Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Dog Breaking the Calves

Last Friday, the calves had calmed down from their post weaning madness, and it seemed like a great time to go ahead and introduce them formally to Cricket, their new kindergarten teacher.
It took maybe 3 minutes for the calves to figure out that there is safety in numbers, and don't make the little red dog mad or else it could be painful.  Cricket grouped them together nicely and had them moving quietly thru the ASCA A and B courses with zero problems.  The occasional look back at her from one or two of the calves, and she used her powerful eye, inherited from the Red Baron side of the family, to convince them 'tis better to move than to stare.
 Cross drive to the second panel, Course 'B'.  Danny, the silver bull, tried to go around the front of the panel, but as you can see, Cricket nicely made him move back to the other side
 Eyeing the balky ones thru, then going to the fence to pick up the stragglers.  I'm not saying a word

 Pushing thru distractions.  That's momma Millie, Dart's mon, on the other side staring her down, and Roar, up close to the fence.  They've been weaned 6 days at this point
 Patience in teaching new calves to do what the dog is telling them to do is so rare
A job well and truly done as the last calf clears the panel

There's Always One

Cricket dog broke the calves last Friday.  Took about 3 minutes.  A really good, easy going working pen for our practices ahead of the Nationals trials in September.
But there is always one calf that has to be the 'lone cow'.  And, they rotate.  One day it's Gerry, the big long yearling steer; the next, it's little Dart, as you'll see below
 Dart questions Cricket's authority to tell her what to do.  Bad move, Dart
 Lucky for Dart, Cricket's got plenty of cow savvy and patience.  She allows Dart to make the right decision
 Dart's still being a bit balky.  Cricket hasn't lost her patience, not yet

 As you can see by Gerry's big butt disappearing out of frame, the other calves get it and get gone.  Dart, still being a bit of a butt, forces Cricket to get much closer than she should need to.  But, Cricket knows just about how much pressure is needed without using force, to convince Dart to move
One final push, and Dart finally decides that Cricket means it, and decides also to not test those teeth.  Good plan, Dart

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Canine Chipper/Shredder

Rosie likes sticks.  Has from Day 1. 
This afternoon, I was upstairs here on the 'big' computer, posting to the blogs, when such a racket rambled down the hall.  It was Rosie with a stick that basically spanned the hallway, thus she was dragging it on the wall as she trotted into the chipper yard (my office), where she proceeded to do what she does best - turn one very large stick into a pile of kindling

Eat Your Hearts Out, Beyonce and JLo!

There's a new big puffy butt in town!!

Standoff, Part II

Another morning, another standoff between Cricket and Good Cat.  Only, Cricket keeps getting closer. 
Eventually, there will be blood.  It won't be GC's, I'm pretty sure of that

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Rubber Dog

Rosie is the best dog I've ever seen at simply melting into whatever shape she needs to be in at any given time

Happy 13th Birthday Hoke!

Southern Cross Touch of Apache DNA-CP STDsdc HT JHD
7 July 2003
The old man turned 13 last week.  He got a bath and blow dry, pedicure, trim AND a shopping spree at Animal Krackers in Corvallis
No one believe me when I tell them how old he is.  He'd still work stock if we'd let him, but he's still just too fast, and that's inviting disaster of the major vet visit kind

...And Someday....

...this too will be mine


...this will all be mine...
Rosie in the puttputt on fence duty

Schooling the New Calves

Well, once again, I got these all out of order somehow, but I think you'll get the gist of things.
We weaned this years trio last Saturday.  No sense starting the dog breaking process until they are through yelling for mom and being all crazy, as 5 month old calves can be anyway.  We also brought along Gerry the long yearling steer and Chelsea, the 8 month old long ago weaned heifer.  Should make for a nice practice pen once they are broke to work with the dogs.
Monday, Cricket and I were going out to work sheep in the arena.  The calves, being the goofballs they are, started running after us as we made our way past the barn to the gate of the arena.  Being calves, newly weaned, with moms yelling just the other side of the fence, they probably thought that we were going to let them back out with mom, and no one wanted to miss that opportunity.
I didn't tell her to do any of this.  But this is what she does.  She is the Ranch Manager, and by golly, you DON'T cross her.  Cricket is a firm, benevolent dictator; she won't hit you hard unless you hit first or ignore her commands.
The youngster learned that a bit on Monday.  Especially Chelsea and Gerry.  The three youngsters stood back and watched, and hopefully took notes, because they go into the working arena this weekend, for real.
Chelsea and Cricket face off
 Cricket keeps giving her a chance to go back to the group.  Chelsea (Ruffie's daughter, BTW), foolishly stands her ground.  She's nowhere near as spoiled as her mom
 STILL not getting it, but she will.  Quickly.  From here on out, the pix are really not in order, but you get the gist of how things went.

 Got her moved, but then, she comes back for more
 At this point, Gerry had moved out away from the action.  Cricket does not like her stock scattered
 10.5 years old, and still got her super strong eye
 Gerry is about to get his brakes checked.  She may be old, but she's still fast
 Chelsea getting taught a lesson while the rest of the class watches, probably glad it's not them.  Yet

While we were in the working arena, they all came back down to the gate (just out of the shot on the left).  All Cricket had to do was walk here and they moved out right smartly.

Driving Miss Cricket

With Nationals fast approaching, I've been working with Cricket for two reasons.  One, she HATES sheep.  And two, Cricket doesn't fetch, which is what will be expected of her in Started.  She drives.  She can drive the course in any direction without me saying much of anything at all.  But fetching - that, so far, is proving to be a disaster of epic proportions. 
By September, I hope to have a plan in place.  I've already conceded to Team Dasie (Dale and Rosie); they are gonna kick our (and probably everyone else') butts.
 I'm taking these from a fairly long ways away, by the pens, and cropping them down so you can actually see that this is an old dog and 4 wether lambs.  She approaches, and waits for them to move before she heads to the drive position.  On her own, BTW
 Moving into the drive position.  She's got them; they have no intention of bolting for the far end of the arena
 She hates sheep.  Really. 
 Drifting back to just bump the flight zone enough to keep them moving without causing them to flee
 On the cross drive, keeping them on the fenceline and moving at a good pace

 They balked, so she shifted position.  I still haven't said a word
Moving again, nice pace.  The rest of the shots were not very exciting, even less so than these, and shot into the sun, thus not very good.