Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Dog days of summer?

Well, summer is flying by at warp speed. I don't like it! I want to have a couple of just plain, lazy summer days. It's not happening.

I feel like a calendar is ticking of in my head right now with the final's coming up so quickly now. Rene and I talk daily about things that need done or are in the process of getting done. We both are sure every time we get all excited about checking something off our list that another 10 things get added to it! My husband is convinced I'm starting to lose it. I wake up in the middle of the night with something else I remembered needed done yesterday. My latest nightmare was that it was time for the National Anthem to be sung and I didn't have anyone lined up for it yet. So there I was running around like a crazy woman asking every handler at the final's "Can you sing?" Okay, I took care of that one the next morning so I can officially check that one off the list. :-)

Haying is also all consuming for my family. We just got another big job to do on a cash basis. It's a great one and we're so thankful for it. But, my hubby stresses over getting everything put up while the putting's good when it comes to this as well! The several days I've got him roped into helping fence at the final's sits real well with him right now too.

The sheep have also decided that the grass is much greener on the other side of the fence now. So, we have to gather them daily now. It's great work for the dog's but unfortunately the one big drawback to a wet summer in my area is the needle and thread grass! It's unbelieveable this year. I had to take Jag to the vet just the other day to get one removed out of his ear canal. It was lodged against the ear drum so we had to put him under for it. Miserable little weeds!!!

I guess there could be a lot worse things to deal with in life than be busy with things you enjoy though! Maybe I'll just go sit on the deck, drink a beer and watch the sun set now.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Clinic lessons

Dustin and I recently went to a Patrick Shannahan clinic that my friend Jamie Spring hosted. It was GREAT!! Dustin took Kat and I took Uno and Cash. It was a relaxed clinic and it kind of felt like just a bunch of friends getting together to work dogs. In my opinion, that's the way to go.

I realize everyone gets something different out of each new experience with a clinician. The two main thoughts I keep repeating to myself now are, "Responsibility" and "Energy".

I tend to be a person who is a bit "buzzed up" when it comes to the energy I put out there. I also seem to be drawn to dogs that may have a bit of that in them as well. We tend to become a pretty energetic partnership! :-) So, now my goal is to become very aware of when I'm throwing energy at an already energized situation and bring myself back down. I've been seeing such a big difference in my dog's when I can do that so I know what a big deal it is for me.

I also like to work/train/run dogs that are very natural and who can do a job without being told every step. On the other hand I want a dog that's flexible enough to let me take the reins when needed. I needed a reminder and got a good one at Patrick's clinic about letting the dog have some responsibility for themselves. I was really fighting with Uno lately because for some reason I was not letting her be responsibile for the line on a drive. I wanted total control (not sure why) over it and she was getting downright squirrely because of it. When I gave her the responsibility back she relaxed and was holding a line again like a champ. We still have work to do on it, for both her and myself, but it was nice to get a wake up call to remind me of what I'm aiming for here.

Dustin had a great time as well and takes instruction SO much better from someone else besides his mother. He really seems to take in what Patrick has to say and comes home recharged to do a better job with his dog.

If any of you ever get a chance to attend one of Patrick's clinic's, I highly recommend it.