05/07/2018 Expectations and Perspective

As babies who could barely manage to sit up, we must have looked at the kid already crawling and thought she was the most awesomely talented baby around. We wanted to be able to crawl just like her. So we worked at it until the day we finally made it to our hands and knees. Suddenly we were booking all over the place. Then we saw the toddler walking! Whoa! Are you kidding me?!!? Walking? Here was something new to aspire to, and so our perspective changed. Crawling was no longer good enough. We wanted more. We pulled ourselves up on the couch, grasped adult fingers, stumbled, fell, landed on our diaper-padded asses, finally took those first few steps and then

04/23/2018 Spring Has Sprung! I Hope

Sunday was a gorgeous day - finally - and I had every intention of taking advantage of the beautiful afternoon by getting in some training. First, however, I had to feed the bottle lamb. Done with that, I decided a quick walk-about was in order to check the footing in the pens and arena. The day before they had been slick and soupy. On my walk-about I noticed the duck-proofing was off on part of the arena fence. I don't have ducks this year, so could have just removed it. That would have taken more time than I wanted to spend, so I opted for a quick repair with baling twine instead. Before taking care of that, however, I needed to bring over several wheel barrow's worth of wood chips to fill in a soft spot in the roundpen, which reminded me that Cian's outside run needed a bit of

10/24/2017 Dillon’s Day ~ Getting Outside the Box

It's been a while since I shared an update on Dillon. Don't worry, I haven't been neglecting the poor boy. As a matter of fact, he's had to step into a new role as the chore/sorting dog while Jig and I focus on other things. It's a big job which entails not only bringing in and helping me sort the sheep, but bringing in the steers as well. He's a little ignorant about cattle at the moment, but he's learning, and he's getting more confident each day. I'm going to admit, however, Dillon has been a challenge. For a time, I chalked it up to youth, immaturity, and silly-boy-dogness, so I continued working him the same way. Only, we weren't being successful. I wasn't seeing the results I felt I should have been.  Dillon's a smart dog that truly wants to work. One of the things I like best about him

10/11/2017 Jig’s Journey ~ A Bump in the Road

Okay, honestly, it feels like way more than a bump. It's more like a wall that I've hit at full speed. Or, better yet, the mother of all potholes with spikes in the bottom. No, really hungry alligators who aren't even going to spit me back out once they're done chewing me up. Or this

09/18/2017 Jig’s Journey ~ When It All Goes to Shite

Since the May SEMASA trial I've been working pretty hard at fixing the holes in Jig's training. I knew the cattle at their fall trial this past weekend would be a challenge, but I felt pretty confident we could find some success. Not only that, but I was looking forward to a good showing in the farm trial and the rest of the arena trials for the weekend. The beginning of the farm trial started well: fairly decent take pen, covered, settled the sheep, held them while I walked down to the advanced handler's cone, did a decent outrun-lift-fetch, drive through the panel, and a good hold. Then it was on to loading the trailer. A little muff-up on my part, but Jig had my back, covered, and in they went. That's when we hit our first real snag. A ewe challenged Jig when we needed to take them out of the

07/17/2017 I Need a Resounding Kick in the Arse

I believe I've mentioned (a time or ten) my propensity to rush my training by glossing over fundamentals, or by seeing results once and then surging forward, certain that tiny success was a sign we were ready to move on instead of staying at that level until I saw regular, predictable results. I thought I'd gotten better after Steve's clinic. I had a new outlook. I backed up in my training with Jig, forced myself to be patient, to not succumb to frustration. I've been videoing my training sessions with both Jig and Dillon so I can watch them afterwards and get a clearer idea of where we are and what I need to do more of, less of, or just differently. Just like me to have a relapse when things start going well. I'm calling it The Most Monumentally Epic Set Up For Failure In The History Of The World. I told myself I did

06/30/2017 Moving Backwards to Move Forward

What a glorious weekend we had for the Steve Shope clinic here at the farm last weekend! The weather cooperated wonderfully, and the group of handlers and dogs was one of the best yet. All eager to learn, all super-supportive of one another, and all at various levels with their dogs. We certainly gave Steve a work-out. He, in turn, pushed some of us outside our comfort zones in order to get the best from our dogs. For some handlers 'outside the comfort zone' meant merely turning their back on their dog. For others, it meant moving outside the pen. Literally. Talk about exercising trust in your dog while losing the ability to micro-manage them. A trap I fall into far too often. I was one of those who Steve had work their dog from the opposite side of the fence. Yes, I put Jig in the round pen with the stock, closed the

06/20/2017 Jig’s Journey ~ A Blast From the Past

This clip of 5 month old Jig showed up on Facebook's 'See Your Memories' thing. According to my post that day: Took Jig into the small arena today, just for grins and giggles, and Tija was able to catch some of it with her phone. At first Jig was obsessed with one of the ewes that wanted to stick to me, she just kept circling me and the ewe, trying to get her to move by heeling her a couple times. I put the lead back on her so I could direct her a little further, put the sheep back together and then just wanted to see what I'd get when I released her. Got lots of promise, that's what I got. [youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YdXYeJYM9Xs] Sometimes, to see how far we've come, it really helps to look at where we started. Five years and a lot of miles later Jig and I are *finally*

06/03/2017 Jig’s Journey ~ A Little Help From My Friends

I think if I worked on it for a day, I could come up with stockdog related lyrics to that song. What would you do if I gave the wrong flank? Would you take it or do what I meant? Right. Okay. Um

03/11/2017 Rebel’s Big Day

Yesterday was a big day here on the farm. Yup. Mr. Rebel Kitten officially assumed his position as Barn Cat. Given the speed at which he moved from place to place, and the efficient manner in which he kept an eye on absolutely everything, I'd say he's going to do things his own freaking way. Then again, that seems to be the theme around here.   Since Rebel seemed occupied with coming to terms with his new responsibilities, I decided to take advantage of the sunshine and firm footing (that's something of a rarity this time of year) and get some training in. The calves have been here a week and, though they've met the dogs, I haven't done anything beyond having Jig walk in on a nose to turn them. Having her own steers is going to do that girl a world of good. Okay, it's going to do us both a