11/19/2014 A Tribute to My Narcoleptic Puppy

Quinn turned twelve on the 8th of November. He has no clue. Seriously. Outside of exhibiting some signs of going deaf, it's hard to tell he's a 'senior' now. He still tears across the yard with his brephew (brother-nephew), makes snow angels, barks at me in his big-dog bark, and hops around like an absolute fool when he thinks we're going to do something fun. Or when he's in a good mood. Which, with Quinn, is almost always. He is the most mellow, relaxed dog I've every lived with; at ease just about everywhere, with everyone. And yes, as a puppy we swore he was narcoleptic because any time you picked him up, he fell asleep. I remember him as a tiny guy, laying in the palm of my hand, legs draped over the sides, happily snoozing away. Last month, I officially retired Quinn from the trial arena. I had hoped

11/11/2014 Jig’s Journey ~ ASCA Nationals Part II

Yeah, this is a bit late, but I'm still trying to catch up from being gone for ten days. First, from the Brazos County Expo website, a much better image of the grounds than any I could get. I would gladly go back. The grounds were great, the hosts wonderful, the stock some of the nicest I've found at a Nationals. When we set out for Nationals I had a goal: finish both Jig's remaining started titles. I'm pleased to say we accomplished that goal. Did we do as well as I had hoped? Nope. But did I still have a blast, and do I still love my dog? Absofreakinlutely. Time and miles. Jig needs both. Our sheep runs fell completely apart, which served to catch me totally off guard because on the home turf in training she does very well. We got in that looooonnnnngg arena, and suddenly I no longer existed

11/02/2014 Jig’s Journey ~ ASCA Nationals Part I

We arrived at the Expo center in Bryan, Texas at noon on Friday. The trip down had been fairly smooth and uneventful. Just the way every trip should be. Jig handled it well. For her. There were only two minor incidences. One involving getting her neck and front leg so entangled in a canvas bag Gail had in the back seat that we were forced to cut the strap to get it off her. And one involving her chewing nearly all the way through her harness. The part on her chest, I may add. Quite a feat if you ask me. Thankfully I had a bicycle harness along to replace it with. Mostly, she spent a lot of the trip doing this: We did finally hit on something we think may be her issue while traveling: speed. She's pretty calm and relaxed until around 70 mph. Then she starts to get

10/24/2014 Jig’s Journey ~ The Coyote Classic

Last weekend we went to MN to attend the Coyote Classic put on by the Upper Midwest Australian Shepherd Club at Conroy Farm. As always, it was a great time. I got a great surprise when I arrived at Deb's and found Gail in the kitchen. That was the awesomesauce on the entire weekend, as I didn't expect her to be there. But she'd come to support me in the quest for Quinn's last cattle leg. That gets its own post so I'll move on to Jig. On the plus side, we ended the weekend with a Started Cattle leg, and came within two points of a qualifying score our first time running in Open Sheep. There were some blue ribbon moments sprinkled about, which was a good thing. Most of those came on Friday and Saturday. By Sunday… I don't know about anyone else, but by the third day of a

10/04/2014 Jig’s Journey ~ The Real Payoff

Most of these posts have been about training, and getting Jig ready for Nationals, but around here I need a dog for more than just trialing. There are jobs that need doing at various times. Sheep need to be moved from one pasture to another, sorted, loaded onto trailers

09/20/2014 Jig’s Journey ~ Blue Ribbon Moments

Blue ribbons don't always come from trials. They come from moments. ~ Deb Conroy Deb is always good for an awesome quote or two, and that was my favorite quote from the clinic last weekend. I think just about everyone in attendance had some of those moments. It was a great clinic, with a super group of dogs and handlers, and some pretty decent weather (once we got through a rainy Friday). When I'm hosting a clinic and I give my opening schpeel on the first morning, I like to tell folks not to go into a training clinic with the mindset that they're going to solve their problems in just a few days. Instead, I like to think of attending clinics as way to gather tools for my training toolbox. I have certain ways I approach things, and I'm fairly consistent (I think) with my training. That doesn't mean I'm opposed

09/08/2014 Jig’s Journey ~ A Few More Photos

Since I promised another post, I figure I'd share one more video, shot the same night as the pen videos from my last post, this time of a gather. Again, the quality isn't the best given I was using my phone and the sun was setting. [youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A-J2fqWldz0] And, because it's rare for me to have someone around who I can stick behind the camera with a relatively good chance of getting some nice shots, I'll share these photos that Bob was nice enough to shoot for me a couple weeks ago. Some of the pics I already posted on Facebook so I apologize if there are duplicates. This coming weekend is the Deb Conroy clinic here at the farm. That could mean next week there will be more photos, updates, and incredible insights.

08/28/2014 Jig’s Journey ~ Ain’t No Rest For The Wicked

Or, in Jig's case, that should read, "Too Much Rest Makes Her Wicked." After nearly two weeks of slim to no training brought about by a combination of heat & humidity, followed up by a week and a half of severe congestion/sinusy/snot filled head/shit, I finally got back out there with the girl. You don't realize how important breathing is until you have to chase down a young dog and your nose and lungs are compromised. Man o'man was she naughty! On the plus side, she's getting much more confident. On the down side--pushy, grabby, ignoring me, diving in, splitting--the list is far too long to get into. My friend Deb likes to talk about the balancing act between Confidence and Control. Well, I think the board has definitely tipped to the Confidence end. Time for me to take back a little control. We had a couple 'discussions' involving a shaker bottle (or three),