Sunday, January 31, 2010

And Then There Was One......

Puppy Jill got to sleep over one more night! Today, Adele came to get her....and now it is just me and Gyp...oh ya, and a bunch of other border collies! I had things to do at the ranch....the sun was was time.

At first, it seemed big and a little overwhelming.....Gyp took it all in.....checking out the big dogs having a lot of fun!

She took to eating sheep crap...well, like a working sheep dog!

And THEN......mother load of all discoveries......she found the milk bar all to herself!!!!! Nell, me thinks that she might be just a tad bit too big for this sort of behavior......

The girls and I cleaned all the stock tanks, putting up the water heaters (did I curse myself like the groundhog seeing his shadow?). We also took a big long walk around. Then Gyp went to take a nap in her crate in the car while I double checked the pregnant ewes and gave them their shots.Not too bad for my first day with my first ever border collie pup. I have always gotten my dogs a little older....Nell was 14 months....Sally almost 3.......Bella 20 months. Tomorrow we continue teaching her that "Gyp" means her! I am visualizing a very quiet uneventful night of good sleep!

Seize the day!

Friday, January 29, 2010

Two Too Quiet!!!

Okay, I am down to two pups. Deep sigh....I drove Jake, who is now to be known as Dodger, and Grace up to Washington sending them on to their new homes. Here is how Jake thanked me for all my love, attention, food, and kindness......Once those stairs are mastered....that pup has to thank you Jake/Dodger for helping make saying goodbye to you just a tad easier! What a very special pup. Cheryl, take good care of him!

Grace is going to Kathy. She is a funny girl, always doing something and impossible to portrait photograph as she believes her soul will be stolen....or something like that. She had a hankering for my husband's ears......And was Bella's absolutely favorite squeaky toy...oh I mean puppy! Here is one last shot of the four pups....

Four long months of puppies.....coming to an end. And all I can think is....I should have kept two.....because at this point.....two seem pretty darn easy! Jill leaves tomorrow......sniff, sniff...and then I become Gyp's world......

Seize the day!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Happy Trails, Tweed

The last born puppy was the first to go to his new home. Mr. Peanut....because he was so tiny! Now, just shy of 8 weeks old, he is one fireball! He loved to look down the stairs by leaning out the banister.....whenever a boy would come home from school......or his favorite man came home from work.He has gone on to be a sheep dog with a very large name to fill.....Tweed! Although we can't help but call him Pip every now and then. My good friend, Charlotte, is his proud new owner. I'm excited because it is a great home.....and I will get to see him often as well!
Tweed and Charlotte,
Seize the day!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Fun Winter Series Trial

Up North, in the green state of Washington.....a couple of nice folks host fun winter trials.....where training is not only "okay", it is encouraged! I like getting to as many of these trials as I can....but you know the song....I was home bound with puppies all winter. Saturday, I got a day wonderful hubby and darling children (sons 19 and 17) agreed to puppy watch while I left home for a long day. Due to the fact the pups are now 7 weeks old...this was not an easy task. Plus I took Mama Nell and Auntie Bella with me to run! So no milk bar and no canine babysitter.

The open and pro novice trial was run on what I lovingly call "stinky hair sheep!" Half of my flock is Katahdin.....easy to keep, nice feet, no shearing, good moms, don't need to dock tails...but they are the 'enemy number one' of my Sally girl! Light, a bit reactionary, and suave as the day is long......Sally, she who leans on flanks occasionally.....has not had great go's on them. I have spent all winter working on loosening Sal's flanks...and we have worked the stinky hair sheep until I was hoping Sally was is about the sheep! This would be a great test!

Sally's open run was very nice.....she was reading, feeling, and listening....amazing to use those three words in the same sentence in a positive fashion! Our outrun was nice, good fetch, around the post...first leg...hit the panels.....cross drive...and we came to the cross drive panels.......true confessions of a person who has suffered from post traumatic panel-itis! I did the unthinkable....and started flanking her left, right, right, left....she fell apart on me as I had already fallen apart on her! Deep breath....put it back together...and finished middle of the pack. I am proud of my Sally girl...and am now enrolled in panel counseling!

Nell and Bella ran Pro Novice. This was the first time I have trialed Nell since July and Sheep Thrillz......I was so excited to see what time off brought to my Nell. And like a fine wine......she has aged with depth and become, to my eye, amazing! Here is her cross drive...compliments of Diane Pagel Photography! Nell ended up third out of 29 dogs....but really, I loved how she listened and gave me her all! In all the time I have been running her......she felt like a partner for the first time!

Then it was Bella's turn. Bella, Bella, first time at a trial of this size. I could tell she was a little stressed as I brought her out to spot her sheep. Her outrun was nice....she did stop to say hello to her friend the set-out person....and her fetch showed me where we need more work. I was just going to do the OLF...but then thought...what the heck and we started on to the first leg of the drive. I knew I was in trouble when I could not get her to take an outside I left the post just before the major blow up, body slam, grip! When we reconnected....the look on her face was....oh, there you are! And I laughed. I could tell, we have some experience to work on before the next trial......but she was looking very nice for a youngster that had just turned two. We will also lift off everybody and their dog....silly little social butterfly!

The puppies start leaving tomorrow......bitter sweet.......I'll post more but now it is time to go have our last evening play session....all six of us!

Seize the day!!!

Friday, January 22, 2010

Then & Now 2

I bought L&M Belle (Bella) in a fluke of the heart. After admiring Tommy Wilson's Sly, I'd always wanted a Nell X Spot pup.....Bella about as close as I could get being a Nell X Moss pup.....just a little over 20 months old.....purchased site unseen.....and husband untold! I saw her for the first time on Friday night...and loaded her into my car early Saturday morning to head off to a Kathy Knox clinic. I could not think of a better person to help me evaluate my new dog....and help me make a plan.She was a funny little dog....a little upright, loose eyed, and did not take corrections well. She did a few things that warranted a harsher type of correction...... silly stuff like this.....turning into this...... that had her going to the gate and not wanting to work after a hard verbal correction!

At that time, Bella was working way too close....not feeling her sheep....was working by just doing and not thinking. Well that is how if felt to me.I have to admit...I left the clinic wondering what, exactly, I had done...but believing 100% in a dog well bred. Bella and I had some work ahead of us....and I needed to take a good hard look at myself to make sure I was being consistent, fair, and making sure the corrections fit the crime. I also needed to think outside the box and evaluate what she was actually learning as we approached training through habits. One of my first goals was to get Bella to settle down and think, loose some of her "franticness". And a close second goal was to get her to take a correction, understanding they were not the end of the world but rather cues to let her know I did not like what she was do something else!

That was then....and this is now....4 months later.....a litter of pups behind us.......She has found her eye! And is feeling the pressure point and is getting comfortable staying there.....

She is developing nice feel for her sheep......Is beginning to get an understanding of driving, holding a line, and that an inside flanks require her to go in between me and the sheep!Enthusiastically she has a second gear.........I've also discovered that she does much better on sheep that require her to work and control. On challenging sheep, she is very intense.She takes corrections as if she has taken them all her life......and sometimes she confidently totally blows my corrections off! We still have work ahead of us......I need to be more consistent with enforcing a correction (without getting frustrated! grrr). I also need to keep true to myself....being good with the journey and pace Bella and I are on. I need to remember that she is young. Time and miles, and miles, and miles.....she has become such a joy for me to train.....and has taught me so much about myself.

L&M Belle......
Seize the Day!

PS All the pictures on this page are by Bonnie Block from Thank you, Bonnie!

PSS for the first time ever, I was hit with a spammer on my comment section....the world creates the need for moderation! So comments are now being moderated....welcome to America, the land of free speech (with moderation!)

Wednesday, January 20, 2010


Introducing Gyp!Gyp has a big triangle on her head....or a "V" depending on how you read her "ink blot test".....
Gyp looks a lot like her mom.....Nell
She has stolen the family's heart...each member loves her to bits (and she has the Bella stamp of approval!) ...yet she is crafty, naughty, bold, likes to chew on electrical cords (shhh don't tell the hubby!) and is a temptress! A Gypsy if there ever was one!
I think my life is about to radically change.......
Seize the day!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Field Trip!

Last night, we had the mother of wind storms! It blew the clouds away and allowed for a tease of sunshine this morning. My first thought was...what a great day to work dogs, which I did! My second thought was.....I am going to take Nellie's babies outside....we started on the SportCourt with a little JRT help!Jake is showing off his "big border collie" moves..... as he stalked the dogs running outside the fence.
Jill wants a piece of the action! Mr. Peanut Pip bold and willing to take on the biggest of balls! Then....... they realized that the real fun was on the outside of the fence....So I opened the gate and let them romp in the grass....and that is exactly what they did!I love life through the eyes of a puppy!!!!!
Seize the day!!!!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

I'd Just Like To Say.......

I love the feeling of a good run. Better yet, I love the feeling when, what I have been working on comes together to make a good run! And better yet, I love it when friends that work dogs with me.....have it come together to make a good run!!!! Which happened today. A few friends went to a fun ranch day event at Fido's farm....and their dogs worked well for many areas they have been working on. Friends, I am proud of you....and when you kick my butt.....I will soak in this really awesome feeling of a job well done!

Isn't this cool??? A friend made if for me........I think I will just leave it right there on the couch for a while! It will probably end up on my gate to the ranch.....but I want to admire it a little more. Just look at that border collie (an Aussie friend made it!)...that eye..... that style....that TAIL...and those prick ears! Sigh!!!!

In other news, the pups are being by one. I now know who is staying with me. I'll blog on that later.....till then.....

Seize the day!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Auntie Bella

Bella cracks me up! She LOVES Nell's puppies! And Nell is just about done with them....has no problem being a working girl and leaving the rug rats for babysitter Bella.

The pups wait for Bella to come up the stairs to play with them....."hurry Auntie Bella"...... Game On!!!She plays with these babies way more then she ever interacted with her own....maybe because they are not trying to nurse her all the time. Well exercised puppies are tired puppies and tired puppies are good puppies!!!Seize the day!

Sunday, January 10, 2010


After 4 months of being pretty close to home felt great to get in the car and drive 5 hours to a Kathy Knox clinic! Really....I felt freedom! And, as always, I was not let down with any part of the clinic. The weather was fabulous......almost needed sunscreen.....and the dog work was better than the best piece of chocolate!

I love how Kathy explains the details of what she sees in our dogs as we work them.
Bella was the dog for my day's work.....thanks to Bonnie Block from Field and Farm Photography....I have some photos to share!

I have had Bella 4 months.....and took time off training for her litter of pups......and here she is! I'll post more about then and now.....but I could not wait to show how beautiful, confident and transformed she has become!

And, hark, could this be a little eye???

Amazing how her "method" and "style" showed as she began to feel comfortable using her eye! Possibly, it is just the tip of the iceberg of what Bella has inside of her.....beginning to emerge with time and miles. I love training dogs!! I love the challenge of a dog very different from what I have trained before. What an amazing journey......I am blessed!
Seize the day!!!!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

This puppy......

This puppy wants me......this puppy needs me.......this puppy is perfectly marked, has a blue eye, is outgoing, explores with confidence and yet loves to play with me...and cuddles! This puppy is tooooooo cute for words. But....this puppy will grow up and lift his leg to pee....and he will go crazy when Sally comes into heat...and then Nell...and then Bella.....I see a life of sleepless nights with howling and fussing! Dear Lord NO!

Oh well, this puppy will have to go.......but he still has a blue eye!
Seize the day!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Teaching a Proper Grip.....

Early training of a proper grip is essential for a good working dog!

Nose grip:
Less effective ear grip:
Face grip:
Foot grip:
A more effective ear grip:

And now for your viewing pleasure.....

A gaggle of puppies!
Beauty and the Beast
And this one takes the cake!!!!
Seize the day!