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

07/30/2016 Dillon’s Day

Yes, for once, a post about a dog other than Jig. Hard to believe, right? Well, up until now, Dillon hasn't done much training besides dry foundation work, a few twirls in the round pen, and one time in the small arena. Other than that, he's just been hanging out, going lots of places, socializing, and learning how to be a good puppy. He did get to go along  to my friend Diana's farm last week, where he met cattle for the very first time--on line, of course. Once Jig explained the proper procedures to the heifers, such as, 'if you put your head down and come toward me, you're going to get bit' and 'when I say move, I mean get to hoofing', I introduced Dillon to them. He wasn't the least bit intimidated by their size, and even brought out his big dog growl and held his ground when

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

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

03/02/2016 Remembering With a Smile

I won't deny it, this winter has been a bit tough. See, Quinn loved snow, squiggling in it, snorkeling, making snow angels, it didn't matter. Consequently, I've been missing him a lot. Though I normally keep these moments to myself, I came across this short video clip while looking for another file in my Dropbox. It made me cry, I admit it. But it also made me smile, and I hope it does that for you.   [youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AYs30nfIrhE]

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