First, I had to find the place- it was a 1.25 hour trip each way. I went to the court house, got in the security check line, and was told I was in the wrong court house. Great. So, I head out along with another person who erred in the same fashion. We finally made it to the right court house, and we all convened (all three hundred of us) in a large room. Where we sat. For hours. They picked just sixty of us, and the other 240 of us stayed put. All day long. Finally, at about 4:00 we were dismissed. What a complete waste of a day. I am very happy I didn't get selected, because it would have been a real pain to have to travel there all day, and get dog sitting for the pup.

As it was, I didn't eat dinner last night, I was just too tired. My friend came over and took care of Danny for me, and he was just fine when I got home. That was a great thing :) This morning Danny played for a long time with Lucy and then we took a trip to run outside. I am still whooped from yesterday.

So, I am off the hook for another four years- WAHOO!!!!!!

Monday, February 23, 2009

So, remember that Pizzeria Uno frozen pizza I got for free? Well, even free, it wasn't worth it. It was ALL crust. Now, I like deep dish as much as the next person, but this was 85% crust. Even I didn't appreciate the lack of cheese and sauce. Will stick with Red Baron, thank you very much.

Lucy and the boy have been playing quite a bit- morning seems to be one of the most popular times- I watch carefully. It's good exercise for both of them. He is very into emulating the other dogs, so this translates into good (mostly) things. I got some new shots of him. Since I have just an old mini zoom lens, these pics no where NEAR rival that of the dslr photos, but I won't be having an extra several thousand for the foreseeable future, so please, bear with me.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

There are no bad dogs

Barbara Woodhouse, I think said this, and it bears repeating. I recently read a tag line somewhere, and it said "life is too short to work bad dogs". What does that mean? Well, we know what it means- just what it says; that working lower quality dogs ain't worth it. What makes the dog lower quality? Because it's weak? Because it's not stylish? What? I want to know. I think that statement is a load of hooey.

I have worked with many good trainers, and some of the WORLD's best at that, and they would never say this- they say that they learn from each dog that they train. There are no bad dogs.

Good Sunday Morning

To you.

What a busy weekend. I had to work on Saturday, and then headed up later in the day to work sheep. Danny got to play with his pup girl friend and another bigger boy. He had fun! He is growing in leaps and bounds. He went in for his 9 week appointment (for vaccinations/worming/general check up). He weighed in at 11 lbs. He was so good. He really likes people. Anyway, now that he has another round of shots, I am not SO worried about him being out. Okay, back to sheep.

I worked Lucy- she was good, but was met with heavy pressure by the sheep being held by my friend- there is one Kathadin in there that just wants to stay with a person. I had to ask her up, and she did, but before that, she just sort of stood there- which is unusual. She HIGHLY respects my friend, so she may have been worried about taking the sheep off him- who knows. But, as usual, she got them to me. We worked on walk ups more, and we also did some small flank back and outs. She wasn't sure because I have been using get out just to tell her to get off the sheep- not for a particular direction. So, we did that until she was comfortable with it. Then, I had a bit of an epiphany with my lass.

See, when Lucy is anxious- usually when I raise my voice, and am not clear about what I want- she gets googly- basically, her tail will flick, and you can see she is just anxious. Not scared, not less keen, just anxious. I have made this, I am sure. So, my focus on my girl now will be to just shut UP, and be calm. There is no good reason to have done this to her. I feel bad. But, no sense in feeling bad- just change what you are doing, right?

Danny got to watch his daddy work sheep yesterday. That Glen is, to me, the epitome of what a good sheepdog should be. He comes in that pasture, ready to do his master's bidding, and he does what is asked, and when, plus he has all the style you could ask for PLUS at almost 10, he is very athletic.

Danny thinks that the running dogs are cool, but he really likes the sheep. Especially when they are looking at him. He gets a serious look on his face. He tried to get through the fence when a couple of ewes that were shed came up near him.

When I got home- late last night, I made a stop at the feed store- forgot to buy canned food for Tucker- CLOSED! DARN IT! So, that means a trip out of my way this week.

Danny slept in until 5 this morning, which was nice. Lucy and he played a lot- with me closely supervising, and he also followed Tucker outside. He sort of loves Tucker- looks up to him- you know, man to man. I got a tear in my eye, knowing that my time with Tucker is short. He is such a great dog.

Then, I made a great breakfast. It turned out extra tasty, as did the coffee. Later today, lots of cleaning? Oh, one cool thing- I splurged for a Pizzeria Uno frozen deep dish pizza at the store yesterday- it was $5.99, but it came up $6.99. So, I got it FREE!!! :)))) Thanks Stop and Shop :)

Well, there you have it. Things were good this weekend. Very restorative indeed.
Thanks dogs, you make my life whole.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Turn about is fair play?

We (the US) emulate the UK in ISDS trials. Europe emulates the UK as well, and word has it, that by and large, the Euros will be the teams to beat in the world championships sooner, not later (at least that's the scuttlebutt from some top UK handlers), and Australia has their own tweak to the trials. Now, it appears the Euros want to try on our timed trials for size. What's THAT about? Well, it's a sign that our country cultures are fading to global. AND, look at who the judge is? Recognize him? ;)

Ceredigion sheepdog trials - indoors!

Feb 19 2009 by Andrew Forgrave, Daily Post

SHEEPDOG trialing is set to undergo a revolution: Europe’s first indoor trial takes place in Ceredigion on Saturday.

Twelve of Wales’ top handlers will compete in front of an audience of hundreds at the Bont Pavilion, Pontrhydfendigaid.

It represents the first major make-over for the sport since it was first staged in 1873 by entrepreneur RJ Lloyd Price of Rhiwlas, Bala.

Not only will the course be much shorter than usual, the final runs will be timed, with faults for dogs that over-run their alloted slots.

The spectator-friendly event is the brainchild of sheepdog enthusiast Charles Arch, who hopes the new format will attract a new, younger audience in much the way that Twenty20 has done for cricket.

“If all goes well, perhaps we could hold similar competitions across the UK,” said Mr Arch.

“In future we’d like to set up a format involving the sheepdog team captains from each of the four home nations.”

Handlers in the US have experimented running trials under spotlights but this will be the first event of its type in Europe.

As the course will be shorter, the trial will be run under South Wales rules. Extra obstacles will be added with stages to include fetching, out-running, lifting, Maltese Cross and penning.

Five of the first round competitors – who include two lady handlers – will make it to the final where an extra task, bridging, will be added.

Competitors will be asked to pen groups of three or four lambs within a specified time.

Names of participating handlers were drawn from a hat and the sole North Wales representative is Eryl P Roberts, of Padog, Betws-y-Coed.

Top breeder Medwyn Evans, Llanfachreth, was forced to pull out because his bitch is whelping.

Mr Roberts said he is excited but anxious: “I’m not sure what to expect.

“How will the dogs react indoors? There will be a lot of noise and echoes, which could upset the dogs and sheep. How will they react to hard-standing? Will they clear the sheep mess away after each run?

“It’ll be interesting to see how it works.”

He’s entered six-year-old bitch Bet but is taking a second dog, three-year-old Eryri Mac, to see how each reacts to being indoors.

“Hopefully we can try out the arena beforehand,” he said.

Judge at the event will be Kevin Evans of Libanus near Brecon, holder of the 2008-09 International title.

Commentary is being provided by Dai Jones, Llanilar, who with wife Olwen has donated the main prize, the Strata Florida trophy.

Indoor Sheepdog Trials, Pontrhydfendigaid, February 21, 11am. Tickets: £5.50.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

The lad

I'm so excited, and I just can't hide it...

That song came on the radio on my way in to work the other day- and immediately, I started wracking my brain for scenarios that would make that song apropos. Trials? Yeah, maybe? Good weather working dogs? For sure.

My sister and nephew came over yesterday, and Danny boy was a bit surprised- at first he turned around, but then he came out and got all googly. I haven't had any visitors to the house since I have had him, so I can't blame him. He has been out and met other people, but not as many as I would like, because I am concerned about Parvo. He has only had one vaccination (next is tomorrow) and I don't want to risk him. I will take him out more and more as his immunity builds. Maybe have my nephews come over again :)

I can't believe how easy this puppy is. Seriously. He has not had one accident in the house. He can hold it for 9 hours at night, and he works the routine very well. Mr Chips is getting jealous of him playing with his cat tree, so when he saw Danny playing with it, he (the cat) jumped up there, and started swatting, actually, thumping Danny on the head. Just like Mr. Chips to be the boss of Danny.

I will get some more pics of Danny today or tomorrow, to record his growth. He definitely looks bigger to me, and he has a bit of leg under him, but not much, yet ;)

I fell asleep before Top Chef last night- darn it, so I will have to watch it tonight. On another programming note, I am so excited to report that the Golden Girls will now be aired on the Hallmark channel starting March 1, at 4 pm, every week day!!! I LOVE the Golden Girls, and I am not embarrassed to say it!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Nice day

Lucy and I worked sheep again. It was a good day weather-wise- felt like spring. That was therapeutic in and of itself. Lucy was good. I like that if she gets tight anywhere on her outrun, I can say "get out" and she will. Now, she generally doesn't get tight, but in this particular instance, she was trying to avoid the crusty snow ;)
But, when I asked for a get out, boom! she did it. She is coming in real nice on the sheep, and we did a fair amount of driving, though we are both a bit rusty on that.

Then we worked in a small pen on backs and outs, basically small partial flanks that keep her honest (no coming in when stopped, and stopping when asked). We did that a bit, and then we worked more on corners, and walk ups. It was good.

She is a pushy, fast girl. I am neither ;) But, we muddle through. Dan got to play with a nice young BC. WOW was that great to see. They were fast friends, and it was just so nice to see him be able to play with another dog, safely, without me fearing so much for his safety. I brought Danny in to see the sheep. The other day he "saw" the sheep, meaning that he looked at them, put his ears up and was interested.

On this day, I brought him in on leash, as I set him down, the sheep turned away and started walking off. He followed. Then, as we got closer the sheep made a break back to the gate with Danny in hot pursuit. I swept him up just before he got to them. This boy has no fear, that I can see. So, yes, he is interested in sheep, though this has absolutely no meaning to how he will do later.

He is an endearing little guy, and has a confident, thinking air about him. This morning I was able to let him toddle about with the dogs in the house. He is more interested in the cat toy/tree, than anything. He likes the cat. Lucy played a bit with him, with me closely supervising (CLOSELY that is), and Kylie remained calm and cool. He was good. Slowly, he is getting acclimated, and so are the rest of the pack.

He slept 8 hours last night. This is great, I mean GREAT. It helps me so much to be able to get good sleep. I am one of those people who needs two things: Food and Sleep, and then I am good- just like, I am told, as when I was a baby :)

So, today my nephew and sister are coming over, so Danny gets to meet more people. This is great. They will love him.

Danny goes for his second set of shots on Friday- and a weight- I've no idea what he weighs. He is a good healthy thin, but not too thin.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Scary smart?

Lucy likes to "work" anything she can. Dogs will do if there are no sheep, even a cat.
It isn't a particularly endearing trait, but we have come to a compromise- no roughing anyone up.

Yesterday, while out in the yard, I saw Lucy pick up a toy from the deck, trot out to the place where Dan, and Lucy hang out, leave it there, and go back to the place where she starts her stalk. I couldn't believe it. She had actually set a trap of sorts, to get some dog, any dog, to come up on that toy, so she could work them. Sort of blew my mind. Scary smart? Yes.

Little Dan is doing well. Apparently steak at about 7 pm is the BEST sleeping pill. I fell asleep at 8 something and didn't wake up until 5 this morning. I know I have been tired, but BOY, it was something else. Danny was fine when we got up. That is good to know!

Monday, February 16, 2009

Cock of the Walk

I have been pretty much extremely concerned about Lucy, and to a lesser extent, Kylie, and their interaction with Danny. Well, now I am beginning to see what they see. He thinks he is the cock of the walk. He is very big for his little breeches. He isn't aggressive at all, but he runs/walks up to these girls head up, tail up, and just cocky. No wonder they had to let him have it. I still don't agree with the level of correction, but man, he is something else. He also has no brain, so when they are running, he wants to chase, and if he grabs, well, let's not go there. So, pretty much, I have them separated, only together for small tiny minuscule periods, like seconds, when I can be sure that all will be okay. He needs to stop writing checks he can't cash.

So, lots of one on one time with me, and Mr. Chips. That cat just rocks. He likes, and is tolerant of the pup, who thinks he is a dog- but gives him more respect.

So, there you have it. It wasn't really ONLY the mean girls, it is Mr. Tough stuff- or so he likes to be thought of ;)

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Back to normal

Finally got to work sheep yesterday. Some other folks and I arrived to my friend's place, and it was a lovely time. Lucy did pretty well, although, even though her downs were good with me, when my friend came out to set, boom- out the window (well, by several feet, not totally), isn't that always the way? We worked on honest flanking, and downs, and then some good outruns/lifts. At one point the sheep were bolting up the hill, and I sent Lucy. I have her a come by, and she came in deep, and turned in and walked in on them, and then glided right into good pace of fetch behind them- with no reminding. It was really cool.

Danny did well too. Wasn't much fun of a day for him, as he was in my lap for most of it, but he was well received. All in all it was just great to be out there working again. Need much more of that. Came home to a nice steak dinner made for me. Nice Valentines day after all.

Lucy AND Dan slept well last night. See? We need to work sheep more. Oh, and Danny "saw" the sheep :)

Friday, February 13, 2009

Lessons for pups

Well, first, I have decided the pup's name was just not fitting him, and I didn't like the way it rolled off my tongue. So, he has a new, official name. I will announce that later in the post...

Anyway, poor lad, he is getting some cans of whoop butt opened on him. Those who know me, know I really don't like dog fights, or anything like it- especially on poor defenseless pups. Yesterday, pup jumped up at Lucy and bit her on the flank one too many times, and she let him have it. Now, I think she went a bit over board. She had him down, and he was screaming, then he got up and away- but she was still aroused, and he was behind me, stuck against the door, because I didn't want him running- so she could continue. Well, he didn't like that either. Anyway, I chastised Lucy, and checked the boy- he was fine, a bit wet on the ear, but fine. That was upsetting.

Then, later while we were in the yard, apparently, he got over this, and he was near Lucy and I don't know what caused her to do this- maybe he pulled a repeat performance? But, she pinned him again, but this time it was seemingly less force, but scared him. He slowly got up and slunk away to another part of the yard, but he was over his concern quickly. I suppose pups need to learn deference young. He does seem to approach dogs very confidently, and maybe he needs to learn not to. I don't know, it ain't fun for me.

I haven't had tons of experience raising wee pups with adult dogs. Is this sort of thing normal? What is NOT normal, wrt adults chastising pups? What is too much? He is not afraid of Lucy at all at this point. My concern with Lucy is that she has caused damage to another of my adult dogs. Typically when she fights, she is really in it to win it, if you know what I mean. Are there things I can do to help this work a bit better? I can't let anything happen to little Dan.

Yep, that's the name I have been stuck on. Dan. He's a Danny boy for sure.

Thursday, February 12, 2009


This morning on my way to work, I stopped at Dunkin Donuts for a croissant. They aren't that great, but better than nothing. I pull into the parking lot and on my way to the store, I see a pick up truck parked catty corner in the lot, doors open and radio blaring extremely loudly. I shook my head, not believing how rude someone could be. This store is right in a residential neighborhood. Apparently, my head shake set this one man, who was chatting to another OFF. He looked me dead in the eye and said "don't worry, I will call the cops". WTH??? So, I kept walking, and made it into the store. He then comes in the store and stands in line about 2 people behind me (oh, and he already had his coffee) and then says "I won $25000 last night, have you ever been to Turning Stone?" to this guy behind me. He was VERY loud. Either he was high on something or drunk, or just plain nuts. So, I got my croissant and left to go to my car. He then comes out after me, and stood on the side walk. When I got to my destination, I called the town police. He's just nuts, and looking, apparently to get into it with someone. I wish I was tough, and could have thought of a retort. Anyway, that's my story of meeting with the lunatic fringe this morning.

So, does he look any bigger?

Puplet has been here for one week today. Took some shots- does he look any bigger?
I can tell you this- he sure can cover ground faster!

Kelpies are Cool

Look at how the 4 month, and then the 8 week old pup work these ducks. Finally, you all get to see what I have seen in these wonderful dogs.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

I am tired

When I got Lucy, she was 13 weeks, and EASY PEASY. It was July and she could be outside all the time. I was also three years (almost) younger. Apparently in the past three years, I have aged a LOT. Rab (for now, that's his name, not sure if I am going to stick with it), is doing well, but he IS a wee lad, and he needs to be treated as such. Lots of trips outside, and being that maybe his crate was wet from something other than saliva... he needs even more trips. The trips aren't bad, but being a baby, he still wants my company all the time. No real down time for me, and I *really* need down time. But, I think I figured out part of why I am so exhausted- I am dehydrated- just not drinking enough. I learned this by downing an 8 oz glass of water this morning like it was nothing. So, I have begun to rectify that.

Last night Sir Rab woke up at 4 something, and since I am worried about him having to go when he gets up, I brought him outside. It was an almost full moon (new gibbous) and I thought, at first, that my neighbor had left his flood light on! Wow. Didn't need a light to navigate outside. So, after he emptied his bladder, back in we went. Almost asleep, then Kylie pukes. loudly. Just bile, but very vehement in it's action. Then, Tucker gags. Then Mr Chips gets up and walks through the house meowing. Remember, this is now sometime between 4 and 5. I finally dragged myself out of bed at almost 6. Outside we went. It's so funny- Sir Rab has to stretch his little body out, but there are divots, and he sort of tips over in them...

When it's time for my shower, I bring the lad with me into the bathroom. I don't want him crated again- he will fuss LOUDLY if left outside. I don't know why... Lucy is there with him. Oh, wait, I know why- he bothers her so much she gets off the deck, and he is stranded up there alone. But, I digress. He is happy as can be in that bathroom when I get ready.

So, then it's time to get ready. Nikke has proven that she *really* does not have patience for the boy, so I have to put him outside- well, no, can't do that anymore- he was so loud this morning, I just can't have that... He will have to be crated when I am doing my morning get ready/chores.

Before I was leaving for work, I had the pup outside one last time, and as I opened the door to go in, Mr Chips had taken off, and run down the deck stairs, and as walking briskly along the fence. He knew I was coming to get him, but, in true cat fashion, he maintained his course. Well, Mr. Rab was a help. He ran ahead of the kitty and stopped him- just walked up to him and touched his nose. Now, it would have been really easy to just chase the kitty, but instead he did his duty in helping me. Good lad.

So, that, in a nut shell is what has been happening at my place lately. I can't wait to work sheep again, and drink more water. Basic things, but ooooh so important!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

My wedding song

A few years back, I caught a Dr. Phil episode- around about Valentines day. He had Clint Black on as a guest, and he ended up singing this song, and his wife Lisa, came on stage when her part started. It was extremely romantic, and it reminded me just how much I love this song. I love Clint, but I love the harmony and lyrics to this song almost as much. Anyway, when I do get married, this will be my first dance song. Has to be.

The evil in mankind

I just have to tell you all this. I was watching tv over the weekend, and happened upon a 20/20 episode that really upset me... This family was camping in Montana, at a park. Now, this was in the 70's- that's the reason I started watching in the first place, because the pics of the old 70's cars, reminded me of my friend's parent's car... Anyway, back to the story. They were camping. The parents in a camper, the kids in a tent. Someone came in the middle of the night and stole the youngest daughter Susie- they had cut a hole in the tent. The parents stayed there for 5 weeks, and no sign of Susie. The mother had one very bad nightmare where she saw Susie in this old ram shackle building, being assaulted. The mother is very religious, so she put that out of her mind. Profiling was in it's infancy at this time, and the FBI brought on a guy who basically started it's use. He told the family to get a tape recording device, because the guy who stole their daughter would call.

Well, exactly one year later, in the middle of the night, the family gets a call. The mother picks up the phone. The guy asks if this was Susie's mother. She said yes. He then said, it is exactly one year, to the minute that I took Susie from you. The mother kept him on the phone for an hour- she was telling him she was praying for him, and could she have Susie back. She never lost her temper.

Gradually, more evidence was picked up. They now had a suspect. But, this guy had passed the truth serum and lie detector tests- and back then, they didn't know you could beat them. Turns out, the profiler had determined this guy to be a simple schizophrenic- which means you have two personalities- normal (good) and abnormal (bad). You can beat these tests when your normal personality is prevailing at that time.

So, finally, this guy calls the family again. Now they had him. He let details slip. They bring him in for questioning. His attorney asked what would the D.A. have for his client- and the Sheriff asked what did he have for them. The answer? Four murders.

They searched his house and found human remains in the freezer. They found Susie's remains burned and spread throughout the property.

They were then brought to the place where Susie met her demise. The SOB took her to this place, molested her and strangled her. Now, this is where it gets very unsettling...

This place was the same place that the mother had seen in her dream- exactly. In fact, Susie was killed at about the same time she had this dream. This SOB lied and said she was still alive when he called that year later, but in truth, he killed her right away.

So, you all can probably see why it was so hard to watch this. A prayer for Susie Yaeger is in order. A prayer for all the children who are met with such evil is in order.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Outdoor Explorer

It was warm enough today to bring Rab out into the yard and let him explore a bit. There were two sections where there was grass- one under my table, and one under my teeter. Lucy and he played a bit, and he enjoyed being out there immensely. He is a confident bugger- even though he is a wee one. He is already tuned into movement, and tries to figure out how walk up to Lucy when she is still for a moment...
Thank goodness for this warmer weather. I know it will get cold again, but for now, this is great!

Song of the Coyote

I keep forgetting to mention this... The first night/early morning of having Mr. Rab(b)? here, I was out on the deck with him, and the Coyotes let loose this cacophony of yips/barks/howls. It was a veritable city of Coyotes. There had to me 15-20. Rab responded by sitting on my feet and listening, probably what kind of lion's den I had brought him in to!

Then, the next morning, at 4:15, the Coyotes woke me up- from a dead slumber. I had contacted the land owners where I believe the Coyotes are about keeping sheep, and got an excuse about the Coyote problem, so I couldn't use that place. Well, I was proven wrong. This is mating season for the critters, and they are clearly busy.

Glad I don't have any lambs in the vicinity. Coyotes in the north east are rather large, and will regularly take down yearling deer, a lamb is not a big deal- just a nice snack. I heard a someone shooting a rifle yesterday, and didn't hear the Coyotes today- maybe someone is handling them...

On the pup front- he slept 7 hours last night. What a good boy. Another warm day out there, so lots of outside time. I may even take him into the yard to explore.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Another day

Okay, this is hard to type, because my LARGE cat is laying in my lap, and won't get off. I know it's cushy and all, but puh leeze!!!!!!!

Today it is in the upper 40's!!!!!!!!!! You can't know how wonderful that feels to the ice queens and kings up here in the north east. I am ready to just go sit outside. Rabb is outside. As he will be for a lot of the time as long as it is this warm. I am soon going out to clean up the yard. No worries about him being out there- he stays on the deck. Remember, he is just a wee lad. Those stair are a bit beyond him.

Last night he made it 6.5 hours, and then let me go back to sleep after I let him out. He seems very mature in some ways. Mr Chips, the cat in my lap now, is initiating play with him. It is very cute. Rabb is so curious about everything- I have never met a pup so willing to explore by himself. But, he also loves to cuddle.

My idiot neighbor's dog is running loose, and was just at my door step, apparently wanting to come in. He won't go back to said neighbor- can't say as I blame him.

I am still very tired- I need a good solid night's sleep, and I think I will be fine, but so far I have been too wired to sleep well with a new pup. I am sort of a routine FANATIC, and it's hard when you break that... I will be okay though.

I have been bringing the boy with me when I go for errands, he is doing very well. Basically, I think he is just a very nice pup, and I am very lucky to have him. Still has that puppy smell too.

Well, that's my update for now. Shall try and get more pics.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Meet "Rab"

Well, I have a non-Kelpie. I suppose it was inevitable, but no, folks, I am not converted. I will ALWAYS have my Kelpies. Okay, that said...

He is a nicely coated little boy. His sire is none other than Lucy's first sheepdog trainer, Glen, owned by Warren Mick. Glen's trial record speaks for itself, and in addition to not being shabby on the trial field, he is one very nice dog. He is friendly, and always keen to do your bidding. Rab's mom is an imported bitch named Dibs. She is quite a pip for a small girl, and comes from very nice bloodlines.

It is my hope that this pup can teach me, and I can teach him. He has big tracks to fill, because we know how highly I think of my Lucy. Right now, the agenda is house breaking. He seems to be getting it. Lucy absolutely adores him. Kylie is busy policing his actions. The kitten actually is starting to initiate play. I am a bit EXHAUSTED. One thing, this will probably be my last pup. And, I will NEVER breed a litter. It just ain't happening. Too much WORK! This is why I don't have kids. Crates keep you sane...

Anyway, there you have it. I hope that we have many wonderful times to come. And, remember, you can thank Glen for this. If he wasn't such a nice dog....

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Teaching to walk straight into pressure

This is something that I for one didn't pay attention to when I started Lucy, but it is *so* important. If, when your dog is walking up to sheep, and they are met with resistance from the sheep, you need for your dog NOT to flank back and forth. Derek talked with me about this in the clinic I was in. When a dog flanks side to side, it signifies to the sheep that the dog is weak, and this will just embolden the sheep to stay put.

On the east coast, we generally encounter well dogged sheep, some more than others, but for the most part, sheep that really want to leave the set out when a dog comes. So, our dogs just don't get that experience- that ability to walk into pressure, remain calm, and put as much pressure as needed to move the sheep- and not having to bust into them to relieve that pressure too. So, what's an easterner to do? Get your dog on "harder" sheep, and work it. Work it enough that your dog looks forward to wielding their new found power.

You should start out there to help your dog, and praise your dog. It isn't easy- some dogs don't like the idea of a mess happening, some just aren't comfortable that close, and some just plain would rather just stay further off. They can all be taught this though.

Sometimes, putting the dog on a lead will really up their confidence- it may sound counter intuitive, but trust me, I have seen it work. Most dogs will move forward on that leash, as opposed to side to side. Try it.

So, you get your dog on a leash. You ask your dog to walk up. You let your dog lead you. As your dog walks into that pressure, you can either steady them with a steady command, or just let them push. If you think if you say something that they will bust, then just don't say anything. Do this every single day you are working sheep. Make it so old hat that the dog is comfortable anywhere. Once your dog is looking like he/she really wants to walk into that pressure more, get that lead off, and be there again to help back the dog up- but hang back a bit further each time. If your dog busts in, back up again, and be closer with your dog. Once the sheep have turned, have your dog take them some where so he/she knows there is a purpose to this.

Okay, so now you have a nice drive up/off. That's a start. Now, you need a good fetch lift. Since you are not on the same side as your dog, you can't be there to help with back up. So, what you need are sheep who are a bit more dogged, but who would rather not come straight to you- deep snow, water, anything that makes it hard. This is a good way to start. You will start to see the last part of your outrun segue into a smooth, forward moving lift, and the ability to handle the pressure when your dog faces it. Really make it hard for the sheep to move off- the not "hard" sheep. Give your dog lots of experience on these sheep. Then, slowly move onto those "harder" sheep. If you take your time, you will see your dog's most favorite work will be this "one one some" time with the sheep. Since the lift is pretty much what will define our runs, if you have this sussed you are there.

Here is a video of Lucy, I made a few weeks ago. Please note the sheep. They are lambs, they are not well dogged (at all), and they put good pressure on the dog. If you run it in slow-mo, you will see how Lucy focuses on each sheep that is standing her, and keeps moving forward toward them- not avoiding them. This is what we want. Lucy is not very crouchy, which BC folks may notice, but she is well using her eye, and her push is just enough to calmly turn the sheep. Note that last sheep that she turns. It was in the back of the pack, and it's appearance could cause a dog to grip, as the dog may not expect all but one to move off. Anyway, these are just some things that I have found useful.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Morning cuppa

So, do any of you have a favorite mug that you use for your coffee? I bet you do. That's why I took a pic of mine. Not sure if it is favorite, as much as just the mug I always reach for... That's a pic of mine up there.

I got together with some of my family yesterday for the game. Lots of stuff to nosh on, and of course the cake. Turned out pretty cool.

I just had to add this pic of Mr Chips. Handsome boy that he is...

Looks like the storm that we are getting may not yield much accumulation, which is great. We had some good melting this weekend and today, and for the first time in weeks, the dogs and I were able to play around in the yard. THANK GOD.

I hear P Philomena saw her shadow today, so 6 more weeks of winter- like THAT is a surprise. Well, I for one saw actual dirt today. So what if it was over a sewer line- I STILL saw it. That's GOTTA be a good sign!