Thursday, November 29, 2012

Who Knew???

Yesterday, while I waited around a lot....I learned that Buck Brannaman has a 7 Clinic DVD series.......7 Clinics with Buck Brannaman  Who Knew?  But wait, it gets even better......on YouTube the creators have done little teasers...here is my favorite:




After watching this, I was thinking about the first days with my Bella.  She came with a lot of tension and I have to admit, I was afraid.  I was afraid she was gong to kill a sheep, I was afraid she would never trust me, I was afraid that all my time and effort would be wasted.  One of my mentors told me there was a nice dog trapped in Bella.  I needed to either sell her or commit a year to her...but my "wishy washy, gosh I like her one minute and want to sell her the next" was not doing her the justice she deserved.  So I gave her a year....and that year turned into two.  My Bella has taught me so much, once I opened myself up to learning. Through Bella, I've learned about trust, relationship, and seeking answers.  The biggest gift she has given me.....I'm not afraid of what a dog can do anymore. 

Check out the 7 Clinics with Buck Brannaman teasers here....on YouTube

Seize the Day!

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Thankful

Amidst the day-in, day-outs of life.....routine, unsuspected, fabulous, tragedy, boring, crazy, drama-filled, beautiful, new-life, amazing, catastrophe, endings, peaceful......no matter what; I'll give thanks.  It's a good day to reflect on all the blessings in life. I think unconditional love tops the list......



Happy Thanksgiving!

Seize the Day!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Perfect......Influence

Isn't it interesting that one word can have a different meaning based on where one puts emphasis/focus. 

Perfect: per-fekt adj -entirely without any flaws, defects, or shortcomings

Perfect: per-fect verb - to bring closer to perfection; improve

Such is life....where we put our focus; our emphasis...is where we get meaning.

I've been listening to, and reading, sports psychology for many years now, starting when my boys began to play sports. I find it fascinating...especially for one who thinks....about that stuff.....lots! Visualization has been pretty easy for me...I have a very creative mind when it comes to daydreams.....and I practice filling in details: colors, smells, temperature, which way I sent the dog....very vividly! 


Where I have had to dig deep, work hard, and practice diligence is....my self talk.  You know, those voices inside my head that point out over and over and over all the things I do wrong.  Those voices that remind me of past failures, even failures 20 years ago, that don't even count for much any more...I'm married, stupid voices!.  Those grudge holding voices that not only point out failures but, if left to run rampant, show me, in exaggerated, grandiose detail, how I will fail again.  They don't tiptoe, instead stamp madly about shaking my brain...reminders of past, current and potential future failures created, so the voices sing...loser!  Those voices are many, and are my dragons that need slayed.  Those voices are not just about dogs and trialing...they started long ago with relationships, food relationships, competition and fitting in with "that group". They speak to me while I am treating my llama...all the things I missed in diagnosis and lack of care as I focused on myself and my quest for that nod to the finals. They speak to me of that one time I sent Sally, walking to the post while she watched the sheep be exhausted into the trailer behind me. When I sent her...she made the short trip to the trailer to bring me sheep......how stupid can one handler be?  I could go on but you get the drift,  they speak to me.......they are not nice.......they are meant to demean....and they suck!


I'm working a good program to slay those dragon voices in my mind. It's taken me some time to let go of per-fekt-ion and train my brain to see the learning gifts in the im-per-fekt.  When life does not go as planned, I'm working at stepping back and looking at the good, what needs work, what needs changed and then back to cleaning up my thoughts to head towards where I want to go and be.  No dwelling on what went wrong. I've also chosen to be real careful what I let flow through my ears into my brain...where those words can either create feeding frenzies for my dragons, or assist my slaying. One reason I like my iPod....it is a good tool for letting in only dragon slayers. It's another reason I really, really love my family and close friends.  They certainly understand my dragons and know they can be assistant slayers.


Guru of positive thoughts and managing a strong mental game, "dragon slayer for hire" Lanny Bassham talks about the incredible power of words.  With that, he addresses self degradation talk:.  so easy to fall into, especially when the far extreme is the boastful person who can't stop talking about how great they are. In an effort to not come across as an egotistical jerk, instead, it is easy to put oneself down, in a humorous fashion, in an effort to be humble.  Lanny Bassham encourages me not to do that.  He says to be careful with my words....somebody very important is listening....ME! Say words enough...they will be believed.


The Phoenix and the dragon look similar, don't they.  Back to focus.  This is not about winning or losing for me.  It's about becoming....becoming all that I have the potential to become in the time I am given. There are "black dog" days in my life where I feed and water the slain...then the dragons open their wings and roar.  Days where getting out of bed, let alone facing people, feels like Mt. Everest.  I wonder if others fight to slay dragons?  All I know is: I do, daily.  Life is ever too short to let the dragons nest and multiply in my brain.  Influence....it carries so much responsibility; daily I need to remember to respect the incredible power of words.

Please, Don't Feed The Dragons.

Seize the Day!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Perfect........THE Stop

I've augured with myself over the next three chapter instalments of Chez Clinice`...THE Stop.  First, I really don't want to write about it. Second, I really don't have an issue with stopping (my dogs do!). Third,......never mind.  When I wrote chapter two: "habits", all my commenters went right to the stop...hey, quit reading ahead folks!  Then I go into defense mode: I do have a stop when I need one. I have a Jake Brake on all three dogs.  I've seen many a top respectable handler's dog not stop on occasion.  Stops are over rated.  blah blah blahblah blah!


Last year, after my stop-talk from Scott, I began to wonder if maybe HE had a stop obsession.  Maybe a pre-recorded stop session is a go-to when he is tired and just wants to put the lesson on cruise.  Funny, later in the year, when I worked with another clinician I respect, he talked about my stop too...of course it was a different voice with different words...calling it like HE saw it.  Diagnosis: two for two.


This time, my "stop lesson" did not really come out until Nell graced the field....and I actually told Scot that I was f'ing tired of this same lesson.  In fact, I had paid for it 6 times before, maybe this one could be free, eh?  (adding some Canadian to see if I could be better understood) He did the Cliff Notes version but added greater intensity.....perchance hoping this time it might sink in.  Break for a poll:

Do you prefer being spanked softer yet over a longer duration or being spanked super hard but only a few times? 


Okay, okay, I'll stop and get on to the meat of the subject....My Stop.  Because I use My Stop for so many different reasons, my dogs are never sure.  It is like I run them, "stop...kidding; stop...kidding; stop....how about I come up there and kick you ass, I said stop!".  In other words.....they never know if I really mean it......to stop this time or not stop this time, that is the question?  Funny how I have been to three shedding clinics and one private lesson specifically on shedding with each of my girls...and I know that each time I get greater understanding on shedding.  Though The Stop is black and white for some, it is a Joe's Walla Walla Sweet Onion for me......it does indeed make me cry and it apparently has layers! My challenge is....very similar to E O'B......just use the stop when I really mean it.  Otherwise....figure something else out to use! 


During the time spent in my pressure chamber, the one I use to acclimate myself back into the real world post clinic...I've had some serious ah-ha moments.  Stops and habits hold hands in my brain.  Starting out....I used to watch my dogs and was admonished to "watch your sheep".  Now I think I watch my sheep too much...so when I blow a stop, and my sheep move off line, I correct it without even looking at the dog.  It happened at Fire Ridge....I blew a stop for Bella, and glanced at her, just as she was hitting the deck (gasp she never has done this before!) I blew her over on a flank to cover those crazy fine wools booking from the release of pressure from my poorly timed and not really meant stop.

Funny, as I think back over the last chapters of my Chez C.....this is all about me.  The Whistles, The Habits, The Stop (use and abuse of)....it all comes back to me!  This is not about the dogs at all......it is about me!  Then this gets a little too real-life....."that there piece of really fabulous chocolate is not going to make you really feel better and might make your ass look fatter......oh but it tastes so amazing and for years it has gotten me by".  Sheepdoggin' - Life hold hands in my brain.

Whatever you're trying to do. You're capable of MORE. Don't settle. ~ Joel over at Impossible HQ

Seize the Day!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Perfect.......Habits

Chapter two instalment of "Chez Clinic Experience`"......Habits.


Nell is the first dog I have trained to open....Bella is the second....these are the two dogs I am running right now.  Go figure that habits I have developed in myself as I trained them up stuck while I run them on an open trial field.   Light Bulb, Ah ha Moment! I get the progression of training the dogs but things I did when I ran them as youngsters have not gone away now that they are big girls.  An example is: when my dogs are young I generally stop them before I ask them for some new directions; either forward out of a flank, or flanking out of forward.  It does indeed help create a nice flank or tidy there for walking on.  The idea of losing this habit with my more trained dogs: giving stops I don't really mean as they have become more markers that something new is coming....well it was a darn interesting theory for lots of fabulous over thinking and tons of discussion in my mind!  Back to the idea: can I run stop-less?

I've also caught a slight case of panel-itis again.  Darn it anyway, those drive panels are so freaking hard to see for these eyes.  And I don't often practice, as in never, panels.  Maybe I need to practice panels for me to see if I am hitting them....oh and I do have another eye appointment.  All this said, I'm going to follow the prescription for panel-itis because this disease is affecting all the dogs the worse I get. 

Habits.....I guess that is a really good reason to keep attending clinics.....sometimes the development of habits are not readily seen by the habitor/habitee.  Clinics.....and watching taped runs of myself.....with a dash of looking at pictures from LaCamas!  Habits.....it's time to kick a few.....

Seize the Day!

Friday, November 16, 2012

God-dog

Certainly a clever palindrome but still I have one:  A god-dog....sort of like a god-mother but not fairy.  Or maybe she is.  Hmm....well, I am babysitting my god-dog in the girl fashion and so I interrupt my regularly scheduled "bare all memoir" to show what my life has been like for the past few days......

Meet my god-dog: Mist


She is four months now...just beginning to enter that awkward stage...and had NO idea that so many border collies could live in one place!


She likes to hang with the alpha of the pack.....and licks Snook's lips to get tender growls from her.  It's a love/hate thing.


She has become quit courageous here.....running out and around the sport court with the big dogs.

haha that is her there behind the fence of the court...terrible photo but ever so cute
I feel a bit bad for Mist....at her home, her pack plays with her as well as cuddles her.  Here, well she is a non-event.  No dog really likes her...nor do they dislike her.  No one wants to play or include her in their reindeer games.  And Grace and Gyp just want to see her go home......


My husband adores her...and me, well, I've looked into my crystal ball and see some serious fun ahead of us!  Take time, grow up, it will all make sense....Mist.  There will come a day when the other dog's won't matter to you......and the sheep will be what you live for.  Until then....

Seize the Day!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Perfect.......Whistles!

Indeed, I attended a four day handling clinic with Scott Glen.  A friend was teasing me (so that was my interpretation) that I was either in desperate need...that I required four days to learn what others might in two days.....or he had better watch his hinny from all that I learned in four days from a Jedi Master.  I think I am somewhere in the middle....but no need to watch anybody's hinny.  As one can imagine, four days of a clinic makes for fabulous blog fodder...broken down into clumps of how I remembered it....here is chapter one.

Today I'll bear my soul about whistles!  I have been working at finger whistling for two years, as a friend pointed out.  It has been just this past spring/summer that I had the courage and consistency to attempt to run my dogs on them.  In an effort to die to perfectionism...and an "all or nothing" personality disorder.... when I run my dogs now, in addition to taking my two pinkie fingers to the post,  I wear a my mechanical whistle...using it when I need to. For the clinic....I jumped off the cliff of safety and committed to leaving my brass whistle hanging from that beautiful lanyard off the rear view mirror of my truck. 

The first day, I did not think it went too bad...my finger whistling, that is.  I used Bella as "the dog of the day" and the focus was outwork....not so many whistles needed with that dog or portion of the trial field.  It is really "cool", "neat", "fantastic" and well just darn right "fabulous" to see so many friends picking up finger whistles.  There was one gal at the clinic that I have always admired how quiet her whistles are...always!  She might blow a hard one every now and then but mainly her mechanical whistles are sweet, melodic and a real joy to listen to.  Drawing a card from the deck of excuses, I was sure her whistles were like a symphony because she has been doing this a while, mechanically.  As she walked out for her first session, she confessed she is motivated to move to finger whistles and then, she pulled her fingers out of her pockets....slipped two into her mouth...and low and behold...they were quiet, indeed quiet as a choir of church mice!!!! 

 
The next day, Nell became the focus of my attention...running last in the pouring rain.  With Nell, :) I whistle more...which could be another chapter so I will leave it at that.  Anyway, back to the rain and finger whistling: my hands got really wet, my fingers bright red prunes with less feeling than on a nice warm dry day...and my whistles....well my whistles were VERY loud.  When asked to soften them, they got louder!  Who knew?  Who knew that on rainy days, a finger whistler must guard against wet, prune fingers much like a quarterback keeps their hands dry for quick, accurate passes and hand-offs.  I've always wondered about those handy towels hanging down the front of a QB's uniform. A quick google search shows those as a "sports towel" or a "football towel".  Put one of those on my Christmas list...the bad list, not good. So, I got my second whistle installment form this clinician...probably my fifth all around because I have heard it before with my aluminum whistle AND my brass whistle......whistles are about nuance: a subtle distinction in expression.  Giving up came to mind......
 
  
Here is what I am thinking/learning....I have always had a tendency to blow my whistles loud; hence the five installments of shades of whistling.  I have to work at being quiet...in so many ways.  I will master my quiet/loud/nuance filled finger whistles or die trying. It is good to have supportive people to challenge me to raise the bar......friends and mentors speaking truth......today I am thankful that it was not sugar coated! Quit, Give Up, those are not words I have ever lived by.....time to pony up, work a little harder...and get a "sports towel".
 
Seize the Day!



Friday, November 9, 2012

Good Morning, Joe


Good Morning, Bryan....What's new?

Oh dear, not sure if this is good or bad, but I have Monty Python on the brain....right before a clinic!

"Frank was just asking, what's new?.....Hey look, Howard's being eaten!"

I've been thinking lately about "why" I blog. I know there has been discussion about this in the past but I've been evaluating that again. I blog for myself....to sort through my journey of life....which is funny how the dog training, working, and trialing, mixed in with the raising of sheep, is a huge, accurate pictorial metaphor of my whole life! I blog like a journal...which is a little frightening because it is public and people read it, sometimes. Although I have heard there are those who like my blog roll on the far right and visit to use those doors. (glad to be of help, Joe). My blog is a bit of venerability; a piece of myself. Maybe by sharing the wicked wrestlings of my right and left brain....I can give others hope that this journey is amazing....dogs/sheep/life! And maybe, just maybe, my blog is like an OTA meeting, "Hello, my name is Lora and I am an over-thinker" They say the first step is admitting......my blog is certainly that in white on black!

"Makes you think, doesn't it? I mean, what's it all about"

What my dogs have taught me so far:

*Don't be afraid to make mistakes
*If it is not working, try something different
*Be fair. Be firm and fair.
*Be consistent
*Be clear -mean what you say - say what you mean
*Be quiet so that loud has meaning
*Frivolous chit chat is never a good idea, to yourself or to your dog
*Just like people, dogs interpret......it's the telephone game. Work to be understood
*Use the smallest correction and fit the crime; sometimes disappointment works.
*On the other hand, don't nag....making an impressionable correction might be what is needed.

"For millions this life is a sad vale of tears
Sitting round with really nothing to say
While scientists say we're just simply spiralling coils
Of self-replicating DNA."


* Choose wisely       
* Pay close attention to Intention
* Hone skills of Observation
* Strive for Supple: tension free in self and dog
* Stay cool....tempers and anger create fear not relationship
* Listen, listen carefully
* Study: thoroughly, complete, wholeheartedly
* Become

"So just why, why are we here?
And just what, what, what, what do we fear?
Well ce soir, for a change, it will all be made clear,
For this is the Meaning of Life - c'est le sens de la vie -
This is the Meaning of Life."


Off to a clinic.....

Seize the Day!

 


Thursday, November 8, 2012

What's Worth Doing, Even If I Fail??


Daring Greatly Book Trailer from Brené Brown on Vimeo.


"What would you do if you knew you could not fail? What's worth doing, even if I fail?" ` Beren` Brown


I was chatting with a friend the other day who reads Brene Brown, and was sharing with me how fabulous Brene's new book, Daring Greatly, is.  The impact the book has had on her personal life...giving examples of venerability she has shared, and found amazing support as she broke through her facade of an exterior.  Perfection, Bullet Proof, Facade, Self Preservation.....Authentic, Venerable, Shame Resilience, Daring Greatly.  One of the "things" I love so much about working with my dogs is:  there is no perfect when it comes to that work.  There is the satisfaction of a job well done (or not)...but the dogs whisper to me (or maybe that is true and good caring friends) how I am affecting the relationship, the understanding, the reaction.  I'm the one who can stop the insanity; to step up and try something different ...and the dogs always answer.  If I am unable to pay close attention to the details of the whispers....my dogs continue to do what they do.  However, if I can rise above my ego and really look at what I am saying/doing and what my dogs do in response.....then I can make changes in myself in attempt to add clarity, understanding, partnership, building up, easing tension and growing.

I'm heading off to a clinic very soon.  Packing and list making....I've spent much of the summer, and most certainly all of the fall, trying to step back and see myself/my dogs/my work from a most critical point of view. Not critical as in negative but critical as in honest, authentic, venerable, transparent....me and my part of the journey.  Clinics often make me step out of my comfort zone....letting go of the negative critic, the perfectionist, the know-it-all, the show-how-far-I've-come; all main courses I've sampled, both in dishing and being dished; none of which were tasty nor satisfying.  I've got a clean slate and an empty notebook....my personal agenda is "how can I be a better team mate running the dogs that I have?" Daring Greatly.......failing really is not the worst thing that can happen.....Never doing is.

Remember: The only one who ever really stops you from doing something you need to do, is you ~ Joel, Blog of Impossible Things

Seize the Day!

Friday, November 2, 2012

Down Time

I am taking a little break....from sheepdog trialing "stuff". While I confessed in my last post I was feeling a little lost, I gave up trying to self-remedy that condition and let life sort of manifest itself for now.  I have found that "Lost" is not a destination on my map of life.  And Down Time is not a bad thing, well, at least not right now. 

Today I made a haul to the auction yard....I always feel a little sad driving the truck, pulling the trailer, sheep needing culled, dropping them off at the auction.  On the other hand, I'm a little melancholy on "processing" day too.  I know to be a responsible sheep person, I need to cull and process. Today, being responsible sucked.  Check that off my to-do list.

After the auction stop, I headed down the road to a good friends house for some "girl time".  If you have not read Shannon's story about her felted dogs and the WHY behind them....read about it at Kenleigh Acres Farm Blog  Having a son, myself, that required some serious "outside the box" education, I have a real soft spot in my heart for Shannon's son.  Shannon's "take" on life is such a fabulous elixir so soak in when Lost is the adjective for my noun of Down Time. A group of girl friends were getting together to learn to make these now famous felted animals.  I asked to audit but instead was given the "felting for dummies" mini course....a sheep laying down (no legs to felt) sleeping (no eyes to worry about)...all very free form.  Sigh.

This was a Kiwi bird in the making
Shannon has a never-ending supply of patience.....or fakes it well.  She also lavishes praise, thank goodness.  And the fun making was all in good fun, the best kind of fun making to be had. 


We were treated to a special private show of "Rose, the Disc Dog."




Mr. T has done amazing things with Ms. Rose.  Being a typical border collie, Rose loves having a job to do, and does that job with enthusiasm I wish I could put in a jar and take daily doses of myself!



Being "lost" in not such a bad place to be when there are friends around to bring perspective.  Can't wait to see what the next page looks like in this chapter of Down Time!

Seize the Day!