Monday, June 29, 2009

Fun Weekend

We had a local AKC trial this last weekend.  It was so nice to be done and able to come home and play with the dogs everyday.
I went into the trial with no great expectations for the girls (Lash and Risk).  We have not been practicing steady and I just wanted to have fun.  It was our first trial back since November.  I am also in the midst of retraining Risk's contacts, so I could not uphold any criteria in the ring yet. With Risk, I just wanted to work on handling stuff and running balls to the walls.  I think I accomplished that and I had a blast running her.  Our Saturday EX Standard run was blazing. She did not Q because of missed contact, but she did not step one foot out of place in her run.  She ran that course in 37 seconds.  In EX JWW I blew chunks and put a front cross in somewhere I had not walked it nor planned to put on in.  I just found myself in front and I think my body automatically put one in.  Because I did not walk it, I was not in the correct place and got out of sorts.  On Sunday in EX Standard, Risk knocked the 2nd bar and was before the WP.  I did not know she knocked it until I finished the poles and came back around.  I saw it on the ground then.  I pushed her on her on her running DW and she got it.  By the time she ran in JWW on Sunday the grass was very slippery and she was sliding everywhere.  She even slid half way through the poles.   No Q on that one.  I do have to say that I was very pleased with what she gave me and I know where I am in her contact retraining.
Lash, well she is just such a good girl.  She has not done much AKC, so she was still in Open. She got 3 out of 4 Q's and all of them were first places.  She knocked a bar before the weave poles in Saturday's JWW.  Her contacts were great and I will stay with 2o2o with her.  She is now in EX A Standard.
I did not enter Singe because he came up lame a little while ago.  I rehabbed him a little with rest and swimming, but he came up lame again.  After being looked at, it is determined that he has injured his hamstring.  I found some stretches I can do with him from
So, I would say he is off of any agility training for a month.  I think I will do some obedience stuff with him so that I can keep his mind from going crazy.
We are off to a USBCHA herding trial this week.  I am running Havoc and Mick and I am very excited.  I put the crates in the motorhome and now I have to figure out the other stuff (kid and dog).

Back to work I go.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Not Really A Quiet Friday

Now that it is summer and Connor is out of school things get hectic here during the week. Mondays and Fridays are my days without him. I use these days for house cleaning, working dogs, grooming dogs and just to get my sanity back.

I have been dealing with a problem with Havoc the past 6 months. She was well on her way of training and had an awesome outrun, fetch etc. I had started her on driving until the dam fence bit her. This did not happen while working sheep. We have electric fence for the horses, alpacas and sheep. I turn the fences off when I work dogs. On a few occasions I was out doing chores and/or going for a walk with the dogs. Sometimes the dogs run under the electric tape and know how to not get shocked. Well apparently Havoc is not smart enough to figure this out. She was shocked not once but 2 or 3 times as she was running the property. This turned into her not even wanting to come in that area and guess what??.... That is where we work sheep. We have 2 - 5 acre parcels that we work sheep on. Havoc wanted NOTHING to do with this. She was associating the sheep with the fence. Even if I took her on a leash she would not look at the sheep. I thought I had totally broke her until I brought her to Karen's place and she worked beautifully. Thank goodness that she still loved her sheepies. I have just been going to Karen's to work her and Murray has also now taken her over and she will be his trial dog. I took Havoc out today and started walking her, on leash, in the field where the sheep are. After a bit I gave her a flank command and guess what? She took it. I did have to re-command her, but after that she had her confidence back. Yeeee Haaaaa Havie can now work at home. I am soooo excited about this.

I then went in to clean house as it has been neglected this past week. If you want a cool trick to get dog hair off of carpet here it is. Get a big spray bottle and put about 1/4 fabric softener in it and then fill the rest with water. Spray this mixture on your carpets and let dry for 15 minutes. This will release the hair from the carpet and you can then vacuum it up with ease. It also makes your house smell good.

8 dogs got what I call ranch baths today. I have a couple BCs that I bred here with me and they are going home tomorrow. My dogs are also dusty and dirty, so they needed a bath. I take groups of 2 or 3 down to the irrigation pond and play ball with them there. While doing this I lather them up and then play ball some more. Dogs + Pond + Ball +Shampoo = clean and shiny dogs. I have 3 more to do tomorrow and everyone will be squeaky clean.

I am excited for tomorrow because we are supposed to haul sheep and work dogs. We all have a trial in a few weeks, so this will be great work. We are then coming back to my place for our monthly party. We have now named all of our parties and it is great to get together with friends. I will bring my camera with me and if I get any good shots of the dogs I will post them. I can't post any videos because my computer is failing me. I should have a new one in a few weeks, hopefully. I can then get back to editing video of the dogs.

Off to clean house some more.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Evaluating Your Dog's Weight

Alright, here is a chart that shows a dog's proper weight. I am seeing more and more FAT dogs and some of them are ones that people are expecting to do agility, frisbee and herding with. It is so sad because the dogs do not have a choice. We control our dog's weight by the amount of food we give them. A dog is not programmed to get a set amount of food each day. If a dog is more active then it needs more food. If a dog is not getting worked/exercised a lot then it needs less food. Geeez it is that simple!
How many overweight marathon runners do you see out there? How many fat high jumpers do you see out there? Our dogs are athletes and need to be kept fit like athletes.
By this chart I would say my dogs are a 4 to 4 1/2. You have to remember that this chart is made for pet people, so a 4 to 4 1/2 is perfect for a dog that is expected to perform tasks.

Evaluating your dog's weight

How skinny is "pretty skinny"? How heavy is "not as thin as he should be"? The Purina body condition system provides a uniform way to describe a pet's weight, from "emaciated" to "grossly obese"

    Ribs, lumbar vertebrae, pelvic bones and all bony prominences evident form a distance. No discernable body fat. Obvious loss of muscle mass.
    Ribs, lumbar vertebrae and pelvic bones easily visible. No palpable fat. Some evidence of other bony prominence. Minimal loss of muscle mass
  3. THIN
    Ribs easily palpated and may be visible with no palpable fat. Tops of lumbar vertebrae visible. Pelvic bones becoming prominent. Obvious waist and abdominal tuck
    Ribs easily palpable, with minimal fat covering. Waist easily noted, viewed form above. Abdominal tuck evident.
  5. IDEAL
    Ribs palpable without excess fat covering. Waist observed behind ribs when viewed from above. Abdomen tucked when viewed from the side.
    Ribs palpable with slight excess fat covering. Waist is discernable viewed from above but is not prominent. Abdominal tuck apparent.
  7. HEAVY
    Ribs palpable with difficulty, heavy fat cover. Noticeable fat deposits over lumbar area and base of tail. Waist absent or barely visible. Abdominal tuck may be absent.
  8. OBESE
    Ribs not palpable under heavy fat cover, or palpable only with significant pressure. Heavy fat deposits over lumbar area and base of tail. Waist absent. No abdominal tuck. Obvious abdominal distension may be present.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Skarlet the Princess

Apparently Skarlet thinks that since she is pregnant that she is now the food princess. She about had be paranoid this past weekend when she decided that she was not eating chicken backs. I then tried some of our dry food, Taste Of The Wild, and she was for sure not eating that. I, of course, then went and bought her Fresh Pet, a slightly cooked meat and vegetable mixture for dogs. Any dog that has gone off of their food has always loved this. Ohhhhh nooooo, Skarlet would pick at it. Grrrrr! So, today I defrosted some chicken necks and fed them to the dogs for dinner. I started Skarlet out on 4 because I just knew she wasn't going to eat. Yah right, the princess inhaled the necks. 4 more went in her bowl and she scarfed those down. So, I think she is on a chicken neck diet "for now".
I now feel a lot better knowing that she at least ate something. After the hole thing with Risk, I am a little on the paranoid side with my girls who get bred. Skar's temp was always normal, but still she wasn't eating.
I have a couple more cases of necks in the freezer along with backs. I will have to place another order of necks, so that I don't run out for Princess Skarlet.

Sleeping a lot better tonight knowing prego has eaten.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Fat Dogs

I have no idea how or why people let their dogs get fat. We control their food, so one would think that this would control the dog's weight. Why oh why do people think it is ok to let their Border Collies get fat? To me there is nothing worse than seeing a working or performance Border Collie fat.
I saw a dog that I bred yesterday and she was not just overweight, but WAAAAYYYY overweight. She is probably 18 1/2" (once you take the fat off) and I would say she weighs at least 45 lbs. I was in a setting that I honestly could not say anything. Believe me, I will the next time I talk to the owner. The dog had a table top for a back. It was very sad to see this no necked dog waddle around. I own her sister and Lash is 19 1/2" tall and weighs between 33 and 35 lbs (max).
I just can not get this off of my mind, especially since I just got done working Lash and I can't imagine her sister trying to jump up for something.

Back out to train my skinny dogs.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Truck + Trailer + Mick= Sheep

I made friends with a guy who has Aussies and he gave me 4 new sheep. They are hair sheep and smaller than my wool sheep. That means less feed. :-) I have been looking and looking and looking for new sheep because I hated my last group. Karen and I swapped sheep a while back because we both hated our own groups. After a while she took my old group to auction and we butchered 2 of the group she gave me and we are going to butcher the other 2. We use the meat for dog food. The group I have were not doggie, but they would come towards me and run me over. I had gone ass over tea kettle one too many times.
It will be fun to work a fresh group of sheep that have barely been worked.

On another note, I am really sad that Mick is getting old and this is probably his last year of working stock full time. I do not have a dog that parallels Mick "yet". He is the type of dog that you can grab and never worry about anything. He will work whatever is put in front of him and I never fear of him not being able to do the job. I have not had a dog come along that has the power that he does and the total natural ability, not even his daughter Havoc. I think I have been spoiled with him as I have such high standards for a true working dog now. Maybe one of my Rock kids will turn out like Mick. I am tending to really gravitate to the cowdog lines now. Some of the "sheepdog" bred BCs are too soft and don't have enough forward for me. I have just learned over the years what I like and look for in a dog. That kind of dog does not always make a great trial dog because of their presence. I remember walking in the field with Mick's dad and the sheep would just bolt to the other side as we walked in the gate. I have had a hard time shedding with Mick, until I learned some tricks, because I could not get him close to the sheep without them feeling his presence. I once had a great shedding lesson with Suzy McCallister and she taught me a lot on how to work Mick in the shedding ring.

More on the sheep tomorrow.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

I "Think" I Have Gone Crazy

OK, there are some things that you just can not pass up on, but some of these things make me think I am going crazy.

Karen, a friend of mine, called me yesterday to chat and of course she just had to plant a seed in my head. I will back up a few months ago to where it all began. I went over to Karen's place to take pictures of her dogs for her. She brought out this one female, Mollie, and I was blown away by her from the start. She has power, style and class. I usually am not drawn to smooth coats, but I am seeing more and more that I like. Karen told me that Mollie was bred to Rock at the time. So, Mollie has her puppies, but I never really ask about them. That is until a couple of weeks ago. I asked what she had etc. Well, Murray, Connor and I were over there to work dogs and do some other stuff and I let the pups come out so that Connor could play with them. There was this one male, black and whit with tons of ticking, that kept catching my eye. OK, so this is totally not the "type" of look I usually am drawn to, but this one boy kept making me look at him. Come to find out that is the one she likes too. Now, back to current the present and the idea Karen planted in my head. She said that she would like me to take him. There is something special about this boy and I didn't say NO, but I didn't say yes. I was sweeping the dog room today and thinking about this little seed in my head. Somehow it got some water on it and it has started to sprout. I called Karen back and talked to her about it. I have already bred Skarlet to Rock and was really planning on keeping a puppy from that litter as I have officially turned Havoc over to Murray. So, right now Karen is going to take the pup with her on the road this weekend and if she comes back with him then I may try him out. My ultimate decision will be made after Skarlet has her puppies.
Mollie is the tri smooth coat and Rock is the rough black and white. Mollie is winning in Pro-Novice and Rock is placing in the top of Open with some wins under his belt.

Now on to the other crazy thing that we are doing. We have started raising ducks here on the ranch. I started out with 6 ducklings, but a hawk took one away during the day. I found a gal about 30 minutes from me that raises lovely ducks. I went to her place yesterday and picked up 3 more. I got a new female that is about a year old. I got her because she is already laying and I don't think mine will lay until more into the summer. She is a fawn color with a white collar around her neck. I also got 2 Cayuga/Runner crosses. The male is already starting to get his green feathers on his head and both of them have really nice black bodies.
I also took a picture of the duck coop that Murray built. We have x-pens connected to it now, but we should have the fencing done this weekend.

As I was taking pictures of the ducks today we had a storm rolling in. It turned into one of the craziest storms I have seen. HUGE winds came in and everything was blowing, then the skies opened up and this massive rain started. It was like someone literally took a bucket and poured it down on us. Along with the rain came the pea size hale. When everything was combined you could not hear a thing. The funny thing is that Connor slept right through it and never woke up.
Here are some pictures from the front of our house. This is when the clouds were moving in. Once they were here it was black. The sound of the thunder along with the lightning was outstanding. I love to stand on our "covered" deck and watch the storm.