Friday, December 23, 2011

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas!!!

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Two days of awesome at Fido's Farm

The dogs and I headed south to Olympia, WA, for 4 hours of lessons with Scott Glen.  The lessons were held at Fido's Farm, a literal doggy paradise with huge fields, small pens, and everything in between ... and lovely, not-dog-broke sheep!  North Country Cheviots, to be precise.  I love their bunny ears!

The traffic was non-existent, so we got to our lesson over 1.5 hours early.  The dogs had a nice run in one of the fields.

When two worlds collide:  Hello Kitty meets Alta Pete - Aim High versus Do What You Can!

One of the highlights of any trip - Red Lobster!  So good, I couldn't even save a biscuit for the dogs.  

Lou was zonked from his lesson.

Wick was zonked from ... who knows what?  But it's always a good thing when Wick is sleeping, so we won't analyze root cause.

At the end of our lessons on Tuesday, Scott was nice enough to pose with the Hello Kitty stick.  He is an awfully good sport.

Wick got to do a little agility in the sun.  At 11 years old, she still has a ton of go.

The collies bid farewell to Fido's.  What a glorious sunny day!

Seattle's skyline always makes me smile.

Scooby Snacks make me smile too!

And perhaps the biggest score - massive sale on Coach bags at the outlet store!

It was a fantastic two days with Scott.  His understanding of dogs, sheep, combined with his timing ... let's just say he can make my dogs look pretty good.  I've got some things to work on with both the boys, and hopefully we're turning the corner on Rex's angst/tension driving.  Lou and Rex really enjoyed practicing shedding on the lovely, sheddable Cheviots.  It doesn't get much better than private shedding lessons with a man who OWNS the shed.  If you have the chance to attend a clinic, or take lessons, I can't recommend him highly enough.  I understand that he will be the next instructor for the Online Sheep Dog Training Course and I am so signing up!

Oh, one of the fun things about Fido's is that they've got agility equipment too.  I rented one of the rings and ran Wick and Rex through a few sequences.  For Rex, it was his first time seeing some of the equipment (slatted dogwalk, rigid tire).  Even though he must have been tired after his sheep lesson, I thought he did great!  Even ignored the sheep in all the paddocks surrounding the agility ring.  What a good little dog.

Thursday, November 03, 2011

TMT November 3

1. What are you thankful for this week?
This week, I am thankful for miracles and Good Samaritans.  My boss and his wife were in a horrible plane crash and they literally were pulled from the burning wreckage by people who jumped out of their cars and ran into the fire.  Because of these brave men, my friends are alive and should make a full recovery.

2. How do you deal with a squeaker/shrieker/noisy dog?
My Bear dog was a bit of a squeaker.  I guess I dealt with it by sighing deeply.  :-)

3. What would you say is ONE skill or attribute needed to be successful? 
I think that you need to be prepared.  Like a boy scout.  Was it boy scouts that were prepared?  Or was it the cubs?  Beavers?  Brownies?  Mmmmm .... brownies .....  What was the question again?

4. What are your favorite games?
My dogs like Charge of the Light Brigade, where they storm out of a door and run in a straight line AS FAST AS POSSIBLE.  Then they return to me, their benevolent dictator, and line up, waiting to be sent again.  It's a stupid game but they like it.  I like Texas Hold 'Em but I giggle when I have a good hand, so I'm pretty easy to beat.  I also am not good at holding my cards in a discreet manner and often get reprimanded by the dealer.  I should probably only play online.

5. What are some of your strategies for dealing with winter?
My strategy is living in a place that doesn't really have winter.  In Vancouver, we have "it's raining" and "it's not raining".  We've entered the "it's raining" season, and my coping strategy is to cover up the white leather couch with a series of unattractive blankets.  Hopefully, this will see us through to next July, when "it's not raining" starts.

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

May the Force Be With You ... always

Help me, Obi-Wan Kenobi

She's lost her mind

Ashamed, I am.

Do or do not.  There is no try.  Though I am trying really hard to go to my happy place.

Come to the Dark Side!

We have cookies!

Even Lord Vader needs to nap.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Falling into Fall

It must be Fall on the West Coast.  The leaves are turning, the grass has been cut for what I hope to be the last time, and we've got only one more agility trial this year.

At the last trial, Rex missed two dogwalks (gasp!), so I thought I'd run him over it a few times, as well as work on a few other things.  Hopefully, he remembers some of this stuff at the trial this weekend.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Today I am thankful for

Happy Thanksgiving!  Before I leave for my brother's to gorge on turkey, I will take a moment to give thanks for my canine blessings.

First, to my crazy girl, Wick, who continues to blaze around like a 3 year-old.  Wick must be around 11, and shows no sign of slowing down.  Hopefully, we'll be able to finish that ATChC soon, and then we'll work to get tuned up for regionals and nationals next year.

Second, I am thankful for my good dog, Lou.  He just laid down two pretty nice runs at Paxton Valley this past weekend.  We missed too many panels to get a decent score, but his outwork was, as usual, just beautiful.  I don't think I'll ever get tired of watching him lift sheep.   It's just ... perfect.

And finally, I am thankful for Rex.  He has been the opposite of Lou for me - he's tough, head-strong, and has a temper.  I've thought about quitting herding with him more than once, but I'm glad I didn't.  This weekend was the first time I truly enjoyed running him, even though we earned letters on both runs.    Rex tries really hard, and the least I can do is try with him.

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

RIP Steve Jobs

Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them. About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them. Because they change things. They push the human race forward. And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Dites-Moi Jeudi

1. What movie do you love but are too embarrassed to admit you love it?
I have horrific taste in movies (and music and TV) and it would take a lot for me to be embarrassed.  I know my friends are embarrassed by how many times I've seen St. Elmo's Fire.  I also was the only person willing to admit that I liked Gattaca.

2.  How far do you drive/travel to attend trials, clinics, lessons? How far is too far?
I'll do a day's worth of driving, so 11-12 hours.  So what's too far?  I guess 13 hours.  :-)  Next year, I want to go to the trial in Sonoma, so that will be more than one day's drive.  I just got a new truck, so I'm itching to explore some wide open spaces.

3. What is your theme song (circa Ally McBeal)?
LOL!  Have you seen the TV show, New Girl?  She makes up little encouraging theme songs for herself on the fly.  I wish I had that kind of talent.  I do have dog-sport theme songs.  Let's see ... when I'm going to the line with Wick in agility, I am humming Edge of Glory, or something by Pink.  Wick is all rebellious, yo.  Going to the post with Lou, it's that Snow Patrol song, Chasing Cars ("If I lay here, if I just lay here ...").  Going to the post with Rex, while my outside voice is hissing threats ("I will EFFING KILL YOU"), our song is K'naan's Waving Flag.

4. If you had to choose a new dog activity, one that you had never done before, what would you choose?
Go to ground.  Definitely.  No cages, keep what you catch.

5. What would your dog choose?
Wick would choose go to ground, or whatever its proper name is.  Lou would like to try sledding, though he would be bundled up in ermine and riding in the sled.  Rex wants to go play in the Ikea ball room.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

What the dog sees

I've always had this idea of mounting a video camera on Lou's head, to see what life looks like from the POV of a sheepdog.  Despite Lou having one of the largest heads in border collie history, the camera's never been able to stay mounted.  Until now.  May I present ...

The Looxcie.
Now this, combined with a little bit of elastic headband stuff, WILL stay on the dog's head.

The result (neither of these videos should be watched by anyone prone to motion sickness!):

And since that was so much fun, I wondered what agility would look like from the dog's POV.  Again, if you get motion sick, do not click this!

Thursday, September 08, 2011

Tell Me Thursday - Back to School edition

1. What is the biggest thing that grossed you out over the past week?
Let's see, living a fairly sheltered life, I am not exposed to much grossness.  I guess the dead chicken that I stumbled upon when I went to let the hens out of my friend's chicken house would be it.  And even then, it wasn't super-gross.  Just ... kinda gross.

2. What do you feed your dogs?
They eat a prepared raw food from Happy Dogs Raw .  It comes in frozen, 125gr squares.  Lou and Wick get 2 squares a meal, Rex gets 3.  When we're on the road, they eat Go! Grain Free.  They also get salmon oil, a joint supplement, and whatever I don't eat.

3. If you could move anywhere where would you live?
Right here!  It's perfect.  I'm thinking about getting a cabin on the Sunshine Coast, which is a whopping 40 minute ferry ride away.  That way, I won't be too far from home.  Wanderlust, that ain't me.

4. What is the funniest thought that occurred to you (or thing that happened to you) this week?
My friend and I were getting pedicures at lunch the other day at a place neither of us had been.  They sit you in these great massaging chairs.  Well, we dip our feet in the tub, the chairs start going and the undulating massage motions start in the most SURPRISING way.  It's like a cross between a very slow mechanical bull ride and having your ass massaged like bread dough.  When it started to VIBRATE on top of the bull-riding/dough kneading, we had to turn the chairs off.

5. If you couldn't have your breed of choice what would be next on your list?
I have always coveted little dogs, like IGs and Paps.  I know that my collies would trample anything smaller than a sheltie, though, so I guess that will never happen.  I like shelties too, except for the barking.  But I doubt I'll ever have anything but border collies.  My heart belongs to the tuxedos.

Friday, September 02, 2011

Western Canadians - the video version

Well, I still haven't got around to processing most of my photos.  I blame Lightroom and all their awesome presets for the delay.

In the meantime, here's a slideshow from the trial.  These photos are not re-touched; the trial field truly is that spectacular.

Thursday, September 01, 2011

Tell me Thursday - it's September already?!?

1. What five things can't you live without?
Coffee.  My geek gadgets (iPhone, iPad, MacBook).  Kiehl's Ultra Facial Moisturizer.  Audiobooks for the long drives.  Food Network.

2. How do you transport your dogs?
Ah, that would be the Hello Kitty Van!  It's a 2005 Ford Freestar that has about 156,000 km on it.  I bought it with 15K km on it, so it's done a bit of dog transport for me.  I am kinda over the minivan, though, and I'm going to go back to an SUV.  Probably an Expedition or a Yukon.  Maybe a Suburban if I can figure out how to park it.

3. What role does obedience play in your training or running of your dog(s)?
In agility, apparently none!  So long as they don't cause trouble running with the other dogs at the trial and they don't make a scene when crated, I consider them suitably obedient.

In herding, I have one that is EXTREMELY obedient in trials, though he kind of blows me off when training.  Seriously, Lou takes maybe 50% of my commands when we're training, but 100% in trials.  I guess better handlers would do something about that.  Still, he's a very natural dog, and I generally leave him alone on the outwork.  Because he can't hold a line on the drive, I whistle a LOT, and he takes every one of them.  Is that obedient?

Rex is as obedient as his genetics allow him to be.  There are times when his tension overrides his obedience and then we have a big ol' wreck.  But it's getting better.  Slowly.

4. At what point do you start putting commands on your dogs?
I've never trained a herding dog (I buy 'em trained, or have them trained).  In agility, I put a command on the behaviour once the dog is offering me the behaviour reliably (80% of the time).

5. Do you talk to strangers in elevators?
Oh yes.  I'm very sad that I currently work on the 3rd floor as the elevator ride is too short to engage strangers in random talk.  In fact, it has been pointed out that  I should be taking the stairs, so short is the walk up.  Pox on those people, I say!  Have you seen the height of my heels?

When I worked on the 19th floor, I had a lot of fun talking to people in the elevator.  It's also fun to eavesdrop.  In venture capital, there's something called an "elevator pitch" where you have to sell an investor on your idea in the time it takes to ride the elevator to his floor.  I enjoyed listening in on desperate entrepreneurs pitching their Next Big Thing to a bored, somewhat drowsy investment banker.  Sometimes, I would even join in!

Somewhat random side note:  do not, with four colleagues, bounce up and down in the elevator to see if you can achieve zero gravity.  You will anger the elevator and it will stop, then you will have to make the call of shame using that little telephone under the number panel.  It will take them a long time to restore service and you will regret drinking so much bottomless pop at Red Robin.  Just saying ...

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Western Canadians

It's been 4 years since we've been in Cranbrook. When I signed up for the East Kootenay SDT in 2007, I thought Cranbrook was near Kelowna. When I told my dad this, he was quite alarmed (as it's about 6 hours from Kelowna, and about 12 hours from my house). I remember my dad meticulously wrote out directions on his little notepad while we sat at the BC Cancer Agency, waiting for his chemo appointment. I lost my dad a few weeks after that, and I always think of him when I think of Cranbrook.

This time, the trip to Cranbrook was to compete in the Western Canadian/CBCA championships. I knew it would be hot, and that the sheep would be tough, and that Lou is just a wee bit out of shape (reference earlier blog posts about his rigourous, pre-championship training). On balance, I'm happy with how he did. The outrun was short (maybe 385 yards) but the drive was quite long.

Before I sent him on his second go, I looked down at him (he has this disconcerting habit of staring STRAIGHT INTO MY EYES when he's at the post) and I thought of all the times we've been here, of how much fun I've had on this journey with him. I kind of got teary and whispered "Thank you". His eyes went wide with confusion and he flipped around to look behind him. Clearly, he was thinking "Great, she's changed my whistles twice, and now she's come up with new verbals too! What the eff flank was that?!?" Moral of the story: don't get maudlin at the post - it ain't the time or place.

Got to watch some great dogs, shoot the shit with people I see only at these kind of trials, and engaged in my favourite past-time:  trailer mooching.  I managed to get quite a few drinks, and some cheese and other snacks.

I've got a ton of pics, which I'll post later. In the meantime, here's one of the collies, relaxing against the stunning backdrop that is Pine Butte Ranch.

Monday, August 22, 2011

RIP Jack Layton

My friends, love is better than anger. Hope is better than fear. Optimism is better than despair. So let us be loving, hopeful and optimistic. And we'll change the world. - Jack Layton

A Bronze Weekend

We went into PAC needing 2 gambles to complete Wick's ATChC.  We left PAC needing ... two gambles.  Drats!  I am starting to wonder if she might be approaching a record in terms of 'longest to ATChC'.  In fairness, she barely trialed the last 4 years but still!  Oh well, we'll just keep plugging away.

She did finish her Bronze Snooker and Bronze Steeplechase titles so that's ... something.  She also seems to have lost her contacts.  If you've seen them, please drop me a line.  We'll need them by the Spring please.

Rex was very enthusiastic.  I guess my thoughtful, quiet dog is gone forever.  He did some nice things this weekend, including a 90 degree turn off the dogwalk over a jump.  He also tried to take me out at the knees a few times, and seems to think the teeter is some sort of dock-diving prop.  So ... yeah.

Our friend, Nicki, stayed the weekend.  She brought the two shelties, Ninja and Ice, and Lou's nephew, FedX.

For the weekend, anyway, the border collie totem pole was 4 high.  :-)

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Tell Me Thursday for August 18

Here we go again!

1. Who is your newest dog? Where is he/she from, and why did you choose this particular dog/breeding? 
My newest dog is Rex, aka The Rexxon Valdez (hardly a new acquisition, he's 4 years old and been with me for a year and a half).  This little guy came from a friend in Evansburg, Alberta.  I chose him because said friend told me he was a really good dog.  :-)  I also wanted something from these lines - tough, Western Canadian stock dogs with perhaps more heart than sense.  His mother, Trax, goes back to  Elvin Kopp dogs on the top, and to Ken MacKenzie's good Rope dog on the bottom.  His father, Tweed, was out of Kelly (mother to Scott Glen's Pleat and Tala) by Peter Gonnet's Craig.   It is quite probable that the crazy goes back to the sire's side.  

2. What traits drew you to this dog or breeding?
I wanted a dog with plenty of come forward and that's what I've got!  I don't know that I've ever blown a walk-up whistle to this dog.  That he is a tri-colour is a bonus - I actually bought him sight unseen.   If only his ears were uppy, he would be perfect!

3. What's on your feet right now? 
Ah, my beloved Fit Flops!  They are my lay-about, go-to choice for the summer.  They are also hideous to look at, and shouldn't leave the house (which is fine because I'm on the couch).

4. What are you reading right now? 
I've started The Household Guide to Dying, by Debra Adelaide.  It's pretty funny for a book about a dying woman making lists to leave to her husband and two daughters.  It's set in Australia, and thus there are charming colloquialisms unique to the antipodes - love that!  Oh, and it was on sale at Chapters, which is the primary criteria for my book selection.

I recently finished Mennonite in a Little Black Dress by Rhonda Janzen.  This seriously is one of the funniest books I've read.  Think of all of your childhood angst rooted in your families' weirdness.  Remember when your friends would come over and your mom would serve something vaguely ethnic?  Remember your embarrassment?  Her stories will put yours to shame!

5. What upcoming trials are you looking forward to? If you don't trial dogs I'll take whatever activity that you're looking forward to. 
Next week, we leave for the Western Canadian/CBCA Championships near Cranbrook, BC.  I'll be running Lou in what likely will be his last time at this event.  At 9, I'm starting to see him slowing down, and I don't know that I'm gonna keep asking him to go 600+ yards on a gather.  Lou has other opinions on this, of course, so who knows, maybe he'll run til he's in his teens.

My goal for this trial is to enjoy every moment of it.  Canadian handlers are a fairly unique bunch, which makes for a hilarious handler's tent.  There are folks that I see only at big events like this, and I'm much looking forward to the gossipping and wagering (oh yes, we bet on stuff).  But mostly, I want to do right by Lou, a dog who has literally carried me since I stepped to the post in the spring of 2006.  I know he doesn't read the scoreboard, or lay awake at night re-living the shame of a late whistle, but I would like to have 2 runs where I'm in the moment, focussed, and a holding up my end of the partnership.  I don't know what I'm going to wear though.  Amanda always has such nice outfits.  She sets the bar high.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

It's a bird! It's a plane! It's ... Lou?

Yes, it's Lou!  With very minimal training (like, I threw him over some jumps in the backyard two days before), Lou made his Jumpers debut at the ASCA Agility trial.

I think we can all agree that he is the Cutest Jumper Ever!

Then there's the Rexxon Valdez.  He is nothing if not enthusiastic.  Sometimes, though, enthusiasm can get you in trouble.  Witness Tire Fail™ .  These pictures are courtesy of Bob at Wild Hare Photography.  Thanks Bob!  And don't worry, Rex was just fine.  The side straps on the tire gave way as soon as he hit it.

And just to prove he's not a complete spaz, here are a few of his runs.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Tell Me Thursday for August 11

Brought to you by the good folks (ok, Laura) at Crooks and Crazies, even though she doesn't have me on her blog list.  :-)

In sheepdog training (or lets call it *any* type of training), how do you keep from taking yourself, your dog, your lack of progress too seriously?
Um, by not training?  :-)  No, that is not a responsible answer.  Think of something else.  Oh, a dog's life is so brief, we must treasure every single freakin' moment with them because soon they'll be dead.  No, too maudlin.  Drats.  Focus here.

OK, in agility, what one has to say/do to get a dog around a course should be enough to negate any seriousness from training.  My neighbours bear witness to this as they are subjected to a skinny chick and a barking dog running a little obstacle course in the backyard.   When your verbal cue for the dogwalk is "GIDDYUPGOGOGOGOGO", how seriously can you take it?

In herding, well, clearly I'm not serious because I still refer to it as 'herding' and not 'working stock'.  Sign 1 that you are not in the presence of a Serious Handler.   The one thing that I consistently care about in herding is the welfare of the sheep.  So long as our training doesn't involve subjecting the sheep to stress, then I figure we're doing ok.  Except lambs.  It's ok to torture lambs if it involves getting a good photo.

How many crates do you have? For reals.
For realz, I have three in the van, one extra crate in the garage (RIP Bear) and two soft crates that I use at agility trials.  So 6, for 3 dogs.  Oh, and 2 ex-pens, not sure if those count, but those are used for communal crating at agility trials.  I have no crates in the house.

How do you keep your dogs in shape?
This is an area in which I am ashamed!  I am not very good about this at all.  Let's see ... the dogs have a dogwalker who takes them on hikes 5 days a week.  Wick and Rex bomb around for a few hours on the hike, but Lou kind of trots with the dogwalkers.  I've been meaning to take them to the trails around here and running them but that would involve (a) getting off the couch and (b) running.

Last winter, I took the boys to a swimming place a couple times a month and I think I'll do that again.  Other than that, they play ball in the yard, 2 of them go to agility class weekly, and we do a little agility practice 2-3 times a week in the yard.

Who is your favorite movie/tv star eye candy at the moment?
Bradley Cooper.  Yummy!!!

Honourable Mention to Eric the Vampire:

What is your livestock situation? Have your own? Borrow? Herd the cats? (You can subsitute other equipment for livestock if you don't work stock with your dogs). 
Currently I have a lot of slugs.  I don't know why there are so many this year but it's added a new post-work activity:  slug stomping.  They have eaten my peppers and are setting their sights on my squash.  They will die.  Oh, and they don't flock well so we can't work them.

For sheep, I am terribly fortunate that my good friend with sheepies lives only 45 minutes from me.  I try and get out there once a week, and the boys work her sheep (and Lou occasionally gets to work the chickens).  To be honest though, my friend and I usually find an excuse not to work sheep, and we go plant shopping.  Not my fault, read preceding paragraph about marauding slugs.

Oh!  Hey!  I'm done!  Woot!  Cookie time!

Monday, August 08, 2011

The Road to Western Canadians

As part of Lou's rigourous prep for Western Canadians at the end of the month, we've signed up for three agility trials ... wait, what??  Lou says if anything goes sideways in Cranbrook, please note that while his peers were going to trials and working tough range ewes, he was here:

This was a nice local trial and we only competed on Sunday.  I just wanted to get Rex out of Starters Jumpers and maybe pick up another Standard.  Um ... fail!  In fact, Rex went 0/4.  Still, he did some nice things, and I am really happy with his contacts.  Each trial, though, he is getting louder and faster.  The latter is good, the former is driving me nuts.  For the umpteenth time, I will declare:  I should do something about the barking.

And then there's the Wickens.  She had 5 very nice runs, though she only Q'ed in 1.  In each of the others, she had one mistake.  Still, she's running really well and is obviously getting my hopes up for next year.  If things continue this way, Wick will get better and better until about 2 weeks before Nationals, at which time she will develop a crippling phobia of either the teeter or the dogwalk (or maybe both - yay!!).  Ah Wick, how you test me.  In anticipation of this, I have bought her a Thundershirt and several gallons of Rescue Remedy.

So while she's running well, let's throw the video superstition out the window and show some of her runs, and Rex's too.

Thursday, August 04, 2011

Tell Me Thursday

Laura at Crooks and Crazies has this Tell Me Thursday thing and since I have nothing else for the blog because I think this is going to be both fun and informative, here goes my mine.

(1) How did you get into border collies (or whatever your dogs of choice are)? What started it all? 
The year was 1999.  It was a balmy spring ... wait, what?  Oh, the short version.  OK, my boyfriend broke up with me and I was so traumatized that I decided to make a radical change in my life.  The choices were cut my hair short or adopt a dog.  I like long hair.  Therefore, I went to my local SPCA and adopted Bear, aka The Best Dog Ever.

Bear sent me down the path of dog sports and Being A Crazy Dog Lady.  After a few years, I decided Bear needed a friend and I sought to adopt a rescue Aussie.  There weren't many in rescue at the time, so I expanded the search to include rescue border collies.  Enter ... The Wickens.

While she was not without her challenges, she and Bear became fast friends, and were inseparable for the next 8 years.

It was around this time that my obsession with Photoshop began too.

Because Wick is a border collie, I was told she probably would like to work sheep.  I mean what border collie wouldn't?  The answer - Wick!  She had no interest in working sheep and 9+ years later, still doesn't.  But Bear liked it, so we started that.  After years (literally) of trying to get my dog to lie down, stop, or even acknowledge me on the field, I admitted that he probably wasn't going to cut it as a sheep dog.  I really liked working stock though.  Hmmm ... 

I had an opportunity to buy a trained dog who was closely related to many dogs that I admired.  His name was Lou, and he became my partner in this crazy journey of One Girl and Her Dog.  Lou has carried me through the past 5 years of trialing and has shown me a whole new world.  He also is really lazy and likes to be lifted onto the bed.

Oh, and this is Rex.  He's insane.

(2) How many dogs do you have? All dog math variations accepted.
Three.  One girl dog, two boy dogs.  I like this number.  They fit in one ex-pen.  I can walk 3 while drinking a coffee.  They fit nicely in a van.  Also, it's the max number you're allowed in my city and I'm kind of a law and order buff.

(3) What do you do for a day job? 
I'm a project manager at a technology company.  This involves a set of complex tasks and skills.  At a very high level, a project manager:
  • Makes a list of things to do
  • Identifies the resource responsible for each task
  • Identifies the date that the task should end
  • Assigns blame when the deadline comes and goes.  This may involve naming and shaming not just the resource but his/her entire business unit.  I really enjoy my work and feel I was born to do this.

(4) What questions would you like to answer (or ask)? 
I'm not sure what this means.  Maybe that's the question I would like to ask!

(5) What was for dinner last night?
Let's see ... I guess it could be described as rotini with a ragu sauce.  The sauce was a concatenation of the previous day's pulled pork and a jar of Newman's Own Marinara sauce.  And then I had a Diet Dr Pepper and three popsicles.  'Cause it's summer.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Who trained this animal?

We survived another agility trial, though Lou says the boredom made him want to throw himself in front of a bus.  Luckily, he is too lazy to walk all the way down to the busy road.

Wick continued to show that she is the undisputed Top Agility Dog in Collie Nation.  She smoked all 3 of her Standard runs and had a very fast Steeplechase too.  Her first Jumpers was a little messy but she Q'ed it.  Her second Jumpers was GORGEOUS but we had a run-by at the second-last obstacle.  The gamble wasn't to be ... still need two more.  As usual, no video of Wick's awesomeness because of my deep-rooted superstitions, but trust me, she was fab.

And then there's Rex.  My thoughtful, careful agility dog has become a screaming, bouncing big ol' mess!  Seriously, who trained this dog?  Despite the chaos, he managed to Q four of his classes, so he is now in Advanced Gamblers and Snooker, and he finally got a Starters Jumpers Q.  His first Standard run was his nicest of the trial, even though he jumped off the table.  Oh, and he finally missed a dogwalk!  This was probably the 12th dogwalk he's done in a trial, so it was about time he missed one.  Was starting to think the running contact thing was too easy.  Here's a video of some of his runs.

And in an "awwww" moment, Rex now has his own AAC Trial Results page.  All together now ... "awwwwww".  :-)

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Dances with Collies

Life is pretty tough when you're a working sheepdog.  Sometimes, you just need to blow off a little steam.  Here are four competitors (Gin, Creed, Rex and Lou) from the World Stock Dog Championships, enjoying time at the river behind the Saddledome.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Live like you were dying

For the fourth year in a row, I made the trek to the Calgary Stampede.  There was a field trial immediately prior, so of course I had to go to that too.  I'd heard so much about the mosquito situation that I'd spent the couple days prior to departure clearing the stores of the various skeeter repellents.  These things were awesome:

As I keep reminding myself, I won't have Lou to run forever.  With this in mind, then, I went to the post each time with joy and pride in my trusty partner.  Unfortunately for him, HIS partner didn't hold up her end at the pen.  But the beauty of being a dog is that you don't dwell on things.  You go out, move the sheep, sometimes you put them in the pen, sometimes you don't, and generally someone buys you fries.  Lou knows the drill.

Here's a little video slideshow of our trip to Alberta.  Live like you were dying!

Monday, July 04, 2011

My name is Lou, and I am a border collie

Only Canadians are going to get this.  :-)
Hey, I'm not a heeler, or an aussie, or a lassie collie
I don't bite people, or dogs, or cats
and I don't know the dogs from Babe
although I'm certain they're really really nice.

I have eye, not a bark
I respond to whistles, not yelling
And I cast wide, not run up the middle

I am welcome on most farms
I can lie quietly for hours, until it is time to work
I believe in calm control of my sheep, not brute force
And that slow is smooth, and smooth is fast.
A flank should bend nicely,
And lie down means stop.

We are the world's premier stockdog
The smartest dog in the dog world
and the shepherd's best friend.

My name is Lou
And I am a border collie!!!

Monday, June 27, 2011

Unveiling the Masterpiece!

Well, not a masterpiece, and still very much a work in progress, but Rex debuted his much-documented running dogwalk this past weekend at the Kee-Gigg trial in Cloverdale.  The first one was a horrible toenail-in-the-yellow, but the other five were quite nice.  He did a lot of good things and I'm really thrilled with where he is at this nascent point in his agility career.  He earned Qs in 4 of 6 runs.

Atta boy, Rex!

And then there is Miss Wicky, who once again ran very very well.  I don't have much video of her because I'm kinda superstitious and it seems like every time I have the video going, she has a horrible run (or I break my nose).  So though there's no evidence of it, she picked up Qs in each of Snooker, Steeplechase and .... Gamblers!  She almost Q'ed the other Steeplechase.  In AAC, an off-course in Steeplechase is a 20 second time penalty.  Well, Wick went off-course (into a tunnel - how strange) and still almost qualified as she was 19 seconds under time.  That would have been so awesome!  Oh well.

Here are the agility dogs in their keen harnesses.  Lou is hiding somewhere in the house, ashamed of his lack of harness.  :-)