Life With Kane
Friday, October 23rd, 2009
I am lazy again - or rather, too busy with the dogs in real life to write about them on the computer...
But now I have updated; check out Kane's and Ponny's photo albums, new pages with photos and story from visiting Else and this summer's pups as well as from the Kenth Svartberg-course in September, as well as the results page.
These past few weeks have been filled with everything; from my thumb getting broken, so that I have a cast on, to travelling to Tystberga in Sweden together with Gry for four intense days of herding at Happy Heeler Week (read more on Torlundablue.se) and our first AHBA test - which resulted in Kane achieving a new title, Junior Herding Dog; unofficial, but still cool.
I also realized that we have to go back to basics in training, thanks to wonderful herding teacher Lynn Leach - who was totally impressive with the dogs and with us owners.
We worked sheep and cattle, and it was absolutely thrilling to see all kinds of herding dog do their thing: Two Lancashire Heelers, a Beauceron, several Aussies, one Border Collie, two Kelpies, a Briard, two Catalan Sheepdogs.
Kane is labelled "a strong dog", and is basically disobedient - I need to get him to slow his thing down. Sheep or cattle, he will go in without hesitation and move them - but way too fast and wild. My bad, I guess... it's not easy with two beginners trying to learn at the same time.
One who has managed that job is Ibrahim with Kane's half brother Kastor; they did a great job and won the Herding Trial Arena Dog I on sheep!
Most of the participants lived in a big house on the QL ranch, I don't know how many on two legs, but there were 13 dogs residing in the house at one point! Else, Kane's breeder came up with her three girls, so Bella passed her Herding Capability Test, this also in the AHBA programme.
Gry worked Step on cattle, and also proved an excellent stock handler herself! Now we have plans... and just need the time (and possibly some money!) to keep on training.
Hello to those of our new friends who might drop by Kane's homepage! We met up with so many nice and fun and dedicated people, across the breed borders. It's interesting to hear about different breed, and very educating too.
After coming home Saturday night, last Sunday was spent in the forests of Svartskog with our friend Alem and her mom - and the boys enjoyed just running about just doing "nothing"; they were busy checking out tracks and smells and Kane just running and running....
But plans are abounding; next month will be the big Norwegian Kennel Club show at Lillestrøm. Cattledogs will be judged by an Australian judge, and I decided to get sentimental and show Ponny for the first judge who gave him a CC and also placed him group 4 - when he was a teenager!
I also jumped right into it and entered Kane in obedience, still class I - to have a fighting chanse. We are almost ready for class II, just some finishing touches needed, but that will be next year.
I also have secured a place at the Norwegian Funksjonsanalyse test next spring, to be out in time! I will sit down one night to plan which working dog competitions to enter too... welcome 2010.
Wednesday, October 7th 2009
This nose is a good one!
I have decided to get Kane's tracking career back on track, after we have trained a lot of searching (rundering) these past months.
Three days ago, I did a combined track on both concrete and grass as well as in the forest - I laid the track through a school yard at the end of the school day, with some people still leaving, then over the football field where some young boys still were playing, continuing along a track, crossing the asphalt road (not straight over, I put the track along the ditch for a while) and then through the woods back to the car. Pretty cool - the way Kane tracked like a pro.
Then today I laid another track, at Stovner - one of the suburbs here in Oslo. This one was longer, also combining different kinds of ground - gravel, lawns, asphalt walkways, through a concrete underpass under the road, up a steep roadside - and it was also a strong wind blowing. Adding to that was a lot of people passing the track, some with dogs.
And again... Kane did a great job!
He handles the change of ground well, even though I have to say "slow" a few times, he is excellent in picking up the scent of the objects - actually at his best on the small textile/rubber squares I use on the hard surface, and does not seem to notice crossing tracks from others.
He was even willing to concentrate on his track even when we got a stupid woman with a fat dog running interference; she wanted her pet to "play" with Kane, even though I said "no, we're training" (well, after two nice attempts I growled at her and made things very clear) - and he kept right on working.
One thing I do wonder a bit about, is that he works best when I let him "run"... it's like when I hold him back, he starts more of his sideways movements - I wonder if that is some kind of frustration or what. I have to think about that a bit.
Sunday, October 4th 2009
Kane and Ponny wishes all our friends a wonderful fall.
Saturday, October 3rd, 2009
Yes, we are going to the Lynn Leach Clinic - and I do hope John finds us some good cows, since this bronze one is the only one within the Oslo city limits! Hope to see a lot of old friends there, and meet some new faces as well.
Long time since last I sat down with the doggy homepage. Been far too busy with real life, I guess - my work and then the boys. At nights, finally sitting down in the couch (our new - finally got myself one in leather, with a little velvet cushion for Ponny in the corner), I just watch stupid series about A) murder and dissection (CSI and all that stuff) or B) vampires ("True Blood" has started on Norwegian telly).
But of course there has been a lot happening with the dogs!
Last month, Kane and I were students... at the Kenth Svartberg weekend course at Antrozoologisenteret. He is a great speaker, and I was quite nervous when we entered the ring first time on Saturday. It turned out some stupid woman had brought her female in heat to the class, and noone - including the people holding the clinic - had bothered to think about the one male dog participating, i.e. Kane. And the nice-smelling girl went in the training ring just before him, even peeing in the ring. Well, Kane is a stupid young male - but even Ponny found her interesting, and that takes a lot. Luckily, Mr Svartberg took charge - and we trained outside the ring. I do not normally object to training around females in heat - but not when I pay a small fortune for a class like this!
When Kane got a bit less stupid, he was his usual self - quick, eager and at times performing wonderfully. I got a lot of things to think about, I still think a lot about them - while Kane is at a temporary hiatus from competitions.
I might enter him again in class I at NKK Dogs4All at Lillestrøm in November - but with my luck, that might just crash with either the judging of the cattledogs, the judging of the heelers - Ponny will be entered, or maybe both!!!
I have started him in an inofficial class II, at the same place as the Svartberg Clinic, where Kane managed to sniff his way through ALL the exercises. Oh well, he did do a nice down stay with hidden handler - so that's at least something.
And yes, we have done some herding too - more sheep down at Alexander's place. I am getting Kane a bit more in hand. Talking about instincts - that is a place where females in heat is totally ignored: Is there a sheep nearby, forget it, baby, seems to be on his mind...
We have also trained some rundering (searching) with the Belgian Shepherd Club, and Kane has done some fine work. Have done some tracking with him too, but have been a bit too lax here, I know... Next year there will be more competitions, in both disciplines.
And just to plain enjoy ourselves, we have gone for long, long walks in the autumn forest... this is my favorite time of year. We get to explore new places, since there are harvested fields that we for once can walk on, and have been blessed with some lovely sunny fall days.
Saturday, August 29th, 2009
Getting up at 5 o'clock this morning, being grateful to myself for having done all preparation and packing the night before, me and the boys went to Fredrikstad for the last possible tracking competition in class D at Østlandet this year - except for next weekend, which is when I will train for Kenth Svartberg.
I knew that we started with the long down, making it necessary to exercise Kane on the way down!
Well, we arrived, Kane got a 10 for a nice long down - and then out in the forest. He was a bit too enthusiastic, and when I feel a bit hindered by the judge following in this working dog class, he wavers a bit around the track - I would usually tell him to concentrate if we were on our own! But we got an 8.5.
Then onto obedience, and he was a king!
We got to more 10's, in the recall and down while moving (see the results page), and Kane acted like a little prince - ignoring the tempting forest smells which have made him a bit unruly before.
In the budføring, he didn't want to leave the figurant! But he did, and we pulled through - getting a nice 3rd place, getting moved up to class C, and making a lot of new cattledog friends (and friends of the littlest heeler too... he did his usual charm attack in the breaks).
So it was a great trip back. Got some good news too; our friend Gry with the red cattle dog girls of Ok Corral called - her own breeding, Step, was made champion today! Congratulations. And then she got a yes from a sheep farmer who will let us train on his sheep - maybe we will get some sheep of our own too!
A last walk of the day for the never tired Kane (Ponny has to take it easy a week, he is a bit lame) turned out to be his "big reward" for being such a good boy today: We met an old acquaintance with her whole pack of dogs - all girls! Kane was quite overwhelmed - here I bring him out in the forest, and "present" him with six or seven lovely females. It was quite fun to watch him getting friendly with a variety of poodles and Chinese Crested, all in white or silver, so they were a lovely match together!
Now the boys sleep happily at home...
Wednesday August 19th 2009
Have updated the results page, since I was quite pleased about Kane's prowess at a training competition in Ås tonight - where he placed second, and did quite a nice run through the class I programme. I only regretted I didn't try the class II, since he is pretty well into that too.
Oh well, better with a nice and smooth run-through; next weekend we will compete in the working dog competition again, class D tracking, and really need to get moved up towards next class! That means we have to get better at the "budføring"... grrrr, one of the things I can't train alone! I will have to exploit unknowing friends, just tell them to stand still, pat him, and send him back to me!
Earlier this week we went down to Alexander Strøm's place to work some stock; sheep as usual. Kane is still a bit frustrated, and I have now decided that I need to speak in bigger letters... to make things more black and white for him. And he responded well to me getting stricter, I was praised once by Alexander, and I guess that ain't too bad!
Kane had a go four times, and as usual - he got better, the more he worked. Before his last run, he realized that the nice border collie girl next to him was in full heat - and very, very ready! But take him one meter away from her and say "tika tika" (which is Norwegian for calling the sheep), and he is 110 percent focused on sheep and sheep alone. Work ethics!
August 5th, 2009
Have been lazy updating this page - but at least I have added TWO photo albums for you to leafe through; one from the Vixax camp in Skåne, Sweden, where Kane got started on hard surface tracking, and one from Belger-Sølen, where we spent a week training search (rundering). Check them out!
It has been back to work, and then just training a little bit. Except for the hard surface tracking, where we were told to do it as often as possible, preferrably every day! We do it in the garage, on the morning walks in the cemetary and so on...
But now things are getting closer: We are to train a weekend for Kenth Svartberg, obedience, which is gonna be fun. More herding as well, and now working dog training hopefully will get back on track when everybody gets back from their holidays.
The picture here is from when me and the boys visited the bird dog girls - and whippet pal Mac - on a particularly muddy, rainy day! We tried to gather them all, but only Bare the Kleiner Münsterländer stayed for a few seconds!
July 17th, 2009
Kane The Predator!
Out walking at the Ekeberg fields Wednesday afternoon, Kane found a nice football to shake and kill and chew on - with a very fitting name.....
But it soon became evident that he REAL predator in the family is, to be frank, the littlest one - Ponny. He conquered the football by sheer presence and willpower, went on to tear it to pieces, and in addition also managed to capture the tennis ball I threw to Kane as consolation....
Monday, July 6th, 2009
Back after five eventful days in Sweden! Just a short note - I will get back with more facts and fun later.
First of all: Kane did his Swedish herding instinct test on Saturday, July 4th; the one that was formalized by the Bearded Collie Club, and is being used by the Swedish Australian Cattledog Club (SACK). It took place at Ewa Myrbrink's place Mårtensby, where we spent two days working stock - namely sheep.
Kane got the grade 5, which is top score, on both "interest" as well as "mental endurance" - he never takes his eyes of the sheep, and he never gives up. On "natural ability" he scored a 3, because he was barking and nipping - and not keeping control calmly and fully.
(I probably should bang my head against a wall for not doing it my way, and use my voice and body/hand language instead of the rake which was customarily used there; when I did that later, he was silent and calmer, something the Aussie herding instructor present there, Cass of the Ringbarka Kelpie kennel also remarked when I did some training with her. I have even written about this reaction in the diary earlier...)
That gives a total score of 4,33 - which means Kane's herding abilities now is approved!
As for the fourth thing which is evaluated, which is how willing the dog is to cooperate and how steerable it is, he got 3. This is not counted, and here the scale goes from 0 (an extremely "hard" dog) to 5 (an extremely handlersoft dog).
We also went to the Swedish Australian Cattledog Clubs (SACK)'s yearly summer specialty, with the record number of 31 dogs entered. Kane got his red 1st prize quality ribbon in the Open Class, but judge Maritha Östlund Holmsten (a Boxer breeder) withheld the Certificate, which was not given out this day to the males. She thought he wasn't heavy enough to herd cows....
A pity that she was the judge of that - and not Maria Cypriansen, the Kelpie breeder who judged the exterior part of the Swedish "Korning"-test, which we also took - and where Kane was approved. So he got "something" that day as well, and now we will take the Mentaltest in the fall.
We also spent some nice days at Else's place in Ransta, where Kane and Ponny met Kane's four nephews and nieces - a litter after his half sister Waltzing-Tilda and OK Big Skinner. Pictures will follow!
Sunday, July 5th, 2009
Great pictures of Kane - and me - from Sølen is out on Anne Gry's homepage (annegry.blogspot.com, and link there to her picasa page).
She was one of the team members that we trained together with under instructor Rolf von Krogh, who is in charge of the dogs in the Norwegian Customs service.
Six days packed with knowledge! Kane was great, he didn't show signs to tire - except for the second last day, when he seemed to shut down at the end of the day. But he had a blister between his two you know what! And after getting some homeopathic ointment on it, he was back in form the next day...
I was quite impressed with the little guy, who did well. I lose it a bit sometimes, and he is a very honest dog who does his best and wants clear orders. At one point, when I was plain confused when I was sending him past the middle line into a new search pass, I said "search" instead of the usual "yes". He ran two meters, then stopped and glared at me - so we deduced that "yes, he knows the command word", and also that I suffered from temporary confusion....
The other members laughed a little when I came with Kane's favorite zoo - all his squeaky toys, which are formed as zebras, an elephant, two hippos, and a giraffe. And a great reward for him was to run down to the lake we trained by, to have a quick swim. That also cleaned him up after his "dust baths"; after having done his training pass, he would invariably roll with great relish on the dirt road where the middle line was.
It was a great week, we enjoyed it - nice people, wonderful nature, a great, great trainer, and our own little cabin to relax in!
Monday, July 6th, 2009
It's holiday, I'm preparing for a week up in the woods around Femunden, training search and rescue with the Belgian Shepherd Dog Club. But up early - to work some stock down at Alexander and Madeleine's place in Eidsberg. Our old friends, the dogwise ewes...
Kane is ready as always. I got up a bit earlier, to practice his downs and slow and steady walking up on the geese in a park here! Just to cool him down a little bit!
He gets most excited when Alexander's border collie Bill, a great old welsh team member in his time, fetches the sheep and places them for us beginners... But after a little head over heels running, he settled down pretty well - and had a great half hour of us working on his turns. We do it a little bit at the time; I walk with the sheep in a straight line, then turning a little to one side, Kane balancing them - keeping his distance. He's getting better at that.
Then we got a task: Take the five big ewes from one corner of their big field to the other, and back again. And then we're talking the hilly part - a steep hill, with a little wood in the middle, that the sheep love to hide in - they try to run off and in among the trees where it's dense and hilly....
It was 20 degrees, sunshine, and Kane and I were both panting! He really is a tireless worker, and he was actually helping me. Even though he sometimes doesn't think too much, and splits the sheep when excitement runs a bit high, he will go after the strays - and get them straight back to me.
I have quit using my herding staff totally; he just got mad at it, I think he thought me most unfair and threatening, so he's actually a lot better without it... my mistake, I was unfair, I know that now. Because he really does not want us - or me - to lose "our" sheep, I see that now.
Well, with some detours into the woods, we got the sheep there and back again! Kane never quit a second, even though it was getting very hot there on the sunny hillside, and when the sheep does not want to move... he makes them!
Good boy, and I again start dreaming about a farm. That is, until we came back to town. I had a lot of clothes to wash, so I went to the laundrette just around the corner - and while we were waiting, we went for an ice coffee.... being the urbanites again!
Tuesday, June 16th, 2009
Last Sunday, I was so tired - I didn't have the power to both write here in the diary about Kane's two final achievements that weekend:
On Saturday, he became Norwegian Champion, getting his first CC in the Open Class. Since he already had three CCs as a junior and young dog, he got the nice green and red ribbon - as well as his first CACIB, and a Best Of Breed in small, but very good, competition.
On Sunday, we had to get up really - to go to another tracking competition. He messed up his start in the track, then went flawlessly along, but we lost some points there. This time, the obedience was pretty nice, but he was a bit uncertain on the long down - so we got a 0 there, and then he didn't want to do the budføring - he'd rather go sniffing in the tempting field behind us. Oh well, another approved result - but not moving up, exactly as Friday.
Friday, June 5th, 2009
This has been an interesting day... We have been to another competition - this time tracking, class D, in the Working Dog Competition. We got an approved result, although not enough to qualify for the next class up, C. Read more on the page for results...
Kane was his usual self, doing very well - and then doing something really weird. He is all life and excitement, even though I tried to run off some of his steam by walking him for three quarter of an hour before the competition!
After an evening of competing in tracking and obedience, he was still alert and on - he does not seem to tire easily!
He was very happy with his prize - a nice bone, which he wanted to test immediately after being named the winner of the competition.
Tuesday, May 26th, 2009
Today, Kane is the Birthday Boy!
He is now TWO years old, and does not seem to have a care in the world. He will get to pick his own bone when we go to the pet shop today, that will be his first present - but I think the "present" he wants the most, is a long walk in the forest, which we of course will do too.
Time flies, that's for sure. It has been two amazing years. First losing my beloved Panter, the black working shepherd, and then "stumbling" over Kane - the last one left.
A bit of a heartache in the start, when he was found to be a bit flawed. But I decided that this bright, young dog should get all the chances he deserved - and he has paid back, many times.
I could not have asked for a more dedicated and devoted dog, he is an eager worker, trying his best no matter what I figure out should be next, be it obedience, tracking, searching/rundering or herding - he jumps at the prospect to do anything and everything, and tries his best. It's not his "fault" he has a brain that works.... eh, quite fast! And highly imaginatively 🤩
Kane wishes his littermates, all eight of them, a very happy birthday - and many happy returns!
Sunday, May 24th, 2009
Kane was tired and lay down in the car! Vow! That was after four long sessions of working sheep at Alexander's place in Eidsberg - in the warm sun.
We need to go there more often, Kane should get to work sheep regularly - since he blows the first session just by being too high wired. We started working on flanking, and when the sheep tried to run off - they are quite dog wise - he got to do some real work to, rounding them up from the steep, woody side of the pasture where they tried to "escape".
Alexander was pleased as we progressed, and I didn't make too many silly mistakes anymore. Kane gets upset with me when he thinks I'm unfair or tries to make us lose "our" sheep... he will do his version of yelling at me, i.e. bark at me with this... look in his eyes.
At one point, there appeared a herd of Highland Cattle on a hill on the next field - and that's when the picture is taking, with Kane getting a faraway look: In his book, cows rule over sheep, appearantly!
Busy times, just last Thursday we were training obedience at the Antrozoological Center at the University of Agriculture; the same people who have gotten Kenth Svartberg to do a class there this fall.
And soon - on Tuesday - he and his siblings will be two years. Time flies!
Friday, May 15th, 2009
Kane has new little cousins! The picture ("stolen" from Else) is of his half sister Tillie (Waltzing-Tilda), who wednesday gave birth to these four little newcomers into the world - according to Else, theirs and Kane's breeder, there are two red boys and two blue girls.
Congratulations to the whole "family", two- and fourlegged; you'rre in for some lively eight weeks now!
These will be good working dogs; Cappy Pruett really liked Tillie's herding abilities when he saw her at his clinic, and their father is a highly capable working dog too.
At the time being, Kane counts as TWO cattledogs - after being held three weeks on leash and then restricted running because of his torn paw pad, he is rearing to go now that his life is back to normal again and is more eager and willing to train, run, basically do ANYTHING, than ever before!
Good we have a busy schedule this summer 🙂
He is entered for two tracking competitions and a show the same weekend, and there will be two working dog camps (June in Norway, July in Sweden), we hope to be able to go to the Swedish breed clubs herding clinic for at least one day and the HIT test, and then the specialty...
Tuesday, May 12th, 2009
Nice "surprise" in the mail yesterday! Kane's new working dog vest arrived in the post box, with his name and a nice, smiling pirate skull especially embroidered for us.
Looks good on him!
Monday, May 11th, 2009
The wood anemones are flowering, and it's time for the boys to pose in that mandatory spring photo - I tend to do that every year. One of my old Borzoi, Varga, even ended up on the front page of the Norwegian kennel club magazine!
Kane is not such a great poser - particularly when I still only use that mobile phone camera, he is too fast and too impatient. Ponny, on the other hand (check out his photo album) is the born poseur, he should have been a professional dog model - it's just me who never got around to enter him in the right agency!
Together with the German Shepherd Panter, he actually was hired together with a couple of other dogs to do a television show - about grumpy, old men trying different occupations, and one of them was taking care of and training dogs. Cool to watch, boring to do...
Kane's paw has healed well, he has a new layer of pad tissue under half of the (cut) pad. So now he gets to run - and we are getting back to normal.
So we are training obedience, and also bruks (working dog training). Great fun, and I am getting a bit jittery - since we hope to be entered in two tracking competitions in June. Have to brush up on some of the exercises.
Sunday, May 3rd, 2009
I knew Kane's party trick number one, his tremendously fast backing away, would come in handy! (see the video clip below, called Kane-TV: Backing)
His paw is slowly becoming better. We have removed the stitches, and now he needs to grow part of the pad back, since some of that tissue died after he cut it. When we go out, I bandage it and have a "boot" on that leg.
Well, the Belgian Shepherd club is back to training search and rescue in Maridalen outside town, and I decided to take Kane and work on how he will alert me when he makes his finds. That would mean too much running, since this training group is onto the philosophy of splitting behavior.
The guy who functions as our trainer is really great. He is called Roar, and has helped me and Kane a huge lot! He does not use the bringsel on his dog, he has a very energetic Tervueren who barks as his alert. Both is allowed in competitions, but most tend to use a bringsel - since barking can be a bit tiresome for the dogs, whereas other dogs can become a bit too intense.
He thought Kane might use the bark, since he barks quite easily and effortlessly (something which those of you guys reading this who attended the Cappy Cow Clinic can testify to!). I also have barking as a command, so he has a good understanding of it.
What Roar said, was that we should reward the "appropriate behavior" first - which means: The dog should back away from the person he finds, and not jump barkingly towards him. That was our plan.
Well, Roar went out 15 meters and sat down, and I sent Kane. Who ran out - and then started backing, and barking. I had forgotten about how willingly he backs, so we all were a little bit surprised. Since this backing also is on cue, it was very easy to do a series of nice, "polite" alerts - where Kane was rewarded for backing.
Cool - now Kane and I have our strategy ready!
Tuesday, April 28th, 2009
Heaven here on Earth can be a sandy beach....
Kane is experiencing the strange thing called "sitting for a walk", which means that our very long, daily walks have been made into long, daily "sit and stay"s at interesting or nice places - in order for his stitched up paw to heal fast.
Since Ponny's paw is still sore too, we do our long sits in solidarity - all three of us.
The picture is from the beach at Hvervenbukta, where Kane spent his time digging (the stitches are on his hind foot), making me realize that even if I should get my house in the country, a garden would never be a good idea. He is extremely fond of digging!
Another thing he is fond of, are skateboards...
The season of rolling wheels on asphalt has come, and he is ever so ready too: I think in his mind, the boards is some sort of urban substitute for cows. Kane is an asphalt cowboy, so the natural thing to herd are skateboarders!
He loves the skateboard boys, who likes his type of dog and lets him try their boards! He will stand with his front legs on the board, running with his hind legs - although quite unorganized right now, I might get him his own.
But still... he is wildeyed when they speed past. I decided to use "sladretrening", i.e. that he reports back to me when he sees them, and he is a good Pavlovian - the second he hears the sound, I snaps around, staring at me, jumping up and down in anticipation of his toy (it has worked great on birds, now he won't even chase them when I ask him too - he turns back instead!).
But in this new situation, I would rather have him phase down his activity. Therefore I reward now with treats - and only when he sits or lays down or in any other way keeps all four feet on the ground!
Yesterday, he grew quite calm in the end, when we had been sitting out our "walk" next to some skateboarders practicing their jumps. When we where going home, there was this guy in a manual wheelchair coming up behind us. Kane eyed him intensely - would this thing possibly speed up and be fun? Had he found a new herdable object in the asphalt jungle? I though he had become quite blasé, but no.
The wheelchair guy loved the dogs, and even though Kane was quite content being petted and making a new friend, it came nowhere close to his initial excitement of having found another potentially fast set of wheels...
April 22nd, 2009
Just fifteen minutes after this picture was taken at beautiful Bygdøy, with Kane wading around in a new "lake" where there will be a field later when things dry up a bit, he did this completely amazing jump - three meters from a pier onto a rock in the water, and cut his paw open.
Straight to the vet, stitching him up with eight stitches, and two weeks on a leash, just walking slow little walks. Boooring, thinks both Kane and I... as well as Ponny.
As fate would have it, Kane did his paw just when Ponny's paw - a freak injury cut, happening in a little skirmish between the boys, was starting to heal! Perhaps the little guy sent some evil thoughts, and it was payback time?!
Now, the two boys - each with a bandaged paw - is the best of friends again! Never a dull moment with those two around.
We sit out in the sun, driving to different places so they get some entertainment, and soon the first week is gone now - the wound healing up nicely.
But it means a missed dog show, a slow start on the first day of competition class (we will work on scent discrimination, not having to move!), and neither going to Germany to herd (which Henning in Denmark wanted us to come to) or even to Eidsberg. Oh well, boring now - heal sooner.
April 15th, 2009
Tracking season again, with the snow finally having melted... well, most of it. Kane did a short track this Wednesday, although with several little challenges: It started on the snow still left on a field, went over a small, bare hill, crossed a road where both people and horses had passed, went a couple of meters in the ditch, then into the forest. Kane was cool and enthusiastic. He missed a few small objects, but works well. We will start in competitions soon, I guess.
Friday, April 9th, 2009
Suddenly, I have a car again! A black Opel Zafira will become the new Heelermobil - now I have to throw out the hind seats, get two proper crates (and paint them black...) for the boys, and we are ready to roll - to all our planned acitivites.
I have never been this long without a car, and it feels great to have my own transportation again - even though the boys have become great bus-, subway- and streetcar passengers these last months.
Kane, when I have brought him alone, now pulls towards the escalator and knows he has to jump into my arms when we come to it. Ponny is more like me, preferring to ride in style and comfort - and alone!
Thursday, April 8th, 2009
Easter holiday, and time for long walks on the beach - preferrably a bit late in the evening, so we are as much on our own as possible.
Kane is going wild in the sand, he digs and rolls and runs, and has decided it is time to dip his legs - although not swim!
Tuesday, April 7th, 2009
Things to do in the inner city when you have a cattledog rearing to do some brainwork and still are without a car:
* try to get a picture of cattledog + the tame crows that follows us around for hours in the neighbourhood hoping to get their share of the dog treats; this time a photo inspired a bit by "The Crow" in our local graveyard. This entertained the cattledog (keeping still while crows were flapping their wings 50 cm behind him), fed the crows and also kept the people waiting at the busstop next to the cemetary
* find a ladder someone left behind, put it halfway up against a park bench, and teach cattledog to walk the ladder
* practice the retrieve on strange objects people leave in the park these warmer days, like beer cans
* work on being close to strange male dogs while on leash, while you chat incessantly and over-friendly with their owners
Sunday, April 5th, 2009
A wonderful springlike day, even though there's plenty of snow still - although rotting and melting. Kane and I went to Bygdøy again, leaving Ponny at home recovering from a stitched up paw (the little guy did get to go for a short walk and a long sit in the sun later that day, getting some alone-time).
Although I look forward to get a new car, we have explored a lot of the city - today we took the ferry back to center of town, Kane looking out the window and actually wagging his tail at the view! He is ever enthusiastic.
He runs and runs, and is so happy. It is fantastic to have a dog with such excellent recall - I just go "Kane!" and he spins around and comes at a full gallop. That way, he can be off leash a lot - most of the time, actually, when we are out.
He is quite a good city dog actually, he is easy to bring everywhere and is quite happy and interested to come.
Tuesday, March 17th, 2009
Yesterday, still without a car and still with strict leash laws to protect the wildlife, we opted for another day of "city walk" with the dogs. And downtown can be an interesting place:
We trained directions - go bye, away - using a big sculpture at the fortress by the harbour of Oslo to simulate the sheep herd!
Obedience can be trained anywhere, and it's good training for me - as the handler - to know I have a curious audience, and for Kane to learn to ignore his surroundings.
And then of course, there is always lots of new things for a young man to stare at.
I like to look at the wonderful - and very expensive toys - of a posh toy store in the shopping area. And Kane acted exactly like the kid outside the toy store - well, rather; he tried to dig his way through the window pane (see the movement in the pic) when he spotted the cousins of his squeaky toys! His favorite reward toy now is a grey hippo which still has some "squeak" in it, and he went crazy when he saw the toys through the window - no doubt in me, he recognized the shape.
On the other hand, he is a pleasure to take to the bookstore where I was browsing for books and magazines; there he just lies down on the floor and patiently waits. Ponny does not like shopping - like the true man he is, so he does his best trick - trying to be in the way, looking like he suffers an awful lot!
Thursday, March 12th 2009
A shortlist over activities planned with the dogs this year. Classes and clinics are fullbooked so fast, that I have most plans ready!
* In the end of April, Kane and I will attend a competition obedience course at Klickerklok outside Oslo, where I hopefully will get some helpful advice as we look towards class II and III in obedience trials.
* In June, we go to Sølen for a week-long working dog camp with the Norwegian Belgian Shepherd Club. I elected to train search and rescue there, with some of the same people that we train weekly with.
* In July, we head towards Skåne in Sweden for the three day working dog camp arranged by kennel Vixax, where I will train tracking with Kane and hopefully get a new angle on this.
* For the first weekend of September, I look forward to a weekend of training competition obedience with the very competent Swedish doctor of Ethology - and top competitor - Kenth Svartberg. He will come to the AntrozoologiSenter at the University in Ås outside Oslo.
* In October there is Happy Heeler Week 2009 at Skärblacka in Sweden, initiated by John and Inger at Torlundablue. Cappy Pruett is coming back, as well as a new American herding instructor, Linda Rorem.
So far so good - now all I have to do is pay all this fun!
I will also do some more showing, hopefully going to the Specialty in Sweden. If the boys' bloodwork is okay, perhaps we will try to head for Denmark or Finland too.
Wednesday, March 11th, 2009
The picture is of Kane pondering his strange, little, bravehearted companion.
The relationship between the two boys - I suspect Ponny would rather be called "man" - is at times a bit turbulent. The ever-curious Kane can't always leave the littlest heeler alone, and when the littlest heeler is tired - he growls like a lion. It's never boring these days around the house!
A favorite act of mine is when they get a short playtime with the squeaky toys every morning. They really look forward to those meager minutes (helps me heighten the status of these toys, the best reward Kane gets). Invariably, Ponny ends up with both - or all three. It looks like a game, but it's really a power play of unlimited importance!
But they stand united against everything and anything else, and walks are ever interesting - watching those two.
Most four-legged ladies prefer the gentlemanly Ponny, leaving Kane - which has about the refinement of an eager teenager - a bit exasperated. I try to tell him "watch and learn", as Ponny works the ladies like a Casanova. Oh well, there is occasionally the odd girl out who likes Kane the best!
Tuesday February 24th, 2009
Another exciting weekend - this time doing something completly different! Kane has now shown that he is a cattledog who is not afraid of cows. My sweet, rather mellow and soft guy took to stock dog training with Cappy and 3-4 young heifers and bulls like a fish to the water. To put it short: Time had come for Cappy Cow Clinic at the Djurtorp ranch in Norrköping, Sweden.
And while Kane's bark was quite a bit deeper and with more depth than usual - and he barked a lot, to put it that way - he showed great enthusiasm at going for those tempting cattle hind legs... showing a nice and low down bite, as well as a fast retreat before the cow kick came, and then back.
He had good progress in just four lessons, I think - and the cows weren’t the easiest either, particularly on the first lesson on Saturday. He is very intense around sheep, and the intensity stayed with him - even when the stock was quite a bit bigger, and a lot more unwilling to give after for a young novice in training. So there’s plenty to work on!
Still, it was cool to see how he never once wanted away, even when he was frustrated - particularly with me. Tough to be a fresh dog with an equally fresh owner - learning together is tough when the lesson includes four big cattle who is getting pissed off!
It was great to have Cappy Pruett back again - he does not say much, but is a sea of calm when you get all confused. It feels good to have his tremendous knowledge to lean on when you actually expose your beloved pet to doing something potentially dangerous, not only does he know his dogs; he also knows the stock. He did admit, though, that when he was new to stock dog training, he too was yelling a lot and getting frustrated. So maybe there is hope for us all!
A lot of nice people was attending the clinic - both "old" and "new". A great new acquaintance was Silja with her working Aussie Chippa, who works herding reindeer up north in Sweden. Also new Danish participants Dea and Jim with some great dogs, Ibrahim who has Kane’s half brother Kaztor, and Ylva with a young male from kennel Snjos. Nice to meet all our old friends too, like Gunnel and her pack and John and Inger with all their four dogs. And of course Else, Kane’s breeder, with his half sister Tilda. I hitched a ride with Gry and her two red girls, Izzie and Step, great travelling company - thanks. We stayed at Torlunda, thanks John and Inger, and I actually slept - most suitable - by John Wayne’s feet! (Explanation follows: One kitchen wall is decorated with a larger than life image of John Wayne in western gear, a sheepdog by his side, and I slept on a mattress at that wall)
It was also great to see how well all cattledogs went along. One night, after the clinic was over, there were all together three ACD girls, a ACD/working kelpie cross female and an Aussie girl all lounging off leash while the owners relaxed, read, watched tv or chatted. All the boys passed each other at close range all the time, some waiting on the side while others were working in the arena, or meeting in the stairs, or laying around the couch at the feet of their owners.
A great weekend for working dogs and their owners, and now Kane and I hope to get some more stock work - both on sheep and cattle - before Happy Heeler Week in October. Keep up the good work, John and Inger, and thanks for a great three days.
Sunday, February 15th, 2009
Wonderful Kane did what he does best, work! Today he was entered in his first obedience competition, in Norwegian LP klasse 1.
I was nervous, of course. My very kind sister got up at the break of dawn to drive me to Tønsberg, to the Norsk Hovawart Klubbs competition, since my car was burgled and now is at the garage waiting to be repaired. Faithful Ponny came as the calming sidekick.
Everything went great. That's the only way to say it. The judge Tor Svein Haugen loved his work, giving him 10 as overall impression, and praising him highly for his eagerness and happiness working.
Here is his grades:
Visning av tenner 9.5 poeng
Fellesdekk 2 minutter 10 poeng
Lineføring 9 poeng
Fri ved foten 9.5 poeng
Dekk fra holdt 9.5 poeng
Innkalling 10 poeng
Stå under marsj 8.5 poeng
Fritt hopp over hinder 10 poeng
Helhetsinntrykk 10 poeng
Alltogether 190 points of 200 possible!
I hadn't written down the points we got, so we waited until all 24 or so competitors had worked their way through... and I got optimistic about placing well in addition to getting a 1. price - when I realized there were only two of us left, and I KNEW we had done better than the other one!
So we got a very, very nice 1. prize, and actually WON the whole class!
I am very proud of my boy, and for all our training paying off. I am happy I chose to clickertrain him in the start, working with Klickerklok.
Monday, January 12th, 2008
Busy times and not much to tell, everyday life is moving as usual - with training the dogs as well as long walks with friends, both on two legs and four.
Pictured here is Kane with young friend Alem (7). The two of them are equally active, the little girl and the cattledog running full speed around the forest (just after taking this picture, Kane thought he could jump straight up the cliff face).
I am looking forward to this coming weekend - a new clinic, this time with sheep here in Norway.
Tuesday, December 30th, 2008
It's the day before New Year's Eve, and soon 2009 will be here. It's gonna be an exciting year, Kane will be entered in his first competitions, and we will keep on training all our stuff.
Already the second weekend of January there is another herding clinic, this time in Norway on sheep, before the cow clinic in Sweden in February. And of course there is obedience training as well as working dog training... busy days!
Christmas time was pleasant. We celebrated Christmas Eve at my sister's, the boys keeping me company while I got the Christmas tree at the last minute - devoting their time, as usual around fields, to mousing...
This last week has been all relaxation - well, that is, we have been out for long, long walks. There isn't much snow around here now, and the golf course is just white-frosted grass, great for running on. And the big lake adjoining it has frozen, so we have explored around the banks of it. Kane was quite keen on the skaters, so I consider it training! I've trained him to come to me instead of chasing, here he gets his squeaky toy which still outranks everything. It's funny though, sometimes he would watch a skater rather disinterestedly, I thought - and then turn sharply and run back to me; then I'd know he was "thinking bad chasing thoughts"!
Wednesday, December 17th, 2008
Time is flying, and picturetaking and updating the homepage isn't top of the priorities... not with Christmas shopping, busy days at work, and two very lively dogs at home! But I did get along - finally - to make a Christmas greeting to mail to our friends and acquantainces (se above).
The snow is almost gone from the city centre, making the parks once again dark and slippery from the ice still left, so we try to drive out to find snowcovered areas - which the boys love.
This evening I hope there will be some other dog crazy people meeting up for the obedience training... as I have entered Kane in his first obedience competition in mid-January. In Sweden, since that was the advice I got from the Klickerklok people - the Swedes have bigger rings, where as the indoor obedience rings around here usually are pretty crowded on the outside, with lots of dogs.
Kane is once again due to do some sheep herding. I will actually join the Norwegian Sheep and Goat Association! Which also is the breed club for the border collies and working kelpies.... I will then join one of their local clubs too, which makes us eligible for herding training on a regular basis. He is also entered for a sheep herding clinic in January, once again with Alexander, as well as the February Cow Clinic at Skärblacka.
We also keep on training tracking and "rundering" (search and rescue for people). For the latter, I have gone back to work on his motivation for going out to find people - and have found some great people to train with in the Belgian Shepherd club. They know how to play well with dogs, and Kane has become much more forward when he finds people: He will stay with them, playing like mad, asking for more, instead of just flying back to me.
On our schedule for spring also is the Mentale Hundtest in Sweden, the "Korning".
Sounds as quite a lot - but as far as Kane goes, he is happy with whatever comes as long as it involves 1) squeaky toys 2) tasty treats 3) getting alone time with me 4) doing something, preferably fast
Last year at this time he was a young puppy still recovering from his surgery, and I did not know how things would work out. This year, I have a happy, agile young man who seems to be holding well up. Everything has been worth it, and having that past experience only makes each moment more precious.
Ponny is quite happy to tag along - he gets a lot of freedom, since he is so obedient, and he does not seem to miss training. I do hope to get around to enter him in a tracking competition with blood, simulating searching for animals that has been wounded in the hunt - that is really down his lane!
The littlest guy is still the boss, he has the mental strength of a huge rottweiler. Things are still working out fine between them, I just must take care not to interfere.
December 10th, 2008
Last Sunday we went down to Drammen to have a miniature cattledog meeting - it was time again for Kane and Brix to meet up again. Last time was in Drammen in June, and both boys are growing up fast - so Brix' owner Irene and I decided to keep their acquaintance up to date.
It was a lot of snow, and the two boys found each other quite fun - running in the deep snow, Kane hoping for mice to wait for him to dig them out from under the snow, and Brix following his new "uncle". Ponny of course stayed on the road which had been plowed! He was quite happy to let the two youngsters roughhorse around, he wasn't policing the way he often does when Kane plays with strange dogs, so it seemed to be a lot of "male bonding" going on!
It was quite neat to see the two cattledog boys hit it off so well. Kane behaved very well, he does not seem interested in dominating, just to have fun, which is how I have guessed him.
More pictures in the photo album. Oh, just to mention it... Kane is entered for his first obedience competition - in January. Nails are starting to get bitten!
Monday, November 24th, 2008
Pictured is Kane in his new blanket!
Kane picked up yet another certificate, as well as another reserve CACIB, at the international dog show at Vikingskipet, Hamar, on Sunday. Strict judge, so we are pleased. He placed second among the males, beaten again of course by the handsome Arrack. Altogether four cattledogs present, and a nice little "breed meeting" outside the ring!
Kane and Ponny had a great day, meeting a lot of friends - and also a very pretty cattledog girl in heat, so they were quite pleased. Kane also got himself a new blanket, a Back On Track one, which he will wear before and after training and in the car. Ponny got something more boring, a supplement to his food. I did not show him, even though he did well at this winner's show last year, placing 3rd among the males for a judge that sent some champion dogs out with a blue ribbon, it wasn't a very nice experience thanks to one of the visiting Swedes. So I'll pass, I am a bit disenchanted with the breed the way it seems to be heading - they don't make many dogs like Ponny.
For he is the King of Cool, which again was proven at the dog show, where he walked calmly and confidently among every dog - never budging, but never being anything but polite and dignified.
But young Kane is the little Prince, he moves around with great self assurance, and behaved very well too.
Friday, November 14th, 2008
Kane has made the magazine....
The Torlundablue people asked me to write a bit about my herding experiences for their magazine Happy Heeler, which I did. Read it on their website, http://www.happyheeler.com/page25/Kane/Kane.html
John took this great photo of Kane, which shows him herding the way we want... intent, relaxed, but ready.
In the article there is another photo of him, halfway on my knee while Cappy Pruett is giving me some last advice on the final Monday when we trained for him. Check out the look in his eyes, the ram closest to us was starting to stare him down - it thought - and after the pic was taken, Cappy said to let Kane get back at it. So it was the ram who was stared down by young Kane, and had to back away.
Wednesday, October 29th
Kane's big day out has come! Today, I have taken down the fencing inside my own living room - and let the dog out! I am writing this at work, so I am rather curious of what awaits me when I get home...
Since he moved in, Kane has had his own corner in my living room. I do not like crating dogs on a regular basis, too little space, too much forced passivity. It's not only my own sentiments, a capacity like Anders Hallgren pointed out that it teaches the dog to give up. On the other hand, a young cattledog is not something to leave free to roam in an appartment - so the solution was to make an enclosure for him, about 2 x 2 meters. That was such a grand addition to the interior!
Well, now he's come of age I decided to let him out. I want a nice home back, without green fences, and since I am doing a bit of decorating, painting walls and such, I have cleared out much of the stuff that was cluttering the rooms, making it more cattledogfriendly too.
So after letting the boys run a bit this morning in the snow, I left them with some nice bones and their breakfast - keeping my fingers crossed. Hopefully they're tired, since we had workmen changing some of the window panes here this morning - Kane and Ponny thought visitors were great. It's fun to see how the littlest guy, Ponny, goes about: He makes the men walk around him, while staring intensely and tailwagging at them, not budging. Such a nice way of trying to rule the world. Kane is a pretty useless watchdog still, he is friendly and including - but I see that he is growing up.
PS. Of course he had behaved well!
Tuesday, October 21st, 2008
If you time the look in Kane's eyes when watching his favorite squeaky toy with about ten thousand - probably even a lot more - then you will be getting close to the intensity, passion and inherited drive that Kane shows when looking at sheep....
We have, of course, been to another Herding Clinic - where else but in Skärblacka in Sweden, for another American instructor, excellent Cappy Pruett. He teaches herding full time, and it was both a revealing as well as highly valuable and inspirational clinic. Kane and I spent three days of herding sheep, mostly out in the arena, and it is hard to write about it - I still haven't digested even a tenth of what we learned.
Saturday went well, on Sunday I got a bit frustrated, and when I went herding with Inger and John and their Torlundablue dogs on Monday, things started dawning on me. It is tough when both handler AND dog is learning the ropes at the same time, that's for sure. But now I know a lot more what I will be working on.
As Cappy said, a flock of sheep is probably the strongest magnet I've ever put Kane in front of - so my usually pretty obedient little guy is now disobedient, he can't help himself but being drawn towards the sheep. On Monday, we gave him a bigger flock to work on - and that went well, he balances and controls them, but of course he is too close and too intense.
But I feel now that I know better what I should work on - and what I can do without sheep too, to strengthen the commands he must know AND listen too! I have also become hugely aware of my own body language, even though I wasn't blindfolded - like Cappy did to John!
Thanks again, Inger and John, for giving us the opportunity to train for these fantastic people that actually knows CATTLEDOGS, it is much, much appreciated. I am now crossing my fingers for a Cow Clinic early next year!
October 5th, 2008
Another busy weekend. Saturday morning was spent trying to change a tire, discovering that the last of the four wheel screws was stuck. I decided to take the chance of driving 140 kilometer with a leaky tire filled with foam - hoping to get the Kennel Club certificate, which Kane got. So it was worth it!
After getting the reserve put on at an Arabic garage with odd working hours, we went for a long walk at Bygdøy - and I can't help but thinking that THIS is what life is for the boys, running, sniffing around, discovering the world. They probably thought we took an eight hour detour - passing through a dog show, a garage and so on - to get to our REAL goal, the beachside walk...
Sunday is working dog training. Sending out the figurants with Kane's favorite squeaky toys works wonders - now he thinks it worth it, finding them when they are hidden well. He comes back with me WITH the toy, and then out again - so next step is to get back to the ordinary routine, with his motivation tripled. Those squeaky toys are Holy to him, and he ranks them too - he favors at the time being a green alligator...
We also did a little tracking. It was blowing, and the track weren't that old. That has Kane going fast and intense, passing over a few objects. But the real challenge was this: That the track went straight through where the owner of the forest was cutting down trees, working with his chain saw, and just before we started tracking passed over the track to sit in his tractor and have a break. Well, the young man hardly hesitated, so other tracks passing "ours" is clearly no problem - and that is great!