Thursday, April 28, 2011

To Finger Whistle......

or not to finger whistle.....that is the question.

My finger whistles are coming along.  There are days that I can slip my two pinkies into my mouth and a sound emits between them that could be recognized and taken as a command.  And yet on the very same day, next breath.....I blow and shudder as my opportunity for input is passed up with spit and air spewing forth, followed by my seemingly uncontrollable outburst of tourettes.   I've already confessed to finding myself face-up in the field, vultures circling, after a longer series of attempted whistles left me fainting.

At a recent lesson with a nameless instructor (God forbid I be labeled a name-dropper) Oh what the heck...Patrick, said to me words I have not heard for a few years....."though that whistle sucked (my translation of his word), I could understand your meaning and your dog should have taken it."   I do believe he told me something very similar when I started to use a stainless whistle and again as I switched to brass. 

Those whose finger whistles I admire tell me to hang up my precious, my beautiful brass whistle.  Stop carrying it with me.  Force myself to use my fingers.  They will come with time.  In return, I find my book of excuses providing me with fabulous material....."my finger whistles sound perfect at home."

Yesterday, I pulled in a group of sheep to administer their 8 way, worm them and trim a few hooves.  I left my whistle in the car.  Nell, bringing the girls in, was a thing of beauty.  She worked the pen and chute with maturity and patience.  When the group was ready to drive back down into the bottom pasture.....after all the close work, I found Nell full of push and lacking pace and finesse.  I slipped my two pinkies into my mouth to give a little input and experienced the full knowledge, and taste, as to why I might want to stick with my favorite brass whistle!  Times like that, I am glad my place is small enough for a good verbal command to be heard. 

Seize the day!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Aint' Settling

The trial season for me and my dogs is fast approaching....and I am sorting out all my winter training thoughts. 

Gyp is fully recovered from her Cuz incident and has turned into a naughty, high-drive 16 month old teenager.  I really love this is so fun to work and train her and see development.  Love it when the light comes on and she has an "ah ha" moment!

I've been giving a lot of thought to mechanical vs natural.  And thanks to a few friends who understand my ability to over think things.....I've had some really fabulous discussions.  I am headed to a Kathy Kn*x clinic this weekend and it will be good to get back to my roots and find some grounding. 

My goal for this spring is to work on training my dogs to understand a few "things" that I have taken for granted that they know.  That way, I don't find myself frustrated with them when I try to have them do something that I think they should know but I have never worked on.  Say that five times fast!

Lastly, on a personal level, I have been taking a few on-line courses on personal development/improvement.  The concept of "what you think about, you become" is not a new fact it is as old as it comes.  Killing my ANTs...."automatic negative thoughts" is a daily chore, the big ANTs are dieing whilst the little ants crawl through cracks and build nests.  As I become more aware of negative.....thoughts, people, behavior, words.....I challenge myself to persevere, live the dream, seize the day, go to great lengths to kill all the ANTs, and the biggest challenge of all...surround myself with people who aren't in the ANT farm business.

I ain't settling for just getting by...I've had enough "so-so" for the rest of my life...tired of shooting too raise the bar high....Just enough ain't enough this time....I ain't settling for anything less than everything!

Yes indeed, life is a country song!

Seize the day!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Chasing My Tail

This picture has nothing to do with this just makes me smile.  Thank God this dog does not drink coffee!

I have been chasing my tail.  The whole Gyp Adventure...led into a lesson with that I stepped into, for the first time ever in my training with him, WITHOUT a list of where I was with each dog joined along side all my questions and over thinking thoughts.  When I said this....Patrick did not even blink but said...well, just go out and work your dog and we can have a look.  Amazing. And what I took away from my time was a whole "new to me idea" on handling.

The very next weekend found me down at the Border Collie Training Center achieving one of my 2011 vision board goals...working with Alasdair MacRae. 

I have to admit...I was kind of nervous.  Having met him just a few times and always admiring his skill with the dogs, sheep and a course....I was not exactly sure what I wanted to work on with Nell, the dog of choice.  The clinic showed me so very much...what Nell has, what Nell needs...and the good, bad and ugly of my handling. 

Nell running a course at the Alasdair MacRae clinic
There's that word again....handling!  So much to think about....much fodder for an over thinker.  In my past I have not given to much thought to handling.  I just ran my dog...and tried to put one together.  I started thinking about handling styles after the judge from Sheep Thrilz spoke to me about how I worked Nell in my non-compete open run.  Funny how the idea of handling has bubbled to the top when working with those folks I respect since that summer run.  It certainly is the next step for me....sorting out if I have all that I need on my dogs for the styles in which I would like to handle.....having more than one specific tool in the box...and knowing just what tool suites the job at hand.

I'm beginning to sort out each of my dogs...assessing what they have that I like, what they need better understanding on, and what I need to "learn" them.....and yet again, what might be what it is.  Miss Gyp has decided that she is a super keen working sheepdog and is cheating her stop....after listening to Alasdair (and reviewing the input from others!) I have decided that she just might need a tummy to the grass lie down on her. We will be working on this, the girls and me, because at the end of the day...I believe I am more of the problem when it comes to a functional "lie down"!

As April wraps up and I begin to look ahead to the 2011 trial season, I am starting to get very excited to get the girls out there and see what they look like.  Besides trials, June is a whirl-wind for me as I am hosting a Kathy Knox clinic here in the valley as well as running the fun little Turner trial.  Thanks to the support of friends and fellow handlers...both are filled to the brim and promise laughter and good learning times!

Now if the sun could just keep showing its beautiful golden face......

Seize the Day!!!!

PS for those who wonder: the bold badger did NOT audit the clinic!  I think it might have packed its bags and moved on to visit another colony of ground squirrels. However, the huge holes were left behind....much to the dismay of the MacRaes.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

The Bold Badger

I recently took a road trip to work dogs at the Border Collie Training Center.  I had Sally out in the pasture, minding my own business, and working my little dog.  She was looking pretty fine.....

when all the sudden Geri yelled to me....."hey, just thought you might want to know there is a badger in the field!" 

This badger was busy digging away...dirt flying...and not at all worried about me, my dog, or the flock of sheep.  Sally and I thought we better train as far from that badger as possible...I've heard badgers like valley girls!

Geri and Meg came out to show us a few stylish moves...and that darn badger came running across the field to get a closer view.  Perhaps it was taking notes, or offering whispered advice.....

in all honesty it looked like it wanted to kick all of our butts!

Sure hope that badger does not want to audit the clinic this weekend! 

I am so excited about this weekend.  A life dream of mine is coming true as I attend an Alasdair MacRae clinic.  Now if Mother Nature could decide to get on board and give up some sun instead of snow, I would be so very thankful.  It is April after all.

Seize the Day!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

The Culprit

1 1/2" inches long x 1" thick x 1 1/4" across....this was no little "thing" that got stuck in my Gyp's small intestine!  The "thing" looked vaguely familiar...and my vet told me...if there are more than one...she might do it again.  So the hunt began. Possibly a rubber stop off a baby gate?  Some sort of rubber sealant?  An eraser?

My son and husband suggested I put the "thing's" picture on facebook and see what my friends could come up with.  I love fb in times like this.....thanks to Monique and Angie I had a suspicion that I was looking for a dog toy.

Sure enough.....darn it anyway....stinking dog toys that Jack Knox gives me nothing but grief over....


Cuz reunited with amputated limb
I actually thought I had thrown that darn thing away....I hate repetitious noises especially those that are at a pitch in sound that can scratch eardrums like fingernails!  Alas, I had not thrown it away...and come to find out...Gyp loved it. 

What disturbs me the the fact that it tripled in size in the gut of my dog.  Had it stayed the initial chew-off size it most likely could have passed. 

Maybe the makers of Cuz could take that into consideration as they make these toys and sell them.  One of my friends has confessed that her dog actually chewed off both feet and required surgery too!  I wallow in misery not alone.

Miss Gyp is doing great now that the triple sized Cuz foot has been removed from her interior.  Sporting a stem to stern zipper of 15+ vet was very thorough making sure there was nothing else hanging out in her GI tract.  She was very disappointed yesterday when all the other dogs got a spin on the sheep....but she made her own fun hunting ground squirrels and digging for badgers!  Badgers...yes indeed badgers...but that is a story for another day.

Today, two friends are meeting me for the day of capture the lamb at RDR.  They need their CD&T's and some other attention. They being the lambs...not the friends...although I have been known to miss!  I just might worm the momma ewes as well. Could be an Advil sort of day for sure....

Oh and now that Cuz has been reunited with its missing limb...I might have a formal burial!  Or maybe I should burn it!

Seize the Day!