Sunday, February 27, 2011

How Things Change!

So, scratch that last post - the newest Shoofly pup is Hawk!

After spending some time with the pups on saturday and talking with the breeders, we decided that it was a better fit for Taff to go with Mary Ann and Hawk to stay with me. I'm thrilled, just love him to death already. He's a great little guy. And Taff (to be renamed Bud) is a great fit with Mary Ann. They look good together! I think all 5 pups are ending up where they should be, things just worked out right. And little Hawk is already looking at sheep, which just makes me smile. He looks right at home in the middle of my pack.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Moon Update

Moon is coming along well now. Or at least that's today's tune. It's amazing how up and down the journey is with a young dog, and that seems to be especially so with Moon. I know i've made a dozen different decisions this week on her future and my plans for her, enough to give anyone whiplash! But ultimately, Moon has made her own decision and is working well enough, and trying to work with me just enough, that i'm giving her more time. I've always seen talent and potential there but it's been real "work" working such a wildly keen dog. The last couple of days it's been fun, and that's enough to get me to hold off on selling her on, for now anyway. Or at least that's my thinking for the moment! She's being a bit of a pill in this video but not nearly like she has been, so i thought i'd share it. I do like how sharp she can be and believe with age and experience she's going to be a winner. I know she'll be fun to run and never, ever quit. She's getting some schooling in the second half of the video and you can see she's got lovely flanks and really is pretty biddable under all that fire, as she takes in and out flanks and will switch on the fly. I've been working pretty hard on the mechanics with her and plan to let her natural stuff come out more and more over time, as her brain starts to kick in more. She's so keen that it's been hard for her to really do a lot of thinking on her own. My hope is that by gaining some tools to use with her (flanks, steady, stop, etc) that i can help her when she gets over her head and needs my help, but also leave her alone to work things out when she can. We'll see!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Soldier Hollow Classic video

I'm getting really excited about going to this!

Sunday, February 6, 2011


I went to visit the puppies yesterday and got a bunch of pictures. I put them in an album on Pbase (click the link) since there were quite a few. What a beautiful litter, and all very solid, with a lot of personality. I have a couple of favorites but of course it'll change several more times before i bring one home. Cap really caught my eye. He's quite the stand out, strutting around and quite full of himself. Sweep is nearly as bold but his most noticeable characteristic is his crazy wagging tail, it just goes and goes and goes. Hawk is gorgeous and playful, while Taff is a little more laid back but very sweet. Nell keeps an eye on all of those boys and has a little devil about her too. It's going to be so hard to pick just one!

And...i decided to accept the invitation to the Soldier Hollow Classic. Someone said "your dogs deserve to go" and that sounds like a good enough reason to me! It'll be a trick getting enough time off work to go but i'm going to see what i can do. It'll be an experience, one way or the other. All of these big trips and big trials might change my training and trialing strategy for the year a bit. I'll have to ponder on it more but i may decide to chill some on the two young dogs and try to make sure i put the Open dogs first. They youngsters both have two full years of Nursery so there's no reason to push it with them. Exciting stuff!

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Soldier Hollow Classic

I got an invitation to run at Soldier Hollow today. What to do, what to do? I hate to miss the opportunity. But it's sure a long drive and a lot of days on the road with Meeker and the Finals too. It's an honor to be invited. I'm so proud of the performances of both Zac and Bill last year at the trials. Zac was Reserve Champion at the Kingston SDT double lift Championship and finished 4th in the first round at the National Finals, and very nearly made the Finals in the second, gripping off at the last second. Bill capped off a hugely successful Nursery career with the move to Open, his first Open win, second place in the first round of the Finals, and going all the way to place 8th in the Finals double lift. They're both such good dogs and team players. I'm very lucky to have them.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Pups, Dogs, and Trials

Here's some cute video of the puppies, just starting to be good at playing --

I keep managing to be a little behind on sharing pics and such. This video is from Tuesday, at about 3.5 weeks old. They're 4 weeks today. I'm not making any progress on choosing one. If anything, i'm going the wrong way on it, as now i'm watching 3 instead of 2! I've pretty much decided to get a male, as i seem to get along better with the boys than the girls these days. I've also been trying to not look at Cap very much, since i know one of the puppy buyers has her eye on him. So that leaves Sweep, Taff and Hawk as my potentials. I'm going to try to go see them in a couple of days but planning to wait as long as i can to actually choose. I was happy to hear that my friend Mary Ann, who has Zac's sister Nan and also has my Gael now, is planning to get one as well. She lives close so i know i'll get to see her pup a lot, and i'm sure i can twist her arm into letting me work him some. It'll be nice to see how more than one of the litter does on sheep.

The dogs around here at doing fine. Zeke is still on restriction with a strain of some sort. I'm going to rest him for another 2 weeks, then get him back to light work. It's a good time for him to be having a mental break from training anyway, though i'm disappointed that i can't run him at the trial we're going to next week. As i mentioned above, Gael is now with Mary Ann and having a ball playing, toy chasing, boss everyone around, rollicking good time. I miss her but i know she's having a lot more fun with Mary Ann and Steve. Bill is back to some light work, coming back from a strained pectinius muscle. He and Zac are both just doing very light work and i'm running them off the ATV to get some conditioning started.

Moon is still here, though some days just barely. I swear i'm getting whiplash from the young dog roller coaster with her. One day she's great, next day i'm ready to boot her out the door, LOL! I know this is how it is with almost all young dogs, but the peaks and valleys are especially huge with her it seems. I have to remind myself she's only 18 months old and that i've only had her back here about 1.5 months too. I keep saying that she's a challenging one to train, but really i need to re-phrase that. It's a challenge to get my head in the right spot to train her. *She's* not the challenge, the *training* is. She's got talent, it's just up to me to to train her properly, and by properly i mean using the right mindset and method for the type of dog she is. It's not fair to get mad when she doesn't respond how i'd like to the usual ways of training. She can't be a different dog than she is and it's not fair of me to ask her to be. I just have to be flexible in my approach. Funny that i value flexibility in the dogs so much. This is a case where the dog will value some flexibility in me!

Our winter/spring trial schedule has changed again. I had planned to go to TX next week for the series of trials down there, but decided it was too many days away with gaps between the trials, and a bad time to be out of work with a big project in progress. Then i thought i'd go to FL for a long weekend at the Suwannee SDT but decided the long drive was again going to cost too many vacation days. So instead we're heading to a trial next weekend in GA that i'm looking forward to. I'll run Zac and Bill in the Open on saturday and sunday, and then Monday is a double lift competition with a full course including the international shed. Zac is invited and it sounds like Bill might get in as well. I think it'll be fun, if the weather cooperates. My dogs will be really, really rusty but we'll go have a good time anyway. I hope!