Friday, February 27, 2009

CEA DNA test

I was just looking at the Optigen website to get instructions on doing the DNA test for CEA. In checking prices and "clinics", i notice they're having a "sale" on the test and thought i'd pass the word along. If you do the online registration between March 11-17, it's 25% off. If i'm reading it right, the regular price of the test is $180, so that's a pretty significant savings. I know i'll be sending mine off that week!

Monday, February 23, 2009


I have 3 varikennels i'd like to sell if anyone out there is interested. They're the "Ultra" model, size 300 (32 x 22.5 x 24), used just a couple of times.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Meg pics

Such a sweet little face...I don't know why Billy says she's a little demon...

"Who, me?!"
Meg has settled in well and all of the dogs like her. Gael seems to have adopted her, maybe because she'd be due about now if she had gotten pregnant as i'd hoped. They're very cute trotting around the yard together, with Meg right on Gael's heels, taking notes on how to be a big dog. Gael plays with her, and watches out for her. I have a dog in for training right now and Gael, who normally likes everyone, has decided she hates her. I think she's protecting Meg. It sure looked that way when Gael and Fly (the other dog) met on the pasture sunday afternoon, and Gael hasn't changed her mind about Fly yet. Meg will be 8 weeks old tomorrow and she's pretty wide open and fearless. I'm having to keep her and Billy from playing too much because she thinks she's big and tough, and he's too rough with her still being so small (physically anyway, mentally i think she'd kick his butt!).

Friday, February 13, 2009

Catching Up, Introducing Meg

The last week has been a busy one. Last friday, I loaded up the van (aka the rolling kennel) with the dogs and we went to visit my brothers, sister-in-law, nieces and nephew in Louisville. Gael and Jet especially enjoyed hanging out with Abby. They got her pretty well trained on one of their favorite things, as you can see below:
By the end of the trip, Gael and Abby were pretty good friends!It was a good visit, nice to see everyone and to spend some time hanging out.

On monday, the dogs and i rode to Lexington to visit with Vergil Holland and to get some sheep work in. I wanted to get Bill out to a new place on some different sheep, and to get Vergil's thoughts on his training. Vergil has a nice field for training and the sheep were yearling woolies, much fun on both counts. Bill did very well. He was pretty pushy on his fetches but i'm not wanting to take anything out of him there, so leaving that alone as long as it's just fast and not out of control. His flanks were good and his driving very nice. Vergil suggested cleaning up his left inside flank just a little and also doing more shedding with him, to help him feel the proper distance on his flanks more. He was very complimentary of Bill, and i was really proud of how he worked. I'm getting excited to start running him this spring. I still don't work him very much, once, sometimes twice a week, but he's getting trained and growing into his work. I'll start working him quite a lot more towards the end of this month, trying to get him right for the May trials. I also worked Zac and Jet, and both worked very well, especially with how little work they've been getting. Vergil gave me some suggestions on shedding that i'm thinking over. The sheep were a little different than what i run into at most trials around here and i wasn't quite changing my shedding style to suit them. It really is invaluable to have an extra set of eyes watch the shed sometimes.

While i was there, i mentioned to Vergil that i'd been looking for a particular kind of young bitch or puppy, one bred for power, bravery and a lot of "come forward". He had just bought a whole litter of puppies that he thought would be just that. The sire is a dog named Jock that he'd bought a couple of years ago and has a very high opinion of. He described him as being one of the best farm dogs he's ever had, tough and sensible, able to take on ewes with lambs, take a hit and just stay in the work. I talked with someone who knew Jock's dam Fly and she was a tough one as well, very brave on cows and sheep both, with no back down to her. The pups' dam Callie is a working cowdog that Vergil describes as "tough but not stupid tough". She's off his old Hemp dog, a dog i admired greatly for his heart. Hemp shattered his wrist at a dog trial on the shed and never missed a beat holding the single, on 3 legs. I don't think i'll ever forget it. Callie's dam was Nell, who would walk up on anything. Jock, Hemp and Nell were each Vergil's main farm dog in their turns, and able to handle whatever job needed doing on whatever stock. So, the potential is there to get what i'm looking for. Time will tell! Here are some more pictures of the new little beastie, now named Meg and settling in well with the Shoofly pack. She's a little spitfire already.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

New Pup!

Here's the newest Shoofly pup! I'm not sure what i'll be calling her (Penny? Meg?). She's 7 weeks old tomorrow. More info to follow. We spent 11 hours getting home today, whew.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Have Fun Spottie!

It was an eventful weekend, as usual. Somehow that doesn't sound right. If they're mostly eventful weekends, does that make the occasional boring one the one to note? Hmm. Anyway, it was a busy one for sure.

Saturday i loaded the dogs up and we drove over to Denise's for a little get-together and dog working. The sheep were feeling wild and i thought the dogs handled them pretty well. Zac and Jet did fine. I think Zac is needing more work than i've been giving him, he's feeling a little desperate to get more. I'll have to work on that. I had Denise holding sheep for Billy since he'll have to get used to that when i start running him in trials. He seemed to handle the "held sheep" part pretty well but i thought it was time to get him going just a little deeper at the top end. I just stopped him as he was going around and fussed at him a little to get him to lean more off the sheep. He was understanding it pretty quickly, started giving a bit more space on his own. I think he felt how it was working better for him to give a little more room on wilder sheep. I brought him out for a second session in the afternoon and he was definitely giving more room on his tighter left side, the one i'd worked on in the morning. It was kind of funny to see the look on his face when i was stopping him and fussing at him. He's been wrong so infrequently in his training that he seemed quite offended about it all, looking at me like "okay, i got it, don't get your panties in a twist". It was a fun day, with nice folks and good dog work. I especially enjoy when the young dogs come out for their little sessions. It's nice to get an early snapshot of dogs i may see for a long time.

Sunday was another lesson day at Julie's place. I didn't have quite as many dogs to get through this time around, so it was a bit more relaxed, which was nice. There were still plenty though. Laura brought out Linc and he made very significant progress from one session to the next in the round pen. He's going around the sheep in a calm and thoughtful manner now and looking more for a balance "point" rather than just racing around and around with adrenaline pumping in his ears. He's taking his down and feeling like it's a working command rather than a "stop working" command, so not fighting about it. I'm hoping she'll bring him out to my place in a couple of weeks so we can get him in a bigger space on a larger flock of calm sheep, and he should really leap forward in his training. I also worked with Pam's 1.5 year old bitch Fly in the round pen, and she made tremendous progress. I've worked her a few times since she was about 7 months old and she's been a busy little thing, racing around and not quite ready for the thinking stage. Yesterday i ended up giving her a bit of a correction that just kicked her into slowing down and thinking, and it was like a light went on for her. It felt good to her and she liked it. She's a smart one. Expect to hear more about Fly as i'll be taking her in for training shortly. There were several dogs working out on the pasture. Lauren came out with Mac and we ended up working on her seeing how to slow down running sheep by slipping Mac into the pressure enough to slow them without stopping them. She was seeing this really well and just needs Mac to be stopping a little more crisply. Mary came out with Ben and they're really getting to be a nice team. We worked some on keeping him up on his sheep, on his downs, and breaking one of his flanks into smaller pieces so it's a little more controlled. It's mostly polish work and they're going to do well on the trial field once they get those last little pieces worked out. Beth's Wisp had a really good day. She's a youngster getting started out and had some real "aha" moments yesterday. We worked on letting her catch running sheep so she'd learn to let go a bit and trust her instincts. In her second session, we moved to a part of the pasture where the sheep are hard to fetch (drawn back to their friends in another pen) and let her work out balancing them. It was fun to see her learning to trust herself. Where the 2 dogs in the round pen needed to learn to slow down and think a bit, Wisp is one that needs to speed up and not think so hard, and trust herself. Becca and Ted were also working out on the big pasture and we were doing some fine tuning and trying to let Ted know he can trust himself a bit more too. He's driving nicely but when the sheep lean to one side, Ted is a little unsure if he should fix the balance or not. I was trying to get Becca to see when this happens so she can give Ted a little encouragement so he'll go ahead and listen to himself - you can see that he's thinking he should fix it, is leaning that way, but not quite sure enough to just do it. He's really thinking and trying so hard to be a good dog. We also worked a tiny bit with Julie's Lark, on her shedding. It was a long day but full of really good dog work, and seeing them all making such good progress is fun and rewarding for me.

The other big event of the weekend was Spottie going to her new home. Assuming everyone gets along and it's a good fit, this will be her permanent retirement home, with Karen and Kenny Ancarrow (and the kids). She's still got some good working time left in her to show them the ropes on their sheep flock and the trial field. And she can help break them in while they get their dogs trained up. Karen has a really nice up-and-coming male named Joe (sire to Darci's Bear) as well as a youngster named Ru that i haven't seen but hear is pretty special. My hope is the twin 10 year old girls (Kathryn and Kailey) will be fighting over Spottie and have her spoiled rotten in no time. It sounds like they've made a good start on it in the first 24 hours she's been there.