Nim

I was on a roll! And then things got busy.

I bought a puppy. She has a super nice pedigree, her mom is one of my favorite dogs, and I couldn’t say no.

Traveling hours, or days to one run dog at a trial (that’s less than ten minutes by the way!) is not working out for me. Lol. Retiring Leo early was painful. Not planned. And so working dog number two.

She is bold. Confident. Outgoing and completely wild. She is everything you think of with a typical border collie. Hyper, herds everything that moves and is intense. She will be a challenge for sure.

I love her already. She has a great spirit, a contagious enthusiasm for all things. She makes me laugh because she is completely outrageous.

I can’t wait to see what the next 15 years bring. Welcome to blogger land Nimmers!

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SDDA Trial

We had our first local SDDA trial! Our group did a super job- the trial ran smoothly, lots of extras, and everyone went away happy!

Pixel

Saturday- Advanced Containers and Exteriors, Excellent Interiors

She was really “on” and keen to work. She did a super job with the Containers, and the Exterior (which is normally our problem area!). That earned her Advanced title! We didn’t get the Excellent Interior. I called Alert on a clear room. Oops. Should probably trust my dog better…

Sunday- Excellent Containers, Interior, Exterior

She was definitely not as keen as Saturday. We had an awesome Interior though! Our first Excellent Q! The Exterior was in a giant playground and she didn’t work hardly at all. She just wandered around. Containers were a challenge for her and she false alerted. The Interior we got I did off leash, which I think make a difference for her! Something to remember!

Brit

Saturday- Started Container, Interior, Exterior

She nailed all three and earned High Scoring Started dog in the working stream. She gave clear alerts and worked really well. Super proud of her for her first trial!

Sunday- Advanced Container, Interior, Exterior. We only got the Interior. She worked well. But false alerted on a good distraction in Containers, and was generally confused on the Exterior. She alerted but not strongly and I didn’t call it. Looking back I totally should have. Poor girl! I need to learn to read her better!

Overall I’m pretty happy with our weekend. We don’t Train Nosework stuff enough- but they are good dogs!

Stirling Acres STD

Jack was a very good boy. Every time we go to the post I just feel better and better. He listened for the most part- and has really figured out the drive. Now I need to work on my steering. 😉

We had a rocky start to the weekend- some confidence issues that made both of us worry a bit. But we worked through it and by the end of the weekend he was his normal self. We had good scores all weekend- and even a 0-0-0 on an outrun lift and fetch! We placed second overall and 1st in the 3rd run on Sunday!

It was a great first trial of the season. The weather was nice, the company great and of course great dog work!

Photos by Kristi!

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Sunday Nursery 3- 1st place!

He earned his needed Nursery legs so is qualified for the Finals now!

Clock Stock and Barrel

My second year at this event. It’s an arena trial, not unlike any other arena trial except it’s at the Calgary Stampede grounds and there are spectators! Not as many as the actual Stampede trial. But there is definitely more pressure and excitement.

Jack was a rockstar. I am just so incredibly grateful to have such a good partner. He did great work both rounds and we got through the course and penned both runs. Our first run placed us 8th out of 40 dogs! Our second go we had some cranky sheep and we had to really take our time with them. We got it done but it took a lot of time. I think 14th or so. Regardless that round was probably the better work wise. Jack has this natural ability to read his sheep and apply just enough pressure to them. He rarely loses his cool and is super smooth to watch. Both rounds were an adrenaline rush for sure!

He’s still so young and really we’ve only done a handful of trials but already the teamwork is there.

Here’s my round one video

And a link to round two

Jack 2nd Go

We didn’t make the finals, but we were pretty close! In any case I am pretty excited about what the future will look like for us.

I’ve got some things I want to fix before field trial season starts, and of course we are still working on stretching our drive out. But all in due time! I’m pretty happy with what what have so far!

Gopher Gopher

It’s gopher season. Young (and stupid) itty bitty gophers pretty much run right into the hunters mouths. This has created MUCH excitement among the hunters in the family.

And then there’s the rest of them

What Gopher?

On Novice and Growing Sports

We all start somewhere. Everyone of us was a novice at one point. Brand New. Newbie. A Keener.

Trying something brand new can be intimidating. Trying something new when you are depending on your dog and your own training ability can be terrifying.

This post talks specifically about obedience and Rally- but applies to all sports. From Nosework, to the big leagues of Sheepherding.

Recently my local kennel club had to cancel an Obedience and Rally only trial. Not enough entries. In fact for the last few years the obedience and Rally entries don’t even pay their own bills, instead relying on the conformation overflow to pay the bills. But this time the entries were so low it couldn’t be justified. It’s disappointing. For more than one reason. The root of the issue is the low entries. And that makes me sad. I mean I love obedience and Rally! I want more people to love it. But it’s getting harder and harder to get people involved. I offer classes and maybe snag one or two new keeners a year. That’s so low.

What can we change? How do we get more interest? And then how do we keep them?!

Some thoughts I had:

How do we catch the interest of new people? Training in public, doing demonstrations, going to public events, open houses? I run beginner classes a few times a year and out of a class of 8 brand new people maybe two or three continue. This particular sport is hard to draw people in because it is not as flashy or fast as agility! When I used to do classes in public parks I’d get a few spectators but no actual conversations. Maybe posters or signs encouraging conversation?

How do we keep the interest of new people? Be nice, be supportive, don’t be judgy, be helpful, take someone under your wing to mentor, make sure they are prepared before they enter a trial, include them in the conversation, tell them their dog is wonderful (and mean it!!). As we know, not all dogs are perfectly suited for all sports or events. But if we write people off because their dogs aren’t perfect we might be writing off a person who might see the difference between their dog and “our” dog! A person who might then go out and purchase a puppy more suited…. and if they don’t, and the want to stick with their chosen breed or mix we help them just the same! An elitist attitude is not helpful in growth for dogsports. The other thing to think about is the time, the success rate, and what makes people try. It takes a long time to train a ring ready obedience dog. We need to maybe make it an attainable goal! Maybe explore more fun matches, more training opportunities, maybe other “easier” venues like FENZi titles or CWags. If people have success they try harder, they are hooked. If it’s a terrible first time in the ring, or it seems like they will never get there…. And be supportive! Watch the Novice A class. Cheer them on!

And how do we keep the interest of the “old” people. The not-long-ago-Novice? Firstly, be nice. Being nice goes a long way. Keep your ringside comments to yourself, find something positive to say, encourage- and if they ask for it advice! Help them train their next dog, heck- help them choose their next dog (if they ask!) Be Open to people from other groups or training backgrounds. It doesn’t cost anything to be kind and helpful and good impressions can make for good friendships!

I can hear people already- “Why should I help a Novice? I was a Novice and had to do it myself?!”

Well why shouldn’t you help a Novice? Are you too good for that now? No one does this stuff on their own. You had a friend, instructor, breeder, etc encourage and help you along the way. Not everyone is lucky enough to have that!

What’s going to happen without the new people? The sport will die out. Like we are seeing. Shows will get cancelled and it will get harder and harder for those of us looking for legs to get them! Clubs go under and then what? If taught correctly the novice people are good workers, keen to learn by doing and volunteering. It’s a win win!

Years and years ago I was new. Myself and my family were terrible pet owners. I had a dog aggressive, overweight German Shepherd cross and I knew nothing. Nothing. And someone took an interest in me, and my dog. And literally changed my life. I always remember what that person did for me, and I guess that’s why I’m so passionate about helping out the new people. More recently when I started herding I started with a dog with plenty of enthusiasm and not a lot of talent. But for whatever reason the people I now call friends took the time to help me- and I saw, pretty quickly that if I wanted to stay in the sport I was going to need a different dog. And so I did.

I’ve gotten my fair share of people hooked on various dog sports, I’ve mentored new trainers, taken the time to talk to strangers who were interested, joined the local clubs even though I hate politics and have better things to do with my time- I put in the work to try and make a difference! I owe that much, and it’s not hard. A little time, a smile, a conversation.

If we all helped out one or two novices a year think of the Novice entries a year from now! Two years from now! So the next time you are training in the park and someone walks by with their designer dog on a leash and asks what you are doing- take the chip off your shoulder and be nice. Be welcoming, be friendly and you never know- that person may be your next student or training partner!

Plans and Doing the Work

It’s already April. I’ve got my plans mostly sorted for spring and summer. Picking and choosing which events, which weekends, and how much I can really spend.

Adulting is hard when you do dog stuff! I had to adjust my plans a fair bit after my recent life changes. 😉 It takes careful planning and really good friends to manage a bunch of dogs! I’m lucky to have friends and family who can help with the dogs!

Herding is of course on the agenda. My goal is to get Jack qualified for the Finals. Which means a few things- a) I need to trial and b) I need to trial well. Lol. So I’m heading to BC at the end of the month and then a few localish trials, and we will see after that how far or how much I’ll have to travel! There aren’t many trials so my plan is to hit most of them!

I also have some Nosework trials planned- our local one in May and then one in June. I’d really love to get to Excellent. Brit is doing super well so I’m looking forward to seeing how she is at a trial! Pixel is in retrain mode to fix the confusion about the alert. I’m going back to no alert. Find it and I’ll give you a party every time. An alert is no good if it’s a lie!

And while I had lofty goals of obedience and Rally with Siren I have to admit that likely won’t happen. Not this summer anyway. Siren needs a lot of work- her lack of confidence in new places just kill us. So it may be some time before she’s really ready. I’ve been going to one new place a week and have made some headway but she can’t give me precision and good attitude without a fair amount of time to explore and relax.

With all These plans and goals- of course it means I need to work at it! And I’m sticking to my plans from a few posts ago. Lots of training happening at my house. I saw this posted on Facebook today and it goes along with this post perfectly. Do the work, put in the time, and the results will follow.