This little guy arrived on Friday
Tuesday this little ewe lamb joined us....
Thursday, February 11, 2010
Wednesday, February 10, 2010
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 (www.iowastockdog.com). 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 nothing....so 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.....