Thursday, January 26, 2012

I guess it would be bad if I didn't answer my own TMT questions while they are in the spotlight?

1. How do you search for and then choose a trainer?

Word of mouth and past history.  I have a lot of experience being and choosing trainers in the horse world, not so much in the dog world but I think the same principles apply.  For myself I'm not looking for the most flamboyant trainer or the one who stands out.  I tend to be drawn to the trainers who are reserved and have a way with the animals that goes without speaking....they are the ones who will be in the world a long time, not the one or 2 hit wonders, and they may not win every time but they are consistently near the top even in unnoticed.

I have had my share of bad horse trainers, those who maybe were at the top but got their because of short cuts.  I don't believe in short cuts...  Most people today (again this is the horse world) just want to win, they don't want to take years of slow and steady work to achieve the proper training and form to win.  Sorry went off on a tangent :)

2. The dog world is small and... uh... talkative. After choosing a trainer how do you handle those people in your life who don't believe in that trainer/trainers methods and criticize them to you?

I listen, I catalog and I move on.  Everyone has a past, everyone does things that others don't approve of.  Its up to you to decide if you can live with them.  Every one can also change, just because you've see Mr. X do Y to a dog in the past doesn't mean that is still the method he uses today.  I've heard dogs can be ruined by letting them sleep on your bed, I know horse trainers that believe a horse can truly be ruined by letting them pick up the wrong lead one time.....

3. Do you believe that a person's personal life should influence your choice of a trainer? (i.e do you believe a person's choice to be a party animal outside of work would affect your choice?)
I asked this question because of an on-going debate in the horse world.  There is a decent lower level trainer in the area that has quite a flamboyant lifestyle, he is a homosexual man and likes to party.  People are trying to get his judges card revoked just because of the lifestyle he chooses to lead...
My thoughts are, if you can keep your home and work life separate then I don't care what you do.  However, I can't condone drugs, stealing or crimes against nature (rape, bestiality, etc...) so if I find out you are part of these then I'm probably going to part ways with you.

4. When you have a break through moment with your dog, do you feel that moment makes your connection stronger with that dog and makes the next step in training easier?

Having recently had a break through moment with my dog I find the connection between us amazing.  She has always been a great dog but recently its like things just clicked with her and she has now turned into an amazing working dog.  Its like there isn't anything she isn't getting right now.  Maybe its her age or the fact that she matured or maybe because I just started working her with no thoughts on where this training would lead.  But I'm blown away when I work her now.....

5. Do you stick with just one trainer, or do you go to multiple sources for help?

I would like to stick with just one trainer but he's too far away!!  But I tend to stick to trainers who have basically the same philosophy.  I do like to hear others thoughts, just to keep them in my pocket even if I don't use them right away or on a particular dog.

And now for pictures of my new curly coated retriever....just kidding she's really a border collie.  And she is out of a litter with 3 other smooth coats :)


Thursday, January 19, 2012

TMT 2012 #3


1. What is one lesson you've learned this week? brain is fried, good thing today is my Friday :)

2. Who or what might you have been in another life? What might you be in a next life?
I was probably a horse in another life.  Though my best friend and I, in college, went to one of those psychic readers and she said I was a healer in a past life :) 
In my next life I just want to have lots of money...ha ha no not really.  Being another healer would be great!

3. What unusual things do you like the smell of but don't usually admit?
dirty socks..gross but true, vingear - I could smell it all day, horse poop

4. What are your thoughts on continuing on vs. retiring when a trial run is going badly? How do you decide? Where do you draw the line?
I dont' think I have trialed enough to have a definite answer.  I hope that I would be one who would walk away to help my dog before the sidelines are (Laura!) going OMG go help your dog, but I can't make promises on that.  I don't want to injure anyone's stock so....

5. This is a call for questions or subjects you'd like to talk about - I'd appreciate suggestions (and please come link up so that I'll be sure to see your post), so here's your chance!
I have a few questions...they all stem from things going on in my life :)  And believe it or not it is stuff that isn't going on in the dog world
1. How do you choose a trainer?  By word of mouth?  Watching said trainer work/train?
2. And after choosing a trainer how do you handle those people in your life who dont' believe in that trainer/trainers methods and criticize them to you?
3. Do you believe that a person's personal life should affect your choice of a trainer? (i.e do you believe a person's choice to be a party animal outside of work would affect your choice?)  and did I use the correct form of effect/affect?????
4. When you have a break through moment with your dog, do you feel that moment makes your connect stronger with that dog and makes the next step in training easier? 

And here is a personal plea!  I know some of you that read my blog aren't my facebook friend, so while this is my personal blog i'm going to post this.  (if it offends you let me know!)
I am a national board member of the Brown Dog Foundation (, we have a national fund but without wonderful donors we are going to be out of funding.  Please if you can give, even if its just a dollar, consider giving to Brown Dog!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

TMT #2 for 2012

Laura's question for the week are as follows:

1. Stopping your dog - what do you prefer? On their feet? On their belly? Some combination?

Depends on the dog in my case.  When Jen stops is is smack to the belly, as of recently she thinks stopping is optional so we are working on simply stopping.  There are cases when I would like to have a stand on her so my next task is to teach her to stand. 
Dutch on the other hand does NOT lie down behind sheep, no way, no how.  He's always had a standing stop even as a puppy.  I did eventually teach him to lie down off stock and he does it.  And on rare occasions he will lie down when we are setting for an outrun but this is not the norm for him.  He is quiet and not scary to his sheep so I'm OK with that.
Hep seems to think that it doesn't matter if you stand or lie, its a mixed bag with her.  Maybe its because we are just getting a feel for each other but I sense that I am going to have to enforce a lie down because she can be a bit of a bugger behind sheep :)

2. At what point do you start teaching this?

Jen came with a beautiful lie down and when she listens she still has that beautiful lie down.  Dutch never was one to lie down so he got the stand command from the start.  Once I get Jen's stopping issue back in hand then I am going to start trying to teach her a stand, though I think its going to be hard because the lie down is so ingrained in her mind that any form of a stop means lie down to her.

3. Do you have a favorite dog? I won't tell.

Favorite dog overall?  Yes, Jen everyone knows its not a secret.  No matter how hard Dutch sucks up and is a wimpy mommas boy Jen will always be my heart. 
Working?  Depends on the situation.  When the sheep are flighty and likely to run like bats out of he!! then I prefer Dutch, he settles sheep and can get right up their butts without spooking them and he will stand all day holding sheep without pushing them while I do things like trim feet. 
If I have tough sheep I prefer Jen.

4. What is the #1 thing a dog can do to push your buttons?

Off stock - not come when called.  It is one of my pet peeves and makes the "evil mom" voice come out and me come after said dog :)
On stock - to bust in or make a mess of things when I am trying to perform a task, i.e. trimming feet.  I hate that, don't keep pushing and pushing until someone bust off or runs me over.  Jen used to be the worst about that, many discussions later she is better, though not perfect :)

5. Brrrrr... it's winter. What is your favorite soup recipe?

Hmmm I'm a sucker for potato soup.  I have a great recipe which is not with me at the moment.  Maybe I'll remember and add it tomorrow

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

The passing of a great

I was fortunate enough to get to keep Robin French's Spottie for her retirement years.  I trialed her a few times but mostly used her on the farm to help with my small flock of sheep.  She was a great teacher and taught me so much in the 3 years she was here with me.

She was an amazing trial dog for Robin and a great teacher for me and I will never forget that.  Thank you Spottie, may you now run free without pain. 

Friday, January 6, 2012

TMT 2012


TMT is back...Thanks Laura.  I didn't see this yesterday before I left work, so I didn't get a chance to fill it out...

1. What is your favorite new toy? I know you have one, so you might as well go on and fess up.
I didn't get any new toys this year.  I'm sitting here trying to think of something interesting and toy like but I have nothing....

2. If you're going to be caught under the mistletoe, who would you LEAST like it to be with?
That's probably a longer list than what anyone wants to sit here and read!

3. New Year's Resolutions - for your dogs - share!
Hep - to get her to take my away whistle and flank and to get her trialing.  She needs to be more fit before doing that so we are working on it.
Jen - to get her healthy and get her trialing as well.  She is driving quite well now even if she tends to get dyslexia on the flanks! 
Dutch - keep building his confidence and get him out to new places.  I think we have figured out his weight issues, so I would like to make sure that he says at his new chunky weight :)
Duke - he is going to be trying out agility for fun and so that he has a focus, his resolution is to focus!

4. New Year's Resolutions - for yourself - share!
To be more organized
To get out to see my friends who aren't close more
To get my dogs to trials, even if just the local ones

5. How did you handle the holiday food situation?Oh, I wasn't supposed to eat everything in sight?  We have 4 Christmas's, I ate a lot....I now wonder why I have a muffin top.  Maybe the getting Hep fit thing will help me lose said muffin top?  Lets pray :)