Saturday 30 May 2015

Teaching the Musher - Bet

Howdy Ho Everybodies!!!

As you may already know (and if you don't, where have you been, my goodness, keep up peoples!) I'm teaching the Musher how to herd sheepy sheeps.

Yes, yes, I flunked out of the Alta-Peet Stockdogs school of herdy herding, but it was a lifestyle choice really.  I had a higher calling to herd Pretty Curly Tails, but whatever, the Musher started going to her friend's house and they have sheepy sheeps, and they have herdy dogs, and she seemed interested in the whole process, and she also likes whistling really loud, so seeing her interest in the job I figured I'd oblige her by giving her some training.

Frankly, I hope she loses interest in this soon because I'm the one doing all the running around, but I can't resist giving her something fun to do.

Anyhooooooo, so we went out to a real field the other day.  It seemed as though she was ready for that next step.  You start out doing it in a small field because if the sheepy sheeps go all wackadoodle and run off... well, that's never a good thing

Photo: Alamy
Instead of going big, we went small, with a nice bunch of sheepy sheeps.  I didn't want to overwhelm the Musher on her first big field event.

It's ok Musher, they're very nice sheepy sheeps, they won't stomp on you
I had a talk with Manny, Frankie, Lou, Nelly, and Lucinda and told them to go easy on the Musher, as she was new to all of this.  Then I took the Musher aside and told her that she would do just fine, just lay off the "down" stuff.  Even though it's a big field, things still poo on it, and I'm not laying down in poo.

So I started them off for a leisurely run to get some real estate between them and the Musher, just to see if she remembered the whole "come here" command.

Beautiful grouping guys, but don't make it too easy on her!
The Musher is having a LOT of difficulty remembering to say Come-Bye or Away to Me because she's so used to Gee and Haw.  When that happens, I just glare at her.

Seriously?  Gee?  Do we not remember our sheepy commands?
Sometimes I just can't help myself and just take over... I mean I don't want to go chasing the sheepie things when she lays out a Walk Up while the sheepies things are running full tilt bozo in the opposite direction.  The Musher gets a bit frustrated when I take over, and I try really hard to let her make mistakes, but eeesh.

Watch out Musher!  Don't walk in front of the sheepie things, they'll smoosh you!
She gets frustrated too, so when that happens, I ask the gang to cut her some slack, and hopes she remembers the "There" so I can "Walk Up" and move the sheepie things at her.

Ok, seriously?  How much closer do you want them, and NO, I'm not laying down, there's a bug on the ground here
She also likes to have things "just so" and all perfect.  I guess she's never heard "close enough for sheepy things work", so I asked Manny to step on her foot.

There!  Um... how about a "That'll Do?"  I'm thirsty you know
She did very well today, despite some challenges, and I think she has a lot of potential, if she can forget all of those mushing commands, but I have a feeling that this winter, she's going to be out on the training trail and TOTALLY freak out the team by yelling COME-BYE!!!

That'll be fun to watch.

- Bet

Monday 25 May 2015

Goodies for a Good Cause - Bet

Howdy Ho Everybodies!

As you better already know, the Musher is very into helping good causes, and helping Siberian Husky Pretty Curly Tails is right up there on that good causes listy list of hers.

This good cause is kinda special to her because someone made a very specially special quilt commemorating the North Wapiti Pretty Curly Tails.  This extraordinary person wanted to donate this extra specially special quilt to the Kennel as a fundrasier, but stuffs and things kept us from doing it ANY justice as far as fundraiserly raising things go, so we couldn't be prouder that she has donated it to Save Our Siberians Siberspace Rescue Fund where all funds in their auction will go toward helping Siberian Huskies in need.

Cheryl Dawson is a long time fan and biggie big sponsor of the Pretty Curly Tails.  She worked her fingers to the nubbin creating this one of a kind, king-sized biggie huge quilt.

Each panel is a different Pretty Curly Tail and each corner has the distinctive Canadian Maple Leaf

Not only will it keep you toasty warm on your bed, but your auction donation will go toward making sure Siberian Huskies get treatment for icky things.

The quilt is just one of the many cool items available for auction on the SOS-SRF Auction site.

The auction starts at noon TODAY and ends on Sunday, May 31st at 9pm EDT.  So click the linky link below and get your bids in now!

Click here to register and bid on cool auction items and the quilty quilt.

- Bet

Saturday 23 May 2015

World Turtle Day - Bet

Howdy Ho Everybodies!

We just love to celebrate worldly things and stuffs and today it's World Turtle Day!!!

According to the Wikipedias, World Turtle Day started in 2000

The purpose of World Turtle Day®, started in 2000 by a tortoise rescue group, is to bring awareness about turtles and tortoises.  Apparently you celebrate by wearing a green summer dress... um... ok. You can also go save some turtles or dress up as a turtle... um... alrighty then.

We always like to participate in these types of things, so I went out to the dog yard to pass out some green dresses and to make sure no turtles were being used as soccer balls (hey, it happens sometimes), I found this.

Bet:  Turtle, what are you doing?
Turtle: Don't you know??  It's World ME day!
Bet: Um, yes, it's World Turtle day, but they mean those things that walk around with shells on
Turtle: You mean eggs?  Eggs don't walk around.
Bet: Um, no... I mean Turtles
Turtle: That's ME!
Bet: No, the Chelonians
Turtle: Don't be silly, why would there be a world day for a group of soluble substance that are produced within a tissue and that inhibit mitosis of cells of that tissue and whose action is reversible?
Bet: That's Chalones, Chelonians are turtles
Turtle: See!  That's me
Bet: Nice crown
Turtle: Thanks!  It'll look stunning with my green dress.


- Bet

Friday 22 May 2015

Poor Planning.

Falcon's summer project has been a basement suite for her dog house. Things were going well, she was looking at paint and fabric samples .... and then this happened...

The local Housing Authority stated that there were no permits done. They questioned the design and the skill level of the contractor.

(That's the Housing Authority on the upper left of the picture. She was self appointed).

She called in a Disaster Recovery Unit (ME) .....

...and all was put right.

Falcon's talking about an in ground pool now.

Good luck getting THAT by the Housing Authority Falcon.

Even if she is your Mother.

Friday 8 May 2015

Cool Runnings!!!

It is that time of year when the temperatures start to creep up the scale and we reluctantly, sometimes too reluctantly, scale back our runs with our canine athletes!

I've seen a lot online lately about 'magic formulas' to help you decide when it is 'safe' to run your dogs.

The 'formulas' go like this - you add up the humidity and temperature (in Fahrenheit) and if they don't exceed a 'threshold', you are good to go. I've seen both 120 and, most recently, 100 as the threshold number!

Problem is, these formulas are ridiculous and can either have you sitting inside when you need not be - or give you a false sense of security.

Take yesterday for example. When I checked the weather, the humidity was 97% and the temperature was 32F. That equals 129 - over either of the 'threshold' numbers. Did I stay in?? HECK NO

We had a beautiful and SAFE run!!! Most of the dogs weren't even interested in drinking when we stopped for our break in the river.

This morning the snow is gone, the temperature is 30 F with 86% humidity. The numbers again don't 'add up' but we will be fine.

The fact of the matter is that breed, condition, fitness, the environment, temperament and your expectations all factor into what is safe for your dog.
Heavy (and even just a few lbs heavier) out of shape dogs will run much hotter than fit ones; breeds traditionally developed for cold climates will run hotter than most hunting breeds (for example). If you live in a warm climate and never see cold temperatures, your dog will likely be able to tolerate running in a bit warmer temps. If your dog is particularly hard driving, they will likely do worse in the heat.

Some say colour factors in too - that a darker coloured dog will overheat faster than a lighter one. That has not been my experience, but as so many factors go into a 'hot vs. cool' running dog, who knows!

In addition, the trails you are running play a big factor. We live in a river valley where it is typically a few degrees cooler than 'up top'. On borderline days I will run shaded trails down in the valley as opposed to more 'open' trails up top.

Access to water on the trails can play a big factor too. We have a river running through our property. On 'warmer' days I will plan my route so the dogs are in the river a couple times, allowing them to drink their fill when we are.

My guideline for my sled dogs is that anything over 10C (about 50F), we don't run. I don't factor humidity into that, but if I walk outside and feel it is too warm, I turn around. Those numbers are safe for my dogs - however I still watch them like a hawk on the trail.

Going slow and pulling hard is less likely to overheat a dog than letting them go fast. This seems contraindicated to many but it is, in my experience, true. If I find myself caught from home on a day that warms up faster than I thought, I bring the dogs home slowly with lots of water and recovery breaks.  

Overheating a dog is a SERIOUS thing. They can easily die - or be altered for life by the experience. Once a dog has been overheated, it will always overheat sooner in the future. Knowing your dog and recognizing the signs early is critical.

I hate to offer veterinary advice, so here is a good link to an article on heat stroke in dogs - causes, prevention, signs, treatment, etc.

So what it boils down to is this - don't trust magical mathematical formulas to make decisions for your dogs. Educate yourself, know your dogs, know your environment....

....and always err on the side of caution!!!!

Sunday 3 May 2015

That'll Do Musher - Bet

In case folks haven't figured it out, I LOVE that wacky Musher of mine.  Yup, I have a lot of human souls that I love and own big pieces of my heart - but that silly, waffle-making, bad ensemble, silly tennis shoed, slightly neurotic, scarf-loving human is in a league all of her very own.

For those of you that don't know, the Musher's passion is racing Pretty Curly Tails, and they are EXTREMELY accomplished in the pulling of Musher sleds and racing.  Crunchie is practically a legend.  The Musher comes from great genes, my Grandmom makes the bestest pancakes, and warms my butter and syrup for me.  The Musher just didn't fit into the city life or show her potential for filing and collating, and that is how she ended up here in the wilds of North Wapiti.

I've written OODLES over the years about that, and her job at the kennel, so I won't go over it all again here.

In her travels with me over the last 6 years, we've come into contact with baa baa sheepie things numerous times and I've made it VERY clear that I needed to concentrate my mad skills on herding the Pretty Curly Tails, training the puppies, making sure the cloud, clouches, and couch were worn in properly, and not something that I could add to my very busy schedule.

All that changed last month though.  We just happened to be in contact with baa baa sheepie things again and I thought "Ya know, the Poutines of Anarchy are getting bigger, and it's getting nice out, which means long runs with the Musher on her stupid bicycle, and sitting by the ponds, lake, water thingie, so why not do some herdy herding to keep my muscles toned?"

As I do have the Musher wrapped around my little paw toe, she took me across the valley to Lisa's house once a week for some lessons.  I'm a bit rusty since my training at Alta Pete Stockdogs and Ms. Jenny's comprehensive training program.  This weekend Lisa was putting on a seminar, so off we went to Landing Trail Stock Dogs.

I got tired of the amateurs running around, willy nilly, not even keeping the baa baa sheepie things in line, and making all sorts of mistakes, so I may have gotten a bit emotional with the yelling and backseat driving instructions, so the Musher had to put me in the van... harumpff.

When it was my turn, for the amount of training I've had, I did a GREAT job. It felt good to get back in the baa baa sheepie ring again.  Of course I was wearing my FASHIONABLE collar that makes my furs pop.  They are the bestest collars and all the rage with other herdy herders (thanks to me).  If I'm going to do anything, I'm going to do it stylish, right Ms. Jenny?

Part of herdy herding baa baa sheepie things is "lie down".  This is not my favorite part of the herdy herding process.  It's like the Musher has no idea how much baa baa sheepie things poop.  That stuff is all over the place, and who wants to lay in that?  I'd rather just stand, thank you very much.

We also worked on doing Figure 8's with pylon things and stuffs and that's pretty hard.

Whoopsies, my bad

At the end of our session, she patted her leg, said "That'll do Bet" and she looked down at me with that tired satisfaction that I see so often in the Pretty Curly Tail eyes, things are RIGHT in my world!

Oh, and she made me waffles for breakfast this morning.  Did I mention that she just can't say "no" to me?  hehehehehehe

- Bet

That'll Do Bet

In case folks haven't figured it out, I LOVE that freaky little Border Collie of mine. Yup, I have a lot of dog souls that I love and own big pieces of my heart - but that silly little, bad-breathed, dirty-toed, slightly neurotic, waffle-loving creature is in a league all of her very own.

For those of you that don't know, Bet's former family, the Glens of Alta-Pete Stockdogs, are EXTREMELY accomplished in the herding world and Bet's half brother, Don, is practically a legend. Bet comes from herding ROYALTY but she just didn't live up to her potential and that is she how she ended up being available to us when I was looking for a Border Collie to use to free run my puppies.

I've written HEAPS over the years about that and her job at the kennel, so I won't go over it all again here.

In her travels with me over the last 6 years, she has come in contact with sheep numerous times and made it VERY clear that that was all in her past and not something she was interested in.

All that changed last month though. In a fluke incident she was in contact with sheep again and this time decided that she wanted to give it another go.

Because I don't say 'no' to her well, we have made the trip across the valley to my friend Lisa Wright's Landing Trail Stock Dogs about once a week since then for lessons. This weekend Lisa was putting on a seminar and off we went again.

I'd like to say that Bet waited patiently and politely as other dogs were worked....

....but that would be a LIE!

She whined and barked and fussed like a sled dog at hookup. She spent most of the time waiting locked in a crate in the van (yes, it was cool, cold actually, and the tailgate was open) like a REAL DOG.

When it was her turn, for the amount of training she has had, she did a GREAT job. Seeing that drive and learning to control it is as much a rush to me as watching my sled dogs learn to run in harness. Purpose-bred souls doing their my world it does not get much better. 

Lisa working Bet for a bit yesterday.

At the end of her session, when I pat my leg, say 'That'll do Bet', and she looks up at me with that tired satisfaction that I see so often in the eyes of my Siberians, things are RIGHT in my world!

Oh, and she got waffles for breakfast this morning. Did I mention that I don't say 'no' to her well???

Friday 1 May 2015

King Of The World

Tig and Chibs had a heated game of King of the World yesterday!


"Seriously Tig - you are a loser. You are stuck. I'm King of the World!"

 "I am not stuck. I can move if I want to."



"Get off my throne!"

"It's my throne"

 "I think I might be stuck"

"You are such a LOSER Tig!"

"Hey look - SQUIRREL!"
"You know this is kinda comfortable..."

You two are BOTH losers!