Sunday, March 27, 2011

Trials and Dogs

Catching up, yet again. It's been a busy late winter/early spring so far. There's the new Shoofly dog, Joe (formerly known as Hawk) and he's keeping the big dogs and i on our toes. He's very sweet and friendly, and oh-so-Zac-energetic. Moon and Zeke are tag team trying to keep him entertained. They're both very good with him in different ways. Moon is somewhat mother like with him, playing and teaching him games, and setting rules - he's not allowed to chew on her. Zeke is more like a brother and they wrestle and tumble and Joe chews on Zeke's neck mercilessly, having to get way overboard before Zeke will correct him. Zac ignores Joe and Bill keeps him at arm's length. It's always interesting watching the pack dynamics when they change like this. Gael was always a good puppy nanny and i'm glad Moon has decided to step up with her out of the house.

Last weekend was the 4th trial at the farm, held again to raise funds towards ovarian cancer research at Duke. It was bittersweet after losing Joan in January. I couldn't quite bring myself to call it Whistle For a Cure with her gone, but most of the trial proceeds will go to the usual fund (you can still contribute here). It was a lovely weekend weather wise and a big success. Even more people than usual pitched in and it all went off very well.

My young dogs, Moon and Zeke, are coming along really well these days and i'm quite excited about both of them. They're still very young at 19 months old, but looking pretty good and getting pretty trained up. They couldn't be any different. Zeke is very steady and natural, while Moon is my pocket rocket and needs a good bit of handling to keep things under control. They're going to keep me on my toes for sure! While very different, i think they both have a lot of potential. I've come very close to selling Moon several times but i think she's going to be a good one, though that may still be a little more time away. She's certainly exciting anyway. Zeke is a good guy, somewhat like Bill was to train. He's just my guy all the way and a real partner. They're both trying really hard in their own ways. Both are nearly ready to run Nursery, at least on good sheep. Moon probably isn't ready for big trial excitement on sheep that try to run away with her, not just yet anyway. Zeke is probably a little more ready to handle that just because of his nature but i'm not sure about longer outruns with him just yet. I think they're both ready for ProNovice though, and have Zeke entered in both PN and Nursery at the trial we're going to next weekend. I may run Moon if it seems like a good situation for her.

The Open dogs are finally getting out for a little tuning up and conditioning. They're both a little rusty but not too bad. Zac is a little wild for something to do and both are a little out of shape but we'll be working on that. We're heading to Sherry Smith's Longshot trial this coming weekend and it'll be fun to see how they run and to shake some of the cobwebs off of my handling as well! I'll report on the trial when we get back.

Monday, March 7, 2011


I got a little video of Moon this evening and thought i'd share. She's coming along nicely now though she's still pushy pushy pushy. There's a ton of come forward there and she's the most amazing athlete i've ever had. There's plenty she's still doing wrong but the bigger things (like sometimes not "seeing" all the sheep or letting one or two break off) are just young dog things that i'm sure she'll grow out of. In this video she's needing more than one stop command, which i hate, but she'd already been working for awhile and had been taking them nicely. She was getting a little brain-tired plus i had the camera keeping me from moving around or being quite as insistent as i might be without it. Just this evening she finally started giving me pace on the drive. You'll hear an embarassing number of "time!" commands but she's a really forward little dog and needs lots of reminders to hold her back out of the sheep. I was really thrilled with her today and can't wait to see how she does tomorrow!