Tuesday, September 14, 2010

a journey of the paws and whistles...a few sheep...in the golden sunset....of life.....

We’ve been quite busy the last few weeks finishing up the summer and getting ready for the fall. My garden didn’t fare so well, due to too must rain and no sun during the spring and summer and the three weeks we did have of hot weather was not sufficient. I do say the weeds did exceptionally well and managed to take over the wellhouse garden. Janet remarked tonight how fine my two large thistles were in the well house garden and they were, very fine and over six feet tall. I rummaged around until I found my grape plants. Getty had transplanted them and they were making a hold but didn’t branch out very much. Next year, I expect they will be better. I didn’t have much time for the well house garden so next year, I think I will lay the black liner and plant easy to grow vegetables. I also have a garden near the house which I tried to take better care of, but didn’t succeed so well. My raspberries did quite well and the birds enjoyed them tremendously. The beans got a late start so we didn’t get very many beans, the tomatoes died from too much rain and the sugar peas were eaten with gusto from the slugs. Last year, we had tons of vegetables but this year, we were lucky to even get a handful of beans. I didn’t spend much time in my garden as work demanded that I work lots of overtime so June/July and half of August was a haze for me and anytime that I had free, I was working the dogs or tending the flock.

Tess has really enjoyed being a house dog more and sometimes she has no desire to go out and help with chores, while other days she will leap over the gate to help. I let her decided what she wants to do and I have no shortage of dogs to take over the chore department. Nan believes that she should be the only one to work, and once her session is over, she races back to the house to go sleep on her dog bed. She will stick around if she gets a treat but in her mind, once her session is done, then her bed awaits her. Common dogs are to be let in the back door while she waits at the front door to be let in the house.

Rainey is progressing well. She spent the winter/spring and part of the summer with Scott and Jen. She has learned quite a bit and needs to be polished on her driving. She has learned now to push the flock and it has been hard for her but she has come a long way. Her outrun is great and she no longer gets sticky on the way up (Thanks, Scott!) and she is very responsive on her whistles. Since she is so tiny, she can fit in between the holes in the fence and if I am working another dog, she will come out to do brace work. She maybe a small dog but in her mind, she thinks she is the princess. It didn’t help that she was spoiled from an early age! She is Getty’s dog and often is in his lap during game day, being an excellent lap warmer. She has grit on the field and has never run off when challenged. I have been working on her to go forward and do more grips to build her confidence and she has gotten better. She works a lot like her sire, Scott and occasionally I see flashes of Tess. I’ll have to run her like I ran Scott and not like Tess. She has more eye than Tess and can get sticky. She loves to work and I love working with her.

One day the sheep had scattered in the lower pasture and the rest were in the marsh pasture. They are separated with a ditch and can be reached over a culvert. She got the sheep in the lower pasture and I stopped her, told to look back. She turned, scanned, and spotted the sheep in the marsh. I sent her on a come bye and she went swiftly to the culvert and crossed to the marsh pasture. The sheep were in the far reaches, and she paused, sized up the situation then cast out wider. She went beyond the sheep and brought them to the culvert. The draw to the away side but she held the dog leg line and brought them to me. I didn’t give her a command because I wanted to see what she could do. Would she bring them in a straight line from the lift, which would have put them in the ditch? She hesitated but for a brief moment then adjusted her line to bring them correctly. She bunched the sheep at my feet, her eyes happy with the honest work.

I was happy with the youngster and maybe be spring time, she will be in Pro Novice. But for now, she gets farm works to round her out and Janet runs her in the lower classes to get some trial experience. If she doesn’t become a top Open dog, she will still be our little princess and we will be happy with what she has to offer. Little dog, Big heart. Wisp is in her lines and you can see how he throws the white heads in his future generations

Tam is growing up and working quite well. He has his thinking cap on and no longer races around but is more thoughtful in his method of work. I hope to get a good start on him as he will go to Scott and Jen in late fall. He reads his stock well and is pushy and can be a hard headed male at times, but really tries. He is honest but strong minded. He is partnering up well and learning his flanks. He is a very classic marked male and a bit on the smaller side. His grandmother, Johnny Wilson’s Maid won the 2003 Supreme and was runner up in 2004 and his other grandfather is Michelle Howard’s Moss. Moss was the 2003 Scottish National Brace Champion. We have high hopes for this guy! So far, he is doing well!

Sleat has returned home and has been a pistol to work. Some days she is very obedient and some days I get my exercise and then some. She is fleet of foot and you have to be right on or you will be a step behind. I do like her so far and she reminds me a bit of Nan. Often, at night when the dogs get to runs about, she will come up to me and ask to be petted and then nuzzle next to me. She rather stay with me sometimes and ignore the other dog. Her striking blue eyes, outlined with black, seem to pierce your heart with love. I hope we can do well on the trial field and have high hopes for her. Her dam is Miah who is a full sister to Joni Swanki's Lew. Her sire is Ben, who is a little brother to Jim Cropper's Sid. She is related to Nan, Taff and Tam.

Taff has decided he is my main dog. He pretends Tess, Rainey or his dam, Nan do not exist, therefore he is the *dog*. He leaps up and down like his mother and is goofy. Imagine a huge, fluffy Border Collie acting like a bouncy rabbit, tail out and being a goof! But on sheep, this clown suddenly turns into a stylish working dog. He really has teamed up with me and tries to do each command as given. His stops are great (knock on wood) and outruns are breathtaking. I want to run him but want to make sure we are tight before I take him out. He is a very powerful dog that scares the sheep so I have to make sure that I have him going precise on the field. I enjoy working him now and he will look for the next command and than doing what he thinks he wants to do! He has settled down and made this place his home and rarely listens to anyone else. In his mind, I am the only one that he will work for. When he is running loose, he barely acknowledges anyone else and then only grudgingly. If Janet  calls him to put him up, he looks at them then runs to me. He will eventually go to her, but looks back at me, waiting for me to call him back. His mother was the same way and it took her a year before she decided to listen to anyone else besides me. I guess these lines are a one person’s dog.

Roo ran quite well at the last trial. He was very soft on the sheep and didn’t misbehave. I have working him and he has been close to perfect at home, not missing a step. I have decided to sell him as I have several dogs to move up to Open. He is Tess X Scott Glen Pleat and has a great track record. As a 2 year old, he ran in the USBCHA Cattledog Nursery Finals and placed around 21st. Later that year, I got him for the rest of the year and trained him for sheep field work and got his two legs for the USBCHA Sheepdog Nursery. I had planned to go but Getty’s father passed away before the Finals so we didn’t go. Not that many dog can qualify/run in both venues. He has worked large cattle operate as well as range sheep operation, handled cow/calf pairs, bulls, ewes/lambs all the way down to ducks, chickens, turkeys and guineas. He is fearless and has never backed down. The last Cowdog trial I ran him in Open and he tied for second on both days. Last year, he ran at the Finals and had no problems handling the range ewe, however it was at warp speed. He is a powerful red and white dog and not for a weak handler. He is very methodical, honest and willing. He is available to a Open handler or a ranch where he can be worked daily. He will not be offered for AKC sports or color breeding. He is not a easy dog to run but once you team with him, you can do well. He has excelled in the field trials as well as the arena trials.

Ben (Torq) has learned a recall and has gotten his feet wet in herding. He is Tess x Scott (Rainey brother) but not as far along as she is. He is more dog that she is but needs to learn how to control his power. Ben will be going to Bob Dias and Rochelle Stanford next month so until then, he will get better on his recall and manners. Of the puppies, he was by far, the most outgoing and boldest pup. Since he has been here, he still has his boldness and fearlessness. I worked hard on Ben on his recall.. Finally, Ben got the idea that running off was not an option anymore but down and a recall was the only option. Having gotten that, his training for manners has taken a positive course. Bob and Rochelle will finish starting him next month and we look forward to his journey with them
Tomorrow: the rest of the pack

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