Thursday, August 25, 2011

Tell Me Thursday #6

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!!! 

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Tell Me Thursday #5

Here it is again TMT with Laura. Always a good time for me - makes me think about things I might not otherwise think about!

1. Who is your newest dog? Where is he/she from, and why did you choose this particular dog/breeding? This question posted by Jodi.

My newest dog is Bess.  She is 4 months old today!!! She was raised by a young man who rides for a cutting horse trainer in Weatherford, Texas. She is out of his dog May (Orrin Barnes bred) and by Kyle Dillard's Boss who is a Steve Sturtz bred dog. I got her because we have her older sister, Liesl, and really, really like her. 

 Liesl has been a slow dog to train on goats and sheep because she is very aggressive and has a lot of bite, but she is such a strong confident female I knew she would be a good one. Our kids gave her to me for my birthday about a year and half ago, so Liesl is not quite 2. I wanted a female that would work cattle (the dogs I currently had, were not strong enough on cattle) not to trial but to work on the ranch. I admit, I would get pretty frustrated with her at times, but knew it was more me than her. She really likes my husband, so I "gave" her to him so he could take her horse back and do something different with her. I was also starting 2 other young dogs that I wanted to sell plus working my one trial dog, Tate.  I had a practice work in May for some of my fellow trialers, and some friends helped Mike with Liesl, and she has really started to work well. I've worked her some, and my goal is to start trialing her maybe this fall or next spring. We still plan to use her on the ranch for cattle. In the midst of this, the young man called who raised Liesl and said that he had another litter and one female that he thought I might like. So, we did a trade deal - my two yearling dogs for a 6 week old pup, Bess. It was the best deal I've ever made!! She is not a full sister, but their sires are half brothers, so they are pretty close. I didn't really choose this line specifically for their breeding, but I am very excited about their futures and our fit.

2. What traits drew you to this dog or breeding? (also by Jodi)

I think I answered most of this in the answer to the first question. But like Laura, I love a natural working dog, one that thinks for themselves and "helps" me. I've lived on a ranch all my life and have worked stock with horses and we have raised and trained horses for ranching and cutting. A natural is always easier to train and such a joy to work. I too want a dog that has a lot of style, but since I'm so new to the trialing, I'm just excited to get one through the course!! Also, I desire for me and my dog to be "partners" in the deal, so one that is willing to work with my faults is a no brainer. Tate is that way and Bess sure seems to be that way too!

3. What's on your feet right now?

 No comments about the pink polish, tan lines or bad veins!!!!

4. What are you reading right now?

I'm reading A Clearing in the Wild by Jane Kirkpatrick. It is about the settling of the Pacific Northwest in the 1850's  in particular by a group of people known as the Bethelites from Missouri. Though it is fiction, it is based on actual events and people. It is pretty interesting. Not my favorite book, by any means, but I find historical novels to be of interest because it helps me to visualize actual events by relating to the characters that the author develops. Jane Kirkpatrick's novels focus on women and their influences in the eras that she writes about.

5. What upcoming trials are you looking forward to? If you don't trial dogs I'll take whatever activity that you're looking forward to.

I am especially excited about our association's fall trial series, and state finals. I had a good spring series, and an leading for an award called "The Triple Crown". Three trials are designated by the board for this award, and I got a 2nd in the first trial and a 1st in the second. The third trial is the first one this fall, so I'm trying not to "think" about winning, just making a good run with my dog. Emil told me the other day that he expected me to get "Novice Dog of the Year", but I'm sitting in third place for that. Several of the handlers do the arena trials, and I had to choose between arena or field because I couldn't do them all (finances - a factor for most of us!!) and I chose to do the field trials. It has been so hot here in Texas this summer, that practicing has been a problem. It will be 90 degrees by 8:30, but I try to get a couple of daylight practices in 3 or 4 days a week. I've met some awesome people that trial, and enjoy going and "doing" dogs all day long!!! Can't seem to take it all in.

Well, that's about it for this week. See ya'll next time!!!

Happy Trails to You!!!


Thursday, August 11, 2011

Tell Me Thursday #4

I have really been looking forward to Thursday for some reason. I think it has helped me with my attitude about training, about seeing what other people are doing and about getting to know other people. Thanks a bunch Laura!!

#1. In sheepdog training (or lets call it *any* type of training), how do you keep from taking yourself, your dog, your lack of progress too seriously? 

Interesting question, because I am extremely competitive and don't want to be the best at everything but I always want to do my best. But alas, 11 years of competitive basketball (College included), 4 kids raised to adult hood, and always having a young dog or a young horse in progress has made me always step back and make small goals at a time i.e. small accomplishments are always worthy of praise either for my dog or for myself. And I learned a long time ago "if it wasn't fun and rewarding and I still wanted to do it, then I needed to change my attitude. Being around all sorts of other levels of handlers also keeps me humble and encourages me. And like Laura, I try to relax and not sweat the small stuff - do the things I know to do with confidence, work on the things we (dog and I) don't do well, and laugh at lot!!

#2. How many crates do you have? 

Only one, and it is homemade! My son-in-law welded the frame for me and my sweet husband attached the wire. It was a financial decision. We had the material and time to build it and no cash to buy one (gotta feed the dogs and hubby!! lol) Another is in the works. 

#3. How do you keep your dogs in shape?

Right now it is extremely difficult - it has been too hot to do anything for a long enough time to condition my dogs. But usually, I work my dogs 5 or 6 days a week, not just practice for trials, but ranch work (I am very blessed to live on a ranch). We have all the older dogs trained to go with us horseback and that helps to condition them as we check cattle and fences. My pups and younger dogs, I try to take with me when I walk or jog (yeah right I jog!! lol). 

 #4. Who is your movie/tv star eye candy at the moment?
Does "voice candy" count? Right at this moment I can't think of any ones "looks" that I swoon over, but Scotty McCreery's voice gives me chills. So to hear him click Scotty.

#5. What is your livestock situation?

I do have stock to work. The sheep (Rambouillet) are "borrowed" from a friend - we pasture them for free and I get sheep to work. Two of our daughters have a few head of meat goats and I also use them especially for starting young dogs. If at a trial I know we are going to work some Dorper sheep, I will make Tate practice driving the goats because they are harder to drive, and he has to be very honest on his flanks, so it is good tune up for him. We also have a few head of cattle around the house and I will occasionally work them a little.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Tell Me Thursday

Wow is it really Thursday already. I don't think I've got much done this week, but I know it has been hot - 108 yesterday - which really puts a damper on anything "dog", so I guess what I have got done is "SURVIVE"!! lol

In answer to Laura's questions here goes.

#1. How did you get into Border Collies?

 Almost 11 years ago my second daughter got a 4 month old BC pup that would work any thing that moved. So, I got a couple of videos and trained her for ranch work. Skeeter was such a natural gather dog and could read stock well, she taught me more than I ever taught her!!!. She worked hard on the ranch, gathering goats and cattle, and being an exercise dog for the kids' 4-H projects. I raised 4 litters of pups out of her, most of which went to farms and ranches for working dogs. I kept Tate from one of the litters and he became my first trial prospect. I went to my first trial a year ago and I am totally hooked!!!! Note: Look two posts down and you'll see pics of Skeeter.

#2 How many dogs do you have?

Tate - 3 year old male

Liesl - almost 2 year old female

Bess - 3 1/2 month old female - 3/4 sister to Liesl

Sonya - Pyrenees guard dog

Tate      1
Liesl      1
Bess         1/2
Sonya    1 1/2

Total     4 !!!!

#3 What I do for a day job?

Full time hand on the ranch. Dog trainer, horse trainer, milk maid, chore girl, errand girl, handywoman, cook and chief bottle washer.

#4. What question would you like to answer (ask)?

No, I don't get paid for any of the above jobs, but a friend of mine says: "I'm too busy to work!"

#5. What was for dinner last night:

Meat loaf, baked potatoes, green beans, cantaloupe, fresh cow's milk and chocolate pudding.

Thanks for viewing!!
Happy "Trialing" to all!!!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Bess Working Chickens!

First of all, I usually NEVER, EVER, EVER let any of our dogs EVEN LOOK at a chicken much less work one. But I've never had a pup that DIDN'T want to CHASE,CATCH AND CHEW on chickens. So I just couldn't resist letting Bess "work" a little. At the time of this video she was about 14 1/2 weeks old.

Happy Trialing to You!!