The Uh-Oh Blog

Sunday, February 14, 2010


More Dog Work...

This was a good day. Melinda Brenimer and Larry Adams came to work with Joni. Larry had two young dogs from his Raid and Melinda has a young dog that came from Joni. It is always fun to see the method the dogs use and to see how you can influence them. Melinda's little bitch is very fast and brave. She is taking her corrections well and really happy to work. One thing about Joni's training is that the "give" in the dog has to be right. If the dog feels the pressure correctly it will seek the release and you won't start leaning on each other. It makes the dogs really fast and flexible. I am really starting to recognize it when the dog has figured out that you will hold them up. They start to slow down and then get tight and not flexible. If they are at a good distance they are much more willing to listen. Mick(white headed dog)is showing a nice feel for his sheep here. Tessa(Melinda's bitch)is really responding with a nice give in her change of direction on the fly.


Winter Dog Work

It has been a good winter, not too much snow,cold temperatures but nice enough to ride and to work the dogs. Joni Swanke came here from North Dakota to works dogs a couple of times and it has been so much fun. I sure do need coaching and she is really helping me. This last week I got to just follow her around while she got her dogs ready for the spring trials so I am starting to see the picture. Sometimes it is just a good thing to just watch really good dogs being trained and see what the corrections have to be in order to get the dogs just right. I have spent a great deal of time watching clinics with novice handlers and I feel like I get stuck there so this was just so much fun to try and take this in. She has some really great dogs and she sure does get them sharp. I have been up to her place a few times this winter but to get to work here really did help me. She trained my Will dog last summer but when he got home he sort of reverted to his bad habits from being around me. So it was a good thing to have her here to help me with my corrections. I also bought a young bitch that is her breeding and we had to revamp her already! Her name is Possum and she is by Joni's Lew and out of Michelle Howard's Nan. She is very forgiving but I have let her start to get not so correct.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009


It Feels Like Fall

It really feels like fall today. It is pouring rain and freezing cold all of the sudden. I'm sure that some of the flies are going to die! It has been torture for the horses lately and I think they are a bit relieved even though they are freezing. I guess if it's not one thing it's another. I had a really great summer riding with Nina and I haven't posted any news because we were just having too much fun! So now that it is cold and wet I will catch up. Nina left to go to school in Bozeman and I miss her everyday. She was really amazing with the horses and it was a true pleasure to ride around her.
She started off a little rough and I think she got bucked off 6 times in the first couple of weeks but after that she smoothed right out and she could really get along with a colt. She had a few tough ones that did challenge her but she made every horse better in the end and I really enjoyed riding all of her string after she left.

Friday, June 12, 2009


The Big One

We are back from North Dakota. Nina Atamaniuk, who is with us for the summer, traveled with me, 4 dogs and 4 horses to "The Big One" sheep dog trial where we were part of the set out crew. We set sheep for 45 runs a day on Harry Kerr's ranch just outside Bowman. It was really good work for the horses and I got to use Wiz a little which I really love doing. Willum also showed up with Joni Swanke to help a little. He has been in training with Joni since the end of March and is doing really well. She ran him in the nursery class but only to do the first part (outrun, lift, fetch) which he did after a few redirects. He did find the sheep which was nice to see since it was a fairly long outrun for the young dogs. Being at the top of the course gives lots of opportunity to see the dogs up close and to watch how they are thinking as well as how the sheep feel about each dog. I really had fun working with Kate Broadbent and Len and of course Hummer. She has a real knack for reading the sheep and getting them out to the post without a lot of hassle.

The trial was followed by a clinic with Joni and Haley Howard. We started off getting to watch Haley work her dogs Ross and Stoney. Ross showed us what a flexible dog looks like and it is a mazing to see a dog that can be so accurately placed anywhere she desires. Stoney gave us the picture of how sharp a young dog can actually be. From there we each got to work on our dogs which were all different levels and all different problems, mostly handling issues. How you apply pressure and then the release was the story of the day. Everyone has problems with this.

Funny, how I can see it on a horse but a dog is a different deal. I am still struggling with this. It is one of those things that is easily observed but step into the pen and try it! Yikes! Joni was on the sidelines giving us a commentary about what Haley was working on so that was really helpful. They are a great teaching team. Sometimes they changed and Joni worked the human/dog while Haley helped with the discussion. The concepts they teach are easy to understand. It is black and white, never any gray area when your dealing with building a working partnership with a dog. Their expectations are very high and they expect a great deal of accuracy from the dogs. Nice to watch but hard to do!

We left the next morning after the clinic and drove through rain and snow! to Sheridan to visit Mary, Buck and Reata(Dally,Roody,Zip and Tex also). Reata and Nina immediately saddles up and went for a ride coming back right before it got dark. They had a lot of fun. The next morning Reata took Nina through the museum and King's while Mary and I went on a walk. We did all the normal shopping stops including Sheridan Leather where we visited with Don Butler and Bob Douglas and his wife. We left in the afternoon and headed home back to a full slate of horses which will be keeping us busy all summer!

Saturday, May 23, 2009


4th Annual Table Top Stock Dog Trial

We just finished hosting the 4th Annual Table Top Stock Dog Trial. It was a blast. We were up at 4:30 each morning moving 400+ sheep with horses and Wiz. There is something so incredible about moving a herd of sheep off horses. The sheep just flow over the prairie like a wave and they are quiet except for the sound of their feet and their grazing. Wiz did a great job moving the herd. She knew exactly where we were going and kept everything flowing with little direction . I realize that is what she is best at and where she excels. We exposed the horses to a lot of action over the course of the trial and it made for some ling days for them. We had every kind of weather which kept things interesting and it was amazing to feel how the sheep would change through the day. I met some new people and am always amazed at how the dogs can bring people from all over the continent together to appreciate their talents. Hope we can do it again in the future.


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