Tuesday, September 18, 2007

One little feral went a hunting...

Yes... this clump of grass will make a splendid hiding place, from which to pounce upon some unsuspecting bystander... and if anyone detects me, they'll have to catch me!

The Ferals- Diva-Jake pups

Here’s some pics of the farm-dog pups (as opposed to the spoilt PoshPups)…

Mum is Mac’s Diva (from the first Boylee Fred-Daheim Queani litter, not to be confused with her litter sister Mac’s DiscoDiva):

Diva is a lean, athletic bitch who seems to be a nice combination of her father’s (Fred) biddability + stock sense, and her mother’s (Queani) athleticism, working drive + easy-going nature- and hopefully the natural cast of both. Her siblings (from 2 litters) are working well across the state, with people wait-listed for another litter (maybe), and of course DiscoDiva and Maverick are doing agility in Perth.

Dad is Badgingarra Jake, Richard’s young kelpie dog. From Neil Kristiansen’s Northam stud, Jake has some of the most successful utility lines in WA behind him- his father is Badgingarra Jock, this year’s State Yard Champion, and his grandmother is 1998 National Kelpie Field trial Champion Badgingarra Bra (who went to sleep forever recently, aged 16). He’s full-on, has absolutely no respect for his own safety, attacks everything like a bull at a gate. A real working fool- but when he settles (usually with lots of work), he’s pretty impressive, strong but eager to please, natural backing dog. Plus he’s really good-looking!

The pups are all girls, 4 black, 2 black/tan, and they are pure feralness, in every sense of the word. They dig out from under their run, explode like fireworks across the ground, and don’t stop moving until they crash. A couple of them came along for a day trip to Tarwonga for the States (watching their 2 grandfathers battle it out for 1st + 2nd in the Yard final), and did their first leash walking. Looks like 3 of them are off to working homes soon, possibly 4, and one might stay. So there’s one or two still for sale, if anyone’s interested…

Sunday, September 16, 2007

State Yard/Utility Trial

Boring update here, since I didn't have a camera or a catalogue, so no results...

We all had awful colds this weekend (bar baby J, thankfully), so we nearly bailed on the whole weekend.

But I'm glad we didn't. The weather could have been worse (was lovely and sunny today), everyone was fairly relaxed and happy, and the sheep were challenging- DohneXs that had no respect for fences/gates and would leap off at the slightest provocation. It was a lovely yard course, nice circular wooden yards with a huge long race, and the courses involved a touch (dog has to bring sheep to handler, close enough that you can step out and touch one- not easy).

The sheep were just too hard for Muddy in the utility- he got too close trying to lift them, they pinged off like fireworks, he lay down and looked confused, and they took the chance to launch over the fence and away. Lost Sheep. I scratched him from the Open Utility, but he actually worked well in the Novice Yard- lost heaps of points with casual rubbish in the yards, but then did some spiffy confident backing. He didn't repeat this in the Open Yard, unfortunately, with a frustrating combination of over-excitement and lack of confidence, but I should be glad I found something to be pleased with.

Lethal... what will I do with Lethal? Because he hates the yards so much, I only entered him in the utility events. In the Novice we got into the yards OK, then he got slightly spooked by the flapping black plastic and just refused to work... So I got the sheep through the course myself, and by the time we headed out to the first obstacle I had a pounding headache and just couldn't face another minute, so we retired. He stopped to have a stress poo on the way off the course. In the Open utility he decided the course was a toilet, and after his usual lovely cast (looked like he was going to jump the fence + cross the highway looking for sheep) he totally overrode me, brought the sheep down at 100 mph, then stopped and pooed twice, peed twice, and refused to call off when I decided to retire once again. Everyone keeps telling me to sell him...

Bill... Bill made a final!!! We had a few successes, actually. His first run, in Novice Utility, was a bit average- he didn't see the sheep at first, and crossed, but went back out when he found them. We got into the yards, where he went OK until we reached the race, where his lack of backing or racework ability brought us down. I think I got as far as the gap before I gave up.

His Open utility effort was better initially- he actually cast OK, and I was thrilled that he settled himself behind them, realised that these sheep were light, and widened off himself. We again made it into the yards, and I think we ran out of time.

The Novice Yard event actually went OK- he pushed + barked in the big yard but settled + mostly listened for the rest. We just lost it at the race, again because of lack of any effective technique for racework. He jumped every freaking fence twice, smashed himself up a few times, these yards just did not lend themselves to working outside even if we could do that. Still, we qualified for the final!

The final run was fantastic- quiet, calm, going perfectly until the race... enough said, but if he'd friggin' barked on command, we'd have done much better. Anyway, we finished in the money, with 4th place! Richard + Queani were 5th!

By his Open Yard effort, Bill was a bit knackered, and again, we sucked at the race.

Richard had a mixed weekend- he had a raging cold which peaked today, so he almost didn't make any finals. Bella did OK in the Novice Yard but missed the final (out of time I think), Jake was a monster, Charlie lost his bottle in the Open utility + didn't pull his socks up for the Open Yard. Fred was a star again, despite having all his runs today with a half-dead handler- qualified pretty well for both Open Utility + Open Yard, had some bad luck with the Utility final (came 5th) and did well in the Yard final to come equal 2nd. So he finished in the money in both, and was 4th in the Yard Dog of the Year list.

Crutching this week- all week... and somehow I have to teach Bill to weave, or scratch us from the Royal.

Monday, September 03, 2007

Pups- video!

Clancy + Spotty are 2 of Tony's pups. We're looking after them (with their half-brother Bart) while he's in hospital, and hopefully selling them. On their 1st time near sheep, they had a bit of a look, so the other day I took them down to the training paddock to see what they'd do.

What they did was pull their leashes off the car towbar, and come over to "help" me get training mob in (I had to sort out some of the quieter ones for them to start on). Since I had a free hand and a camera, and it looked like they were switching on, I tried to get a bit of footage.