Sunday, January 11, 2009

Computer Issues and a few Book reviews

Well, my computer has been dead for most of yesterday night, starting around 6:00 p.m. when I installed (cough, cough) the new MS Vista Ultimate software. And just now I am able to post my blog and get caught up on and send out emails. I also installed MS Office 2007 and it managed to hide a bunch of documents and rearrange files on the computer. I forget how much we depend on our computers. Sorry about the delay!!

So last night, I actually watched TV and read the new Donald McCraig's book, “The Dog Wars”. It is a great book and I am about halfway through it. About 10ish, my eyes began to protest reading anymore so it was nite-nitey time and later tonight I will read the rest. The book is about how the ABCA and AKC went head to head on the Border Collies and acceptance to the AKC herding Class. That is where one of the real downfalls of the Border Collie began. Now people are breeding them for show (conformation) and not working ability.

I met Donald at the USBCHA Border Collie National Finals about three years ago in Klamath Falls. He is a really guy and very passionate about the dogs. At the Finals, everyone is passionate about their dogs.

This year the Finals will be again at Klamath Falls and Nan has quite a few points and will go. She did great at her last two trials and won first place in Open. Tess got second and is getting some points too. I plan to run Lucy in Open this year and I hope she qualifies too. Then it will be a choice of three Open dogs to pick from as you can only run two in the Open.

I also got another book, “International Brace Champions 1926-2006”. Brace is when two dogs work together to guide sheep through the course and at the end one dog will pen one packet of sheep and the other dog will then pen the other packet of sheep.

Not all dogs work well together. An example is Tess. She thinks she should be the only dog working with me. If I work another dog when she is working then she will get into a snit and go really slowly. Nan, on the other hand is willing to in a brace as she is not as spoilt as Tess. I have worked Scott and Nan together as a brace and it is tough. Unfortunately they share some of the same whistles and that messes it up. So I have resorted to calling their name and then a command and that partially works.

I greatly admire the folks who can work a brace and make it looks so effortless. I have seen it on TV on “One Man and His dog” (I think) and it is quite fascinating. It takes your handling skills up a big notch.

The book is ripe with history of the winners, their dogs, pedigrees and interesting tidbits. The photos are old and show many style of dogs, from blocky, thick dogs to slender, sleek dogs. None of them look alike but the common theme is that they were outstanding enough to win the Brace Championships. I started reading this tonight after dinner and it will take a long time to read as it is packed full of information.

A third book that I also got is “One Man's Way” by Austin Bennett. It is the twenty top handlers in a series of interviews that talk about their dogs, trials, techniques, and general info. I see some of my dog’s bloodlines in some of the pedigree’s in the book. One such one is Sidney Prices “Davy”. Tess is the great granddaughter of him and she looks like him. A quick stop on the head, square head and a blocky body. Sidney said Davy had a bit of a temper and that is so Tess. But the best part was they had Clun Forest sheep to work which is the breed that I have to work.

Another dog in the book is Bobby Dalziel’s “Wisp” Wisp was a grand dog that left his stamp on his pups. Wisp needs no introduction. Delmar Scott is a Wisp grandson and an excellent dog. He rates the stock well and never puts a foot wrong. He can move anything with ease but not spooks them. I have Rainey who is a Scott and Tess daughter and I see a lot of her sire’s trait in her.

I meet Bobby when I was in the UK last year and he is a quiet person and very nice. He had a lot of patience and took his time with each of us and I enjoyed my time there. His wife, Sheila is a wonderful hostess and a great cook and they make you feel very welcome at their place. I have a pup from his “Jamie” who is one of his top dogs and I love how he works.

Aled Owen is in the book as a great handler and his top are the cream of the crop. His Roy just won the International and I have a daughter from him. One her dam side, Sava’s grandfather is Bob. Bob is as equally as famous as Roy. Sava is a slick coat, droop eared and quick thinking bitch with style.

The book is filled with rich history and photographs and the interviews are well done and you almost feel like you are in the room with them. It’s a good read and must have book for anyone who wants to know more about the Border Collie history that peppered out dog’s pedigrees.

I got the books from Border Collies in Action and they arrived in record time. They are fine reading for a cold winter day and I guess the computer being busted for Saturday and today was not in vain after all.

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