Thursday, April 30, 2009

I Want This Dog

Yet another post not concerning stockdog activities... :-P

There's a thread on the Border Collie Boards in the Rescue area called "I want this dog," where people post pictures of rescue dogs that they want, but can't have. :D. Well, here's mine:

This is "Idaho Bree," and she is a 3 year old spayed female. Isn't she gorgeous? I am not really a merle fan, but I love her. LOL I'm hopeless!

If only...

And yes, I need another dog like I need a hole in the head!

In other news... the Patrick clinic is this weekend. I'm auditing... probably won't do both days, though. But I'm excited!

I may go out to Dianne's tomorrow as well. We'll see what happens.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Sheepdog Whistles... not so hellish

Today is my day off.

After eating a bowl of mac and cheese, watching an hour of Home Improvement, and otherwise reveling in the glory of not having to shower and get dressed in work clothes and go into the library, I was actually starting to get pretty bored.

Sooooo.... I decided to drag out my sheepdog whistle and took it and Cedar outside with the intent of playing around with the "lie down" command... since that's the only whistle command that I can get to sound the same somewhat consistently. haha. Cedar has a great "lie down" with a verbal command and I was curious to see if she would be able to pick up the whistle command. She has acted sort of alarmed by the whistle in the past (she doesn't like loud sharp noises) so I wasn't quite sure what she would do. I started by whistling the command and telling her "lie down," and clicking when she did it. I'm sure that purists would think I'm an idiot for using the clicker to teach this, but Cedar responds really well to it.

I was very pleased with how she did. She didn't freak out about the whistle sounds and picked up after a few repetitions that the whistle meant the same as a voice command. By the end of the session, she would lie down to the whistle both next to me and across the yard. I need to practice a few more times before trying to get it out of her on sheep, though. Distractions and all. But I think we're getting there! I am working on learning the flank commands, walk up, and that'll do whistles right now. Hopefully by the time Cedar is ready for those, I'll have them sounding decent and not like an injured cat. I'm also going to start working on getting all the dogs to come to my "that'll do" whistle.

Who would've thought that whistles could actually be fun?

Moss thinks that lounging around sounds much more his speed.


ETA: Moss now also has the beginnings of a "down" whistle... doG I love this puppy!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009


Not a post about dogs, but I just wanted to take some time to ridicule a truly delusional person. Why, you ask? Because it's fun.

For those of you who don't know who Adam Lambert is, he is a really awesome contestant on American Idol this season. And yes, he is pretty much openly gay, which adds to his awesomeness. LOL

The video below was posted on youtube by some girl named "Aperilla." In it she basically makes the worst case ever for why Adam isn't gay.

Some highlights:

"Good looking people aren't gay"

"Plus, he's Christian... and Christian people aren't gay. They, uh, kind of frown on that."

Yeah, and apparently all the photos and videos of him kissing other guys were photoshopped. And Clay Aiken is straight as an arrow.

Wow. What an idiot. Srsly!

...or as Seth Meyers from SNL says... Really?

Watch and enjoy:

"Have an open mind, ya know."


Maybe I should start having an "idiot of the week" blog post?

Monday, April 20, 2009

Fun Schtuff

Went out to Dianne's today with Cedar and Moss. I worked Cedar once in the big pasture and once in the indoor. It wasn't our prettiest lesson ever, but I think I got a lot accomplished as far as getting her to respect my bubble and back off. She is SO damned pushy, it annoys the crap out of me. Dianne has been telling me for a few weeks that my corrections aren't getting through to her; she understands that she is wrong but she's not "sorry" for being an idiot. So today (after I got my focus back and stopped being irritated) I focused on following through with my corrections. She was much better, and we got in some nice driving and a few decent outruns out in the field before calling it quits.

Unfortunately I didn't get any pictures of her working, but I did take some cute ones of her in Dianne's pond. She loves to splash around and bite the water.


"@#!* you, pond!"



Out of the pond and looking pretty :)

"I'm tired!"

After waiting around for awhile, I worked Cedar again, but this time in the indoor arena. We worked a lot on driving and getting her listening to me and taking commands (I think this is prep for learning inside flanks but I'm not quite sure). I made her go slooooooowww and steady, and (once I figured out what Dianne was telling me to do) tried not to let her bring the sheep to me when I flanked her around to start driving the other way. She was very good for the most part, and I think I'm starting to understand driving a lot better.

Perhaps the most fun/exciting moment of the day was when Dianne worked Moss :)

He did great! For being sixteen weeks old and only his second time on sheep he was very good. Dianne says that his good behavior won't last... :-P

Unfortunately I didn't notice until the end that I had my camera on the wrong setting, so a lot of my indoor photos turned out blurry, :( but I think I got a few decent ones:




Moss got a new collar yesterday, you can see it a little bit in this pic:


It's Hawaiian flowers... I think it really fits his laid-back personality.

What do you think? :)

Friday, April 17, 2009

All The Small Things

Sometimes I wonder if Cedar is just a slow maturer.

Not that I have any super grand aspirations for her, but I think she really is starting to improve. Our first work of the day really impressed me. We worked a bit in the pens with getting the sheep off the fence, and then drove a group of about ten sheep out to the pasture. Yes, DROVE! She was perfect... calm, slow, stayed nicely off them, listened to me, and kept them in a straight line. The only time they went "off line" was when I screwed her up and gave her a command that she didn't need. I sense a recurring theme. We did a couple nice outruns and called it good for our first work of the day. Cedar was very pleased with herself. It's small "victories" like tbeing able to drive the sheep out to the pasture to work that keep me going... and I think it's the same for Cedar, too. She really does try to make me happy even though she's misguided in her attempts sometimes. But I do look forward to continuing her training. It's fascinating to watch her grow and improve and do things I never thought she'd be capable of. I guess that's part of the appeal of this whole thing :)

Lindy, Ann, and Susan were also at Dianne's working and had some really nice runs with their dogs. Ann's Levi in particular is doing really well, good job, Ann! And Lindy's Rave makes me want an Aussie, LOL. Rave is awesome!

The second time I worked Cedar she was also well behaved, but was pushier than I'd like. Dianne said that it is because she doesn't really know WHY I'm mad at her, just that I'm mad. LOL. So I guess I need to follow through more on my corrections. Her driving is coming along awesome... Dianne even said that she didn't think that Cedar would ever be as good as she is now. I take that as a compliment :)

Thursday, April 16, 2009


Sent off my entry for the AKC trial. I'm entering Started.

I know a lot of you guys (presuming people actually read my blog) are laughing at me for being nervous about a couple "title" trials, but this is kind of a big deal for Cedar and I. We've worked through a lot of stuff together and I am glad that she is finally to a level where I *think* I can trust her a little bit. Let's hope she doesn't make me eat my words!!!

"Who, me? I'm a perfect angel! Can't you see my halo?"

How hard can it be?

Here's the diagram for the ASCA course. We are entered in Started. Doesn't look that difficult, right?


I need to stop thinking about all the crap that could go wrong.

Here's the AKC Started course that I'm thinking about entering. That trial is the weekend after the ASCA trial, and is in Gig Harbor, WA. It's a little more... involved.


I am kind of on the fence about whether to enter this class, or the one below it (PT) which is basically like ASCA started but with a change of direction and you pick up the sheep with an outrun instead of taking them out of a pen. Anyone have any advice as to which one I should enter?

I am only doing these trials for the experience. Cedar and I have never competed before and I want to get our feet wet. Plus I think it will be kinda fun, too :) I'm planning on running her in Don Couch's Novice trial in June as well. Hopefully we'll be ready by then for bigger, better things.

I'm going out to Dianne's on Friday and Sunday. I'm excited to work Cedar some more :)

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Pleasantly Suprised

In our lesson today, Dianne had us working a lot on a big hole in our training: working in tight spaces. Since we have to be able to pen/re-pen the sheep for the ASCA trial next month (in a pen that she can't go around the outside of), it is definitely something we need to work on more.

Our first work of the day was out in the field, doing the usual stuff.... outruns and driving. I got some nice rectangles on both sides and she took my commands decently well. I only had to give her a few what for's before she settled down and went to work. She did a decently long outrun from my feet, too, which was cool. I was curious to see what she would do if I sent her from my feet from more than 30 feet away :).

After that, I let Cedar take a break and watched Andrea (who Katy bought her farm from) work her Aussie on cows. Cows scare the crap out of me! They are just too big :-X Her dog worked well, very calm and slow.

When Andrea's lesson was finished, I got Cedar out of the car and we went over to the pens. After re-penning the sheep we had worked earlier (they had come in from the field and were waiting out front lol), Dianne had me walk up to the enclosure, lay Cedar down, and go inside. Then, I told Cedar to come by and, of course, she freaked out about the pressure and got nervous. I kept my voice and mannerisms calm and slow, and gradually got her to go around behind them enough to make the sheep go out of the pen. It wasn't pretty, but it worked :). Then, Dianne had me send Cedar to get the sheep and re-pen them. The first couple times we tried this Cedar got all hung up on the pressure and I had to take her by the collar and show her firmly and quietly that she could in fact go into tight spaces.

The good thing about Cedar is that once you show her something a couple times, she realizes that she can do it. By our next work, she was (relatively) calm and collected and especially good at going nice and wide to re-pen the sheep... and on her "bad" side to boot! I was really happy with how well she did, considering how I figured she would act under all that pressure. I think we totally will be ready for the ASCA trial next month.... especially since we have over a month to work on the stuff we're not so ready for. I'm excited!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Well, I bit the bullet...

...and entered the ASCA trial in May. This will be me and Cedar's first stockdog trial experience in any venue. I know that ASCA is by no means the accomplishment that USBCHA is, but I hope that Cedar and I can get around the course calmly and without stress or any major train wrecks. I have her entered in three trials, two on Saturday and one on Sunday. Hopefully we can qualify at least twice so we can get our STD (lol!!!) title. There is still a possibility that I might enter her on ducks. I may go out and try her on ducks at Janie's this weekend, we'll see. I'm hoping to go out to Dianne's on both Saturday and Sunday if possible. We need all the help we can get!

I'm also signed up for the Don Couch clinic in two weeks. It's most centered on penning on working in tight spaces which I think could be really fun and interesting. We haven't worked on this stuff much in our training so I'm excited to learn something new. Hopefully Cedar won't freak out from the pressure :-P

This spring is shaping up to be pretty fun, and full of stockdog (and other dog) activities.... just how I like it!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

The Moss-Man Prophecies

Moss is so funny. I brought him with me to Dianne's yesterday for socialization and he ended up getting his first taste of working sheep :-P I'm so excited! He spent a few minutes not really knowing what was going on... following Dianne around, eating horse poop, and watching the sheep but not really knowing what was going on. Eventually, Dianne got him to circle and it was freakin' adorable. He had this big grin on his face like "OMGZ this is awesome!!!!" and was totally proud of himself after Dianne made him quit. He pranced around with his chest puffed out for the rest of the day like a badass. Must be nice to find your purpose in life at 15 weeks old. I think he'll be a lot of fun to train, he's so laid back. :)

Unfortunately I didn't get any pictures but hopefully I can get some in the near future if Dianne will "work" him again for me. Ha ha. I seriously love this puppy. I taught him to roll over yesterday and now he does it all the time and looks at me expecting a treat. Funny stuff.

Worked Cedar yesterday in the indoor arena. We worked on keeping everything slooooooooooooowwww and easy. She did great! Her driving looked really nice and she was taking my commands pretty well. I think she is confused about the difference between the little mini flanks in driving and when I ask her for an outrun. She hasn't been wanting to cover fully on the outrun lately which is sort of irritating but I can understand why she is feeling that way. Oh well.... I have faith that it will all come together. At least she is listening to me and we both have more trust in each other.

Her problem is that she gets anxious about almost everything, especially if she thinks she's wrong. She wants to please me so much that when things start to go badly, it's almost like she goes into hyperdrive to try and "save" things.... but ends up usually making it worse. Her anxiety also makes her react extremely to pressure. However, I have seen a lot of progress in this area... and she was able to life the sheep off the wall right next to Dianne and the door of the indoor arena yesterday. Before, it would be impossible to get her to flank by Dianne, especially in such a tight place. So.... I'm encouraged. I think that we can at least get around the ASCA STD (Started) sheep course in a little over a month. Maybe I can even try to do an assisted drive instead of just fetching... hmm. :)

Monday, April 6, 2009

Stuck at home

I was unable to get out of working this weekend, so I was unfortunately unable to attend the GSH trial this weekend. I heard that it went really smoothly and that everyone had a good time, so that makes me happy but I'm still sad I couldn't be there.

I'm going to try and go out to Dianne's today or tomorrow and maybe that will help me to stop feeling sorry for myself, LOL.

I need to enter Cedar in the ASCA trial soon. I'm contemplating running her on sheep and ducks, but I want to practice on ducks before I pay the entry fee money. I think she'll either be really good or really, really naughty. I guess we'll find out :)

Not dog related, but I made the most delicious pot roast the other night in the crock pot, here's a picture:


Doesn't that look delicious? It was. :D

Moss is doing really well, getting big and turning into a pretty cool dog. He's no longer a little baby puppy which is nice. He can "hold it" all night and is a joy to train, work with, and be around. Most of the time he just lays at my feet and wags his tail. What a happy little guy he is.

Not to mention he's a great model and totally poses whenever I take out my camera! It's pretty hilarious.