Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Ann Wants to Know...

Ann wants to know... What is your perfect dog?

She wants to know what I like in a dog. Good question.

I like a combination of things in a dog. I will say that some days I like one dog better than another for a certain job.

But overall, in general, I like a dog with a lot of natural that just needs some occasional input from me. I don't like to command a dog a whole lot, and if they're doing what I either ask for or need I don't feel inclined to say much. I'm not interested in telling the dog every step to take, and in the trialling department I'm willing to sacrifice some points because I'm not going to whistle my dog to death. It gives me a headache.

That being said I'm probably not going to win a lot of trials that way. *shrug* The truth of the matter is, that in order to get really tight and precise lines you're (usually) going to need a lot of whistles. So if I want to win trials (all other issues aside) I NEED to up my whistle game. That being said, you can ask my friends and they'll tell you I only have one speed... meander. Upping my whistle game and other stuff like that may be a challenge. Right now, though, no money to trial means it just doesn't matter so much.

And when I've got a good run going it's usually because my dog is reading things right and I'm not having to say much anyhow. If he's not reading the sheep well no matter of whistling from me usually will fix it (assuming we're talking about Nick). That being said, sometimes I do find myself whistling or commanding more than others.

In general, if I'm not at a trial (or doing any sort of really precise work) and not training - just doing a job - you may not hear me say much of anything to my dog unless he's being naughty. Actually, even if I am at a trial (assuming things are going well) you may not hear much more than an occasional steady whistle until after we turn the post.

I like to have enough under the hood - and a dog that even when it may be lacking in the toolbox it isn't lacking in the heart department.

I don't mind having to ride the brakes some. I don't care to have to urge a dog up. I don't mind having to have an occasional discussion with my dog. But I don't want to have to go to full out war with that dog every time I work it. I HATE butting heads with my dog on a regular basis. I don't mind my dog having opinions. I actually LIKE it. But then when I insist I want them to give in.

I like a dog that figures out what I want or what I'm asking and does it. I like a dog that has umph but knows how to turn it down a notch when I need careful quiet work.

I like it when a dog doesn't quit.

Ann specifically wants to know (my answers in italics):

•Do you like a dog that is really on the muscle? Sometimes. Not all the time.
•Do you like a dog that needs a steady stream of whistles? er... no.
•Are you a maximal or minimal whistler? Minimal. And if things get hairy I often move to voice. I'm not fast enough yet with the whistle.
•Do you like a natural dog that feels the sheep and just needs a little direction here and there? Without question. YES.
•Do you like a dog that prefers certain type of sheep? Not necessarily. I like a dog that adapts and learns from whatever type of sheep we're working.
•Do you like a dog that wants to partner up and be a really good team player? You betcha.
•Do you like a dog that really knows what s/he wants and you, as a handler really has to manage? To a degree, yes. But I don't want to have to manage this constantly.
•Do you want push? Yes and no. I want umph in a dog, but also the dog to have the ability to control that umph.
•Do you want a good listener? To a point. Definitely I like a dog that does the right thing when I'm wrong. Nick has saved my bacon many times this way.
•Do you want try? (Not tri.) Absolutely. The other stuff that I might not like doesn't matter as much to me when the dog is trying.
•Do you like a dog who gets the job done, no matter the sheep, but it’s a big job to get that dog listening? Not so much. For me if I have to beat the dog to get it's attention I am not happy. Like I said, I don't want to butt heads with my dog every time we work together. I won't do it.
•Do you want it all? Apparently. lol
•Can you have it all? I think so. Most of us spend our working lives looking for it, anyway. :)

How does your style as a handler select the style of dog you like?

I'm guessing that this will change for me as time goes on. As I'm exposed to different things, and then once I get my own operation up and running my needs and preferences will likely change. Well, to a degree. The fact that I don't like to tell a dog every step every flank is unlikely to change. The fact that I don't like to butt heads with my dog on a regular basis is unlikely to change. But some of the other stuff probably will.

Right now I like a dog with a lot of stock sense. One that takes care of me. One that when I turn my back I can feel comfortable believing that he's doing the right thing - or at least the sensible thing. I don't see that changing for me.

Pretty much Nick has been the perfect first dog for me. Linc is a very different kind of dog, and at first I was not happy. I don't know if he's moderated or if I've just progressed, but suddenly in the last year or so I like him a lot too. I think it's a moving target.

Saturday, December 10, 2011


Food Poisoning?


'Nuff said.

No. Not enough said. I'm getting ready to cross the line here, but it's my blog and I can do that if I want to.

First of all, my teeth are diametrically opposed to contact with ANY testicles. I'm sorry. Ain't happenin. After Nick and Linc were both neutered they wound up with floppy scrotum (spellcheck tells me that the plural of scrotum is scrotum. I think it's lying, but whatever). I had to inspect them as they healed, so I'm familiar. Even without the jewels I still can't even imagine a scrotum and tooth train wreck. Ew. Sorry to the men in the world, but I am pretty sure that women's idea of fantasy does not involve scrotum, or testicles. Ever.

Now combine scrotum/testicles/teeth and (gack I'm getting queasy just writing this) livestock? OMG no. Please say it ain't so. If it took castrating a lamb with my teeth to prove my toughness then I guess I'd just have to be considered a pansyazz. If a lamb's scrotum were the last thing standing between me and the buffet at the Golden Corral... well I'd just go hungry.

Yeah, they're slippery. The lambs suck em back up when you try to grab em. Frankly I suck at trying to band lambs. But I'm still not putting my mouth "down there".

I mean really. Dudes. You stuck your mouth near a lamb's butthole. You put genitalia in your mouth. What did you really expect?

Um... and I hope you are feeling better, cuz bacterial stomach bug stuff ain't no joke.

PS - calling it "food poisoning" bug was very polite.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Tell Me Thursday Surprise!

Crooks and Crazies

Ok mah peeps, I'm hearing you guys out there. So here it is... a surprise TMT for you. I haven't been able to post or get around to blogs much, but I thought maybe this would be a way to check in. I know some of you have been cruising right along by yourselves - AWESOME!!

The new button was made for me by Nana at and you can see her dog blog at She's an online bud of mine, but like many of you she's somehow become a real life friend. Nana rocks.

So. Tell Me Thursday. Questions. Hm, what to ask?

1. What are your plans for the holiday season?
2. Do you decorate? If so, what have you done so far?
3. a. Favorite recent dog photo? b. Photo that shows your mood today (or one word)?
4. There's been a discussion on the BC Boards about "don't train for the novice classes... just train for open and the rest will fall into place." What are your thoughts on this?
5. What are your top five cannot-do-without-them dog items?

1. What are your plans for the holiday season?

This year will be a little different for me. I plan to farm-sit. I've never been "away from home" over the holidays, and my Mom is worried that it'll be sad for me. Truly, though, the holidays have felt weird/sad/depressing since my divorce, and I'm not sure that where I am physically really matters. So I'm thinking to start some new traditions this year. Maybe it'll be chocolate chip cookies for breakfast.

2. Do you decorate? If so, what have you done so far?

Normally I do. This year, so far, I haven't. I have a 9' prelit slim tree that's absolutely GORGEOUS with my vaulted ceilings in the living room... but it's a bear to move even in pieces. Apparently slim does not equal lightweight. Two years ago Julie and Sandy came over, and we had a grand time decorating. This year I think I'm pretty much going to let it cruise on by. Maybe I'll get out the Santa stuffie that Spottie liked to make jingle with her nose. That surely will be decoration enough???

Not only that but Pia is such a good puppy until the second I turn my back. I have a sneaky suspicion that I'd be pulling her out of the tree somehow.

3. a. Favorite recent dog photo? b. Photo that shows your mood today (or one word)?

a. Pia on sheep over Thanksgiving. (Photos by Julie Poudrier using Robin French's camera)

It was close between that one and this one of me and Nick up at the setout between fun runs (and Julie's Ranger, too):

b. my mood today:

4. There's been a discussion on the BC Boards about "don't train for the novice classes... just train for open and the rest will fall into place." What are your thoughts on this?

Meh. I think you can't train for open specifically when you've never trained for open. I think it's the whole "you don't know what you don't know" thing. However, I think you should train your dogs with Open being the goal. The lower classes are meant to be stepping stones - learning opportunities, not end results. When I train my dogs I don't train thinking we're going to get around a Novice course - I train with an eye towards open level work. Then when it comes time to step on a trial field I think about how much I think the dog can handle and enter the dog in that class. BUT. This is a big but. When I'd only ever run in Novice Novice I had no earthly idea what I needed to do to get my dog to Open - even if I'd watched several trials.

Some days I'm still not sure I know much of anything. But, again, I'd say train your dog with Open being the ultimate goal (or Open level work). Excellent mentors, instructors, clinicians, and friends along the way are invaluable resources in this.

5. What are your top five cannot-do-without-them dog items?

5. Flat sided water pails
4. Double sided faux-wool crate bedding in the winter
3. Slippery Elm Bark powder
2. Crates
1. Tiny little beds for big dogs

Merry Christmas everyone!

New bling bling code box:

Linky thingie: