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),

08/19/2014 Jig’s Journey ~ Attitude is Everything

That Winning Feeling by JuneSavoie is a really great book (If I borrowed you my copy, could you let me know? I can't seem to find it.) Yes, it is aimed at the equestrian, but the principles and ideas shared in the book can definitely be applied to many areas of life. Especially dog training. I wish I had my copy handy because there is a part where Ms. Savoie writes about holding the image of what you want in your head. What you picture, is what will transpire. If you go into the arena thinking 'train wreck', guess what? Anyhow, if you don't have a copy, or haven't read it, and you work with dogs or horses, I highly suggest you put it at the top of your TBR list. I'm brining it up because since my last training post the effects of going into a session in less than an

08/13/2014 On My Soapbox

It may surprise some of you to hear this, but I’m not a people person. I don't like being approached by people I don't know. God forbid they should enter my personal space or attempt to touch me. I've been told my non-verbal communication skills are outstanding. Sadly, most humans these days lack the ability to read non-verbal cues. I know I'm not alone in my stand-offish attitude. There are many people like me. My question is; why is it okay for me to be that way, but not my dog? Why is it assumed by a great portion of the general populace that all dogs are friendly? Some dogs are. Take Quinn, for example. Someone he doesn't know can surprise him by appearing out of seeming nowhere, throw their arms around his neck, hug him tightly, and then belatedly ask if it's okay to pet my dog, and he won't

07/27/2014 Jig’s Journey ~ Patience is a Virtue

When you've become spoiled by traveling with a dog who is an old hat at being in the truck, hanging out at trials, and just life on the road in general, it's hard to remember when he wasn't that way. Until you start traveling with a young dog again. A lot of the comfort and easiness of a seasoned dog comes from time and miles. Some of it comes from personality. Some comes from  actual training. Part of Jig's regime involves learning that ever-elusive trait of patience. See, I want my dog to be able to quietly sit and watch other dogs working. That's hard for a girl with a lot of drive, who has also inherited her father's Not Right gene. The Not Right gene means that when she sees something she deems as Not Right, she feels she must fix it. Most often this occurs when another dog is working

07/24/2014 Jig’s Journey ~ Texas Here We Come

I recall mentioning earlier this year that I was going to try and post more often. I keep meaning to. Really. Other things keep getting in the way. But I've decided that to keep you entertained *cough* and me motivated, I'm going to begin chronicling mine and Jig's journey to Nationals. It will be a good way for me to keep track of our progress…or lack thereof, and push me to get out there and train. So, herein lies the first installment of…um…Jig's Journey. I took Jig to Nationals last year and, I admit, that was pushing it for a young dog without a lot of miles on her. It wasn't horrendous, but it wasn't much to write home about either. We're going again this year because Nationals are vacation for me. A chance to meet up with people I don't see often enough, watch a lot of dogs work, and

05/02/2014 A Weekend of Stockdog Sistahood

"What did you do this weekend?" "Worked dogs, hung out with my SBSDC Sistas--" "Worked dogs? Is that like training them to do something." "Um

03/24/2014 First Trial of the Year

The first trial of the season is always a bit nerve-wracking. This year, what made it even more so, is the fact I haven't done any training since last year. But, it was only a duck trial, and only Quinn ('only'--ha, ha!). Still, the pre-trial jitters kicked in, adrenalin started pumping, and I questioned my sanity for ever deciding to put myself through this time and again. Once I'm out there to start my run and it's just me, the dog, and the stock, everything else disappears, and the judge becomes something of a hazy, indistinct image at the edge of my awareness. I usually always think my runs are worse than what they turn out to be. There are the occasions where I think they were better than the judge does, but those are pretty rare. I'm pleased to say, our first trial Sunday was a huge success. Quinn qualified

03/06/2014 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. 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

02/07/2014 It’s Not the Groundhog’s Fault

Spring is on the way. It will arrive as it does every year, when Mother Nature decides it's time. Until then…brrr-effing-brrrrr. Dang cabin fever is getting to everyone. It's probably even working under Phil's fur. Doesn't matter what the weather is, though--wind, snow, sub-zero--chores still need to get done on a daily basis. As I mentioned before, I had been taking Grady and Quinn with me. They double-team the sheep, push them off the gate, and try to keep them off me while I put the hay out. A couple days ago, Jig's usual game of Frisbee got pre-empted by external forces. I decided, as long as she was with me and needed something to do, I'd let her help with chores. I admit, my brain may have been frozen. For those of you who haven't been around dogs and livestock, I want to point out that different dogs have very different