Tag Archives: rescue

Rally Course of the Week – August 23, 2013

CAROlogoNOVICECourse Details

Level: Novice (CARO)

Space Required: 50’x 50′

Designer: Ayoka Bubar

Download this Course: CARO 50′x 50′ Course – Novice (T13-001)

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Rally Course of the Week – June 28, 2013

CAROlogoNOVICECourse Details

Level: Novice (CARO)

Space Required: 50’x 65′

Designer: Ayoka Bubar

Download this Course: CARO 50′x 65′ Course – Novice (T12-053)

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Rally Course of the Week – June 21, 2013

CAROlogoNOVICETEAMCourse Details

Level: Novice Team (CARO)

Space Required: 30’x70′

Designer: Ayoka Bubar

Download this Course: CARO 30′x 70′ Course – Novice Team (T12-052)

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Herding Clinic with Roy Sage – April 20 & 21, 2013

I am a bit behind but two weekends ago, Bear and I headed to St. Norbert, MB for three days of herding. This was my first herding clinic so I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect. I’m new enough to the sport to know I don’t really know anything.

There were a variety of dogs and handlers at the clinic including mixed breeds, Australian Shepherds, German Shepherds, Swedish Vallhunds, a Dandie Dinmont, a Poodle and our friend Astrid, a Greater Swiss Mountain Dog. I only recall one border collie in attendance!Some dogs were new to herding some have been attending classes for the past year or so. Some of the dogs took to herding like dicks to water and others needed some encouraging to interact with the sheep. Regardless of what happened in the ring, Roy, the clinician, had something nice to say about each dog and their work.

Over the weekend, Bear and I made progress in a few areas and discovered a few new challenges. Below are the highlights:

  • We managed to get Bear to work a little further away from the sheep i.e. not plastered to their butts. When Bear works farther back, the sheep panic less and Bear barks less.
  • I discovered that Bear barks mostly when I turn him from moving in a  counter clockwise direction (away)  to circling clockwise (come by).This means he’s turning left, which was the same way he turned in flyball…at least he’s consistent.
  • We were able to move sheep in more of a straight line than we ever have.
  • Not once all weekend did he try to dive in and grab wool.
  • Bear worked in a ring with 2 border collies in attendance…staring at the sheep…as border collies do. He gave them a brief glance and then went back to his sheep..no hard stare, no lunge, no nothing.
  • We started working on walk-ups and getting Bear to move towards the sheep at a speed slightly slower than Mach 10. Sheep don’t like Mach 10. and moving slowly towards the sheep is a skill we need for driving at the intermediate level.
  • We started a few call offs – calling Bear away from the sheep. He was better than I thought he would be. Leaving perfectly good moving sheep is going to be one of the major challenges for us if we ever progress to the intermediate level.
  • Roy believes Bear is barking not at the sheep to get them to move but at me because I am preventing him from doing what he would like. I would agree that frustration and barking go hand in hand with Bear.

Roy said he thought we could ‘go far’…not sure what that means. I think our progress will mostly be limited by how often we can get out and train on sheep and right now, it’s around once a month. Roy did leave us with some ideas for ‘dry land training’ without sheep and I will write more about these as we give them a try.

Other highlights of the weekend included: Meeting some new people including another rottie owner and someone who lives not far from us, great food and company (as always) and and two incident-free nights in the hotel with our friends Stephanie and Astrid!

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Filed under Herding, Notes, Problem Solving, Training

Herding – April 6, 2013

I was supposed to be at agility trial in Thunder Bay this weekend…but low entries led to a trial cancellation. While disappointing and distressing I was *gasp* left with a free weekend. This gave me the opportunity to get one more herding class in before the herding clinic on the 19th.

I spent most of the class trying to figure out where I should be in relation to the sheep and when I should leave Bear to work. Apparently I have been in the way and to be honest, it always often feels that way. As usual, our second run was better than the first, likely because Bear is tired.

Today, however, with some great guidance, I got a few minutes of some nice calm work from Bear . Calm for him, that is. Now the challenge is for me to do what I need to do to keep it that way. Aside from calmness being easier on the sheep (and me) it will also the difference between a higher score and a lower score in a trial.

Today’s experience reminds me a lot of when I learned to drive a standard car. I knew what I should be doing, I knew how it should be done, I could get the car in gear occasionally but I lacked the timing and coordination to pull it off consistently until I had practiced (and stalled out) many times.

Unfortunately, the real problem with herding is not getting the mechanical timing right but coordinating the movements of living, breathing things with tiny brains – some of whom would rather be in another pasture, one of whom thinks wool tastes awesome!

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Filed under Herding, Musings, Training

Herding – March 30, 2013

Yesterday, since I had to drive in to Winnipeg to pick up dog food for work, I decided to bring Bear with me and go herding for the first time this year. We have not been out since our first trial in September but we are attending a clinic next month so I figured it could not hurt to get Bear out to see sheep – especially if it might prevent a meltdown in a few weeks.

I still have a lot of things as a handler to figure out including, staying out of Bear’s way when he’s doing what he should, walking in a straight line and staying on my feet!

As usual, Bear was his whiny, groan-y bark-y self (boy can a bark echo in an indoor arena!) but I was nicely surprised by two things.

First he was able to work with one of the resident border collies in the ring. The dog was occasionally ‘helping’ because in his eyes, I’m sure it was clear we had no clue what was going on. Typically bad things happen when Bear gets this close to a dog while he is so amped up. Yesterday, he looked at the dog – and if dogs could shrug, that’s what he did  then he continued working the sheep. It may be because the dog does not even seem to register that Bear exists or maybe he’s just one of those dogs that never sends one confrontational ‘vibe’ to other dogs. Bear is the king of picking up on such things and dealing with them in an equally confrontational way. I don’t think he would be ok working with just any dog but this one, named Pistol,  is now in the ‘tolerable dog’ category.

The second thing that surprised me was that Bear was able to work close to the sheep without having to use his mouth (for biting). There were a few times he would use his shoulder to move a sheep or a nose poke – but very little nipping and certainly no grabbing and holding. If we can keep this up and build on it then maybe, just maybe, there’s hope that I can teach him to drive sheep away from me which is something we’d have to do at the next level – if we ever get there!

We’ve got some excellent opportunities coming up this year in herding that include two clinics and a trial this spring and two trial weekends in the fall. For the spring trial my goal is to finish our Herding Started Title, we need one more leg. I think we will also give the Stock Dog trials a try. I’ve had to check out the rulebook because I don’t think I saw any Stock Dog runs last year and they look really fun. The Stock Dog classes are designed to simulate common farm chores. Dogs are moving stock over larger spaces than the arena trials and the obstacles are actually farm fields, pens, stalls and trailers, not simple 4×8 panels. It sounds interesting but not like something we would have been able to accomplish without any previous trial experience – I am looking forward to the extra challenge!

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Filed under Herding, Training

Looking ahead at dog related goals for 2013

Now that things are slowing down (relatively) for the winter I’m taking some time to consider what I would like to work on this year. I had  look at my 2011/2012 goals and, while we worked  little bit on all of them, the only ones we achieved was fixing the back up 3 steps for rally and getting started with Nose Work. Two is better than none right?


What  have discovered is that it’s really hard to stay motivated to do something when that something has no real application in our competition lives or our daily lives. I have given up on the long stand/down – we aren’t likely to ever compete in any event that requires either exercise. Same goes for retrieving.

We are at a point in our competition/trialing/testing career that there are more things we could do than I have time or money for. Planning ahead will allow me to invest my training time and money on things that:

  • Will keep Bear fit and healthy.
  • We enjoy.
  • Will make life easier for us (by us I men me!)
  • Will help us to be successful in the competition ring.

To this end, here is a list of things I’d like to try accomplish in 2013.


  • Improve weave pole entrance at high speed.
  • Improve Bear’s ability to focus when highly aroused.

Health & Fitness

  • Improve Bear’s overall fitness and muscle tone with FitPAWS equipment, his backpack and his cart..
  • Improve Bear’s flexibility by performing daily stretches.
  • Keep up the with Bear’s daily supplements.


  • Teach Bear to identify and indicate human scent indoors.
  • Improve stamina and focus on longer tracks (<100 yards).


  • Reduce (or eliminate) barking at work.

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Filed under Agility, Goal Setting, Health & Safety, Herding, Problem Solving, Rally-O, Scent Work, Tracking, Training