05/23/2016 Jig’s Journey ~ Sticking With It

One of Jig's regular jobs around the farm is to move the sheep to their temporary grazing area. [youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7rQXkDB_qEU] This time of year, that happens on a near daily basis. It's a challenging job because it's very rare that the 'gate' remains in the same location more than two days in a row. The electrified netting gets repositioned into often very creative shapes around the open field, wherever the grass is in need of trimming. Not only does that change, but the route we take to get there varies. With the adults being grass-whores, and the lambs being… well, lambs, the job can frequently test Jig and I to the extremes of our patience. Me, more so than her. Over the past month I've been getting very frustrated with some of Jig's antics once we're in the open. For instance: her reluctance to take the flank I want her to take, her

05/04/2016 Jig’s Journey ~ Who’da Thunk It

Cow Camp finished up last Friday. Then there was the drive home, the catching up on All The Things once I got home, sprinkled with a healthy dose of Life In General and a large dash of the DayJob. So, yeah, I'm a bit behind in my update. Anyhow, Cow Camp was amazing and I can't wait to do it again, which, unfortunately, won't happen until next year. The highlight of the week came on Friday when Larry pushed me and Jig to the point of my head imploding. As one of the other attendees pointed out, however, he wouldn't suggest we try something if he didn't think we were capable. Personally, I think, after a week of putting up with us, he was having a bit of sadistic fun. ;) We had spent a lot of time over the course of the week on Jig's flanks and getting her to roll that

03/10/2016 Jig’s Journey ~ A Good String of Days

All things considered, this week has been pretty good. The weathermen have consistently gotten it wrong (again), so, instead of three days of rain, we got three pretty decent days with mostly sun. That is, in no way, a complaint, because it meant three consistent days of working Jig. She hasn't gotten to do anything beyond chores for the last

09/20/2014 Jig’s Journey ~ Blue Ribbon Moments

Blue ribbons don't always come from trials. They come from moments. ~ Deb Conroy Deb is always good for an awesome quote or two, and that was my favorite quote from the clinic last weekend. I think just about everyone in attendance had some of those moments. It was a great clinic, with a super group of dogs and handlers, and some pretty decent weather (once we got through a rainy Friday). When I'm hosting a clinic and I give my opening schpeel on the first morning, I like to tell folks not to go into a training clinic with the mindset that they're going to solve their problems in just a few days. Instead, I like to think of attending clinics as way to gather tools for my training toolbox. I have certain ways I approach things, and I'm fairly consistent (I think) with my training. That doesn't mean I'm opposed

09/08/2014 Jig’s Journey ~ A Few More Photos

Since I promised another post, I figure I'd share one more video, shot the same night as the pen videos from my last post, this time of a gather. Again, the quality isn't the best given I was using my phone and the sun was setting. [youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A-J2fqWldz0] And, because it's rare for me to have someone around who I can stick behind the camera with a relatively good chance of getting some nice shots, I'll share these photos that Bob was nice enough to shoot for me a couple weeks ago. Some of the pics I already posted on Facebook so I apologize if there are duplicates. This coming weekend is the Deb Conroy clinic here at the farm. That could mean next week there will be more photos, updates, and incredible insights.

08/28/2014 Jig’s Journey ~ Ain’t No Rest For The Wicked

Or, in Jig's case, that should read, "Too Much Rest Makes Her Wicked." After nearly two weeks of slim to no training brought about by a combination of heat & humidity, followed up by a week and a half of severe congestion/sinusy/snot filled head/shit, I finally got back out there with the girl. You don't realize how important breathing is until you have to chase down a young dog and your nose and lungs are compromised. Man o'man was she naughty! On the plus side, she's getting much more confident. On the down side--pushy, grabby, ignoring me, diving in, splitting--the list is far too long to get into. My friend Deb likes to talk about the balancing act between Confidence and Control. Well, I think the board has definitely tipped to the Confidence end. Time for me to take back a little control. We had a couple 'discussions' involving a shaker bottle (or three),

08/19/2014 Jig’s Journey ~ Attitude is Everything

That Winning Feeling by JuneSavoie is a really great book (If I borrowed you my copy, could you let me know? I can't seem to find it.) Yes, it is aimed at the equestrian, but the principles and ideas shared in the book can definitely be applied to many areas of life. Especially dog training. I wish I had my copy handy because there is a part where Ms. Savoie writes about holding the image of what you want in your head. What you picture, is what will transpire. If you go into the arena thinking 'train wreck', guess what? Anyhow, if you don't have a copy, or haven't read it, and you work with dogs or horses, I highly suggest you put it at the top of your TBR list. I'm brining it up because since my last training post the effects of going into a session in less than an

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