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

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

01/08/2013 Weekend Training Review

The bad part about three days of working dogs, like all good things, is that we have to stop. Friday night's work session was a bit of a disappointment. Shaine didn't want to work at all, Jig was not her normal Rock Star self, and Quinn was . . . well, okay. It was clear, as far as Quinn was concerned, I'd been lax again. Saturday and Sunday, however, were much better days. *Whew!* With Quinn, I intended to work on driving and firming up our inside flanks. Well, we all know the time worn saying about plans. Sometimes, when you want to work on one thing, something else crops up, and you realize that's your core problem. With Quinn, it goes back to his foundations -- or lack thereof. We spent a great deal of our time on sheep working on our flanks. Someone let him get it into his head that

01/02/2013 Looking Ahead Winter Recap

Happy 2013, everyone! I don't do the whole New Year's thing. No partying till midnight. No resolutions. It's pretty much just another day around here, except that I have to remember to change the date when I write a check. And really, who writes checks any more?? The critters don't know the year has flipped. They know its winter. Maybe their year doesn't really flip until spring, when lambs are born and everything starts to bud and grow, and the sun takes on a warmer cast even on the cold days. <shrug> Who knows. January does mean, though, that I'm looking ahead to what I have planned for the year and trying to figure out how I'm going to accomplish it. The biggy on my radar this year (again) is getting some cattle for the dogs. It's very problematic and is a huge item on my list. Made even huger, in

11/05/2012 Sometimes, A Girl Just Needs a Job

Right before I switched servers and lost all my old posts, I wrote one about Shaine and the issues we've been having.  All basically my fault, and I'm determined to work through them.  A large part of her issue is the slash-and-burn-technique and generally driftiness. It's pretty much comon knowledge that working dogs love to have a job.  Many of them need to see that there's a point to what they're doing, or they find other things to do instead.  To that end, I've given Shaine a job. Which also meant a huge, and I mean HUMONGOUS, leap of faith on my part. I promoted Shaine to pen/sorting dog -- a job usually reserved for the more reliable, dependable, able to shut their prey drive off, dogs.  The job entails bringing all the working sheep -- which includes 15 of this year's lambs -- into the take pens and then helping me sort them into groups.  Often

10/09/2012 So, You Think You’re Ready to Trial?

I was reminded this past weekend at the SEMASA trial (thanks to a very good friend not afraid to tell me when my head’s in an uncomfortable location) that there’s a whole lot more to trialing than preparing your dog.  A big hunk of competing has to do with preparing yourself.  You can have the best trained dog on the planet and if you walk out into that arena with the wrong attitude it’s going to come back and bite you in the arse. I’ve been working hard to make things black and white for Quinn.  I don’t course train.  I break things down into manageable chunks and work till he gets it right.  Not just once.  He needs to consistently get it right before we move on to the next piece of the puzzle. I went into the SEMASA trial confident in Quinn’s abilities to get the job done.  I also