Sunday, April 19, 2009


I clearly remember this day and realizing it would change my life forever.

"Hatred never ceases by hatred; by love alone it is healed. This is the timeless and eternal law. Forgiveness is primarily for our own sake, so that we no longer carry the burden of resentment. Our hearts are already heavy enough."
The Gatekeeper
Columbine High School memorial

For an interesting take on what we've learned since Columbine check out this article.

Don't judge a book by it's cover

I, along with evidently over 12 million other you tube junkies, saw this video (they turned embedding off).
And then as I was cruising youtube I found this one also.

What hit me more than their music, was how everyone judged them by their outside looks and appearances, and had never taken the time to see what else was there. And the tv almost went out of its way to highlight how "backwards" they were. It made me think, how many students or adults do we do that to in our everyday life. And these people don't have any "stage" to get up on and make them "famous" for their unique talents. There is a Susan or a Paul in some aspect of all of us. Why don't we look harder to find it in other people?

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Finally Jeanne's

I didn't get up to Jeanne's last Friday as originally planned due to late snow and then it all melting creating a pond out of the small area at her place. And there has been no recent post because I'm the yearbook advisor and the deadline was this past Friday and with the snow, a lot of the spring sports were cancelled for the week and this created a headache for me trying to get pictures of those sports in the yearbook!

But today I made it up to Jeanne's. Nothing like a 4 hour drive up and a 4 hour drive back for a one hour lesson, but she made it worth while. And I caught up on some podcasts on the drive.

Rumi is working in the round pen and did well, although I still don't always put the pressure on and take it off at the right times. But I'm getting better and he tries so hard to figure out what I want from him.

Jeanne had awesome suggestions with Thai. I worked on some driving, and some exercises to get her to rate herself instead of going full out the whole time and almost enjoying pushing the sheep past me so she can bring them back again :)

One thing I noticed about myself (and I think is true of many teachers) is that I am not a great student. I've noticed that teachers are often the hardest to teach (although we all are hard in different ways). I found that I was very quiet at Jeanne's and didn't give her a lot of information. I think it was because I was trying so hard to digest all her information and not influence her with my view points until she had had a chance to make her own decisions and impressions. But this kind of left her trying to figure out what I and my dogs knew, where we were, and what I wanted. I have only worked with her once before...just under a year ago. So she doesn't know me or my dogs well at all. I really need to work on being a better student and giving my instructors the information they need to work with me...but everything happens so fast and I'm trying to figure out their way of teaching and explaining that I end up not giving them much feedback. Glad I don't have to teach me :)

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Continuing Progress

We didn't herd for a few days because of, believe it or not, snow. In April!!! And Rumi is not happy when we don't work for a day or two. Whether it is obedience, tracking, herding, or agility...he wants to be learning and doing.

Thai worked first today and really stayed off my light sheep who think the long bamboo stick might be scarier than the dog. She held them to me on the fence and then stayed way out so they walked down the fence with keeping a gap between them and me. I was way proud!

Rumi continues to work quietly without arguing, although he still is not willing to go between the sheep and fence from a start without strong persuasion. However, the cool thing that he did today was I tossed the shaker bottle at him to get him out on the top and then circled around to pick up the bottle. I went to do what I hoped would be a smooth graceful swoop and totally missed it. As I had to stop and side step to grab it I suddenly realized the sheep weren't running past me. I looked up and there was my dog standing still holding the sheep to me, but not pushing them past me!!! I was NOT trampled! What a good dog ;)

Friday I go up to Jeanne Weaver's for a herding lesson. 4 hour drive, but well worth it.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Herding/Tracking/Training junk :)

Rumi, Thai and I have been herding for the past few days. Rumi is covering heads, almost never barks, and when I've set it up perfectly and he's been worked down, he'll go through between the sheep and the fence on the go bye side without trying to flip back. He will stay easily holding the sheep between him and me on the fence. (not me guarding the sheep on the fence).

Thai and I have been working the lighter sheep in the big field. I have been working on the same back up and stay holding the sheep to me. Today I really saw a light bulb go on as she balanced up and stopped on her own willingly and then stayed out and flanked to cover the sheep as they tried to stay away from me and her. I was so proud of her :)

Yesterday we went tracking. I suddenly realized that Thai's certification expires soon so I thought I'd see what she remembered. It was a windy day. I layed Rumi a track with two challenges...both through heavy pricker bushes (ugh). I layed Thai's in a big open field. After aging it 30 min. I ran Thai's. She was working off the track some, but with the wind and only 30 min. age that didn't surprise me. She did great, but tired out at the last leg. She had great article indications. When I ran Rumi's track it was about 1 hour and 15 min. old. He too did great and had no problem with the obstacles. However, the last leg he too was tired and missed the last turn. Not bad for no tracking in 6 months.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Herding Day 2

I love spring break. Gives me time to work the dogs, and clean the house, and do all the other things that need to get done. Rumi has done wonderfully. Only one small yip today. Stopped nicely and held the sheep to me. Went around the sheep, even when it meant doing a go bye on the fence (which he finds hard). And he didn't kill the duck that came to see what we were doing (suicidal duck). Thai worked the lighter group of sheep and did a nice job keeping them together and not letting the crazy one split off. My goal for the rest of the week is to get to work on my two by two weaves.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Taking it home

I always find that the best indication you can have that the clinic you went to was great, is if you can take home what you learned at the clinic and manage to do it on your own. I'm sure that often it is my fault if I can't replicate it at home, but then, for all practical purposes, the clinic didn't really work for me. Especially since I can't afford to go live near every trainer/clinician that I'd like to :) This all leads up to the fact that I worked Rumi today on my sheep. And we did great (IMHO). I only got barked at twice, and he quickly knocked it off and went the way I wanted him to go. I used a long bamboo pole and a shake bottle. I had a rattle paddle, and was going to try it if the shake bottle didn't work. I didn't need it. Rumi went both ways nicely, didn't get around me once (as in fake me out and flip back the other way) and went between the sheep and the fence every time I asked him. He handled holding the sheep to me on the fence twice. And took his down when we were done. All in all a good day.