Monday, March 29, 2010

I wonder......

....if the girls are trying to tell me something????

Cabin fever must be setting in....as one of the dogs has taken to reading my Working Border Collie Magazine. Who ever it was even ear-marked a few pages for me....notably the one that has Patrick Shannahan's advertisement on it!

Hmmmmm......next thing you know they will be using a yellow highlight marker for words like "patience" and "excuses"!

I think I will go put on a training DVD and see what they can learn from that!

Seize the day!

Rainy Days and Mondays......

It is absolutely pouring here...a huge storm blew in last night......I have the beginnings of a lake in my back yard......the dogs and I are longing for the sunshine that left us yesterday.

For Minimal Monday...I am going to meditate on this picture....and feel the warm sun on my face.....Double lift details will just have to wait till Tell-It-All Tuesday!

Seize the day!

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Big Brother.....

Today, I attended a Double Lift practice trial! What fun! I'll post some details tomorrow...but tonight I wanted to take a moment to admire Gyp's big brother....Dodger!
He was Nell's first born pup.......Here he is....just a few weeks old, I called him "Jake"...and his right eye was always coming up red in all the pictures I took.........

Now here he is......4 months on April 6th....what a handsome boy!!!! His right eye is the most beautiful ice blue.

Gyp was glad to have him to play with....after a long 3 hour drive! Then....after I gave Dodger some serious lovin'....Gyp told him to go home with his own mom....so she could go back to being a Diva!

No worries, Gypsy.....

Seize the day!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Sheep Shear Help

Sally has been struggling with a leg injury. She has been on crate rest for a couple of weeks...and though she looks better, she is still sore. I pulled from the Heppner Sheepdog Trial....and decided to not sit around and feel sorry for myself. Instead, I went out to help a friend shear for a while....get some perspective and stay busy.

Here the sheep are loaded from the big pen in the back of the barn...into a holding pen that feeds the chute so the sheep can be taken, one by one. I love the chickens watching from the roost....as did Miss Gyp! She loved the chickens...and all the chicken pooh....and ended up back in the car!
The sheep are then taken, one at a time, to the waiting shearer. I am always amazed at how fast the sheep are shorn.....and how the shearers backs hold up! Mine hurts just watching!!!!

Ta Da! The sheep are now naked....and ready to lamb.

I am waiting to finish lambing to get my girls wool off. 2010...the year of the "Never Ending" "Hotel California" Lambing.....

Seize the day!



Friday, March 12, 2010

Brigand's Hideout Sheep Camp

5 1/2 years ago....I took my rescue border collie to a ranch and began my journey training sheepdogs. Shortly after the ranch lessons, I found Brigand's Hideout: a small ranch where lessons and sheep rental allowed people to train their dogs without owning sheep and land themselves.
Every year, Brigand's Hideout hosts a "sheep camp." Clinicians come to work with students, providing different styles and ideas about training dogs. I've gotten the opportunity to be a stock handler.....and this year I worked setting sheep for Lynn Leach's students. Lynn is from Canada and has cattle dogs and border collies. I like watching Lynn work with all the different breeds of dogs, as she is able to break down a task, labeling each skill required to accomplish the task. Then she works the dogs to teach these skills individually and layered together to accomplish a task. For example, here, Lynn works with my friend's sheltie, helping her to hold pressure and walk into sheep to load a chute. As the lesson wore on, the line came off and this sheltie got better and better at loading chute with walk-into-pressure confidence.
Nell was my go-to sheep mover.....and possibly the bossy border collie that gave advice to the dogs in the field as she watched lessons pressed through a small opening between the gate and the fence! High drive?...hmmm!

Diane Deal, from Idaho, was one of the clinicians...and I got to take a lesson with Nell and Bella from her. As always, it was fun to get her eyes on my dogs, where I am at, and what is next. Bella did some amazing work.....work that I really felt was beyond her....and Diane proved me wrong! Now it is time to start using Bella for my chores....as applying what she has learned to "real work" is making sense to her.

I really appreciate Brigand's....I know getting my dogs on different sheep, in different fields and letting them know "it is all still the same" is a huge role in my working relationship with my dogs. There are not many places where a person can take their dog and work the sheep without taking lessons. What a gift Brigand's has given me. However, one aspect to Brigand's that makes for discussion is.....it is open to any dog whose owner wants to work stock. At the sheep camp this year, there was a Rhodesian Ridgeback and a couple of standard Schnauzers! I find myself climbing up onto my Soapbox to say...WHY!? Then we go back to the whole issue of prey drive...and the discussion I had with one clinician.....that herding skates prey drive no matter the breed. Personally, since this is my blog.....I get to say....I don't agree that all dogs should work stock. For me, this is about the sheep...not the dog! Even a nicely bred working border collie would not die a long lonely death if it did not work sheep but instead did agility, obedience or another activities to keep its mind active and a relationship with its owner. I also realize that a nice working dog, from working lines...often comes with instinct and natural feel inside and all we do it let the dog work when it is "right" and correct it when it is "wrong" and the dog sorts it out. Why do people feel the need to work living, breathing livestock with hunting dogs?

My journey continues.....I love training dogs.....I love working sheep......I love thinking about correct work, reading the sheep, getting understanding from my dogs...and having tools to help working dogs find their ability to work! Although I find this to be "fun".....it is not about the fun....Fun to me is great work and not being "thanked" at a trial. It takes work, time, miles, dedication, obsession, immersion for me to have "fun!" Call me crazy......but I love, Love, LOVE living life.......I will continue to

Seize the day!!!!!!!

Monday, March 8, 2010

Minimal Monday

Borrowing from the famous blogger at Alta-Pete Farm.....who does minimal Mondays with a photo or two and few words.......

Mole 3 - Me 0


New Trap!!!!!

Seize the Day!!!!!

Saturday, March 6, 2010

There is Nothing Like Good Friends!

Today was absolutely beautiful. The sun was shining....light breeze....green grass....and all I could think about was working dogs! Pretty sick but true confession of a sheepdoggin' addict! The run at the state playoffs for my sons basketball team is now over....and baseball does not officially start for a week or so.....must...work...dogs! So I called my good friends over at River Bend Ranch.....home of Vaquero Australian Shepherds....and sort of invited myself over. Tactfully. It is really good to have friends!

Vaquero Aussies has a new addition to their kennel....an unnamed pup just 10 days younger than Gyp. We thought it might be fun to let them play.....and that is just what they did!
Little Miss No Name thought it was clever that Gyp had a really cool toy attached to her rear.....she kept trying to get it for herself! Thank goodness Gyp was just a little faster...or she might have come home tail-less!

Quick drink from the bar....
Then round two.....which involved outside entertainment!Yes, a few kid goats came in to visit and we got to see what the girls thought. Miss No Name has seen them before.....but Gypsy thought she had died and gone to Heaven!
Ken and Debbie helped the girls get the kids out of the corner.... Nell gave Gyp some very good advice!


Although this is not the best picture I have ever taken, I do believe it shows the natural breeding behind the Border Collie......and the Australian Shepherd.
I sometimes do a double take when I see Gyp and Nell together.
After all the mischief and mayhem of pups and kids....I did actually work my other dogs. Nell got to work on "working with me"...with being the key word. And Bella got to work on confidence in a new place.

I believe with all my heart....good friends are the spice of life! Thanks, Ken and Debbie for a really fun day and for the friendship you give!

Seize the day!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Bloomin' Like a Flower!

Here it is, March 4...and I have daffodils blooming! It seems too early to be spring, yet I am thankful for these flowers. They really are my favorite! A great promise that sunshine and warmer days are not far away! And the days will continue to get longer.

And speaking of flowers blooming....little Gyp is doing just that! She is growing into a nice young "lady". Gyp still wonders if she really has to come to me when I ask...especially when she is in the middle of some fun activity...like eating a worm, or chasing her mom....but that is coming along with a little help from my long line! She loves being "one of the girls" as I take the dogs for a walk to check out the pastures.Well, I must get my taxes done......so it is time to stop procrastinating.....
Seize the day!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Thief!

I have heard about older ewes.....sometimes, when they are getting ready to lamb....they might just decide to steal another ewe's new born lamb instead! Well....my Brownie ewe, mother of the Kat/Barb ewe... grandmother of the first born lamb....looking all sweet and innocent here...........decided to steal her very own granddaughter...who is a week and a half old! Poor lamb was so confused...and very wet from her Gma's incessant licking! To keep the family unit intact and functional....I put Brownie in Jug-Jail......while Barb quickly whisked her lamb outside! What a fuss!!! Just a few hours later, Brownie realized...she must go through the "Eve original sin" pain of childbirth....and she produced yet another...... single ram lamb!

All is quiet at Rocking Dog Ranch for now.....4 more ewes to go. Visualizing tiny girl lambs with goggles....just like this.....

Seize the day!

Monday, March 1, 2010

Handsome Fellows!

Mr. Tweed...aka Little Peanut Boy.....last born, tiny boy Nell pup...came to visit. Oh dear, how he has grown!!! My, what big feet you have, Mr. Tweed....and just what are those ear doing?Of course, Gyp loved him...well, it was a sort of love thang!

"Hey, that's my special toy! Give it up!" "So how do you feel about having your throat ripped out...you pesky brother, you! Say, Gyp is cuter than Tweed...say it!!!!!! NO, say it like you mean it!!!!!"
Tweed loved every minute of Gyp's big bossy sister routine! Actually it would be "little bossy sister" now. Tweed is bigger than Gyp and his feet are HUGE! What a very nice pup!

Here is a picture of the hair ram born just shortly before the puppy antics began.
I am LOVING the markings my new hair ram is putting on his lambs....but could I please have a little ewe that looks like this?!!!

It also looks like my Blueface Leicester covered a few girls......but again, it seems to be a ramy year.... twin coop/blueface ram lambs....cute, just not staying here. I think Charlotte really wanted to come run her fingers through these lamb's nappy curls......disguising it as a puppy play date......

that's okay, Charlotte......I still love you!

Seize the day!