Tuesday, March 31, 2009
"Crazy Lady, I feel like somebody's watchin' me".
"Tell me who's watching!"
I said "That is a dust-bunny that escaped after switching to Dyson"
He said "I thought Dyson got rid of these pesky fella's?"
I explained "Dyson does a good job on the carpet - but not so much on the hard surfaces. The bunnies are making a break for it."
Ranger said "NO THEY AREN'T! I got this one Mom!"
Die, Dust Bunny, DIE!
Ranger, I think he is dead now...
Poor Dust Bunny. Ranger ate his eyeballs...
Vicki accompanies us on our river walks often and brings several of her dogs with her. Last week she brought Andy, one of her fosters. For some reason Andy caught the attention of a flock of birds. They followed him all the way down the river and back. He was enthralled by it all. I managed to capture it on video & then used it to put together his adoption video.
Enjoy! (The music is Dixie Chicks song called 'Lullaby' from the 'Taking the Long Way' album)
Please check out Andy's listing on www.pnwbcrescue.org. He is a very special boy.
Friday, March 27, 2009
Beth had one today, in fact she had six of them.
All the work this week and the hours we spent on the field have paid off.
I have been doing all the things that both Scott and Karen have told me...I have practiced over and over. Beth has had things right from the start. I didn't.
I am finally getting it - how my uncertainty has telegraphed down the stick to Beth. Beth has improved so much I can't believe this is the same dog.
Today I sent Beth on a nice long outrun (150 yards approx). At first I thought she was heading for the gate and was going to quit - then I realized she was flat out hauling arse in a most beautiful wide, almost square outrun. I have never seen her move so fast and confidently. She came up behind the group of 10 lambs approx 20 yards behind them, lifted them smoothly and then brought them in a straight line right to me.
No slicing the top off the flank. No diving into the middle of the flock and scattering them like a bowling ball. Just calm and pretty.
I was sooo happy I almost fainted. I said 'lie down' she did...then before I said "that'll do" I shrieked GOOD GIRL! Beth started doing her wiggly butt and hopped up and down - she knew she did good.
Was this a fluke? Nope...she did it five more times.
I am in Heaven...Beth is laying at my feet right now sound asleep - she is in Heaven too. She had steak for dinner.
Thursday, March 26, 2009
This young dog had a long line on him to 'slow him down' a bit. Can you imagine him without it?
Toward the end of the clinic on Sunday afternoon all the girls were getting a bit punchy. Scott was looking a bit tired too. Every time he stopped he would lean against his stick. I wished I could have gotten a shot of the time he was leaning on it so hard it looked like it was going to snap in two. One of the other woman and I were joking about a possible herding stick accident & what type of injuries it may entail.
Do you suppose Fionn is loved?
I cant tell...I think he is neglected.
Chili was tired of being forced to just watch. He thought 'auditing' a clinic was just plain booooorrrrinnngggggg.
Hiya, my name is Nan, don't hate me because I am beautiful.
The weather was icky and cold. Poor Beth was watching the action and shaking so hard I was worried teeth were going to rattle out of her head. We borrowed the coat Chris had been wrapping her Kelpie Rosie up in. Beth stopped shaking and was able to watch the sheep now in comfort if not style.
Beth says: "You call this style? I look like a cold border collie wrapped in dirty wind breaker. Must I suffer the indignity of you taking pictures now too? Get a life you wierd old woman."
You can see the rest of the clinic pictures here (the really crappy pictures are at the beginning - they do get a little bit better later)
Link to Fido's Farm Scott Glen Clinic Slideshow
And finally the best for last, a video of Scott working Maid. I asked Scott if I could film him and he said on one condition. If Maid didn't work well I had to delete it. When he was done - I asked him if he wanted me to delete it? He said, no, she did good. So now you can see what we saw - It was poetry for the eyes. Enjoy! (Sorry about the crappy videography. Again blame the cameraman).
Ranger: I tried Ranger on sheep again. The sheep still think Ranger is their buddy. He dove in for a couple drive by howdy's, then dashed off to distract the poor Aussie in the next pen over. He ate a lot of sheep poop, tinkled some, thatched a bit, said howdy to the sheep again, then he was pretty much done.
Bonnie: I worked the Bonster for the second time this week. She has A LOT of drive. She is showing a tendency to be a bit grippy. Chris worked with me quite a bit today. Our mission is now to develop our 'relationship'. Chris said Bonnie is still challenging me and my authority. Which is pretty clear ... so we are changing tactics. Bonnie has earned the right to approach sheep, but only on a long line. We will be going into the pen and following the sheep, approaching from the side, from the front etc. If Bonnie lunges at them we back off and try again. We are working on learning to read sheep behavior. By the second trip back into the pen today I think Bonnie was starting to see that she can move the sheep with just her 'eye'. The lunging seems to be stopping - she started circling around behind them. It is pretty cool to see this process. I can't wait to go back tomorrow.
Beth: I am so proud of Beth. I have been doing the things Scott showed me. One example - When I lay her down I am immediately giving her a flank so she doesn't have time to worry, or think/second guess me. We are moving around the field at a pretty good clip. Then I break it up and send her on a longer outrun - WOW her speed is really picking up. She is showing so much more confidence it is amazing. I think my relationship is improving and maybe I am telegraphing more confidence to her. She is approaching the sheep so boldly now. Today it was darn near impossible to get her out of the field. She didn't want to leave the sheep. I actually had to leash her to get her to leave.
Daisy: WOW WOW WOW! I think I may have my first failed foster. Daisy is AMAZING! (I will try and get some video tomorrow). We tested Daisy on sheep today. For only six months old, she showed a tremendous amount of talent. She seems to have the eye of a border collie with more of the upright approach of an Aussie. She responded nicely to pressure & to the flag, she circled beautifully (once she figured out that was what was expected), she isn't afraid to get in close to turn the sheep or go head to head without any signs of gripping. She remained engaged during her entire session & left wanting more (I had to drag her out of the pen). She will make a splendid farm hand or trial dog someday with the right training. Chris didn't realize how old she was and worked her like an adult dog - she was stunned to find out she was only 6 months old. Daisy is fitting so well into our pack and I just adore her - I don't know how I will be able to stay goodbye to her. I am going to require she go to a working home (if she leaves at all). Who knows - maybe we will finally be back at BCxFour permanently.
I am going back to Fido's tomorrow and Saturday. Sunday is a Fun Trial we are going to watch for a bit, then pop into Fido's so John can see the progress Beth is making.
This entire week...errr...month has been dedicated to dogs. At some point I need to clean my house. I felt something touching my foot under the dining room table this evening when we were eating dinner. I looked down and saw my foot was engulfed to the ankle by the largest 'dog-hair dust bunny' I have ever seen. I was too tired to care.
Monday, March 23, 2009
This is going to be a shorter post than I wanted to write. Typing is difficult right now as I am fighting an infection in my hand and I have had a fever all weekend. I feel yucky.
I was able to download over a 1000 pictures and 8 gigs of video I shot. I need to sort through and edit the good stuff. I should have it done in a few days, doG willing, then I can share it here.
I learned several important things about myself and Beth this weekend. The Beth I work in class or clinics - is not the same dog I work in the field alone. She is a little Miss Jekyll & Hyde. *sigh* She is sweet, timid, demure, lopes slowly on every outrun, constantly looking back for direction. Basically she acts like she is completely whooped when I am with an instructor. It was particularly noticable with Scott. There have even been a few times I have been out there with Chris that Beth will quit working and head for the gate. It appears she is shutting down under any pressure from someone she doesn't know. I am not so sure that's what happening...
After watching her do this through three sessions with Scott and listen to Scott tell me that I need to work on building her confidence - I started to doubt myself. Scott assumed I over corrected her 'mistakes' and wasnt allowing her to build enthusiasm. He said I needed to ignite the spark to get the right attitude and let her have fun. To his credit - he is right, from what he saw of Beth. I can understand exactly why he was saying that & I am no one to second guess his assessment. Given what he observed - Scott rightfully felt that I had been over correcting her and created this shy timid scared dog.
Right before lunch on Sunday while other clinic participants were working their dogs I decided to take her out in the field she was familiar with and let her rip. I didnt correct her, I just let her "ingnite her spark". Suffice it to say I had to pull wool out of her teeth a few times & once ran like h*ll across the field when she slammed sheep up against the fence.
When I am in the field with her alone she is a B-R-A-T...She flies around the field like her arse is on fire, cuts in on almost every flank, hits the sheep like a wrecking ball & flosses her teeth. I can get control over her and eventually get some really pretty work but it does take a little bit. I am overwhelmed with controlling her and since I have not gotten any instruction on how to handle her acting like this I am lost most of the time. It is frustrating...
I went to lunch late and brought the tuft of wool to Scott to show him. I explained that Beth has no lack of 'spark' or enthusiasm.
That afternoon Scott had me take Beth out into the field alone while he sat in the tent to observe. Beth showed her true colors - shot across the field like a bullet, cut the top off her flank and scattered the sheep like a cluster bomb & grabbed ahold of one for a little ride. Scott said "That is the attitude I was talking about". Then Scott showed me some drills and exercises I can do to help her. He also told me trying to trial Beth would be a complete disaster. Good thing I didnt intend on trialing her....ever. I am very discouraged.
I am going back to basics with Beth until I get a grip on how to handle the schizophrenic firecracker. We cannot progress until I solve the flanking issue. I think Beth isn't the one who needs to build confidence. It is ME. I need to feel good about what I am doing and what I expect from her. My confidence will build her confidence and then we can get past this passive/agressive attitude of hers and progress.
We are going back to Fido's tomorrow to watch shearing and get some more practice in. I am also going to start seriously training Bonnie this week. My goal is to work the dogs every day for the next seven days - so I can build on the things I learned in the clinic.
While talking to fellow clinic participant (another novice like me) I learned of clinic in Caldwell Idaho organized by Diane Deal with Patrick Shannahan aimed at novice handlers and young dogs/puppies. I called today and signed Bonnie and myself up. It is May 3rd & 4Th.
Next month is the clinic with Karen Child that I have been anxiously waiting for.
Is it possible to attend too many clinics? Sometimes I think all the knowledge is good - but then I wonder if it isn't confusing me on some level? I would love to hear from you if you have taken many different clinics from different instructors. Was it helpful or detrimental?
Friday, March 20, 2009
Daisy Mae is a six month old 1/2 Border Collie and 1/2 Australian Shepherd pup
Daisy Mae came to us from Joan at the Idaho Domestic Animal Welfare Group (IDAWG). THANK YOU JOAN!
Joan sends countless Border Collies from Idaho to the West Coast of Washington State, where they have much higher odds of being adopted than they would in Idaho. Joan is why we have Beth & Ranger. She also sent us Tyler (the puppy we fostered in January).
Joan found Daisy Mae on Craig's List. The family that had Daisy decided she wasn't aggressive enough for them since she wouldn't bark at strangers. So they posted her on Craig's List (for sale) because they bought a pit-bull puppy. I pity the poor pit-bull puppy. Perhaps they need the pit-bull to guard their meth lab?
BEEP - We interrupt your regularly scheduled programming to bring you a momentary RANT
I have nothing against pit-bulls as a breed - just the idiots who want them to proliferate the aggressive reputation of the breed - it just chaps my hide when someone wants an aggressive dog - because pit-bulls are not aggressive - people like that make them that way! *bangsheadondesk*
We now return you to the normally scheduled programming.
Daisy has a cute little natural cropped tail, which wiggles her entire butt. She looks just like an adorable little teddy bear from behind, with all the curls and stubby tail.
She has the softest curliest coat I have seen in a long time. I love to run my fingers through her fur.
Daisy is affectionate and loving. She gives hugs and thinks she is a lap dog.
I giggled when I saw this picture, notice Bonnie's disembodied head below Daisy.
She is quite vocal and loves to express her pleasure with series of yips and barks. She makes me giggle.
Her recall is excellent, she is another Velcro dog and prefers to be right with you. Daisy is also VERY turned on to sheep. We haven't had the opportunity to fully test her on sheep yet - I cannot wait until we do.
Daisy has fit right into our existing pack quite nicely. Beth has even been sighted laying on the same dog bed as Daisy. Amazing huh?
Abby Update: Abby is being delivered to her new home in Pullman, WA today. She will be living with one other dog. A very submissive female Border Collie who does not have any interest or desire to play with toys. Abby will not have any one to challenge her OCD & toy obsession. Her new mom is an experienced Border Collie handler and takes the dogs to work with her every day. She trains cutting horses and Abby will get regular runs along side the horses every day. She will be to tired to be an obsessive neurotic dingbat. It is the perfect home for her!
Beth Update: Beth's wounds are healing nicely & the vet gave us the green light to participate in the Scott Glen clinic this weekend. Her activity is not restricted, which is a good thing because I have been looking forward to this clinic since December! WOOHOO! It is going to be a great weekend!
She keeps showing up in my dreams saying she wants to come live with me.
I have tried to explain to my husband that this is an Act of doG. He isn't buying it. He said I have a mental problem and need treatment.
If I adopted her I would name her Meg.
Meg is one of a litter of Border Collies that came into rescue from working parents on a ranch in Klamath Falls, OR.
My guess is she is going to be stuck like stink on sheep. *sigh*
Meg and her litter mates will be posted on the PNW Border Collie Rescue site soon. This litter of pups is being fostered in Moses Lake, WA.
Thursday, March 19, 2009
Wednesday, March 18, 2009
We seem to be on a roll. I really should have bought pet insurance.
Abby and Beth had a knock down, dirty, drag out b*tch fight today. We were all in the back yard. I turned on the hose to fill up the water bowls. The hose excites Beth and she thinks she is going to be able to chase the water. Abby took offense at Beth's excitement...
One minute everyone is getting along, happy happy joy joy....
The next thing I know they are rolling around the yard like a couple of screaming hyena's.
Since I was holding the water hose, I quickly changed the setting on the sprayer to FULL JET and began to soak them. It had absolutely NO EFFECT! I kept spraying...nothing.
Abby kept attacking Beth, even when she tried to get away and jumped on her back from behind. Then Bonnie was coming in behind Abby and nailing her on the rear legs as Abby was chewing on Beth's neck.
I dropped the hose and started grabbing dogs. When I got hold of Abby's collar (after being bit once in the leg - entirely my fault) I lifted her off of Beth. She didn't want to let go of Beth's neck. I jerked her once hard and she loosened her grip. I used my foot to push Bonnie off of Abby. Then I managed to grab Beth by the scruff of her neck. So there I stand with one dog in one hand and the other dangling from the other. I stumbled over to the back door, somehow got it open and threw Beth inside. Bonnie followed quickly behind her.
Poor Daisy and Ranger were standing about 15 feet away looking stunned - but safe.
Sitting down on the back porch I looked Abby over from nose to tail. She was bleeding from a laceration inside her mouth, but no signs of anything else serious. When Ranger and Daisy came over to sniff Abby growled and lunged at Ranger.
I left her outside, brought Ranger and Daisy in the house with me to check Beth & Bonnie. Bonnie was fine. Beth's wounds were another story and were going to need vet care.
After a trip to the vet Beth has sutures on two deep wounds, one right next to her eye and the other inside her ear. She has a severe puncture wound on her neck that has a pocket and may need further care if it gets infected. The rest of her wounds on her neck, back, hindquarters and legs are superficial.
All of Abby's wounds are superficial, except for a laceration inside her mouth in her gum line. The vet said it will heal itself without sutures.
Abby and Beth have been at odds since she arrived. I have watched my lovely stable pack go off the deep end in two weeks. Ranger also has bite wounds that were found on his neck Monday.
Abby is leaving. Her constant anxiety, unpredictable aggression & neurotic behavior is sending all the dogs over the edge. I believe that Abby was never properly socialized as a puppy and this will not get any better over time. It will only get worse. Abby needs to be placed in a home without other dogs. She needs to be in a foster home where they have the capability to keep the dogs separated. I do not have the ability to do that.
Abby is in her crate. John will be taking her to her new foster home first thing in the morning.
Say a couple prayers for the dogs - lets hope this begins the journey back to a calm and stable atmosphere for our pack. If things keep going like they have been - I am going to have a heart attack.
Tuesday, March 17, 2009
*gross content warning*
At 4AM this morning Bonnie was whimpering and whining in her crate. This is atypical for her & in my sleep hazed brain I didn't ask myself "why". I just let her out of the crate and we headed down stairs. She did her quick dash out into the back yard and reappeared at the door. I was happy it was so quick.
Bonnie dashed back up the stairs and we went back to her crate. But she didn't want to get in. She whimpered at me and I relented. Whoosh, up onto the bed she went.
Mind you...I didn't turn on the lights.
So we snuggle up and then an odor began to permeate my brain. The smell is emblazoned into my memory. I remembered that smell from many a child's leaky diaper. My blood froze...
I flipped on the light switch to see my beloved Bonnie squatting. As my eyes adjust, I see the trail of ....well.....you know ....liquid brown.... EVERYWHERE!
I shrieked "BONNIE NO!" She looked at me with the most pathetic, sad & guilty look, one only a dog can get as they are hovering their squirting butt over your luxurious down comforter. She felt horrible but was overwhelmed by her distressed derriere.
I wish I would have scooped her up and taken her down the stairs. Instead I watched in horror as she leaped off our bed, I followed her, listening to the damage squirt out her backside and ooze all over our bedroom carpet, down the stairs, through the living room, kitchen, dining room, finally the back yard. Where she sits still.
I have to have the comforter cleaned, my quilt, sheets, pillowcases are in the washer. One pillow will need to be thrown out. I spent the better part of an hour cleaning the carpet.
The smell is stuck in my nose, my house, our bedroom, our bed.
Never again will I let a whining, whimpering dog into our bed.
When surveying the damage John said "Look at it this way, at least the stuff that soaked through to the mattress is on my side of the bed". Then he left for work.
The poor poor man...he knows he is toast.
He is the one who fed Bonnie the left over pieces of chicken from the store bought rotisserie chicken. I think dribbling the fat from the bottom of the container over her food may have been a tad to much for her gastrointestinal system. He escaped at an appropriate time...
Sunday, March 15, 2009
I learned so much as the timekeeper. I was able to watch everything and hear the judges comments. One thing I realized - Beth and I could do this. So I think I am going to take the plunge and enter a trial in the near future.
The weather for the trial could only be termed as completely schizophrenic. One minute it was sunny, the next hail, sleet or horizontal rain. The tent we were standing in did no good. We were freezing and soaked to the skin several times. I couldn't feel my nose after 11 am. Elsie Rhodes took pity on me and loaned me her waterproof chaps, because I foolishly only wore jeans with my boots.
After the trial I went with Jodi, Janie, Jaenne, Colleen to dinner and had a wonderful time talking 'dogs' over some great food and hard apple cider - YUMMY! I think I may take up their invitation to go to the AHBA trial at Janie's on April 4th & 5th in Calwell, Idaho. When I told them I didn't think Beth and I were ready Jodi laughed and told me "Get out there and suck like the rest of us!". Why not!
Saturday after the trial I picked up our newest foster dog, Daisy. She is an gorgeous 6 month old Border Collie/Aussie mix. She has the classic markings of a border collie with a short tail and loads of CURLS! Lots and lots of springy curls!! I can't wait to get some pictures of her.
Today Beth and I went back to Fido's. We spent some time working a nice group of lambs. We helped Sylvia move the lambs through several different pens, then move the ewes from the high pasture into the barn. In doing this Beth really impressed me with her restraint and how well she was listening to me. I am going to go back this week and practice on the trial course (before Chris breaks it down) and see if we really can do this. Beth has had only a little pen work and it will be a good thing for me to become more secure in this.
Today before we left for Fido's we had a serious incident with Ranger. I don't know if his nose is out of joint with the foster dogs, or there is something else wrong. I am very worried about him.
Edited Post 3/17/09 Removed this section (Update: Ranger's vet visit results posted in comments)
I would love to hear if you have ever had an experience like this with your dog. What happened? Was there anything physical wrong with your dog? What did you do to get past it?
Thanks in advance!
Thursday, March 12, 2009
A wonderful family came on Tuesday to meet Abby. The family consists of Grandpa, Grandma and their adult daughter who takes care of them. I was concerned due to their age and lifestyle that Abby had too much energy and would overwhelm them with her hyperactivity. Meeting with Abby they were able to see she did indeed have the potential to drive them insane.
While talking to them Elf was very bravely coming to the doorway and peeping at them, then whoosh...gone in the flash.
Grandpa asked about the dog that was peering into the room. I told them a little bit about Elf and his history. I didn't hold anything back. Then Grandpa pulled out his wallet and showed me pictures of the border collie he just lost. He said Elf reminded him of her. Then grandpa slowly slide off the couch and onto the floor where Elf could see he wasnt a threat.
Remember Elf is terrifed of men and strange people - which makes this even more remarkable.
Elf slowly made his way over to him and his daughter. To make a long story short - Elf liked them both after a little bit of warming up.
Later we went for a walk with their German Shepherd to make sure they would get along. No issues. When we were on our way back - Elf saw Grandpa waiting for him at the drive way, he almost yanked my arm out of its socket so he could get to him. When we got close he zipped right behind him and stayed very close to his legs then he looked at the car and acted like he wanted to get in it with them. Grandpa was in love. The deal was sealed. Elf was going to them after they passed their home visit.
They are prepared for the housebreaking issues, the panic attacks and the extreme fear. They are commited to Elf and aware of all his issues.
I am so happy for Elf. He is going to be spoiled ROTTEN! I will be bringing him to his new home Friday where his new name will be McDuff (Duffy for short).
Goodbye Sweet Boy...
Tuesday, March 10, 2009
When we arrived at the river it looked like this...
Within minutes, all the dogs were soaked to the skin.
They didn't care about wet fur. Like crack addicts all they care about is their next fix.
They are slaves to the ball...
I wish I could hear what goes on in their heads. Something tells me it would be like...
I think I need to work with them on their communication skills.
Monday, March 9, 2009
This morning was snowy and cold. I had to forcibly push Abby and Ranger out the door. They were none to happy about it. Oh well, mom needs some quiet time...
So there I sit in my lovely home office at my computer desk, next to the window.
When I get this feeling....you know the one I am talking about. The back of your neck tingles and your skin crawls a bit. Someone is watching you...
We live in a large development and the houses are close - but my blinds are closed. Who could even see me?
I went back to reading....and tried to think of something else. Then I hear scratching, whining and wimpering. I grabbed the camera & slowly lifted the blinds.
I spy with my little eyes - a peeping Ranger.
Ranger is sitting on the whiskey barrel that I grow my tomato plants in beneath the window.
He wasn't alone
Hey Mom - let us in, it is COLD out here! Wait? Where did she go?
AH HA! There you are! LET ME IN!
Please MOM - we are FREEZING! My claws are turning BLUE!
Hey Ranger, maybe if I scratch on the window a whole bunch she will let us in?
I dont think this is working. She is laughing at us now...
Lets try a different strategy Bonnie. Why don't we go over here in the snow and look like we are freezing to death. Then she will have to let us in. Bonnie, look at the window and shake...