It's my favorite day of the week!!! Thanks Laura for doing this!! Always thought provoking questions that make all of us better dog handlers/trainers oh yeah and better people all around!!
#1. How do you teach recalls to your dog?
I always make it a "really bid deal" when a pup or young dog comes to me - always a lot of love and rewards possible treats (hey I AM NOT above bribery!!) With Bess, who definitely has a mind of her own and doesn't really give a hoot what the big dogs are doing, I always try to be in position to enforce the recall and not put her in situations (yet) where she is too distracted. The difficult situations are leaving the chickens and cats a lone when I am doing chores. She is doing much better. I also really try to be conscientious about consistency in my tone of voice, my expectations and always enforcing what I ask, even if I have to walk her down.
#2. What is your favorite restaurant or type food?
I like everything except canned tomato soup, clam chowder, curry or some Greek food. So whatever I'm eating - That's my favorite food!!! I really love a good steak (remember we raise beef for a living!) and love fresh vegies from the garden (which we didn't get this year). My favorite place to eat out is Applebees.
#3 What is your favorite interest out side of dogs/livestock/sports?
Quilting is my absolute other favorite interest. I always have several projects going - something I'm piecing on the machine, a quilt in the quilting frame, something that stays in the pickup so I can hand piece whenever I'm traveling or waiting on Mike, and several being planned in my head!!! If you are interested, I have a quilt blog that you could pop over and take a look at some of my stuff. My other interest is junk/antique shopping with my daughters. In fact our annual trade show weekend is coming up in about a month, and I'm pretty excited. It's a "girl's only" weekend and we rent a cabin and spend two and half days looking at stuff at Warrenton, Texas.
#4. Describe your path from where you started out to where you are now! This question was suggested by Pippin.
Well, my trialling path is pretty short, because I've only been doing it a year and I'm still in Novice. But it all started with Tate. He was a puppy that I raised (Skeeter was his birth mother) on the bottle, so I really was his Mama. He was such an easy puppy to make mind and so willing to do what ever - except play with a ball or frisbee. He started wanting to work stock at about 6 months, so I started looking at training tapes and trial videos on line, etc. Then I went to a clinic at Emil's for Novice handlers (In our Texas SD Association we have five classes, Novice, Ranch, Open Ranch, Open, and Nursery). He took me under his wing and has really helped me a lot with Tate. He's a breeder, so he kids me about my dog not being registered, but he always encourages me, even when he has to be hard on us during a training session. I'm one of those people that likes to do something from start to finish, so didn't want to buy a finished dog, but train one up myself to go as far as we can. My goal is to take a dog to Meeker (and hopefully the USBCHA finals) within the next 5 to 10 years. So to accomplish that, I am continuing to get lots of help not only from Emil, but other handlers as well.
#5. Is there a dog that you raised that, if you knew then what you know now, you would have raised them differently? Question posed by Jodi.
I think I can say that about myself from one day to the next!! There are things I did out of ignorance with Tate, but he was so forgiving and re-trainable that we both learned a lot. Liesl was a whole different personality dog, and I really struggled starting her, because she just viewed the whole thing differently than Tate, like keeping out and rating herself. She was so strong and aggressive, that I was just as strong and aggressive with her, and that seemed to just rev her up!!! I knew what I was doing, wasn't working, so I would back off and think about it for a day or two and change up my tactics. After a work day, some friends of ours (other handlers/trainers with a lot more experience) helped us with some little things that really turned her on and now we are becoming "partners". I've had to work consistently with her to gain her confidence again, but we're doing well. Now, I said all that because Bess is Liesl's 3/4 sister, and I sure didn't want to make the same mistakes with her. And guess what - they are not alike at all!!! And not like Tate either - so go figure, I've got three different dogs, three different temperaments and styles. Talk about a learning curve. But Bess is very biddable and I'm confident that we'll get there. I am spending more time with her than I did with Liesl, and I think that has helped me a bunch.
Till next time - Happy Trails to You!!!