01/12/2016 Jig’s Journey ~ The Start of New Year

Happy 2016. Winter has finally decided to settle in, meaning there isn't a whole lot of training I can do right now. The ground is frozen and the temperatures have plummeted into the single digits with the added benefit of a sub-zero wind chill. However, when the opportunity presents itself to utilize the benefits of an indoor arena and an exceptional trainer, even if it means a lengthy road trip, I snap it up. I was lucky enough to be able to get up to Deb's in November, and again this past weekend. I had a great time in November, and got some good work on Jig. Of course, I went with the plan to work on one particular problem and found out I had much bigger ones. Deb helped us work through them and gave me more tools to address what was going on. On that trip Jig was pretty relaxed, so working on

10/20/2015 Jig’s Journey ~ 2015 ASCA Nationals Wrap-up

I made it home Friday afternoon and I'm still trying to get back into the swing of my usual routine. That's always hard after an extended vacation. Triply hard this time. And with the rest of the month being just as busy, I don't foresee a chance to catch my breath until November. The trip to TN was great fun, all things considered. As usual, I got to visit with folks I only see once a year. I watched a lot of runs, laughed, ate, drank, cried

10/14/2015 Jig’s Journey ~ 2015 ASCA Nationals Part 2

First, a huge thank you to everyone for the well-wishes, kind thoughts, and memories about Quinn. Today was better than yesterday, but going home is going to be the hard part, I think. In any event, today was another day off for us. Our Open runs will all be tomorrow, and if we get done at a decent time, we'll be loading up and hitting the road to get at least half the trip home under our belts. We spent the day split between watching the Advanced cattle runs and standing in line to give Jig a chance to try dock diving. Since the girl is so crazy about retrieving, even when it involves braving the cold and crashing waves of Lake Michigan, I thought I'd see what she thinks about diving off a dock to retrieve her dummy. And no, I'm not the dummy. The dogs who haven't jumped off a

10/13/2015 Farewell to a Piece of My Heart and Jig’s Journey ~ 2015 ASCA Nationals Part 1

This is a tough Nationals for me and I nearly didn't make the trip. On the Tuesday before we were to leave, Quinn got sick. I honestly said my goodbyes to him right then and there. As I took him into the emergency vet I was pretty positive I wouldn't be walking out with him. I did, but a trip to my vet later in the morning didn't give me much good news. Still, over the next couple of days he seemed to be improving to a point where I felt I could safely leave him and he'd still be there when I got home. It's a decision I won't ever second-guess. I guess Quinn wanted me to remember him as I last saw him and not as his health declined. So he put on a good face and I felt a bit better about packing up and heading to

09/21/2015 Jig’s Journey ~ RRVASC Trial

I've come to the conclusion that trialing Jig is a lot like handling some highly explosive chemical. It's certainly exciting, as long as you don't jostle it too much because that's when it blows up in your face. I entered the RRV trial this past weekend to see where we're at before heading to Nationals. I have a couple weeks to firm up our weakest areas and want to make sure I'm focusing on the right ones. She does so brilliantly at home, there's no way of gauging our progress without putting it to the test. There were some good parts, some terrible parts, and not much in between. The good parts earned us a few class placements, an Open Duck title, one leg toward her Open Sheep title, and High Combined Non-WTCH for the a.m. trial. The terrible resulted in a JCT. That came in our last sheep run. Apparently, five

07/30/2015 Jig’s Journey ~ Cow Camp

When the opportunity to attend a Larry Painter Cow Camp presented itself, I jumped at it. Jig loves cows but rarely sees them. That makes it a bit unfair when we go to a trial and I'm expecting her to handle them like a pro. I'd heard nothing but good things about Larry Painter and so was thrilled when I got a spot. So, on the 22nd I loaded up the truck and headed out to Ohio where the clinic was being hosted. Needless to say, I had a blast and, despite the heat, we managed to learn a lot and come home with plenty to work on. Before our first session I watched the other dogs work and listened to Larry's comments and instruction. One thing he was working on was getting the dog to hold the pressure and not pop out of the pocket. Translate that to mean, when a dog

07/09/2015 Jig’s Journey ~ Summer Already?!!?

I've been a bit of a slacker on keeping up with posts. Problem is, I've been super busy. If you've ever checked out my writing blog, you'll see I've been almost as absent over there. If you haven't, Wednesday's post will give you some idea what's been gobbling up all my time. And yes, training is part of that. Among other things, the end of June was the Steve Shope clinic here at the farm. This year, Steve threw down the gauntlet and laid out some expectations for the dogs who will be returning next year. Some of us have been a bit

01/10/2015 Touching Base

I know I promised I'd post more, but really, there's not a lot that happens around here in the winter. Not with the frigid weather we've been having. Chores, chipping ice out of buckets that are supposedly heated, and trying to keep the dogs from going stir crazy. Especially Jig. What I do during these times, is try to get caught up on inside projects that are languishing. One of those is the portrait of Shaine that's been laying on my drawing table for…well