Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Epic Fail

I went out a few days ago with the goal of taking some working shots of Gyp for an upcoming post.  My attempt ranks right up there along side my Thanksgiving sweet potatoes this year.  Trying to take pictures while working a soon-to-be year old pup on sheep..... = EPIC Fail!

It is nice that the sheep are in "focus"...I mean they are such lovely sheep and all!

Gyp Bokeh 

For goodness sakes....really?!

Me thinks she might be a little close...and just for Monique....I think this might be an example of the sheep not stopping the dog......just sayin'!

And my all time favorite:

This has so much potential for being a nice picture.  Back to the drawing board.....note to self :  take camera and ask friends to take pictures while working the pup.  If I make them stand with me....they can't put me in the shot!

Seize the Day!

Monday, November 29, 2010


After snow thwarted my weekly Knee Deep visit.....Friday found me at my little slice of heaven doing some pre-trial clean up.  Sally and I shed....Nell fetched straight....and Bella stopped.  Saturday morning, I loaded up the car and headed to Palm Cottage for the last leg of the Willamette Valley three trial winter series.  I have to say...the scores I was handed did not reflect the amount of work, trust, and improvement that each of my girls showed!  I am proud of so many different aspects of each girls' run.  But Bella's run made my heart sing.  She is sorting out her tension...and though I am missing a subtlety in our partnership....something like vanilla, or cinnamon, or maybe a pinch of salt....we have made huge strides. 

I worked Bella with KK in October...and we sorted out a portion of tension...setting up huge draws back onto her as she lifts and then stops.  Going home, I set up pressure back onto her and slightly laterally and saw her grip at home, a place where she had not gripped for months. Now two months later, she is settled back into calm controlled sheep work and nothing rattles her with the familiar flock, regardless of the task.  At both of the last trials she has participated in, she seems to amp up when sheep run or try to break away from the lift.  The good news is, I can talk her out of it...and both trials she has settled back into working and trusting and being very biddable, allowing for handling and also thinking for herself.  So what is it that is creating the initial tension? 

Yesterday, I was able to work her in a big field with light reactionary sheep and a person setting that was willing to create a bit of sheep chaos as Bella came in to lift.  Try as we may.....Bella never did show an ounce of tension!

Here, Bella shows that she can actually lie down at the top.  I have been letting her have her feet....and trying to stop my end of a fight over a stop.  It is good to see this progression.....it feels like we are on the right path.

With age, Bella is showing a bit more eye....loose enough for me to be able to place her but enough where she is gaining some feel on her sheep.  I like that she allows me to pull her around off the fetch to drive the sheep back to the set out instead of fighting to bring the sheep all the way to my feet.  Time and miles...and miles...and miles.

It is good to take a look at where we have been.....an immature youngster with some serious tension.  As well as taking a close look at where we are today....maturing beautifully with confidence and trust.....and yet still a bit of tension.  Lastly, looking at goals and possible was to improve understanding and send that tension packing.  Is it age? experience? me and the excitement of a trial?  running sheep? set out dog? big field? unknown?  I'll keep plugging along....analyzing, sorting, and looking for ways to become all that a team mate can be. 

Seize the day!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

A First For Gyp

Funny how many of my Pacific Northwest Blogging Peeps are writing about snow.  Well, not really funny....I don't particularly care for snow and in fact..in you look carefully...it is a four letter word!  I'm not a 'too hot' kind of girl...that is for sure.  But on the other hand, I am not a 'too cold' kinda girl either.  Today. right now, we are sitting at 23 degrees...to dang cold for me.  And yet, I can still be thankful that I am not down with Geri and Lana in -7 degree temps.  Sunday, I busted a groove at the ranch putting stock tank heaters in with each group of sheep......yesterday  they all had access to ice-free water.  I also put a heater in the pump house.....the sheep and llama are good as long as the electricity stays flowing! 

I just realized that this was Gyp's first snow...as she ran out into the back yard and then did big huge loping  circles...running with her nose leaving a snake path in the snow.  Really, we don't have much of the white stuff....just enough to grumble about on my end...and make good fun out of on Gyp's end.
In fact, all the collies find fun competitive games to play in the backyard frosty white.  Oh to be a dog and find joy in this!  Me, I could barely step out onto the back porch to snap this...and could not get back into the house fast enough to stand in front of the fire, trying to remember why I complain about 90 degree summer days.

Today is to be the end of our snow here for a while.....maybe Mother Nature got it out of her system....however, I think this might be her way of preparing us for what comes next. Wonder if she is taking requests.....

Seize the Day!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010


After cheering, screaming, and yelling my brains out at my son's playoff football game Friday night.....I got up early Saturday morning and headed down to Roseburg's own Magnolia Farm for a sheepdog trial.  Perhaps I had too much cheer the night before....I certainly felt a little hungover.  I really love it down at Magnolia Farm....the sheep are lively and pretty darn honest, we ran on a ewe and two nice big lambs...the course has it complications...and the open runs end with one of these......

that would be a Maltese Cross.  This particular obstacle is challenging for a number of reasons....first, the opening to each aisle is not very big nor inviting....second, once in the cross the sheep are supposed to flow through the alley...but can slip at the 90 degree turns in the middle and come out wrong....third, the handler has to stay in a particular corner of the cross and can't break the panel plane to assist the dog.  Very challenging to say the least.

However, the whole run has its challenges.  To get a bigger outrun, a gate, located on the far right,  is opened between the two fields.  This makes a dog-legged fetch to the gate and then quickly back to the middle of the first field to hit the fetch panels.  First timers on this trial field definitely had a slight disadvantage...as dogs who had been there years gone by seemed to remember where the field gate was located.

After the completion of the fetch, the rest of the course was set in the first field with a shed and the Maltese Cross.  Nell got a little confused on her outrun.....but did find the gate.  She got sucked in on the course by the fence corner...and would not take her blow out.....so she crossed.  My journey with Nell right now has a lot to do with listening to me...and a lot less to do with putting one down....so I stopped her and crossed her back over.  The rest of the run she worked very hard for me.  She gave me so much that I left the post feeling like a double party winner!  She had a ewe that was pushing on her and I did not help her as I should have so I learned just as much as she did by that run. 

Sally continues to work nice for me.  Our relationship of teamwork and trust continues to deepen.  I'm still on a shedding quest....and as I worked to get my shed called I kept thinking...I want a go at the Cross!  Boy was I glad I got one.  Miss Sally had the sheep very settled with good control.  What I liked best about my Cross attempt was that I did not worry about my dog doing what I said...instead I was able to really watch the sheep and read their commitment to accomplishing the task at hand.  And here is what Miss Sally gave me for her hard work and patience....

Elissa called it the Malteaser....for the nicest Maltese Cross.  Atta girl, Sally!  And thank you Magnolia Farms!  Jo F was hot on my heals with a really nice Cross too....I was worried she would have to arm wrestle me for a tie-breaker and my Friday night antics would be the end of me. 

Pronovice was moved to the top field....with sheep set in the same spot as open.  It was fun to get a closer look at what the dogs had to deal with at the top end.  Bella had her re-coming out party....her first trial since the August Arlington disaster!  I knew the best way to send Bella would be right....but also knew I might need to blow her out as she passed the corner fence that caused Nell to cross.  Amazing to see my Bella blow herself out...and have a nice outrun coming in deep on the sheep.  We had a little breakdown in trust...but I am so very proud of her.  She took my correction, settled her head, and actually put down a really nice, feely run with a pen. 

At the end of the day, as I drove home....I reflected on my dogs.  What they gave me, how I felt like I left with a little bit better relationship of understanding with each of them.  And then, of course, I made my list of what I need to work on with each of them...and myself! 

I'm now off to the grocery store...then on to the ranch to tuck the sheep in for this very cold wintry day.  As I do so, I will continue to be thankful....because there is so very much to be thankful for!

Seize the Day!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Knee Deep

Okay...Thanksgiving is just around the corner...and if you have been watching any of the Brene' Brown videos...you know that finding thankful joy is cornerstone to living an authentic life.  So, with that in mind....today I am thankful for my new friend!  Over the years, we've met a few times at clinics and trials....and we have many a friend in common...but recently we've gotten to know each other a little better and for that, I am thankful.  She is part of the Knee Deep Cattle Company; she and her husband use border collies to work their cattle operation on a daily basis.  She also trials in the cow dog world and does very handy work with her dog and her horse.  With all that, who would think she had time, but she is beginning the journey of trialing in the sheepdog world....and so begins our time together working dogs. 

I was invited down to work dogs on Friday and looked forward to it every day until Friday arrived.  You can imagine my surprise when I showed up and saw this in the field we were to work in:

She, who is better known as Alvina, assured me that the cows in the field were not an issue.  Generally these cows...who are bred and well fed, leave the vicinity when the dog work begins. Funny, not that Friday.....those cows decided that me and my dog were there for their viewing pleasure and came closer to have a better look.  Nell would do fairly big outruns on the sheep....bring them half way to me, then drive them back to the top of the field....which was fine.  Then she would recall off and begin to do a big huge outrun to gather the cows behind me...which she was absolutely sure were there for her to work! Thankfully, Nell could be called off and would leave the cows to their watching while she gathered the set sheep.  I laughed and Alvina laughed...and then I packed it in.

What an amazing day...big field....nice sheep...good conversation....dogs are looking good and gaining skills and knowledge.  Thankful, that is a great way to feel!

Seize the day!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Help...I Need Somebody

One more time...this is it....the final round....and my boy needs votes!

And yet another shot of the motley crew from the spirit video...this time dressed as Hillbillies!  My pride and joy is there on your far right. More fabulous pictures and a little about the Rowdy Dowds can be found here and here


Just click this link.....the click "like" under South Salem Rowdy Dowd (it should come right up). This is not about spam or taking your information....it is a pure unadulterated popularity vote.....


I am now off...the beginning of a fabulous weekend filled with a football playoff game and TONS of dog work.....and marketing the Rowdy Dowd video!!!!!

Seize the Day!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

A Mentor is Worth Their Weight In Gold......

Yesterday, I began my "uncluttering of the house" mission...and stumbled upon a video of a lesson I took with Patrick Shannahan dated January 27.....2006!  I'm trying to figure out how to get my portion of the video on youtube....I need a son to help.  All that to be said...yikes!

I began my journey of working dogs on sheep in August of 2004, starting with a local sheep farmer and moving in a different direction in November of that same year.  In May of 2005, I had purchase my comfy 10 acres and filled the fields with sheep.  Nine months later...I was taking a lesson with Patrick up at Brigand's Hideout. 

On the one hand...it was fun to see how far I have come with respect to my relationship with my dogs, how I train, and what I see.  On the other hand...it was absolutely, to the core, painful to watch! During the first round of viewing I kept saying to my video self things like..."stop going at your dog", "let her cover", "check the pace", "stop flicking your crook" and finally..."what the heck were you thinking!?!!!"

The second time of watching the video..I watched Patrick.  And I listened intently to the sage words he said....which I think he says to me every time I work with him!  He recommended this book
which I did not break down and buy for many years.
Patrick talked about "reading the sheep" and "pacing the dog instead of using a lie down" and....well pretty much a lot of words he says to me time and again.  He was kind yet firm...with both me and my dogs.  I can't tell you how thankful I am that he stuck with me all these years.  I am thankful that he never gave up on me....though looking back...I do see many days he could have.  Over the years, he has been quite honest with me about my training, handling and dogs.  Gently encouraging me to let go of my obsessive training for one...and kicking me in the pants to step up and figure out another.  The value of a great mentor is immeasurable!

This video find came at a great time for me....as I work with friends and their dogs.  I sometimes forget where I have been...what it looked like...what it felt like.  I wish I would have made goals to attach to that video....I'm not sure I thought I could be an open handler on that day in January of 2006.  Today, as I think over all I am seeing way back, 5 years ago, working dogs....I long to be a little more Patrick-like and a little less...well....."particular". Not so much when it comes to me and my dogs....I love being "particular" with myself...but in helping those who have asked me to be a part of their lives.  "Let the sheep show the dog", "people like to learn but not all like to be taught" "consider not training with every person available, but pick one method and be true to it for a time".....these words are the fingerprints left in my mind from those who have invested in molding me. "You get to keep what you give"....may I be trustworthy of giving.

I shared with Patrick that I found that video.....I wanted to say so much more in the email than my generic "thank you." Things like, "forgive me" and "thanks for believing in me" and "please don't give up on me".  He wrote back and said, "I can still remember that lesson with Snook and Porsche. I let you talk, and knew that you were in for a much different journey than you ever expected." True words, Mr. Shannahan, true words. I have been so blessed to have some pretty awesome folks come along side me.....providing honesty, truth, discussion, belief, opportunity, butt kicks, hugs and Kleenex!

Pick well those who come along side your journey.

Seize the Day!

Monday, November 15, 2010


I participated an interesting conversation yesterday as I worked dogs amongst friends.  Much of the focus of discussion was on training the dog.  As I stepped back to develop my thesis to defend why I felt the dog training was a small portion of what was happening at that time...I found myself thinking of the two other important aspects of the final product of working a dog on sheep.  One would be the training of the handler....to see/know what the sheep are thinking/doing and to also see where the dog needs to be in regards to the sheep to accomplish the desired task.  And the most important aspect that is often not mentioned or discussed: the "relationship" between the trained dog and trained handler.  Of the three....if feels like the "relationship" is the hardest for me to wrap my head around....or put my finger on...to describe exactly what I am longing for in each of my dogs. And yet it can be the most important nuance to the final product of working sheep with a dog.

While I was out doing chores at the ranch today, I kept thinking about relationship and what exactly does that word mean to me.  Dictionary.com defines relationship as "a connection, association, or involvement."  Now that is seriously lacking.....so I continue to sort through definitions...."an emotional or other connection ".  Still missing the mark....."the mutual dealings, connections, or feelings that exist between two parties".  Reality check here...a dictionary is not going to help me put into words the relationship I have and continue to strive to deepen with my working dogs.

I realized a great start in defining that elusive fog like apparition of "relationship" can be looked at first, by what it is not.  It is not about make.  I think back to Jack Knox telling me "when you get your dog to stop for you...instead of making her stop for you....you will be able to run your dog".  I can't make my dog have a relationship with me....well at least not the relationship I am striving for.

 I'll add in some of what I believe relationship is founded on.....respect.  Yep there is that word...the one  that can turn the most "pet oriented" dog owner into an anti-anthropomorphism authority.  The same person that allows dogs to jump up on them and nip them....leave for the sheep without permission....often becomes all defensive when the word "respect" is used in regard to their "relationship" with their dog.  However, in my journey....respect is something I am looking closer at....with each and every one of my dogs....every step of the way.  I happen to believe that disrespectful behavior off sheep towards me....takes away for the relationship "on sheep" that I am working towards.  And I do believe that dogs are capable of respect/disrespect....both giving it and getting it amongst their pack order and with humans.

 Holding hands with respect in equal measure is "trust", "obedience", "understanding", and "accountability".  Obedience and training......leads to understanding of the job and what is being asked.....with the trust that neither will be left out hanging as we have each others' back.  Accountability on both parts....my punishment will fit the crime and I will let it go and not hold a grudge....while I trust my dog to do what every DNA strand is telling them to do unless I ask different.

My mentor once told me (here interpreted by my own words) that every now and again you go to a sheepdog trial and see a dog that takes your breath away.  However, at the end of the day...it is generally the dog and handler working together with a deep relationship that makes for a great run. 

How do you define "relationship"?  Do you long for greater understanding and the probing of unexplored depths in your relationship with your working dog?  Do you feel "relationship" is important?

Do you think my husband should come back from Arizona so I can stop thinking and just do?

Seize the Day!!!!

Friday, November 12, 2010

United It Can Happen

My youngest son is in high school. I know...so many of you can not believe that I have a son that old....nor that it could be my youngest!  I always jest I was a child bride.  A few years back, the division that oversees high school athletic events in Oregon made some pretty strict rules about how fans could cheer.  These rules came mostly because the cheering was heading down the path of being very pointedly negative. It was hard for the kids to get into the groove of showing support for their teams within the new rules.....rules that became more strict as our society tried to get some sort of control to stop the terrible consequences of bullying across America.  Early on, many a night we went to basketball games with only a handful of student fans in attendance.

The high school administration met with a group of kids, at the high school where my son attends, to help develop some school spirit within the OSAA guidelines.  Over the past two years the kids involved have gotten quite creative: forming a group called the Rowdy Dowds.  In my cave-girl day we were the pep club.....now it is a cool, hip Rowdy Dowd club.  And they do stuff like this......

This is my son...who shaved his head and put on old man clothes and a mustache  for "senior citizen day"....a Rowdy Dowd event for a volleyball game.  The Rowdy Dowds left the volleyball game to go support the JV football game....parading across the field at half time.  Many parents at the football game had no clue who the old folk wanna be's were until the very end! 

Every game...win or loose...this group of kids did crazy spirit filled stuff....like Jersey Shore Night:

Our local newspaper put on a competition to see who could make the most spirit filled video.  The stakes are high....$500 to the group of the winner's choice as well as $500 to the winner.  My son and his friends made a video.....and dedicated the total sum $1000 to keep spirit alive at South Salem High School! 

Personally, I am very proud of these kids.  They have made a unique, fun experience within the rules that others struggled to follow.  I am not saying they don't skate the line sometimes but they sure are having a lot of fun doing it!

If you want...you too can help them by going to this web site ROWDY DOWDS HOMECOMING VIDEO VOTE and click "like".  I think you need a facebook account to vote.....

I feel so blessed to be a part of the fringe of this really special group of kids.  They are doing such positive things in a day and age where it seems that so much focus is on the negative side of teenagers.   Join with me in giving support back to them......

Seize the Day!

Because I was there.....

Yesterday, after I made a cute little felted lamb with a big head.....I made arrangements to head over to Palm Cottage to work the girls on a bigger field.  I was already down south...what the heck!  As much as I loved spending time with my friends and getting in touch with my "crafty" side.....it is the working of dogs that makes my heart sing.  There you have it....true confessions of a dog addict.

There are a few local one-day, winter trials coming up and I think Bella might be ready to visit the trial field after her long hiatus.  Try as I might, I could not get any serious tension out of her while working with Scott Glen....time to increase change and look closely at criteria.

Out of 4 larger outruns, she only exhibited tension once...and was able to be corrected out of it.  Thinking over this one view of Bella tension, I realized she was sliding through that first initial stop at the top and correcting that gave me a supple dog.  She is beginning to feel her sheep and sort out the pressure point.  These sheep were a gift of quick-footed lightness and seeing Bella sort through how far off she had to be to work them calmly was amazing.

Next up was Miss Nell.  She is working on her fetch......and as always.....keeping her head on light running sheep. 

Sage words....training is often like chocolate.....a little will do you.  In other words....more is not always better!  That certainly is an interesting way to look at chocolate!

Gyp had the privilege of coming out and working these light sheep......I was curious and excited to see how she would respond.  It is fun to see young pups sort it out, find the distance, get control of the sheep, and start to read and feel them.  I'm very much enjoying this journey we are on.

I've been thinking a lot about Brene' Brown's talk on authenticity.  While thinking, I've been spending some time on her blog Ordinary Courage; reading her entries and listening to more talks on Wholehearted living.  Interesting to be putting a few footprints on this path...certainly not comfortable but, like exercise and eating for health....a "good thing".  Brene' interviews a gal by the name of Myriam Joseph and asks her "what are your greatest creative barriers?" Myriam replies, "My greatest creative barriers are the groups of squatters that take up space in my head. They lay around all day, shouting their bad advice and accusations, they don’t work, they don’t pay rent, they just talk, talk, talk."  I have a few squatters in my head as well.....and maybe even a few in my real life.....perchance it is time to embrace venerability and continue to strive for authenticity.

Seize the Day!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

fun, Fun, FUN

Today started with a field trip down to Kenleigh Acres Farm where my good friend Shannon was teaching a felting class.  Now admittedly, I am not the craftiest person ever.  At least not in the "arts and crafts" sort of way...though friends might find me crafty in other ways.  Shannon assured me that I could be successful at felting a little lamb.....and being open minded to getting in touch with that other side of my brain......I was there taking her class.

Shannon kindly put a finished example on the table.....so I could visualize what the end result would look like. 

Then she gave me the necessary items to make my sheep.....which in my very humble opinion looked nothing like what I was shooting for.  I think I heard her mutter something about patience and virtue....we continued on.

Shannon then began to give detailed instruction on how to make a sheep.  Patiently starting with step one: telling and showing as she went.

A couple of my other good friends were there with me....learning right along side of me how to make cute little felted lambs.  Both of them are fiber fiends and crafty to the core so I had to push myself to keep up.

The most difficult step for me was the making of the sheep ears.  They are tiny and need to be a nice shape...and equal but mirror...you know, left ear versus right ear.  Shannon was very patient!

 Once the face, ears, and legs were made.....we atteched them by felting them onto the prepared body.

Adele assembles her sheep.


Not baaaaad for the first attempt at making felted sheep!  Though I admit to coming  home and making my sheep face a little tidier..... Who says you can't teach an old dog new tricks!  Thanks Shannon for being such a kind, gentle teacher......with a great sense of humor!

Seize the Day!                                      

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Are Your Ready to Expand Your Perception?

A friend suggested watching this.......it is well worth the twenty minutes..........

Whole Hearted......

Seize the Day!

Monday, November 8, 2010

When in Doubt....Blow Them OUT

I just got home from the Island Crossing Sheepdog Trial that was held up in Arlington, Washington.  This is the same field that the girls and I ran on in August...so I was looking forward to seeing if we had made improvements.

Nell ran first for me....and thanks to all the help and support of my good friends...I did indeed take the correct dog to the post!  She really wanted to go right....but the course was definitely a left send with tons of pressure at the top.  As Nell left my feet...she started coming in...I blew her out on the fly...she took it.  I gave one more little blow out as she entered the big ravine that runs through the field....and she came up out of that ravine bending left.  Atta girl Nell!  The rest of the run was pretty rattled but I loved her blow outs.

Sally crossed both time in August....so this time, I blew her out as she entered the ravine with the same result....she came out bending left!  Her run was real nice and we will continue our shed work.  I liked how she ran for me!

My friend Geri has been talking to me at trials....as I have a tendency to not support the dogs on the outrun if it starts coming in.....and then end up with a cross as I frantically try to get the bend out once the dog is committed to cross.  She says "spend a point, save a run".......this mantra is now stuck in my head and I am watching the outruns to support my dogs littlest intention of starting to come in. At the end of the day....I think this will add to the relationship I am developing. When in doubt...blow them out.

I also got the chance to talk to a "finger whistler" to help me sort out what I might be doing wrong with my whistles.  Mine often sound airy....like blowing a wood flute....and I want crisp like a brass whistle.  She really took some time to help me sort it.....so now I have home work.  Thanks Vicki Close! 

As I left the trial...her parting words to me were "some people like to learn, but not all like to be taught."  That is a good thought to ruminate on.....I think I am a little of both.  I like to work through things on my own...and get some instruction when I find myself not sorting it. I'm also learning to value consistency.....

Seize the Day!

Friday, November 5, 2010

Honest Dog

BC Drive Card

Oh MY!  I LOVE LOVE LOVE these border collie prints!!!!

BC Fetch US

Alison is the artist who designed the prints, then hand-carved these images onto blocks, and then hand printed each and every shirt and sweatshirt creating unique designs!  I want to own everything she has done....I would wear this stuff every day!!!!

BC Smile Card

I just smile every time I see this face as I put on my tee shirt!  So here's to Honest Dog!  Honest Dog, I think I love you....but you already knew that!

Check them out

Seize the Day!!!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

The Lessons Keep Coming.....

My mentor told me years ago to evaluate, pick, and stick with one "style" of training (my words not his)  I've been pretty true to that motto.....and love the results in my girls and myself.  My Sal is running real nice and consistent for me right now...giving me the huge gift of being able to look at my handling, timing, sheep reading skills...and with that I have added to my mix of folks I enjoy working with.  Yesterday, I took a long lesson with Scott Glen.  Scott is quite a lot different from my foundation and I love looking at things with different eyes. 

I brought Bella out to see if Scott could help me with some "tension" issues.  He knows her lines very well....and I love what that knowledge brings to the thoughts he shares. At the lesson, I could never get Bella to fire up but Scott pointed out some ways in which I was handling her that he could see were not helping resolve tension if it were there.  Funny, exactly what I have been told before!  My gray training.....allowing Bella too much thought for herself.....was not giving confidence.  The good news...all the work Bella and I have been doing is paying off.  She has not worked lambs for a long time and was having to work to read them....which created some confusion...but not tension.  Atta girl!  One note to myself, besides a stop being a stop...is to put her back where she needs to be after the correction. By this I mean....on a drive away...Bella was attempting to flank off to create a fetch.  I was stopping her, giving a correction so she would not flank off to the sheep heads....but never put her back where she needed to be with a counter flank.   I've been letting her try to sort that on her own. That created a bit of missing clarity and difficulty driving as she was out of position.  I needed to step up and give her some of the answer to have her be correct.....which could allow for some tension when I don't. 

Scott asked me to take the sheep up the field a ways to the fence and I thought it was the perfect opportunity to show off my finger whistles.  Oh dear.....pride cometh before a fall.  So I'm finger whistling and Bella is doing what she thinks she should do...walking on from every whistle.   I would blow a come bye....Bella would walk on.....I would blow a steady....Bella would walk on.  She would take the stop whistle and then...yep next whistle walk on.  So I started blowing the whistle and then giving her the verbal command because Scott was not getting the fact I was showing off my finger whistles.  He finally said, "you need to get after her for not taking your whistles!"  That is when I confessed that I had not used finger whistles on Bella before...and he started.....LAUGHING!  That explains it!  He told me "they were coming along but were not quiet there....lacking crispness. So maybe I should practice some more before applying them!"  Okie dokie!

Nell and I shed...or tried to shed.  I felt better but it was good to get input on my shedding.  Note to self....move, get out of her way!  Darn it...same song next verse!  I'm going to get that tattooed...and somewhere I can see it!!! I'm still on my Shedding with the Stars daily meditation....I will get this! 

Last but not least, I brought out Miss Gyp for her debut at Fido's Farm.  She was really cute, not really knowing who to hold the sheep to....me or Scott.  What I loved best about Gyp's lesson was the discussion that happened about dogs, training, reading, changing.  All that was shared in that one little go on sheep applied to all that I had done the entire lesson with each dog.  Stop means stop, give one correction to get what you want, experience is the mother of training as long as the dog learned, sometimes putting a dog up is what they need.  It's funny, how different training methods ...at the end of the day.... are not so far apart on what the outcome is. 

I now get to sort through all that was presented in my lesson.  Thinking about how it all works for me and my dogs and how I train.  I've got some "black and white" work to continue with Bella.  I'm still sorting through my finger whistles.....I understand all the nuances that come with using them......its just that my brass whistle is my good friend!  Now there is one for the Rocking Dog Excuse book!

Seize the Day!

Monday, November 1, 2010

Making a List.....

Checking it twice...and I'm not talking about Christmas yet!  I am talking about my Scott Glen lesson tomorrow....an hour and a half long....4 dogs to work....gotta make that list of thoughts and questions concise and thorough. Poor Scott!  What comes to mind off the top of my head is.....shedding and tension. I have a half sister to Scott's Maid...and since he runs Maid well....I want pick his brain.  Hope brain picking is included in the lesson fee!

Seize the Day!