Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Trial Update: Stout Qualified!!!

Yes, Stout qualified!!
I made a slight tactical error and entered him in Novice JWW. At a one ring trial. That runs Excellent JWW, then Excellent Standard, Open Standard, Novice Standard, then Open JWW, and finally, freaking Novice JWW. What was I thinking??
We walked the course at 7:00pm. Porter had finished running at about 4. We could have been gone & done eating, with bellies full of beer...
I offered not to run him. Jodi (my ride) offered to call me a cab  :)  But in the end, my die-hard friends stayed (or came back) to watch the enigma that we call Stout.
There was a bet on the table. If he ran off after 2 jumps & we didn't finish the course, then I owed them all beers. Thankfully the little guy pulled one out for me!


It wasn't exactly pretty, though that ending was kind of nice...
He broke his first start line stay. He visited almost everyone in the ring. He ran around one jump. He missed his weaves the first time. But I was still thrilled!
When he visited, he didn't stay long. He only ran around the jump because I did a rear cross... I hadn't worked on his weaves as much lately...
So things I learned from this one run:
  • I already know that rear crosses aren't a good choice for him yet. Every time I've done one, he's reacted the exact same way. It's like I'm swinging him out into the wild, he's free to choose to do whatever he wants  :)  He's not experienced enough to look for the next obstacle when I do it...
  • When I ran & stayed ahead of him, he was happy to chase me. And he was fast! And he looked for the jumps to take.
  • In order to do that, I have to quit babysitting him. I have to give him a little trust. If I hadn't worried about where he was in the beginning & micro-managing him, I could have done a blind cross & eliminated the need for the rear cross.
So we will be incorporating these things this coming weekend at our next trial. I may need a gentle reminder...
Such a good Stouter-pup, I could just eat him up!  :)

Monday, August 26, 2013

Trial Update: A Perfect Weekend!

It was a good weekend!

So my decision to take 11 weeks off from trialing in AKC agility turned out to be a good one: 2 QQ's for Porter & a Q in Novice JWW for Stout!

(There were 2 NADAC agility trials during the break, but even they were 6 weeks apart...)

But yes, we were 5 for 5, with all 1st places!


We traveled up to Queen City again with my friend Jodi (and her border-collie-in-a-Chihuahua-suit Maya & Dezi the Podengo Potato).

Ironically enough, Porter's last "perfect trial weekend" like this was one year ago at this very trial!

We started Saturday morning with JWW:

18 PACH points! We've never had that many in JWW!

Notice anything different? Porter is now jumping 4"  :)

At our last trial in June, Porter had a challenge measurement and finally measured into the 8" regular class! I guess I could move him back into the regular division and continue to jump 8", but, umm, we were still in Open  :)  So I'd have some ground to make up. And I think doing that may ruin my eligibility for Nationals in 2014.

I don't think Porter minds the 4"  :)

31 PACH points! Another record! Yeah, Porter likes 4"  :)

Sunday's classes:

Another 18 PACH points

Like our cross after the weaves? Thank you, Porter, for saving us  :)  I don't know what I was thinking, but Porter took matters into his own paws & he was right!

29 PACH points

That may have been the first time I've ever called Porter off of a tunnel/chute  :)  My voice cracked (stupid allergies) and I think that was what worked. Of course, watching the video, I was in way too deep anyway...

So earning 2 QQ's & 96 points this weekend has now made qualifying for the Nationals a possibility...

Stay tuned for Stout's trial update tomorrow! He was soooo good!  :)

Saturday, August 24, 2013

One More Thing From The Herding Seminar...

I am still cracking up about this...
A lady at the seminar, very new to herding, told me her thoughts on "heavy vs. light" sheep:
She said "I don't see the difference. They all look about the same size to me."

Of course, she had figured out the difference, but when she told me her initial thoughts, I about died! She was a riot! We've actually shared lessons with her the past 2 weeks.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Herding Seminar - Porter Fetches!

After a couple days of driving, I was curious to see how badly Porter's fetching & outruns had eroded...
Aside from what I posted on Wordless Wednesday, he didn't do too badly there either! I mean, he was a little too tight, a little too straight, a little too pushy, but that's usual for Porter fetching  :)  I had to run him off a few times, but he settled down.

Before I forget, and so I have it on the blog for eternity, I'd like to make note of a few of the things I learned at this seminar...

"Only 'A-Type' personalities do herding." I guess because of the control & perfection required. All the little pieces fitting together. I wouldn't know anything about that...  :) 

"Dogs are stressed when they don't understand the rules." Give them rules to follow, teach them the rules, keep them consistent, and they are more than happy to oblige.

"At some point you have to trust the dog to do what you say." You have to quit pressuring them to be right, but show that there are consequences when they are wrong. You can't prevent every error or they will never learn. It has to be their responsibility in order for them to acquire thoughtfulness.

"Enforce what comes out of your mouth." If it didn't come out of your mouth, then it's your fault  :)

And the biggest take-away I had from the weekend: "You create an addict, then you make them a slave."

I thought about this constantly for the first week. Then on & off again for the last few weeks. Of course, she meant it in relation to turning your dog onto stock & having them work for you. But I related it to agility as well. Then I related it to myself doing herding. I'm still thinking about it...

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Herding Clinic - Porter Drives!

Yes, Porter finally did well at a herding seminar! I just can't get over that!  :)

Like I said before, it was a 3 day seminar. Porter worked 5 times, all but 1 of them on driving. This is a vastly different than what we did at the last one... Last time we did remedial obedience drills :)

The dog that worked ahead of us on that first day (the best standard schnauzer ever) was working on a driving drill. When she finished, Tenley asked us what we wanted to work on. I mentioned that in our last lesson with Wendy we had done the same driving exercise that the schnauzer just did. But I told her that I was ok doing all the foundational stuff that we worked on in the last seminar.

She said no, that wasn't necessary. She wanted to see me do what we had been working on. I was a little shocked, and immediately nervous. I mean, this is Porter the Seminar Jackass. Will he still be a jackass if we aren't some place new? We do train at Fair Wether every week. But will he pick up on my nerves? And proceed to embarrass me yet again?

Fingers crossed that I did not just send the "jackass Porter" on a kamikaze outrun...
Well I'll be damned if he didn't just rock it!
I was in shock. Tenley had to be a little shocked. The gallery of auditors were shocked.
His outrun was great. He took all those little driving flanks beautifully. He dropped when I said. It was pure beauty!

Who replaced my Jackass Porter? Because I don't want them to take this Porter back!

We drove up & down the fence line. Was it perfect? No. Apparently all that time I've spent trying to keep off the sheep is now coming back to bite me. He's lost some of his push, but I'm pretty sure it will come back by the bucketful...

I mean, I actually had to encourage him to walk into the sheep. I had to grab sheep butt. Wow, we have come a looooong way  :)

We tried driving down the field...

Porter's next 2 runs were spent working on that same exercise, trying to clean up some of the smaller pieces.
We figured out he can take about 4 steps straight into the sheep before he drifts into a flank. So I would stop him on the 4th step, then walk him up again.


Porter worked ducks once that weekend. Well, I worked the ducks mostly  :)  I had Porter on a short line & we tried driving the ducks into a corner. It was really a lesson for me to see just how little these flanks have to be... We're talking just a head movement by Porter would turn them.

It was really frustrating for Porter. He loves to smash him some ducks...

"That'll do, Porter"

I had a lot of insight coming out of that weekend, just like I always do when it comes to herding. Tomorrow I'll share a little bit more of that.

However, Loretta summed it up pretty well on her blog, if you want a taste. And we weren't even at the same clinic!  :)

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Herding Clinic - Stout

The dogs & I attended another Tenley Dexter herding clinic the first weekend of August. This one was held at the farm where we regularly take lessons, Fair Wether.
Probably due to the fact that it is where we train, we had a much better outcome than last time!  :)

"Walk up, Stout"

It was a 3 day seminar, so we worked a total of 6 times. After working Porter the first 5 times, I was persuaded to give my last slot to Stout...

Porter had proven himself (more on that in Porter's update later), so I figured "eh, what the hell."


Stout is still a little hard for me to figure out when it comes to herding. I am under the impression that he is lackadaisical. Like, the sheep are there, but he's not really cognizant of that fact. He's just running around, having a good time.
But then, suddenly, he darts in for a piece of the action. I assume he just noticed them.
Nope. Tenley confirmed (the same as Dana & Wendy) that he is very clever. He pretends to not care, setting up his opportunity for mayhem during my brief lack of attention  :)
That Stouters, he is nothing if not manipulative!

So yes, Stout has plenty of herding instinct & capability. We even progressed to dropping the line as he "got around." (The next step after what is shown in these photos). Unfortunately, the camera battery died  :(
I don't remember being so afraid of dropping the line with Porter. Of course, Porter started herding training in a vastly different way.
But the fact that I am slightly afraid to turn Stout loose with sheep, does make me realize that I am aware that he has some power. Deep down, I do know that he isn't a bumbling fool out there just snacking on sheep poo. So once again, I am underestimating the little guy...  :)

The sheep know Stout means business. Even if I don't!

I have been toying with the idea of entering Stout in the HT or PT at the CWCCA specialty this spring... If I start giving him some lesson time...

Friday, August 16, 2013

NADAC Trial!

Before I recap our weekend trial, I'd like to apologize for the lack of blogging this week! All my free computer time has been used for our annual Dog Paddle! I think I finally have things organized & ready to go :)
So last weekend, Porter, Stout, & I all went down to Bowling Green, KY, to a NADAC trial. We have been on a trialing break since mid-June.
Why the break? Well, it gets expensive now running 2 dogs. And Porter does well with a little vacation now & again (as do I!). And I needed some time to sort through Stout's "social disease" (as Penni calls it)  :)
Well, I think we've had a (small) breakthrough on that front!

Yay Stout!
Yes, Stout qualified twice out of 6 runs! Which doesn't seem that impressive until you realize that those were the first 2 runs on the first day! It was some sort of corgi miracle!  :)  I thought we had turned a corner!
But then, the following day... He was pretty friendly again  :(
It was still honestly better than before. His head was in the game, but every once in awhile, he just couldn't help himself  :)  However, he would come back as soon as I called him. And it didn't happen on every run. And I was able to have him recover & finish the runs strong.
He even qualified in Chances - the class with the distance line! Now granted, the line is not that far in Novice... but it did have a dogwalk in it, and he hit the contact!
Porter did not do too badly either:

Yay Porter!

Porter only ran Jumpers & Chances each day, which are all he needs still for his NATCH. While it would have been nice to qualify in all of them, at least he did Q in Jumpers each day  :)

So now he only needs one more Jumpers Q  :)  And 6 more Chances Q's  :(  Definitely won't be getting it this year...

We really need to practice some more distance stuff before Champs...

Both of the Chances courses were extremely hard. Here is Porter running the Saturday one:

Believe it or not, Stout qualified on the Novice version of this one!
So all the work I've done with Stout in the last 2 months is beginning to pay off  :)  My class has stayed late on numerous Mondays so that I can run him with them standing around (thanks!). I've taken him to some drop-in classes. And we do some warm-up work outside the ring before our turn.
And maybe he's just finally starting to mature...  :)

Friday, August 9, 2013

Herding Seminar

Last weekend, the boys & I attended a herding seminar right here at Fair Wether Farm in Versailles, KY.
The weather was beautiful, the seminar was informational, and for the first time, Porter was not a total jackass! (unlike last time...) Finally! We may be having a breakthrough!  :)


We are headed to an agility trial this weekend, so I will give a full recap on both next week!

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Iowa: Part 4

Besides visiting with family, we did do a little sight-seeing in Iowa.
We took a morning excursion with my parents & the corgis to the High Trestle Trail Bridge. Bike trails, especially the Rails to Trails type projects, have become a huge thing in Iowa. I think it's because Iowa is so flat... Easy biking  :)
But anyway, John has been really getting into the whole bike thing. So he took my stepdad's bike out almost every day on the Raccoon River Valley Trail. After 3 days, he was looking for a little different scenery...
So while John rode, we walked the bridge.

The High Trestle Trail Bridge. It lights up at night.
Walking to the bridge

The dogs weren't impressed with walking on the bridge... no critters or grass to sniff!


A little Stouter photo-bomb

Porter took a short rest in the only shade he could find
Stout kept watch up above...

Porter kept watch down below

Stout says "What can you possibly see through this little hole, Porter?"

Resting on the other side

Miles came with us, too

Back across to the car

Monday, August 5, 2013

Iowa: Part 3

While in Iowa, Stout made a new friend: Moses the schnauzer!
They hit it off quite well...

Porter did not care for any of their schnau-digan games.

Cracker was happy not to be the object of Stout's infatuation this time.