Monday, November 29, 2010

Yellow Rose CDT - Platte, SD

We had a great weekend dog trialling over the holiday of in South Dakota, could have done better, but could have done worse, but had fun!

Friday evening Wayne & Jake ran sheep, the course was the NWSS Figure 8 course, they had a really nice smooth controlled run but couldn't get them penned, many suffered the same fate provided they didn't grip out.Saturday we ran cattle. According to Wayne (I'm not good at estimates) the cows were about 700lbs with very limited dogging. We were told that they are only moved occassionally with dogs in large groups.

I think we ran mostly steers until the finals where they brought out fresh heifers, the early round cows had been settled in the arena once and the heifers came in never being in it before. According to Wayne, some were cross bred, some angus. In the qualifying round (for USBCHA points) Wayne ended up 5th out of about 34, with Jake. It was hard fought, Jake just barely holding ground. It took a strong head dog with a solid bite that held ground to stop and hold the cows, many had to bring the cows back to the obstacles after a cow left on them. If you drew up a set with a solid black angus you pretty much knew you were going to have a fight.

Pete Carmicheal won the Open qualifying round with Moon. The top ten went back for a finals, Bob Johnson won the finals with Torrie, I think she is going to be a contender in the Nursery division come National Finals. Juan Reyes also has a nice young nursery dog that he ran in the open, 1 year old Mack, I'm not sure where he placed in the qualifying but did make top ten.In the final round Wayne ended up 8th with Jake, Pete 10th with Moon.

Jake's lack of a willingness to heel hurt him in the finals, but that's the way it goes. He doesn't get kicked that way, just mowed over from the front, of which he had a couple real close calls. About 1/2 way through the finals run he got tagged by a heifer trying to take him, I think he hit a gate trying to clear the cow. You could tell that he was hurting a bit but he kept working, he seems fine today. Wayne said that the angus heifer he drew in the finals would have ran him over if he stepped in front of her. For the most part there was no such thing as drawing a really easy set, every draw was a challenge. Hopefully I can get complete results in the near future.

Wayne also ran Ricky, my 14 month old, in the Open and Nursery. Wayne has more expirence with cattle and I felt that it would be better for Ricky if he was handled by Wayne. Ricky had a tough time, but did respectable for his first arena trial, he has never had to handle cows that didn't yield to a dog that faced them off square. He got chased out of the pocket, he didn't seem to realize that he should/could bite a nose, even with that Ricky did get some work done, I think he landed somewhere in the middle of the pack in Open. He had even a tougher run in Nursery.

I ran Ricky in Pro-Novice and was lucky, drawing a nice set of rerun cross bred steers. Ricky worked it out with them and finally understood that he should bite a nose, with me giving him some verbal encouragement from the handlers post. He had some success getting them to stop and with a couple of nose bites that they yielded to. We ended up running out of time just as the last cow exited the final obstacle, and placed third. The points for that last cow would have moved us up to second if I would have rushed it out of the pen. The last obstacle was an open back pen where the dog had to hold the cows in as the handler went around and openned an exhaust gate.

This was the most comfortable I have ever felt with cattle, guess spending the summer training dogs on our dairy calves has paid off. Our good showing in P/N was a bonus to the expirence that Ricky and myself gained on the cattle. Ricky is way different to handle then Jake. With Jake you can't help him hold the cattle, the pressure of you trying to help upsets him so you are better off letting him do all the work and just giving him direction. Whereas Ricky works with you, he can handle the cattle on his own but it's even better when you work together, you effecting the cattle does not rattle him. I think the difference is that Ricky is not as much of a control freak to the head. He has no problem heeling and causing motion, whereas Jake just does not like to add momentum and will only heel if you insist and there is no other option.

Now it's back to training, depending on weather we may be making the trip to Arkansas on January 1st and then we have another point/time arena trial at Ashland, NE in mid January. Still hoping to get qualified for Nursery finals, I don't know that Ricky will be ready for Finals but it's too close to home to miss with him, both he and I need the expirence if we can gain it. Besides, I can't let Wayne have all the fun at Finals with Jake. Wish I could have had that 3rd place P/N run in the Nursery class..., there were 15 nursery dogs qualifing 3 for Finals.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

For Sale - Red Female ACD

Dottie is a 3 year old unregistered daughter of our foundation male Indy out of a blue female. She has produced one litter of pups for us of which we have kept a male and female.

Dottie has natural balance and cover, hits a heel only as hard as needed. We have used her for calf chores. She has a stop, verbal directions but prefers hand signals/body language.

She is house broke, crate trained, is acustom to a chain tie and travelling. Would make a good agility prospect also. Price is negotiable to the right home.

Patti - getting into the puppy grove

Introducing, Patti!!!!

8 week old Patti jointed us this past week at the Murray Cattledog Trial. Back a few weeks we were alerted of an accidental breeding resulting in a litter of three pups. The sire is a son of Roy Taber's Craig, the dam is a red female that used to be trialed on both cattle and sheep, we have seen her work and like alot of what she does. Her biggest contribution is trainability. The litter consisted of two males and one female, as luck would have it the little female was the boldest and bravest, so we reserved her for ourselves.

She's been doing just great, playing with the big dogs like a trooper and is already sleeping through the night in a crate. Ricky thinks that she is the best thing since the invention of sliced bread.

She loves water, on Monday she went to town with me where we did a potty break at the city park. Off she went to plunge into the town square fountain, there was a lady there with some kids, only letting the kids play in the water with their hands, really wanting to play in it instead. Imagine their dismay when the puppy was able to jump in and splash while they had to refrain.

Patti got to meet a lot of new people, she runs right to them when they call her or get her attention. Upon meeting little kids she went a bit submissive and silly. I've not seen any indication of fear of other dogs, but she also is not obnoxious, she has really nice manners and does not seem to offend other dogs waiting for them to accept her and leaving if they don't.

When we got home Patti ran to the low sheep tank, pulled herself up for a drink and then right over and in. Totally submerged herself, didn't panic or get scared, jumped out and proceeded to buzz around the yard at full speed all excited.

At this point I'm only keeping about 1/2 inch of water in the water dish in the house, less to clean up when the little fart decides to go swimming and splashing after getting a drink.

Can't wait to see what Patti grows up to be. We already have alternate plans for her in the case that she does not make as a working dog. A good friend of ours has asked us to look for a agility prospect for her with a great temperment and would prefer a pup with some age on it. I think little Patti would bring joy to any home.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

The puppies have arrived

Rosie (Bea x Jake 2009)

Sorry for the delayed announcement, but...."They are here!!" Bea had her pups, 7 total, at 12:30 am on August 30th. They are starting to show signs of hearing my voice and openning their eyes.

We look forward to watching the little tykes develop over the next 8 weeks.

We are also anxiously awaiting another new arrival, we have secured a little female pup from John Overholtzer of Tingley, Iowa. We have not met her yet but have been told that she is the boldest pup in the litter, we will meet her and bring her home on Sunday when we are at the Murray Cattle Dog Trials. The pup's dam belongs to Chrisman Farms, John has trialed her on both cattle and sheep and uses her on the farm, the sire is a young male that John acquired from Roy Tabor. This was not a planned breeding, more of the kids accidently letting the dogs out together at the wrong time, but the right breeding is behind both parents.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

As Time Flies By

Here is the latest news and some shots of Ricky a 1 year old son of Jake. He's our Nursery Dog prospect, he has no problem heeling and is willing to hit a nose, though we don't see the cattle giving him much opportunity, even when down in Missouri last weekend on big cows. Wayne said that nothing wanted to contront him, he is very purposeful when approaching cattle.
If I could just get Ricky to no be in quite so big of a hurry to grab hold...rotten bugger

Ricky Walking Straight onto the calves, they really are not interested in dealing with him

Ricky Taking Flank, I have to working on that shoulder drop

Ricky peeling the calves of f of the fence

Ricky Driving the calves down the fenceline.

This summer has been an absolute whirlwind. The last time I posted we had just began our little parade and festival tour, well an appearance here an there morphed into nearly a full time job. We ended up appearing at the following events:

Ellsworth Days
Williams 4th of July Celebration
North Iowa Fair
Popejoy Festival
Prairie Home Antique Tractor Show
Farm Progress Show

Events yet to come... Celtic Festival, Cedar Rapids and The Bridges of Madison County Festival at Winterset, Iowa.

Right now we are focused on the upcoming Iowa Stock Dog Association Open Handler Finals, I qualified in the Sheep division with Jake and Wayne made it in the Cattle Division, also with Jake. In effort to make life easier I relinquished my handling duties to Wayne for the sheep division so that I can focus on running the event which will be this coming Saturday at the Clark County Fairgrounds, Osceola, IA.

On Sunday we move over to Murray, Iowa where we have another trial, I am going to make my debut with Ricky, my 1 year old Jake pup. Wayne took Ricky to Missouri with him last weekend where he made it around the course in the Nursery class. It wasn't pretty but the kid showed potential. Jake brought Wayne home a second place showing on the second day of the trial. That placing should secure Jake's place in the National Cattle Dog Finals come May.

BTW, exciting news, the National Cattle Dog Finals will be coming to Iowa next year, May 26th - 29th just outside of Redding, Iowa. We have gone from dreams of someday making it to the Finals to pushing to get qualified so that we can attend Finals in just 9 months. Jake and Wayne in Open and Ricky in Nursery, I'm not sure as of yet if I will run him or allow someone with more handling time then myself. I really would like the youngster to have every advantage, and me at the helm may just well be a huge disadvantage.

Another highlight was the Iowa State Fair, Wayne and Jake shoulda, coulda, woulda won Champion Open Cattledog but ended up settleing for Reserve Champion Cattledog. Everything looked great, the team appeared to be unbeatable right up to the pen, and then...a cow that Jake really wanted to whoop on earlier in the course decided that it was not going to go in the pen. They ended up timing out before getting the pen complete, but they had outscored everyone on the outrun, lift and fetch with no else getting the Pen except the team of Bob Johnson and Ruby allowing Wayne and Jake to hold strong in 2nd.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Summer Festivals - parades, demos and ribbon pulls

This past weekend we were invited to produce demonstrations at the Ellsworth Iowa Extravaganza. We packed up Jake, JJ, Weasel, Ricky, the sheep and the ducks and we were off.

The day began with a parade, here's Jake driving the sheep down the parade route.

Wayne then showed the crowd our Indian Runner ducks, fences...

We then had a ribbon pull for the kids. About 30 kids decended onto our sheep, in smaller groups divided up into age groups to race for a ribbon. We started with the little ones, figuring that the sheep would be calm.

This little guy was just thrilled to get a ribbon

We had a heck of a time getting these two close enough to pull a ribbon

A bit later the older kids took a turn, their enthusiasm got the best of the sheep, the snow fence could not hold them and off across the park they ran heading for the hills. But...Jake was there, off he went on a big out run gathering the sheep back up and returning them to their confines, to deal with the kids again.

Later in the day I demonstrating starting young dogs on stock. We had a great day and met lots of wonderful people that were amazed by what a well trained stock dog can do.
I have more pictures posted over at our website:

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Great Weekend of Cattle Dog Trials

Bob Johnson's Torrie at Elliott, IA

Wayne and Jake traveled down to Southern Iowa this past weekend for three days of cattledog trials that conclude with a invitation shoot out final that handlers have to qualify for. They take the top 4 Open dogs, top 2 Nursery dogs and the top 2 Pro/Novice dogs.

The first trial was held near Elliott, IA and produced by Jeff Mundorf. There were many top handlers and dogs in attendence including Bob Johnson with Ruby the current USBCHA Nursery Champion, who is also a littermate to our Bea (CR Leia Reed) and Juan Reyes with his dogs which hold the title of the USBCHA National Champion and Reserve Nursery Champion. Pete Carmichael, Jake's breeder was also there running Moon, Liz and Colt all of dogs that we saw work 3 1/2 years ago when we were up at Pete's place to pick Jake up as a pup.

Jake earned a 3rd place finish, a healthy payout check and our first USBCHA points, with any luck he will get qualified for the National Cattle Dog Finals this year. He is also trying to secure enough points to earn a slot in the Iowa Stock Dog Assoc. Open Handlers Finals. The top ten sheep dog and cattle dog handlers will be invited to a trial that will be held on September 11th in conjunction with the Iowa Rodeo Cowboys Assoc. Finals.

The next day they moved to the opposite side of the state, Keosauqua, IA for the second trial. This trial is normally held in Moravia but due to the all the rain it was relocated to the same facility as the Sunday trial. Saturday brought a 5th place finish along with a fraction of a USBCHA point and another check, every little bit helps.

Sunday was a tough day, Wayne was told that he was a shoe in on the finals, he just needed to complete as many obstacles as he could. He and Jake drew up a set that included a steer that didn't want to play, Jake spent quite a bit of time get it to think different. Finally the cattle were on there way through the course but unfortunatly they ran out of time just as the first steer was stepping onto the trailer (final obstacle). This landed them soundly in 7th place, out of the money and points but soundly in the finals.

Jake in the Finals Run

Mary Bolton wrote the following post on another discussion board, her's is a first hand account since I could not be there:

"I thought the "Grand Finale" of the weekend, the Shoot-Out competition at Gary's a most memorable event! The top two Nursery dogs, and the top two Pro/Novice dogs were pitted against the five top "Open" dogs for nine runs. $400 added money made the purse a whopping $850!!!

The course was interesting with five obstacles ending in a pen at the end of a stock trailer. Fourth obstacle being the pen and fifth the trailer. The handler could block the pen entrance but not go inside so the dog had to do the actual loading itself.

Bob Johnson had three of the nine dogs in this final test; a testament to his successful training/trialing over the weekend! (I expected he might well walk away with the winner and reserve both!) However, I found myself quietly routing for the other handler's who only had one shot each...;-)

Bob's first up with Tory(P/N) and laid down a smooth run of under five minutes with the course completed. The next few handler's can't quite get the job done even with heroic efforts! One more team completes the course, but, not beating Tory's time....she's leading the pack heading into the final two runs....Wayne and Jake run 8th followed by Bob with his "open" dog, Ruby.

Wayne and Jake quietly walk their stock around the course completing each obstacle calmly. The intensity picks up a bit as they complete the "Y" chute that flustered so many.They head to the pen and walk right in and the cattle start to mill a bit and a few well timed heels, by Jake, load the trailer in 4:30 to take the lead!( Bob's last run with Ruby is good,but, not quite fast enough...)Wayne and Jake are the WINNERS!!!! HUGE CONGRATS!!!"

Thank you Mary the great commentary,

Kicking around to change their direction

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Meet the new additions...sorry not puppies

JJ bringing the calves up from the pasture

Now that they are stopped, get them turned to go the other way

So, now you know what has been keeping me busy for the last month plus, bottle calves. They are Jersey and Jersey/Holstein Crosses. We get them in from Wisconsin when they are a day or so old. It's great fun keeping them healthy and getting through the first 2 weeks, but it's been worth it. The dogs are getting alot out of them, we will raise these up well into fall, and bring a new set in in a few weeks with the plan of eventually having 3-4 sets all at different ages.

BTW, JJ is for sale, JJ is a started dog that has a pretty good grasp of his directions and a stop. He is a natural head dog, not apt to heel but will if he has too. He has a great personality, loves being out in public and has shown a desire to work what ever you put him front of him, but I would not call him a super strong dog, he is not in a hurry to bite, but will and can when needed. He does get strong when teamed with a second dog. Give us a call if you think you can use him or if you know of anyone that can. 515-854-2060 or 608-334-4203, we are asking $800.00 for him (he is unregistered)

Time Heals All

My appoligies for being off line for so long. We have a bit of sad news to pass on, Vicki the retired female that we took in last year, who taught me some valuable lessons and also blessed us with a fine male pup named Ricky has passed on. It's been about a month and I just now can sit down and write about it. Vicki had a mass on her flank, we took her to the vet who felt that it was not in her best interest to operate, so, that same day we set her free. Just two days before she was out showing off for Stephanie, the livestock inspector impressing her with her ability to handle sheep and do it her way, totally blowing off my commands and corrections...ok I went soft on the old girl. I felt it was best to send her one before her body broke down any further, as it was she was beginning to have difficulties making it through the night and ever now and then was having difficulties getting up and lying down, depending on the weather.

Here's one of my favorite shots of Vicki that was taken last year when I ran her Pro-Novice at the Great Western Sheep Dog Challange, she was peaking around the hay bale trying to spot the sheep, to me she did not look like a 11 year old dog in this shot:

Rest in peace Vicki, and thank you for giving us one lone pup Ricky, he's a real fire cracker.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Lilly Goes Home

Wayne with Lilly at the Southern Iowa Cattle Dog Trial

Lilly went home, we have had Lilly since she was a young pup a Border/Heeler that I traded a local Team Roper a Pocket Knife for. She was the first female that we acquired when we arrived here in Iowa, she also produced many nice pups for us mated to Indy, our Australian Cattle Dog. Lilly was the first dog that Wayne trialed, I guess you could say that it is her fault that we got the trialling bug. Prior we were just happy with a simple farm/ranch dog.

Over the past couple of years I came to the conclusion that we had grown beyond Lilly. Lilly was no longer the goto dog when it was time to do chores. Lilly was spending more time in the kennel then she was in the house, she loved being in the house but really was not great about accepting anyone new into the household, which happens around here on a regular bases. We always have a young pup coming in to learn house manners, Lilly just was not patient enough and would tend to make the pups fearful to do anythng, she was the Queen.

A couple weeks ago we were visited by a prospective new owner for Lilly, Lilly would be their first working dog. They are in the process of building a large flock and they also have cattle. After demonstrating Lilly's abilities and showing many of our other dogs Lilly was choosen to be the Queen of a new domain. I made a follow up call a couple of days after Lilly went to her new home, things were not going great, the sheep were undog broke, Lilly was uncertain and was showing little desire to get her paws dirty. My advice was to help show her what you want, support her and don't let her escape, also reminding them that they are dealing with stock that is undog broke, in some cases raised as bottle babies so they may need to help Lilly teach the stock to move off. This e-mail arrived yesterday, it made me smile:

Lilly is a wonderful dog. She is working for us now, herding sheep and ducks. She wants to work the cows but our fences aren't the best if they would get worked up it could be a bad situation.

She loves to ride in the vehicles with us and even jumps up into the tractor with me. She doesn't like baths but she is getting used to the fact that she will get one at least every week or henever she rolls in a rotten egg. Speaking of which she is an egg thief. She finds the duck eggs in the yard and helps herself. Have to say she does have a shiny coat though.

We really love her. Thanks for the opportunity. When things get a little better ecconically we may be back for another registered dog.

As hard as it is to let the dogs go that we have outgrown and no longer fit in our breeding program, we gain so much reward in knowing that someone is enjoying them and that they are now doing what they were at minimum bred to do, ultimately be a good old farm/ranch dog.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Getting Back into the Swing of Things

Boy, did the day get away from me yesterday, I was able to work a few dogs after spending more time then I expected getting the empty water tanks for the horses dug out of snow drifts, flipped over (great fun when they are frozen down) followed by filling them 1/2 full with water. Getting the tanks out usually triggers one of two things, a big warm up or a major drop in temps which ends up freezing the tanks solid on me, hence the reason I hedge my bets and only fill them 1/2 full. I then restrung the snow fence around the sheep pen, snow is deep enough to allow the lambs to access the large squares in the combo panels. They freely walk in and out of the lot through the fence, so a quick remedy is to line the outside with plastic snow fence. This also deters Ricky, who has discovered that he could find work to do, first putting the lambs back with the moms, then following them through the fence and proceeding to move all the sheep to the barn. Next was cleaning kennels, feeding dogs, moving dogs around so that the two front runs that have access to the inside whelping boxes are empty so that I can prep them for Dottie and Vicki, due end of the month and the first week of April. Hopefully it will get warm enough over the next couple of days so that all the ice and snow accumulation will resolve itself, we can then follow that up with the propane torch (nothing beats high heat disinfectent).

Did I say that I actually did get to work dogs? After spending more time then expected hunting and fitting collars on JJ and Weasel. JJ is quite annoyed with Clyde's old 2" wide collar, Weasel inherited Katie's and is equally unimpressed, her's too is wider then her old collar which was passed down to the puppies last fall.

Weasel, Dixie and JJ all had a lesson in the small pen. Many people ask how much could possibly be done in a small pen, the pen is approx. 30x40, two corners squared, two curved. I use 5-6 sheep and we work on self controlled, calm quiet work. Short drives, holding lines, proper distance as it relates to space and the toughest thing of all, keeping their flanks relative to the stock regardless of where I am. This is where most have the hardest time, they want to flank behind me or always away from me. Time, Patience and a training cord are all keys. Once a dog understands that when they flank that they need to stay in contact with the sheep all the way around, both left and right, a whole new world opens up, they have the ability to be positioned anywhere around the stock and initiate a drive to any location.

Well, I better get off to work...BTW great news, the forecast is showing the potential of high 40's low 50's this weekend, atleast I think it is great news especially if you like mud...

Monday, March 1, 2010

Just like Clockwork

I scrolled back to check the date of the "Changing of the Seasons" post, it was on December 5th, well now it's March 1st and just like clockwork Mother Nature is changing our seasons again. We are still up to our arm pits in snow but it is reducing quickly, approx. 1" a day. The forecast is for 32-34 degree highs for the majority of this week. Boy, this was a long winter.

Our ewes are pretty much done lambing, took them 20 days from begining to end with the exception of a couple of maiden ewes that are due sometime in the next 5 months, we never took the ram out...oops...

In just over 30 days we have a judging clinic that we are going to, in 60 days we plan on going to our next trial down in Missiouri. 45 days later is Iowa Sheep and Wool Festival, by that time we will have our legs and being running at full speed.

Today, March 1st, marks the official beginning of spring training, we are limited to the small indoor pen, but it will suffice for working on obedience and self discipline. With any luck we will be outside and working in the pastures mid March and out in the fields come April 1st (barring any flooding). I've intentionally drug my feet when it comes to training, knowing that we would be limited for a while to the indoor pen.

Here's the line up at this time:

Jake (I'll be running him open on sheep this summer and Wayne is going to run him on Cattle)
Weasel & Dixie (final 2 months of training before going to their new jobs)
Ben (doesn't seem to know what he wants to be when he grows up)
JJ (will be my pro-novice dog)
Bea (looks like she didn't settle, so if she has no puppies it's off to work she goes)
Toby (hoping that he will be ready for the Iowa Cattle Dog Nursery Challenge this fall)
Ugh - ACD (just going to keep plugging along to see how much training he can retain)
Buffy - ACD (much the same as Ugh)

We have some ACD pups that are hanging out, maturing and will continue with their basic manner, recall and leash training until it is time to introduce them to stock.

Ricky and Rosie are going to get to focus on growing up and gaining maturity.

I better get rolling, it's a new day.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Just a few lambs

This little guy arrived on Friday
Tuesday this little ewe lamb joined us....
Wednesday was a two-for, a pair of twin ewe lambs!!

This is a shot of Tuesday and one of the Wednesday girls.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Puppies due March 27th!!!

We are expecting the next litter of Bea x Jake pups on March 27th, 2010. Vicki is due around the 6th of April, we have our fingers crossed for another healthy pup so that our hopes are not all dependent on Ricky, the pups from fall. Hopefully all this snow will be gone by then.

Things have slowed way down here in central Iowa, the snow has me beside myself. I've been spending a lot of time on club business ( I was able to get the books balanced and closed, annual report approved, year end awards purchased and sent off for embrodiery work, helped to organize and advertise a judges clinic/meeting and soon I will be compiling the next newsletter. Before you know it the trial season will be here. The Judges Clinic will be on April 10th, we are planning on a trip to Missouri to attend the LC Cattle and Sheep trials on May 1st & 2nd, our first Iowa trial will then be right around the corner in early June.

We are also lambing, two down, 13 to go, I'm so glad that we reduce our numbers prior to winter. But, I'm also limited as to what is available for working dogs, basically right now the only dog working is JJ, he is my right hand sorting dog and coming along great. We had a break through at the River City Expo that I had not recognized until we arrived home. JJ has a tendency of getting excited and when he get's excited he can't hear. When we were at the Expo I had to tune on him a bit for going bonkers during the Personal Protection Demos. He wanted to jump in and do bite work too. Rather then crating him up and avoiding the situation I used it as a training opportunity and working on his self control. Each time he lost it I corrected him, by the end of the weekend he was happy to just observe the other demos and actually could execute commands while watching the other dogs.

I had not thought about this training helping with our stock work, but it sure did. JJ was having a tough time working in close wanting to escape and loosing his head prior to the weekend, now I have a totally different dog that jumps at the opportunity to try something new. Another trainer once wrote, "With obedience, comes confidence", I want to take it one step further "With self control, comes the ability to be obedient; with obedience, comes confidence."

I've had many argue that what we do with our dogs away from stock has nothing to do with how they handle stock, I disagree. Relationships are relationships, the abilty to control oneself is not going to improve when situations get exciting. The adage, "you have to learn how to crawl before you can walk; and you have to learn how to walk before you can run" comes to mind.

So, even though I have not been getting the dogs out to work we have been training, each time I open a crate I have an expectation that I hold the dog to and test to see if the dog can hold themselves to that expectation. The same is true on a recall or a simple lie down when we are here are around the house. I watch when the dogs a playing for lapses of self control and use that as a training opportunity to teach my dogs that they need to maintain control at all times in all situation regardless as to level of excitement. It's all building blocks, setting a foundation so that when the snow clears and the ewes have lambed will be able to get the most out of our training sessions on livestock.

Enough for now, I'll try to get back into the grove of posting updates. BTW, another snow storm is due in on Saturday...yippee.....

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Duck - Sheep - Duck - Cow - Duck...poor Jake

This past weekend was a busy one for us, it began on Friday evening at the River City Expo in Council Bluffs, Iowa where Jake and I presented a herding demonstration with our Indian Runner Ducks. Saturday Morning we competed at the Winter Warm up Sheep Dog trial near Elkhorn, Nebraska, Jake and I placed 3rd, yippee, one place out of earning USBCHA points, go figure.

We then rushed back to Council Bluffs for a Saturday afternoon demonstration....with ducks. Then turned around to go back to Elkhorn Sunday morning to trial on Cattle. I still don't know how we ended up, as soon as our run was over we were loading up to once again return to Council Bluffs for our last Duck demonstration.

Jake and I are both bushed!!! I am really pleased as to how Jake handled all the stock changes, he took it in stride and adjusted as needed. The sheep were challenging some dogs couldn't get them lifted. The cattle were difficult, they didn't want to stay together and took on the dogs. The duck...well, the ducks got smart.

We are preparing now for an ice storm, here are some pictures of our trees that are covered in hoar frost, I just pray the frost melts off before the ice accumulates. I moved all the vehicles out from under the trees, I'll be surprised if we don't lose some good size limbs.