Sunday, January 26, 2014

A foggy day...

Jude and I played around in the fog at Fido's Farm today. Movie link below...

Friday, July 5, 2013

Double the Dog, Double the Fun!

In May this year I took the plunge and bought a trained sheepdog. Having a toddler, a full time job, and training Jude too, it really made sense to get a 2nd trial dog that is ready for the trial field.  Even better, it made sense to buy a dog that I have worked with and trialed already for the last few years! 

Diane Pagel sold me her imported bitch Sava, a small black and white smooth coat who turned 6 this April. Sava is out of Aled Owen's Roy and his Dot (Dot is out of Aled's old Roy).

Sava was winning ProNovice trials with Diane and Diane was planning to move her to Open this year. It just turned out that I will be moving her into Open instead!  I click very well with Sava and she is LOVING house-dog life. At home she is a perfect little dog; on sheep and even chickens though, we have some level-setting to do with one another!  I think in 6 months time, after working with her regularly, we'll fully click on the field. She does most of what I ask out there; sometimes she thinks her way is better though.  

So, now I have two trial dogs. **insert happy dance here**

Jude and I continue our journey. Diane and I have worked through his set-out person issues; at our last two trials, he lifted with no issues there. However, he is SO  BIDDABLE and so willing to work for anyone, that at the last trial, he was taking the commands the set out person was giving to her dog on his outrun. She said "lie down" to her dog and alas, Jude laid down. Of course, he laid down as he was told but looked at me at the post with a total expression of confusion on his face.  I retired the run because he looked totally confused and I didn't see anything good coming out of this. Since that trial, I'm having folks hold his sheep and talking / commanding their set out dog. While set out people aren't supposed to give commands, it does happen, and my dog shouldn't react to that person.  Onward!!

Diane took some great pictures of Jude and Sava at the last trial I ran both of them at. This was the Turner Trial in Oregon, on June 1st, 2013.  The trial field itself is quite short. However, the pressure of a small field and tricky hair sheep pushed my dogs quite a bit.  Jude gripped out on the 3rd leg of the drive on run 1, then we had that set-out snafu on run 2 when I RT'd him.  Sava had a good, solid first run but she gripped out on the 2nd run on the cross drive.

Jude, Run 1. His lift was a bit hard, thus sheep took off fast!

Jude on the fetch.

Jude at the post turn

Jude - first leg of drive... he made the panels. He is a good driving dog.

Sava and I waiting for the sheep to set

Sava at the lift

Fetching girl :-)

First leg of drive I think

Panels made, straight down the middle too!

Sheep ran back to set out on the first cross drive. Sava peeled off the wall with no drama. Such a good girl!

Thursday, March 28, 2013

How to Cook a Sheepdog

Preparation Time: 1000's of hours.

Required Ingredients:

1 sheepdog

1 humble handler

3-5 sheep

Season to taste.

What the heck does that mean? What is SEASONING? I mean, sheepdogs are usually English (Scottish, Welsh, etc.), therefore they lack seasoning, er, flavor. [NOTE: I'm 1/2 English so I can get away with saying this]


So, I can't just rely on a trusty box of ready-to-make hamburger-helper, or in this case, sheepdog-helper, and throw him in a pressure cooker so that in 15 minutes I have a seasoned, hearty, flavorful sheepdog treat?  I can't "set it and forget it?"


Jude turns 3 on May 18. We've competed in a few pro-novice trials and nursery trials last summer and a couple over the winter. When I haven't been sick as a dog (having a toddler has not been good for my immune system) I have worked my dog in all kinds of situations. Prepping him for singles, settling him down (he's a bit of a hot head) and getting him comfortable in tight situations. Also, trying to work through his outrun challenges.

I allow him to rest and "raise" before I knead the heck out of his big white dough-head.

I came to the realization that "miles, miles, miles" and  "seasoning, seasoning, seasoning" takes time, like the braising of a very nice rib roast. If you rush the process, you may forget an important ingredient, or could could even burn and spoil your masterpiece.