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Monday, July 28, 2008

Western Idaho Fair

The Western Idaho Fair is coming up at the end of August. I'm entering Zip in pro-novice, and Echo in novice. I am wondering if I shouldn't enter Skar in novice just to get her out there. We'll see. It should be a fun trial. We went last year, and while it was hot, hot, hot! ... there was some good competition, the course was fun, and the people were having a good time.

So now I'll need to make it out to Janie's and work on Zip's outrun. Hmmm ... I wonder if there isn't a group of people that would like to just grab some sheep and go work out in the desert ...

Happy tails,

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Busy Day ...

Well, Chloe and Katy were here last night. Chloe brought Midge, and Phyllis came over with Midge's dad, Rusty and they all got to meet. Phyllis also brought Rook and Misty (Zip kids), so we attempted some photos. Here's one of the better shots we got.

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Left to right: Skar (Zip x Jenn '06), Zip, Rio (Zip x Jenn '07), Midge (Lola x Rusty '07), Rook (Zip x Jenn '06), Misty (Zip x Jenn '07), and Rusty (Helsley's Jock x Lil).

We worked Midge before Chloe and Katy took off. Midge is a very nice pup. She quickly learned that it's easier to work the sheep if she kicks out a little, and quickly got comfortable going around the sheep both directions.

Then we worked Misty, Rook, and Rusty. This was Misty's first time on sheep and she was lovely. She, too, got pretty comfortable going around both directions, and had no problems coming between the fence and the sheep to pull the sheep back into the middle. I had the pleasure of working Rook in the pasture. Phyllis has done a wonderful job with him. He kicks out very nicely, and holy cow is this dog fast! I am so jealous! Then Phyllis worked Rusty in Russ' pasture. As usual, Rusty looks great out there. He's such a nice dog.

Once Phyllis left, I grabbed Echo and headed for Mark's. Picked him up, and we went to the grocery store to pick up dinner. (Good grief! The prices are ridiculous!) We got to Janie's where Kirk cooked up dinner, and we had a few beers. The only time Mark had seen Echo work was the day before when she crashed and burned at the trial. So I took Echo out to the field. She was awesome! She was kicking out very nicely, and doing some nice, wide outruns (with me standing between her and the sheep). I sent her further than she has ever been and she did great! I had to re-direct her a couple of times, but she re-directed perfectly. I was so proud of my little girly-girl. Go Echo Monster! Mark's comment was, "That's not the same dog I saw yesterday!"

Sawyer Brown sucked, but, as usual, Mark and I had a good time anyway. We are planning on seeing another couple of concerts, and of course going to the Western Idaho Fair, along with the Caldwell Nights Rodeo. I have been itchin' to do all this stuff, and I'm glad to finally be doing it, especially with someone who loves it as much as I do.

Happy tails!

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Canyon County Fair

Mark and I went to the Canyon County Fair after work on Friday. The ISDA was putting on a stockdog trial / demonstration. It was a non-sanctioned trial with open, pro-novice and novice. It was held in the horse arena. The course consisted of outrun, lift, fetch, around the post, drive to the first panel, crossdrive and drive through the second panel the same way as the first (creating a figure-8), back to the handler's post, into the small door of the trailer and out the back, and repen. (I'm sure for open there was a shed involved, and for novice, it was fetch entire course, only one drive leg and put the sheep in the large part of the trailer).

We got there a bit late, so open was almost finished. (There were only a few dogs in each class.) Zip ran pro-novice and did very nicely. His outrun sucked, I re-directed him, but it didn't matter. It's a time and points trial ... my first one ever ... and I even forgot it was time and points and didn't care. After his outrun, the entire run was pretty uneventful. He drove very nicely, held his lines, got all the sheep through all of the obstacles, apart of one that squirted around me at the trailer and quickly pointed out that I wasn't doing my job! Sorry Zipster.

Also ran Echo. That was nothing short of a trainwreck, which I expected. The outrun was way too far, and despite that I walked out halfway between her and the sheep, she came in way too tight, split them to holy hell, and the chase was on! I tried a couple of times to get it back under control, but decided it wasn't worth it and called the run, told her what a good girl she was and how proud I am to work with her.

All in all, I was very happy with the turnout. To top it off, Zip won the "pro novice" class. Woo hoo! All the handlers were given a big bag of good dog food as well.

Mark and I walked around the rest of the fair, ate some Chinese food, checked out all the show sheep and goats, etc. and eventually headed home. A very nice evening. We're going back to the fair tonight to see Sawyer Brown. Should be fun!

Happy tails,

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Oh the subtleties ...

in my body pressure, voice, etc. There's always so much to learn!

Katy and I took Scout and Echo out to Dianne's last night. I love arena. Her field is about to be baled up, so when we go out next week, we should be able to work out there. Hopefully, the weather cooperates.

Anyway, back to Echo ... she's doing very nicely despite how little I feel like I've worked her. We are now starting to correct her for lying down when not asked, stopping on the outrun, and not going deep enough. She's taking it all in stride, but it would really help if I knew what I was doing and my timing was better. But this little dog has come such a long way in what I feel to be such a short period of time. I would love to trial her by the end of the year, but I don't know if I can have her ready by then.

When I'd send her around and she'd go nice and wide, I have that awful habit of saying, "good girl." Boom! That tells her the exercise has ended and now she can do it her way ... which is SO not what that means. It was meant to be, "You're doing great, keep going." So instead of saying, "good girl," I am now just "shhhhhh"ing her, which clicks in her head that what she's doing is right, and it adds a little giddy-up to her step, which is exactly what I am looking for.

The simple nuances of all of this just continues to blow my mind.

Katy and Scout are doing great! I think Katy and Dianne work very well together, and I think Scout is starting to figure out that controlling the sheep is easier the further she kicks out. I'm excited to see how she comes along.

Happy tails,

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Cleaning up the mess...

Well, I am starting Rio on stock. She is an interesting character. She's still very much a puppy, and is not quite sure what to make of her hard lessons as a young stockdog. She's used to getting treats every five minutes and being a "good girl" ... and now her reward is whether or not she's allowed to walk up on the sheep. Big. Huge. Difference. LOL!

I've kicked her out a bit in the round pen, so we've moved her into the field as of last night. I used Zip as the perimeter dog and used him quite a bit to help his daughter clean up her messes. But I was also making her responsible for the mess. She would be pushing the sheep past me, and I would turn the other direction, so she would have to work twice as hard to bring the sheep back to me. Something like this:

(<---) me ... (<---) the sheep ... (<---) Rio

If Rio pushed too hard, and it started to turn into:

(<---) the-me-sheep (sheep passing me) ... (<---) Rio

Then I turned 180 degrees and went the other way to where it looked like this ...

(<---) the sheep ... (<---) Rio ... (--->) me

So Rio had to go all the way around and make it ...

Rio (--->) ... the sheep (--->) ... me (--->)

The first half of the session was a bit ... um ... exciting, but she was picking up the idea. By the end of the session, we were using Zip a lot less, and Rio actually started thinking and almost squaring up the flanks when I would turn. Very nice! Loved the immediate progress. I look forward to seeing how she develops.


Saturday, July 19, 2008


Joan came by today with a dog she has in foster. Morgan is a young red tri male, beautiful and energetic! It just blows me away that dogs like this end up in rescue.

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Happy tails!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Warm night...

Well, the crew came over to practice last night, so we worked everyone. Even Katy & Eric's Jasper! She was very cute! She certainly has enough interest ... the trick will be to see if we can get her to do anything constructive with it! I hope they bring her back.

We also worked Scout. She's coming along very nicely, and is starting to get the idea that she needs to get behind her stock. I need to convince Katy to take her up to Janie's and work in the different sized arenas Janie has. They are perfect for moving a young pup along.

I brought Skar out and had her do a ton of "away to me" with no body pressure from me. I'm oh so conscious of that now since my trainer pointed it out to me.

Echo ... worked her a bit in the round pen just to give her some sheep time. I wasn't feeling all that hot, so I didn't have the energy to go work anyone in the field.

Also worked Rio. She's coming along nicely. It's amazing to see the differences in all these pups. Rio is a pretty upright worker (for now) and prefers to use her body instead of her eye or teeth to get the job done. She's also figuring out that she needs to stay on the outside of the stock and control is much easier from out there. Just making right easy and wrong hard.

I need to take Zip out into the field and work on shedding with my new-found tips from my trainer. See if it works just as well on my sheep with only me out there. Ha. Maybe tomorrow night.

Happy tails,

Thursday, July 10, 2008


Well ... I've decided to sell Rio. I have both her and Skar, and they are both from the same breeding, and quite frankly, I don't need five dogs. She is crate trained, up to date on shots, microchipped (if not, she will be), introduced to stock several times, and is a very nice laid back pup.


Discount for spay contract. Interested? Let's talk.

Happy tails!

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

A whole new world!

Wow! Just got back from the lesson with Patrick. I never felt like I had so many left feet in my life! I love the way Patrick explains things ... he even used all the people as sheep at one point to get the concept through my head! LOL! As much as I hate to admit it, before tonight, I had the basic concept of shedding all wrong. And the way I was using my body pressure to influence the sheep and the dog were all wrong. Once we fixed my body pressure, and got the basic concept through my head, I was all of a sudden having some success! But good gravy ... there 109 different things to think about when shedding. So now I have something to work on for the next few weeks until my next lesson. For now, it's working on getting out of Echo's way on her away side ... and with shedding, it's deciding which set I want before I do the shed, turn my body pressure to the set that we're going with, keeping my pressure off the dog when I call him to me, and it's never too late to try to keep the sets apart. There's so much to learn.

Happy tails!

Summer Sizzle ...

Well, the "Summer Sizzle" is going very well! Everyone seems to be making very good progress with their dogs. I would love to update the GSH website with some student photos and such, but I haven't found the time just yet.

I worked Rio (still need a name for her) last night. She is coming along very nicely. I boiled her frog a bit when she came in body slamming, and got her to the point where she thought about quitting on me but she just couldn't stand it and came back ... with her brain working. So that was nice. I am interested to see how she does the next time I work with her -- if we start back at square one, or pick up where we left off.

Got a lesson with Patrick tonight. I think I'll bring Zip with me and have him teach me how to shed ... properly. I know there's got to be an easier way of doing it than the method I am currently using! LOL

Happy tails,

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

A Dogless Doing

Went to the Dierks Bentley concert last night at the Knitting Factory. What an awesome show! Dierks was as hot as ever, and I couldn't have been with a better group of people! Loved it!

Well, with the utterly overwhelming response I received on the videos I posted the other day, I will certainly remind myself not to bother going to so much effort next time around. Oh well.

Happy tails anyway,

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Fun day to work dogs!

Colleen and I took the dogs (Reena, Zip, Echo and Rio) up to Janie's to work today. We ended up spending the entire day there, enjoying the breeze, the birds flying overhead, the dogs, and even went down to the Snake River and hopped in for a quick dip! I didn't catch many photos of the dogs working, but did take a couple of videos of Zip that show pretty clearly how "the draw" works.

First off, here's an outrun against the draw. In this video, you will see Zip get to the top of the outrun and jump in the water tank. Normally, I wouldn't let him do that, but we had already been working for a while, and it was pretty hot out. He went back to work and that's where you'll see the sheep trying to bend around him in an attempt to get back to their buddies, who Colleen was working in the other arena. The distance is about 275 yards. (These are my first real videos. Please excuse the quality ... or lack thereof. I hope they don't give you motion sickness.)

And here's the outrun the other way. You will see how early the sheep take off, and how quick they are to head back in the direction of their buddies.

Anyway, just thought that was interesting. The rest of the day, Zip and I worked on shedding, and quickly came to the conclusion that this is an area that I really have not done much with, and is something that I will definitely be addressing with Patrick in the very near future.

Next up was Echo. This dog continues to blow my doors off. We worked on lengthening her outrun. Her come bye side is absolutely lovely. There is no doubt in my mind that she understands what her job is. Now that I've learned how broken my away side is, and am very conscious about my body pressure on that side, I think Echo is starting to figure out that working that side isn't all that bad anymore. She gave me a few very nice "away" outruns today -- shorter than the come bye side -- but lovely all the same. We will continue to work on these.

Later on, I put Rio (gotta change that name) on the wethers in the 125' x 125' pen. She's never worked in anything bigger than my round pen, and the very few times I've done that, it's been nothing short of a rodeo. So, I wasn't sure what to expect. She was awesome! Yes, she buzzed and split a bit, but was definitely getting out and around on both side very nicely. I even got her to stay behind the sheep for a bit and she gave me a few good fetches. Then later, I worked her in the larger arena and she did great. Settled in right away and slowed down quite a bit and was really thinking about what she was doing. Woo hoo!

Got a few pictures of the hawk that frequents Janie's place. I was in awe and was wishing I had a DSLR. For what it's worth, here's the few shots I got:





Happy tails!

Thursday, July 3, 2008

My right is wrong!

Echo and I went for a lesson with Patrick last night. I went out and worked her ... set up a couple of small "come bye" outruns ... and she looked great. Stopped her at the top and had her walk up ... I called her off, set up another one a little longer ... she was beautiful ... I never laid her down and she was pacing herself beautifully. Pat said she looks great, and asked me if this was the same dog I bought to his clinic a month earlier. That was a very nice compliment, however, I wasn't gaining any new information and ideas to work on with her. Then I said, "Well, let's see what her away side looks like." I set her up, and sent her, she ran tight, which was not unusual for her, as I always assumed she was just more left-handed. Immediately, Pat saw the problem ... of course. It's my body language on her away side. I am unknowingly continually putting pressure on her and not only anticipating the tightness on that away side -- I am causing it. (Gee, big shocker.) So we had a discussion of the very subtleties of body language, and I set it up again, being very conscious of how I was standing, etc. I opened it up real wide for her, she went ... but then stopped halfway, unsure of what to do exactly. So I gave her a short "ah" (per Pat) and gave her another "away" and she went just fine. Pat explained that she was so used to be putting a ton of pressure on her on that side that she didn't know what to do without it. So we'll have to work on that. And he wants me to open up the come bye side and lengthen it, so I'll go up to Janie's on Sunday and see how it goes. Anyway, a wonderful lesson. I look forward to the next one.

Happy tails,