Oh, How Ducky!

So as I’m sitting here twiddling my thumbs, waiting for some semblance of spring to peek through the layers of snow and ice smothering the earth, and pondering upcoming dog-related events. Specifically, the UMASC duck trial to be held at Conroy Farm in MN on the 23rd. Yes, the 23rd of this month. You know, only a feather over two weeks from now.

Excuse me momentarily while I panic.

I’ve entered Quinn in this trial for two reasons. One, it’s an excuse to spend the weekend with a couple of my sistas. Two, Quinn needs one blasted duck leg for his Advanced Duck Title. Okay, there’s a third reason: I’m certifiably nuts.

These were my…weirder than normal ducks. Anywhere you put a pen, they’d go into it.

You see, ducks are not my favorite creatures. I don’t care to live with them. I don’t care to work them. I don’t even care to eat them–dark meat. Blech. As a handler, I used to really suck at ducks. They take patience, finesse, did I mention patience?

Quinn working…duck. One of the things that drives me nuts about ducks. When you get THAT ONE who refuses to conform. And there seems to ALWAYS be one.


More than ever, when I’m trialing on ducks, I become the micro-manager with diarrhea of the mouth. “Right foot, left foot, stop, step, lie down, get up, move right, go by. Go by. GO BY, DAMNIT! It’s the opposite of the direction you’re currently going. You know this, for crap sake. Just do it.”

*ahem* In which case my dogs respond by either telling me to go pound sand, or totally blowing me off and doing their own thing.

Quinn being a bit too pushy. You can tell because the duck’s little wings are flapping and he’s about on their tail feathers. Pushy probably because I was doing that micro-manage thing.

HOWEVER, if you recall from a previous post earlier this year, I had an epiphany of sorts last year. I now have fun with ducks. Maybe not on the deep down, boy-I’d-like-to-do-this-all-the-time-give-me-more-ducks sort of way, more like since-I-have-to-do-this-I-may-as-well-have-fun-and-laugh-because-crying-kicking-and-screaming-is-bad-sportsmanship-and-I-can-always-drink-when-we’re-done sort of way.

These ducks so loved being in the center pen, the dog actually had to convince them to come out.

So, why am I panicking? Well, maybe because I haven’t been able to work Quinn, or any of my dogs, since last year. Yeah, that might have something to do with it. Even though the temperature might have been conducive to it yesterday and today, the footing is snow-covered ice and ankle-breaking moguls. Now, one might argue that Quinn and I, thanks to many, many, many years as a team, don’t need to brush up on our skills. That we are where we are. It’s just like riding a bike. Once we hit that arena it will all fall into place.

This looks like the start to a pretty decent gather. I have no memory of whether it was or not. But, hey, it looks nice. But notice THAT duck.

Some parts of my brain tend to agree with that theory. But the other parts remind me that for a great portion of those years we were a borderline dysfunctional team. For other parts we went beyond borderline and delved straight on into who’s-kidding-who. It’s only been in the recent past that I think we (meaning me) managed to pull our (meaning mine) heads out of our asses. And, when I watch Quinn bounce around doing chores, happy, enjoying the job, not listening to me…yeah…no worries.