06/02/2022 And Just Like That

WHAM! It's summer. And it's been a busy start, during which I've learned quite a bit about myself and my dogs. More accurately, I was reminded of certain traits I have that occasionally interfere with the progress I think I'm making with my dogs. Though I do foundation/dry work, I tend to rush through it without ensuring my dog is rock solid on what I'm asking before moving on. Seeing success while training prompts me to believe my dog knows what I'm asking and I move along. When I think my dog should know something, I can be quite obtuse when they don't exhibit that knowledge. I tend to go into a session at close to Level 10 energy/emotion and then wonder why my dog is being so damn twitchy.   What can I say? It was a long winter and I train alone far too often. Thankfully, Steve paid his

05/17/2022 Spring Cleaning

This is my dog shelf. All the dogs I've lost in my adult life (with the exception of one) reside on this shelf. All with a photo or a trinket or two. Momentos of our time together, something that reminds me of them, or something gifted me at their passing. All with a piece of my heart. Several times a year that shelf, along with the rest of the bookcase, gets a thorough cleaning as opposed to just a quick dusting. Those are the times each box, each token, is picked up, handled, remembered. Those are the times the Sad likes to pay a visit. Just how strongly it does so depends on what song is playing on Spotify, what my mood is, and how many glasses of wine I've had. Yes, wine while cleaning is a thing. There is also occasional dancing while cleaning. It all depends on the previously mentioned

04/21/2022 Catching Up

Yes, I know, I've been a bit negligent about posting. No real reason. Partly I just didn't feel I had anything of much interest to write about, partly I was having my yearly internal debate about whether or not to continue the blog, or perhaps turn it into something else (no, I don't know what -- if you have a suggestion, feel free to pass it along). If I'm being honest, I think I'm still adjusting to how much my life has changed since the pre-pandemic era. I'm sure I'm not the only one feeling that way, it's changed quite a bit for a lot of people. It seems rather odd I would be bothered by that (which also serves to annoy me) as I'm pretty good with change and always enjoy a challenge. Plus, some of what's transpired were things I'd actually dreamt about. Then again, maybe I succumbed to

02/07/2022 After a Break

According to the Chinese New Year, 2022 is the Year of the Tiger which sounds a whole lot better than the past couple years -- you know, the Year of the Unmitigated Shit Show and the Year of the Disillusioned Quokka. A quick Google search suggests that for those who celebrate the Chinese lunar year, the tiger symbolizes hope amid challenges. In Chinese mythology the tiger is called upon by the Jade Emperor, the ruler of heaven, to exorcise demons. A purging of evil, as it were. Well, let's hope it works. Go Tiger! Around here, 2022 is going to be the Year of Training. Not that I won't do any trialing--I'd like to get Dillon's WTCH and Finn's started cattle as well as a couple Farm Trial titles for them both. Dillon's WTCH and Finn's started titles, however, will require more consistent exposure to cattle and I'm not sure if

12/22/2021 Zoomies

Finn loves to play even if no one else wants to, he's been that way since he was a puppy. He'll amuse himself with a stick, a pile of leaves, a chunk of ice, or zoomies through the tall grass. It's a behavior which never ceases to both baffle and annoy Dillon, especially when Finn does everything in his power to get Dillon to join in. There are times Dillon loosens up and romps a bit. Other times

11/15/2021 Finn’s Big Adventure

The ASCA National Specialty can be overwhelming for first-timers. Especially first-timers who apparently haven't been off the farm a whole lot except to visit other farms. And though Finn weathered the traveling just fine, his first couple days at the Brazos County Expo grounds had him just a wee bit anxious. He'd never seen bleachers, large covered arenas, lots of people and dogs he didn't know milling about (Are they staring at me? I think they're staring at me. I don't like it.), or any of the other strangeness he was subjected to. Thankfully he had his good buddy Ziva along to help bolster his confidence. We spent quite a bit of our free time just strolling around, letting Finn get used to the sites and sounds. Some of which took quite a bit of patience, more than a few treats, and a healthy dose of confidence. His first couple of

10/23/2021 Autumn Musings

Fall has always been my favorite time of year even though the Sad typically comes in full force part-way through September and lingers well into October. This year, however, it hasn't seemed as strong. There have been moments, usually triggered by a Facebook memory or a bout of reminiscing with friends, but the sharp edges are dulled. Although I still feel the sting of tears behind my eyes at those times, they aren't as eager to spill over. I have to confess, it's a bit odd. I suppose because I'm so used to having a love-hate relationship with Autumn -- the cooler temps and beauty of the season constantly overshadowed by the Sad like storm clouds on the horizon -- that feeling it diminished seems somehow

10/10/2021 Trial Brain

I had a bit of an epiphany at the inaugural 3 Sheeps to the Wind ASC Corona Classic last week. It came about thanks to comments made by a good friend who pointed out that my cues to my dogs, especially Finn, were practically non-existent. He suggested (rightly so) that I pay attention to that and cue the boys just like I do when training. That got me thinking (usually never a good thing) and replaying my runs in my head which led me to concur that my friend was 100% correct in his observation. And, not that it's an excuse, but I actually came up with a reason, albeit, not a very good one, and hence the epiphany. I suffer from Trial Brain. Upon further reflection it occurred to me that when I enter the trial arena, I feel (on a mostly subconscious level) as though I need to perform. Even though

08/16/2021 Get Out of Your Head

  There's been way too much of this /\ going on lately. The top part, not the bottom. Point in case: I walked out to open the gate between the arena and the pasture the other morning so the sheep could get out to graze. Nearly to the next gate it occurred to me that I'd been so busy in my head I closed the pasture gate behind me out of habit. I do tend to subscribe to the rule "Leave the gates how you found them" and since that gate was closed when I came through

12/31/2020 Out With a Bang

My dogs have an uncanny ability to see challenges in the strangest places, and they are more than happy to pick up the thrown gauntlet. For instance, if my vet says, "I'll be out of town this day this day this day." One of my dogs will invariably counter with, "Time to develop some mysterious ailment." When my vet says, "I'm retiring from doing surgeries." You guessed it. Challenge accepted.         Happy New Year   May the best day of your past be the worst day of your future.