Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Working Dogs

So I needed to move some sheep around the rain....and since I was already wet I decided to make work for both the dogs. First, let me apologize, I have no pictures as I am not yet talented enough to keep an eye on Tucker, yell at other barking dogs, watch horses reactions for signs of panic, watch sheep reactions since it requires moving them where there aren't any fences for a time being, and working/watching my dog. So I will insert a pic of Jen working over the summer for your viewing pleasure at the end.

First I took Spottie out and got all the sheep in the round pen, the 2 that I was keeping out of the main flock to strengthen up and then the rest of the flock as I wanted to move them somewhere else for a few hours. Spottie works well so truthfully there isn't much to talk about with her, except we are working on hind end strengh. Which I oddly enough have a lot of experience in with some of those techniques are going to work on Spottie, we will see if that works out for her too!

After I had the sheep all put into the round pen, I put Spottie up and got out Jen. I wanted to push the sheep up to me so I could check eye color and worm if necessary. I also wanted to check feet because I'm a horrible owner and I hate doing feet unless absolutely necessary. Don't worry they don't suffer and they eventually get done. She did a great job at that. She occasionally creeps up on her belly still but a firm lie down keeps that under control. And if one splits off she takes that as a reason to very quickly make sure its put back in its place. She doesn't grip anymore but she sure is quick if they try to make a break for it which tends to upset the other sheep. But all in all she did well. I guess nutty sheep don't particularly scare me, so when they get a little upset, I just keep working.

We have fenced off the bottom section of the pasture as we are going to till it up this fall and replant seed since it isn't very good forage for either horse nor sheep down there. When I am taking the sheep down, I typically move the horses over to a paddock so they don't intermingle. Well it was raining and I was lazy. I had thrown some hay out to the horses so I thought they might stay up top while I had Jen pushed sheep to the bottom. They did and Jen managed to drive the sheep down through 2 gates and into the bottom. I'm really learning to trust my dog, its hard for me she started out as a sulky, sharky, fast dog. She is doing if we can only learn inside flanks! If i'm in the picture we have this huge wide flank or either a sulky short flank!

Jen works so well around quiet women......I have been trying to just have her around men or people with more presence with me. Not working, just around them as she tends to get very sulky if she feels a strong person is around......not sure how to fix that but we keep moving onward!

I'm more than happy with both my dogs.....and soon I'll have that puppy to start! Thank you Robin for Spottie, she has taught me a lot in the short amount of time I have had her and she is a riot in the house and magically gets along with everyone!

Monday, October 5, 2009

OK OK I know I haven't blogged in a while!

So there has been a lot going on lately!!

First, I went to my first dog trial 2 weekends ago. Boy, now I'm hooked! Being a former competitive equestrian, I really have the desire to now be a competitive dog handler! I replay it over and over again in my mind and just think of all the things I could have done better. But I think we all did OK for our first trial....2nd in P/N with Spottie and 6th in N/N with Jen. It was Jen's first trial as well and the competition wasn't exactly easy either! Spottie is down to her ideal weight but we now need to work on Endurance!

Second, Dutch is growing and growing. He is up to about 15 lbs now and he thinks he is King of the Hill (see below). He continues to be a great puppy and gets along well with everyone. I have to say, I have been keeping my sisters 6 month old lab for the last 2 months who never quite got dog manners, the first time someone growled at Dutch over a bone, I was ECSTATIC to see him back off and find a different bone!! His ears have started to stand...OK well they both stood for a while, now only one stands, the other is a 1/2 way up other 1/2 sideways ear! But its CUTE!

Thats all for now.......There will be more to come! We are entered in a couple of other trials coming up and I will try to get better updated pics of the puppy and the other happenings around the farm!

Friday, September 4, 2009

New Field

I haven't been able to work lots of different places with my dogs, and while Spottie has been MANY places thanks to Robin, Jen has not. I don't know if Jen has really done any work other than my field, JP's field and her old owners field ever. So when I was presented with the opportunity to go to another field and work them I jumped at the chance!

It was a bigger field than I had ever been on and we were working lambs, not somewhat broke lambs, just lambs! I worked Spottie first and true to form she lifted the sheep nicely and worked well. We are still working out a few kinks between us, mainly the fact that she knows she can get away with more with me than she ever could with Robin. But I think we will make a nice team and I think she will really help me get started in trialing.

Next I brought Jen out, I wasn't nervous, but had prepared myself for disaster. We started out in a smaller fenced area and she was working quite well so we moved out into the big field. That little dog went right around and did well. She worked those flightly lambs like she had been doing it forever and was even driving them with confidence and energy! The only bobble we had was my fault, I couldn't see her and thought she was chasing the sheep. I should have trusted her as she was only covering and JP said she would have done just what was right had I left her alone rather than lying her down. We even got to take the lambs and work on penning them. Something Jen and I had never done and she did great and we got them penned more than once!
I'm glad to see her really starting to come into I just need to trust her!

All is good on the puppy front, we had one bad night but that seems to be over with and he is doing well. He is very sweet and gets along with everyone so far.

All in all it was a good evening, hopefully we will be able to get out somewhere this weekend and work again.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Introducing Dutch

Since I have been told that my blog is sorely overdue for an update here is it!!

First I would like to introduce Dutch. I was and still am against little puppies, they are just a pain in the you know what, and I already served my time as a mother for a small something (Tucker). I just like dogs you can actually do something with! But I still got talked into Dutch.....

He isn't nearly as big as he looks in the picture, I'm working on getting a scale so I can weigh him, but my guess is 10 lbs and no more. He is a tiny little thing at 11 weeks, but oh so sweet and listens quite well. He is an uncle to Jen, not fully but enough to have some of the same charecterisitcs as her (her head, the smile). I'm hoping he will turn out to be a nice working dog as well as companion to Tucker.

He has a funny story on how he got his name, it started out from the breeder as Cole. I don't care for that name and all the puppy names we had come up with during our hopes of getting a ChrisxZac pup were female names. I love the show Deadliest Catch and was watching it one weekend morning while waiting for Tucker to wake up. I really want to visit Dutch Harbour and had thought that would be a great show name for a horse. So once we got the pup home we started calling him Dutch and it stuck. He seems to recognize his name and neither him nor Duke seem to be confused at who I am calling. Now me on the other hand, with Duke, Dutch, and Dash (Tucker's kitten), I can't wait to see what kind of name I come up with when yelling at one of them :)

So I'm at my limit for dogs! And I'm WAY over my limit for cats, seriously can ANYONE take a kitten, anyone???

I'm also excited to get started trialing with Spottie. She is working well for me, although we are still sorting out whistles, by no fault of hers. I'll keep everyone updated on how we do at our first trial, don't expect greatness though!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Updates from the farm

So I know its been forever someone who will remain unnamed felt it necessary to remind me of this fact...sometimes I do need a push to update though.

Well yesterday I took the plunge and got a new car, I really needed one as my old mazda protege, was well old, well worked and starting to slowly fall apart. It probably needed more work that what I wanted to even think about but I didn't want to trade it because I didn't want my payments to go up and I was sure they would. But thanks to a dear friend who helped me with my deal I got a new to me 2006 Mazda Tribute, much lower miles that what my car had and more room for dogs!! I was going to add a pic but either blogger or this computer doesn' t seem to want to operate so that will have to be added later.

I also am (hopefully) if I can scrape up the funds getting back a horse I used to own, Architect's Dream. Fred was my horse about 6-7 years ago and I ended up selling him to a kid who was going to show him, long story short they didn't and he ended up who knows where for the past several years. Well last Friday he was run through Sugarcreek Livestock Auction a notorious kill sale. Someone who actually lives in Hickory remembered his name and that someone was looking for him. She found my ads, bought my horse and contacted me. Fred is still in OH at this time, I'm trying to find the funds to pay her back for him and to ship him down...Its NOT as cheap as it used to be!

Other than that everything has been going well. I have applied for a few jobs that are closer to home, since the one I promised it now off the table because the pay, well it sucked! I'm tired of driving an hour and 15 min each way to work everyday.

Oh and I still have 2 lovely kittens that need homes a really sweet female black kitten and a very playful but sweet black male kitten. They have been wormed twice and I will be giving them their shots shortly! And I still have my retired from showing gelding, he would make someone a great pasture ornament or a trail horse but he isn't for a dead beginner on the trail. He would even probably make a great dead beginner lesson horse in the ring as he is dead quiet there.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Funny eared dogs

I thought I would spotlight a non-working dog today. I always tell Julie how much I love her dog with funny ears and how if a dog with funny ears comes along I am going to fall in love with it!! I already have one funny eared dog. He has been with me for ~10 years, he was a pound rescue as a puppy and he is a different type of dog. He is come type of collie mix, I have gotten differing opinions over the years on what he is mixed with. He looks part greyhound to me but we will never know. I took some pictures of him the other morning with his ears up, he doens't typically stand them up unless he sees/hears something that is of interest to him. Here is what he looks like with them up...

But was he was really thinking...YUM fresh chicken for breakfast. He hasn't ever gotten the chance but I have no doubt he would be a chicken killer if given the chance.
Oliver will actually go around sheep, haven't done anything but see if he would go around them. At 10 years old I figured there is no use in even trying but per his last vet visit he is in excellent health for a 10 year old dog...He does however do some funny tricks. He went through tons of obedience training, which in the end never worked for him on recall, no matter how much training you do with treats or anything else, if he sees something that he would rather be doing he does that, fingers in ears saying ha ha you can't catch me, remember that greyhound parent I had!! He is one long legged FAST dog!! Tucker thinks his best trick is the one where you tell him to get the cats and he jumps around in circles barking even when there are no cats around. He actually loves cats and would never hurt one. He will be sorely missed if anything ever happens to him. He is my guard dog and with his size and strength I don't think I would mess with him. My brother thought it funny one day to wrestle with him and then get on his motorcycle and ride right by him (Oliver doesn't like loud noises either), my brother regretted that day!! He is the dog that if I have to go scavenging through the woods/fields/pasture in the middle of the night that I always take with me, because if you are going to hurt me you would have to get through him first!

Yummm, tasty chicken for breaksfast. He was eyeing the chicken that lives in the horse pasture because she believes that she is a horse!!

Monday, June 22, 2009

Another Fun Weekend

So, I spent another Saturday morning up at Julies, I'm lucky enough that she doesn't care that I come up almost every weekend to work my little dog. She even comes out and holds sheep for us when we need it. Robin, Dan King, and Laura were all there this Saturday so it made for a fun day of working dogs and Robin and Dan taking pictures. Robin got some great ones of Jen working while both her and Julie also gave me pointers on lengthening Jen's outruns while making sure there were still correct. I just love this little dog!

Tucker came with me and actually enjoyed himself. He took a nap on Julies day bed with one of her dogs and then even went on a walk with her, his excitement for the day - the bee attack!!

I also made one of my decisions on Saturday, I took home Robin's Spottie to try her out. Robin says she is a lot like Jen, just in an older more trained we are going to see how it all works out. Hopefully she can teach me a few things and maybe I can help her with her weight loss....she has already been on 4 walks since I got her Saturday, so maybe she is well on her way...

On Sunday, Tucker and I took Tigger to his new home with Pam M. Tucker had a blast there, he got to play with Rly and Pam is even going to let him come over with Duke and learn some agility. She says he is old enough to be a Jr. handler so he is really excited, he really wants to train Duke to do some things.

So all in all it was a productive weekend!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Decisions, Decisions, Decisions

I'm made a promise to myself that I would start to keep up my blog more.....
I'm trying, my week has been filled with difficult decisions.
Whether or not to take on another older dog on.....(if it all works out yes)

Do I want to get a new SUV (less gas mileage) or keep my car? Or keep my car and try to find a Laura special (aka the $300 van)?

As much as I don't like puppies (yes I know i'm strange) do I want to get on a puppy list to have something coming up once I get my Jen trained?

So its been a busy mental week, all of this along with keeping up with my classes I am taking this summer, Microeconomics and Organizational Behavior Psychology. Both of which, I HATE.

So I'm just looking foward to Saturday, getting up early and going up to work my Jennie Minnie at JP's.......

Oh and if anyone is interested I have a nice dressage schoolmaster gelding, 16.2h, 17 yo, that has also done the hunters and jumpers that needs a good home. He does need some maintenance to stay sound but nothing major and he is free to a good home for someone that could put him to use...he also makes a great lawnmower.

And I still have kittens, someone please take a kitten. Darci I can ship you a nice set of mousers......someone PLEASE save me from the kittens

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Birds and Kittens

Julie, being the kind person that she is, gave Tucker 2 tiny chicks earlier in the spring of this year. Only 1 made it for unknown reasons, the surviving one has been named cornflake....

Tucker loves Cornflake, Cornflake loves the cat crate she grew up in (I guess she is a she). The other black sex link chicks that are just about the same age love the fact that they are in an outside pen with no more cat crates at night (we have bad opposums), Cornflake does not, she will actually choose her crate over being out in the yard....weird bird. But Tucker has taught her to follow him and to sit on his shoulder, he is so proud. Its hard to take a picture of a bird and a boy, so they aren't the best pictures but at least you can see how Cornflake is turning out.

I also have kittens that I really really really need to find homes for and if someone wanted a really good barn cat their mother can go too. Someone dropped her off here pregnant....I don't need anymore cats. So someone PLEASE take them home! Again, moving objects don't do really well in pictures taken by a phone....but you can tell they are kittens, I think?

There are 2 black kittens, here is one of them, they both look the same, one is male, one is female.

Then we have the single striped one....he is a male

Their (is that the right tense?) mother is a smokey blue/grey color, she isn't as docile and tame as the others but is very pretty, I will have her spayed before she goes to another home or goes outside of my house for that matter....

Friday, May 29, 2009

Poor Poor Doughnut

So, I had several request for the pictures of poor doughnut.....

Here they are, they really don't show quite how bad he looks in real life, but the other sheep pick on him. Beside Doughnut in the 2nd picture, with the brown head and one spot is Polka Dot, she is a lamb ewe born this year, when I say she is huge you can now see I'm not lying!

I also wanted to add a picture of my Jen, she is the topic of most of my blogs as she is my only working here she is watching a sheep dog trial back in April. My mom has to be credited for this nice photo of her.

I need to get some pictures of the rest of the gang!! I'll try to do that this weekend.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

The adventures of Doughnut

Last week I needed to do something with at least one of the several sheep who aren’t shedding well. They are getting really hot when being worked and their hair doesn’t seem to be coming out at all…..

So Jen got to do some practical work. Holding sheep isn’t her favorite thing, it’s boring to her and sometimes she feels the need to bust in and make work for herself. So it’s good for her to have something like this to do. I got out the horse body clippers and decided to attempt to shear some sheep. I had Jen push all the sheep into the corner where the “sheep hotel” is, which is basically a small wooden sheep house with a gate on it. And sorted off the ones who appear to be shedding and locked them in the hotel. I wasn’t sure if it would work and if it did how long it would take me per sheep. So I had her push the other non-shedders back to me and grabbed and haltered Doughnut.

Poor Doughnut, his name has been changed, he used to be Sammie, but Tucker (who named all the sheep) decided that he was more of a doughnut after he came home from Liberty. He was the poor lamb that was the chosen one for my experiment…it was definitely an experiment. While I am an expert body clipper, not so much on the shearing side with horse clippers and don’t you know every neighbor stopped by just to say hi that afternoon. It was hot, I was dripping sweat and constantly reminding Jen to lie down, but me being me was determined I was going to make this work and I was going to get Doughnut sheared. Well he is kind of sheared; not nearly as short as what I saw when I was at Julie’s during shearing time. But he at least has shorter hair now…Well except his head and neck.

Tucker says the other sheep call Doughnut names now, the clippers were too big to be able to clip his tiny neck and head, so he has a full coat there. I really should get a picture of him but it might be too embarrassing for him and then the other sheep might really pick on him. What they don’t know is that as soon as it stops raining they are all in for the same experience, except maybe this time with hand shears. But I can’t promise any of them that they are going to look any better!!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

6 things

Since, Laura at crooksandcrazies is determined to get me to post, I will participate in the 6 things I appreciate blog chain......

1. My supportive family - not only of my new endeavor into the world of border collies and sheep but also of all the other things that keep my plate full....especially Tucker!

2. Tucker - what would my life be without him, I hate to say it but I would probably be in a different place and a totally different person with out him.

3. Dogs - What can beat coming home to 4 dogs who no matter what are happy to see you. Especially Jen, she is my sidekick and is happy to go anywhere with me and do anything even if it doesn't include sheep. And for Jen, I have to say that as much as it took for us to get used to each other, I love this dog dearly, there isn't anything that I would give her up for....

4. Hearing animals munching hay - this is my relaxation, I used to just sit in the barns in the morning after feeding and listen to horses eating. I have now come to realize that sheep have that same calming effect, well except Bridgette since she just wants to go Baaaaaaaaa if she see's me.

5. Friends - Yes I know I have OCD, yes I know I second guess myself even when I have a background of being a vet tech and I KNOW the right answer. Thanks for all of you that put up with me from the horses to the dogs...I KNOW!!!

6. Ben - I know he drives me insane from time to time and he just doesn't quite get that I want things done my way not his, but he is great....from bringing hay in the pouring rain to picking up Tucker from school when I can't, I think I need to tell him thank you more often.

So there, I made 2 people happy today by updating my blog!! I had fun at the trial yesterday as well...Maybe ONE day I will get to participate in a trial as well. Jen will take some time, in the meantime I'll keep praying for a dog that needs to retire from open to come teach me the ropes! Otherwise I'll just keep waiting on my Jennie Minnie!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009


My dog Jen and myself participated in the Jack Knox clinic at Julie P's a few weeks ago. I saw a lot of things, learned a lot of things, and met a lot of wonderful people. I have to say though, there is a striking resembalance between horse people and working dog people, so much that it's amusing.

I grew up in the horse "world" showing hunters and jumpers both locally and on the east coast. Even managed to get a scholorship and ride on the varisty equestrian team for 3 years, those 3 years we won the national championship (not saying I had ANY part in this). I guess you could say I'm an accomplished equestrian, but that isn't what this is about!! I just got into the working dog world. I have noticed that there are a lot of horse people in this as well, which could be considered a good and bad thing!

I won't go into detail but the similiarites are amazing. I mean amazing. Now I don't think the politics are quite as bad as they are in the horse world, but I haven't been into working dogs for very long, so I may change my stand on this eventually. So I almost feel comfortable in this situation, the people are different but the situations are much the same.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

My new blog

I'm not sure how much this blog will get updated. I really don't have that much to talk about. I am glad I have met all of my new friends in the dog world!! Hopefully I will have more to talk about as I go through my trials and tribulations of trying to learn to be a sheep dog handler!!