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

09/12/2017 Interlude

I owe an update on training and trialing, but between the insane schedule I seem to have set myself, as well as the whole 'let's change domain hosts and servers' fun, I'm a bit behind. In the meantime, I rebuilt this lovely gallery of photos shot by my friend Bob Dusek. After all, a picture is worth a thousand words

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*

05/08/2017 Lessons in Patience

Some of you have asked me how Dillon is coming along in his training. I don't mean to ignore him in my posts it's just that he doesn't get worked near as often as Jig right now. That's partly due to time constraints, but mostly it's because he's young yet (as I'm constantly reminded by several people any time I whine mention our problems). And he's a boy. Worse, he is currently suffering from a horrendous case of Young Boy Brain. Or, more correctly, he's enjoying it. I'm the one suffering. I can only hope it's not terminal because right now it tends to make me feel like this

12/12/2016 That Time of Year

It finally arrived, complete with single digit temps and sub-zero wind chills that freeze the snot in your nose. Winter. Don't get me wrong, for the most part, I like winter. Seriously. I love the nights when the silence is so thin a single whisper fractures it, the way the stars sparkle, and the way the wind dances with the snow across the open fields, spiraling it upwards in crystalized waterspouts. The thing I hate about winter is that, for the most part, training comes to a grinding halt. Sure, there are those rare days when the temperature is bearable, the ground's not a frozen accident waiting to happen, and I can actually swing the gates, but those are few and usually hit during the week when the dayjob sucks up all my daylight hours. This year it's going to be even worse. Not winter, per se, but my impatience with being unable to work the dogs

10/04/2016 Influence, Control, and How My Dog is Like a Kite

For those of you who don't know, when I'm not at the dayjob, spending time with family & friends, or doing something dog-related, I write. (If you're interested in knowing more about that, please visit my author site and, if you're extra crazy, sign up for my Guaranteed No Spam newsletter.) Because I write, I read quite a few author blogs. One of those I frequent is terribleminds, the home of Chuck Wendig who, according to his intro: "

09/26/2016 Jig’s Journey ~ Altered States

Anyone following this blog may have noticed I've been a bit down in regards to my trialing. It's gotten even worse since what I feel was my horrendous job handling in July, and I've been really struggling mentally: beating myself up, comparing myself and Jig to other teams, and waging war with self-doubt and frustration. There were a few times I honestly questioned why I keep doing this. I have a good dog with quite a bit of talent and I feel as though I'm failing her; that I'm not holding up my end of the team, and I keep having doubts as to whether or not I'm capable of bringing that talent out, or showcasing it in a competent manner. Yes, I have even, on more than one occasion, thought about throwing in the towel. Thing is, I'm a wee bit stubborn. Yeah. That's a well-kept secret, right? Several weeks ago, with the RRV trial looming, I started going

07/05/2016 Jig’s Journey ~ Unmet Expectations

They're double-edged swords, personal expectations. They can lead to disappointment when they go unmet, which can, in turn, create frustration and the desire to just throw in the towel and give up. Self-doubt raises it's ugly head and whispers, "You're not good enough. Not talented enough. You don't have what it takes." Long rides give me far too much time to reflect and, on occasion, wallow. I despise wallowing, yet, I fully admit, I succumbed and did a bit of it on the drive home from the That'll Do ASC trial Monday. Although we had some 'blue ribbon moments' over the weekend, Jig and I did not perform even close to the level I wanted us to. In fact, I came out of more than one run feeling about as inept a handler as I ever have. I'm not looking for sympathy here, or a pep talk, just laying it out there, because the other edge of that