Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Flank Me Baby, One More Time

On Monday, Cedar did her first inside flank.

......It may or may not have been an accident on my part :D

I know that I should have written this post earlier in the week (say, Monday afternoon?) but with all the holiday-family craziness--not to mention a hellacious amount of grading--I didn't get to it until now.

So anyways.... I went out to Dianne's on Monday. Katie was there working Pat, and Jody R was there as well working Circle. It was really nice to see everyone, as I haven't been able to go out much lately. I worked Cedar once, and Moss twice (well, Dianne worked him once, and I took him out the second time). They both were awesome!

Since Cedar hadn't been worked in a week and a half, it took me awhile to get her settled down and thinking. We did a lot of work on keeping her backed off and wide, working on her outruns and pace on the fetch. Her outruns are REALLY coming along; she is beginning to go wider on her own (i.e. I don't have to correct her as much), and I've started to send her with me not so close to the sheep. So far, she's doing well with that. I wish I could just let the past go and trust her, though... I am always on the defensive with her, and that is not exactly the right--or most constructive--place to be. It's one thing to realize you're doing something, but a whole 'nother thing to actually change it when the pressure is on :).

I really, really wish I had my own sheep and a place to work my dogs every day!!! Blah!

Towards the end of the first work, we worked on driving. Again, I was working really hard at getting Cedar to loosen up and relax. I corrected her every time she moved faster than a slow, relaxed walk. She will do this thing where she is walking slowly, but really stiff and tense, so I corrected her for doing that, too. We've kind of lost our "lie down" in recent weeks, so I worked on that, too. She was driving really well (I was having her drive the sheep in a square around me) so I decided to try something different/brave/whatever. She was on my left, driving the sheep away from me. I walked behind her to the other side, and then gave her an quiet "away" command with her in front of me. Lo and behold, she took it, and went wide and soft in a beautiful inside flank! I had her drive the sheep a little closer to home and then quit.

I consider that a victory :D ... she's finally getting it!

Dianne worked Moss for me the first time; I was interested to see how he was doing with his training. He is AMAZING!!! I just love this dog, everything just comes so naturally for him. Dianne is having him do some pretty advanced stuff; his driving is awesome, and she is starting him on inside flanks already. He just turned 11 months old.

After a break, Dianne let me work him :). The sheep had ran back to the pens, so we had to pick them up off the fence and drive them out to the pasture. After a few naughty moments (he forgot what "stay" meant.... and let his excitement get the better of him), we were able to get the job done. He drove the sheep from the pens to halfway across the pasture, which is at least 500 yards or so, without incident. It seems like he is learning how to hold a line, too; I didn't have to correct or flank him much to keep the sheep going straight. That was pretty cool. We did a few outruns and then drove the rest of the time. He kept his head the whole time, and listened very well. I certainly miss having him at home, but obviously he's doing great at Dianne's. There's a possibility that we might compete in Novice/Novice at the December Sleddin' and Sheddin' trial... I'm not sure yet, though.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

First snow

Woke up this morning to this outside my door:

SO pretty! Of course, this meant a photo opp for Cedar, as usual :-P

As I was uploading these photos, I looked outside my window to find Moss's nemesis (aka Larry [or Loretta] the Squirrel), playing around in the branches of one of the big trees in our back yard:

He sure is a fat little bugger...


Friday, November 13, 2009

I Have My Beatcake Back :)

So I finally got Cedar back from Dianne... thank god! I missed her desperately this week. Yes... I KNOW I'm way too attached to her; what ya gonna do about it? :D Dianne said that she worked really well this week, and that she was starting to get a lot more comfortable in small spaces, which was the goal of sending her away for a week. I worked her out in the open field today, and could totally see a difference in her. She was a lot softer, more confident, and less likely to panic and cut in. She did some good sized outruns with me really far from the sheep, and took my "get out!" corrections sensibly. I just have such a problem with trusting her.... I really need to get over that. I don't seem to have that problem when I work Moss.

Moss was most excellent today, as usual. His driving is really coming along; I can walk parallel to him about 40+ feet away, and he keeps his head and does a good job at keeping the sheep on line without me having to say a whole lot. Where we had trouble today was with the outruns; I think he's getting so used to driving that he's forgotten temporarily how to bring the sheep back to me :-P. But we worked on that some today, and he figured it out towards the end. I love when Dianne just lets me loose to work my dogs and figure stuff out on my own. I know my timing sucks, but I like being able to just go out and work.

I really wish I had my own place wish some sheep so that I could do a little of this stuff every day with both my dogs. I think Cedar in particular would benefit from doing a lot of practical work. She's really coming around, though... and I think I will for sure be able to trial her next year. I am so glad to have her back... I can't believe how empty the house was without her here! She's laying at my feet as I type this...

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Moss ≥ Awesome

You know those Chuck Norris "fact" jokes that were popular a few years ago? For example:

"There is no chin behind Chuck Norris’ beard. There is only another fist."


"If you have five dollars and Chuck Norris has five dollars, Chuck Norris has more money than you."

Pretty ridiculously awesome, right? Well, I got to thinking...if you changed "Chuck Norris" to "Moss"... some of these might in fact be true :D

Moss doesn't read books. He stares them down until he gets the information he wants.

Moss counted to infinity - twice.

There is no theory of evolution. Just a list of creatures Moss has allowed to live.

Moss doesn't sleep. He waits.

Moss destroyed the periodic table, because he only recognizes the element of surprise.

Moss does not get frostbite. Moss bites frost.


All kidding aside (okay, well, most), I'm totally in awe of Moss right now. Real original thought, right? Haha. He is just so amazing though!!! He's ten months old, has been on sheep maybe twenty times, and is already doing a lot of the same stuff that Cedar is. I mean, I know nothing about this sport, but I think that's pretty cool :-P. He's a prodigy for sure.

I got to work with him yesterday out at Dianne's, and had an awesome time! For such a doofus, he listens quite well ;) and all this stuff comes so easy for him. It's really nice, especially for someone as stressed out and foggy-brained as I am right now, to just be able to go out and have fun (and also be productive!) without all the negative. I feel like I deserve it every once in awhile :-P

Cedar's at Dianne's for the week, and I miss her like crazy. Dianne said that she was "wide-eyed" but fine last night... I think this all might be sort of traumatic for her, LOL. I hope she's doing all right. My bed is lonely without her curled up against me at night :(

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Agility... maybe?

So, long story short... I've been strongly considering getting Cedar back into agility, but I'm sort of conflicted about it.

We took agility classes from when she was about 4 months (pre-agility)- 13 months old with Mary Hunter. Cedar absolutely LOVES it... in every picture of her, she has the biggest grin on her face.

Feeling nostalgic, I bought some equipment about a month or so ago, and have been doing a lot of drills from Clean Run and whatnot just for fun... it's been interesting picking up where we left off last year. Cedar has matured a lot mentally during her "hiatus"; I think that she is finally stabilizing enough that we could be able to actually do stuff competitively. I would love to be able to trial her in agility next year, I think we could have a lot of fun.

Also, I think that agility is something that she could totally succeed at, unlike herding which is pretty much a constant struggle (not that it isn't fun, of course; it's my passion!). My only worry is that I/we will be doing too much... with school, obedience, and herding, there's not that much time left over for agility. BUT... the classes (7 weeks) are during December and January; most of which I have off for Christmas break.

Thoughts? Should I sign us up for the class?

A few photos from practice today, in my front yard no less :-)...

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Dang, it's November Already?

I can't believe I've been a grad student/teacher for almost 3 months. It's weird how time can both simultaneously seem to stand still and speed by in a blur. I've never been so stressed out, exhausted, and drained in my life. Of course, there are some good things happening; I really like the classes I'm taking, and I'm making some great friends. Teaching has been an "experience" to say the least... I have had to deal with a lot of crap from a certain student throughout the semester (she's known as my "stalker"... if that gives you any idea), and I just had to send an email to a (different) student to let him know that he's failing my class. It seems like there's always something going on... oh well, at least my life is never boring, right? :)

This grad school thing is pretty much all-consuming, which has turned me into kind of a selfish hermit. I don't have much free time, so when I do, I mostly want to hang out at my house and do nothing. Pretty much my only "hobby" right now is the dogs!

Moss went to Dianne's for training last Wednesday, and she's been working him every day I think. She says that he's doing great; still very much a "puppy," but that he is doing a lot of really awesome things. I'm so pleased! I managed to get a little video of him this morning... Dianne is handling:

I know it's not much, but it's something! Doesn't my boy look good? I actually have him back for a little bit over the weekend and through next week, as sheep camp is going on this weekend. I can't say I'm sad to have my Mossimo back! :)

I worked Cedar today as well. It was sort of a "mixed" work today, I guess. Some good, and some bad. I'm pretty sure that most of our problems were my fault. I am horribly out of practice, and it shows. She was pretty pressure-sensitive throughout our entire work, and she seemed to have kind of regressed a bit in that area. She was pretty slicy, fast, and tight at the beginning, but I think a lot of that was a combination of her nerves and my oafish handling. By the end, though, she settled down a lot and did some nice, controlled driving and outruns. I think she forgot how to lie down, though. Argh.

Dianne is going to take Cedar for a week on Monday and work on getting her comfortable with pressure. I guess she's going to do a lot of sorting sheep and whatnot. I'm excited to see how that goes...