Life With Kane
Saturday, December 4th, 2010
I am lazy keeping up the page - but that's about the only thing I'm lazy about these days anyway! Kane and I have given class III obedience two more tries, with highly variable results, but not good enough to move up to the elite class. So will make another go in January, with the new rules.
But we did achieve our one - secret - goal this season, which was getting to the elite working dog class, and even get an approved grade. Next year's goal will be to achieve certificate points in the A class rundering.
One of those obedience competitions was at the Dogs4All International Dog Show at Lillestrøm, where we stayed away from the show ring - and thank God for that decision, the judge liked heavy dogs. Even though Kane has been allowed to get "fat" - that is, being not lean, but gaining 2 kilos up in weight, he looks... like a lean and mean working dog, no matter what. Me like 🙂
It's the dark season here, the sun disappears so early, so all our walks in the week is done in the dark. Which is the only reason why I like snow! It makes it so light, that we can go out in the forest - making the boys wonderfully happy. The forest is their life... hunting for mice (both), just running (Kane) or investigating everything and nothing (Kane again)I.
It's cold, but my new jacket keeps me warm, together with wool all over. Kane runs so much he's okay, although he gets a blanket on him when we get back to the car. Ponny's coat is okay, but he gets a bit irritated on his paws because of the salt, so he actually wears cute, little black "boots" untill we're out in the pure snow!
This Saturday, we went to Bogstadvannet. That was great - it was frozen, so we get access all over, and the ice was good to run on for the boys, no Bambi on ice there. Took some great pictures, Kane thinks it's boring - so he won't look at me, or bark. He is ever so cooperative, untill I aim the camera mobile on him! Oh well, I don't give up easily.
Sunday, November 14th, 2010
And suddenly... there was snow!
After a nice and busy fall, with lots of training, both obedience and bruk/working dog, with running on the fields after they have been harvested... the snow and cold came.
So I put on the wool, and the dogs get their blankets on - and we still train :-)
We still train rundering (searching), and Kane is doing very well. Today, I was quite happy with the length and reach of his outruns - he is also very eager, and willing to go out one more time on the same place again. The toll on the squeaky toys is heavy... the squeak disappears fast, but it's worth it! He enjoys them so much as rewards.
Next week, I will take him to the dog chiropractor, I want someone to go over his musculature, since he has gone through what he did when he was a pup. Crossing my fingers already. He is such an amazing dog with such a big heart!
Next Saturday, we will make a go for it in obedience class III again - a warm up before starting the same class at the Dogs4All show at Lillestrøm. I am not showing him, only doing obedience - and being a tourist the rest of the time :-)
The obedience is Saturday, and group 1 is on Sunday, so I will have a much more relaxed time than last year - where I competed with him in class I (we really have come a LONG way in year!) and showed both him and Ponny!
Saturday, October 23rd, 2010
Time sure flies...
I have been thinking for weeks, then those weeks turned to months, about all the things I was going to write here on the blog... picking out some of all those great pictures and sharing some of those even greater moments of a wonderful late summer...
I will write a little bit here, and then make some picture books on separate pages!
There was Sweden, of course... our yearly "tour" of Kane's old home country. It started in Borlänge, where Bettan of kennel Snjos so graciously had invited us to come and train with her kennel training camp. That was ever so great, we trained tracking, searching, felt, obedience - and even some skydds! Seeing Kane together with so many other ACDs make me realize he really IS a good dog - friendly enough, very forward, very good, although not that tough :-)
It's so easy to become blind, but when I think of all he has helped me achieve - thanks to his big, big heart and huge will, I am really proud.
Writing this, he has competed in his first elite class (A) of rundering (søk/search), and got approved grades - on his fourth competition in this type of competition.
But back to this summer....
After the Snjos camp, I went down to Else's farm. A whole bunch of cute puppies waited there; hard not to adopt one at the spot, but this is still a two dog household! The seven little ones are Kane's sister Belle's first litter, and she was a great mother.
Me and the dogs had some great days with the hospitable Selin family. Kane was off leash around her cows, and calmed considerably down. The next day, we went horseback riding - with him running alongside. A long whip and a sense of common direction = a Kane who was nice and calm around the horses.
We also went out to the forest patch where Else told me Kane went for his first puppy walks back when he still lived at his childhood farm... and there we found a lot of mushrooms.
The dogs even followed us down to check the traps for crayfish. This involved me and Else going in the row boat, and the boys staying on the banks of the small river. What a show! The boys thought I was deserting them, leaving on a slow boat, so to speak... and tried bravely to follow. Ponny threw himself in the water, Kane was trying to guess where we were going - and I yelled for them to stay on land. But they were... not fast, but quite fast... learners, even though they were extremely relieved I made it back safely out of the water.
After some days in Ransta, I started in the direction of home - visiting my sister in Gyttorp on the way back, staying the night. We did some dog training and a lot of talking, she breeds another type of herding dogs - the Lapponian Herders of Finland. Great dogs, I love her newest addition, Balva.
And then, it was back to work.... Nice to get home too, we like our "home forest" of Maridalen.
Friday, July 9th 2010
This is one of my old favorites, the story of The Amazing Skidboot, the ACD who started out performing on rodeos, and ended up on Oprah and Jay Leno TV shows. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P2BfzUIBy9A&feature=fvw
Skidboot has passed away now, and in this tribute there are a few more movie clips: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sGGH6yEtULE&feature=related
After having lived for three years with a Cattledog, I start recognizing one of the things that really set Skidboot apart - and that was that tremendous ability to recognize WORDS.
You can see it on the videos, that he will wait with snapping the ball or the treat untill that one special word comes, no matter when... and so on.
I have been frustrated at times at the weird things that Kane sometimes will do - but now I realize that he just tries so hard to understand what I SAY. I need to be very careful with my commands, so they don't sound similar - because he will react to a word alone, and not the word in a particular situation, which has been the case with my other dogs before.
I used to say "ja" - "yeah" - for him to run out in the forest to start his search, as well as being a word for "release to action" (like in new things we were training in, before I started using a command word). Then I stood in the obedience ring, the judge asked "are you ready" and I answered "ja" - and Kane shot out from my side and forward!
Now, I nod...
And just the other day, I asked him to bark - which is "Gi Hals" in Norwegian, and he started barking AND moving forward. "What on earth is this, then" I thought - before I realized that he acted on the first word, which I also use in the budføring (running out to a helper, to sit there and wait to be sent back to me), where my command is "Gi Bud".
I have started telling him what we are going to do in obedience, like when he has to do the working dog crawl. I tell him quietly, "now we do the crawl", and then he is prepared - even if the word comes in a different tone than when I say the command, often harder and then just "crawl".
Cattledogs are amazing, and I swear I can really talk to him sometimes... and he understands a lot and tries so hard to get the rest... we're going mad, both of us I guess 😉
Tuesday, June 29th, 200
Over a month since I last wrote an entry in this diary!
Oh well, it's summer time.... but I guess I'd better sum up what's been happening these past weeks.
We had a busy weekend in the end of May. On the Saturday, Kane made another try in Class C Tracking - hoping to do well enough to be moved up to B.
We went straight out to track first; a kilometer long track, one hour old, eight objects and the "sporoppsøk" - having to locate the track and chose the right direction - as a part with its own score.
Kane got a 10 for this last, and then proceeded nicely along... and then the fun began! He sort of went off and on the track; I don't know if he thinks it is too easy or boring, or if he doesn't think we're in such a hurry. He seemed to just run in circles at times, but still we found altogether six of the objects (wooden sticks), including the last one - but then I was so happy I forgot about time, so I took too long rewarding and hugging Kane... and got disqualified for using too long time!
He did okay in obedience, nothing more.
And as usual... I'm in for a surprise the next day.
Kane tired? Nope. Sunday morning coming down, and we headed from my sister's place to meet up for another competition in working dog class, this time in forest search/rundering (sök).
Since I am in C in tracking, good friends suggested I'd go straight for class C also in the forest search. That means the dog will have to find three hidden people along a 200 meter long track - up to 50-60 meters out to each side. Kane did well, I was a bit nervous, but we ended up with a nice 8.5 out of 10 pointwise - and a very, very nicely working Kane! He barked like a hero at the hidden people, all the time untill I got out there followed by the judge, and was never hard to ask to run out again. Good, good boy!
The obedience also went pretty well, he stayed down through the long down with four shots - even when I was so nervous, 50 meters away, that I hardly knew what I did... And of course, when he first do the "crawl" - kryp - he does it to a straight 10.
So we are now in class B in rundering - what the Swedish working dog people call "Högre klass"...
... OBEDIENCE DOG....
Then the next week, me and the boys travelled to Sweden to Kil. There the border collie kennel Kronvallaren is located, and Heidi Billkvams summer classes. This time, she had instructors she endorses to step in for her, and we were lucky enough to get Rosita Johansen for our week.
This was soooo inspirational!
It was a great group of people, with an eclectic mix of breeds - a border collie, a hunting labrador, a Nova Scotia toller, a Malinois, an Irish Setter, a shorthaired Collie - and Kane of course.
I got good advice on how to deal with our main problem, Kane's concentration - the exercises in themselves he is doing so well. Now we are to concentrate (!) on teaching him - and me - that my silence is good, and will be followed by Heidi's eternal expression "full fest" - "total party"...
Under this are some pictures from our summer so far... we will go for more Swedish adventures later this summer, training with the ACD kennel Snjos, and visiting my sister as well as Kane's family at Ransta at Else's place.
... a bit like home for Kane, roaming in the fields near Kronvallaren in Kil, Sweden, where we went to train for a week... surrounded by a large herd of Charolais cows, giving birth and bellowing in the night... the boys got quite used to these big, white girls who seemed to think that we were entertainment of the day...
... as usual, a Norwegian summer is pretty varied... occasionally great sun and warmth, at other times it's cold or it rains... but the dogs are happy no matter what... on this picture they enjoy a half-bath in a temporary pool of water gathering on a marshy forest bottom....
... I really love the Maridalen, where I almost always end up going for forest treks with the boys... this is my favorite woods, and have always been... just fifteen minutes away from home we can sit in relative peace and enjoy moments like on this picture....
...long walk in the woods... usually ending up a place where the boys can go swimming or just potter around without having to be watched... always interesting to see what kind of pastimes they choose; Ponny will often sit and look dreamily out into the horizon - Kane will explore the beach, often wade around feeling for funny things under the water with his paws, and then he always will roll in the sand....
Wednesday, May 26th, 2010
Time flies - and seem to fly away. Since I'd rather spend my spare time with the boys, and we are pretty active, I tend to collapse on the couch when we finally come home after hours in the woods training or out on walks... and no time for writing much on the home page.
But today is a SPECIAL OCCASION!!!
Kane can celebrate his 3rd Birthday today, May 26h. The day will be spent doing obedience training, followed by a forest walk, I can announce :-)
There will be no extra tidbits - but for a dog who already gets sausages as everyday treats and eats a nice mixture of raw meat and cooked vegetables for breakfast and dinner, I don't suppose that will be noticed!
Lots of greetings to his brothers and sisters, around in Scandinavia - particularly to sister Bella, living with Mom Pim and sister Tillie. And to Else of course, his breeder, who let him come to live as an urban cattledog in spite of her fears. I think he has a pretty good life... all in all.
This coming weekend, we have two working dog competitions coming up. Kane has made his debut in class III obedience, not getting any prize grade, but I was quite happy - he did well, less barking and frustration, more cooperation, and at times he did very, very well! More about that later, when I get home....
Sunday, May 2nd 2010
This Sunday, we trained with the Belgian Herder Club, a group of six dogs/people. We found ourselves a bit "homeless", since our regular training grounds already had been captured by people getting up even earlier than us.
So we found a stretch of forest which we decided to try, and it turned out to be quite a thrill: It was quite hilly in the end, with both open forest, quite thick and also an open field, and with the winds going every way - getting the dogs quite "high".
Kane is very wind driven, I think - he gets very excited when it blows, and I saw in the tracking competition that he follows the windbourne scent too... which is not always good.
It was brand new ground for all the dogs, and in addition I decided that me and Kane should work with an unknown task - that is, that I didn't know how many people were hidden out there, or where they had been placed. And we tried quite a long run, nearing 200 meter.
Kane worked like a prince!
It turned out to be three people - figuranter - hidden, so he went quite a few blind runs too, and did well. He seemed quite willing to run, and is "harder" to command - particularly when I am a bit excited myself, getting a bit nervous and uncertain, and then he gets unrulier. Oh well, the unruly part was that he wanted to go, go, go, run, run, run, search, search, search... so I shouldn't really complain.
He had nice barking when he found the people too, and was quite pleased when I at the end showered him with ALL his squeaky toys (I had collected four of them from the other two figurants) - and we all praised him.
There were a lot of new things this Sunday: New terrain, new that he hadn't been sent for such a "long" search before, new that I didn't know anything, and so on.
Good good dog, he has wonderful work ethics and is ever eager - the gray little guy.
(and I don't forget Ponny, he comes out when we have lunch and found a new crowd to entertain and be admired by...)
Sunday, May 2nd, 2010
A moment which had to be captured: This is how Ponny looks with the pricked ears most common in the Lancashire Heeler breed!
I thought I preferred dogs with this type of ears, and hoped for a long time that Ponny's ears would come up when he was a pup. They didn't of course, large as they were. But he still got 10 certificates and a couple of titles, and I now think he looks quite stately with "his" ears.
But he is cute as a button - which is rare for Ponny - when he really concentrates on heeling; he will look up at me when we march, and his ears will go like this.
Saturday, May 1st, 2010
The second that I put Kane on the leash, Ponny glides up to walk point through the forest. No coincidence - this happens every time, with such clocklike precision.
I noticed this the first walk after our faithful Panter, the black working German Shepherd, died too. When out alone, Ponny will walk in front. Off leash, he will be quite far ahead. Leashed, he will actually pull - and forward too!
When I have both dogs, Ponny will be the anchor... tailing behind us.
First, I thought this had to do with the fact that he wanted to be the last to mark territory... to pee, that is! But what difference does it make if Kane is off leash or running free? It makes a huge difference to the little guy, that's for sure. Ponny never does anything without deliberation - being Mr Cool and Mr Big Boss at the same time!
I am left still wondering...
Kane is off leash, and Ponny once again saunters to the back... walking behind all of us!
Sunday, April 25th, 2010
A lovely evening out in the forest, after lunching with friends during the afternoon. In the evening, all the other people are back home - and we got the whole forest to our selves! Wonderful... and very exciting, the dogs think.
Weird scene from the Maridalsvannet, with dead tree and a landscape looking a bit desert like - except for the ice still on the lake.
Kane watches the view over Dausjøen - "the dead sea" - in Maridalen...
Saturday April 24th, 2010
Busy times, and I "pass out" on the couch when I finally come home at nights... and can sit down! Not much writing about dogs, when we are out walking or training or working dogs instead...
Kane has been at his first working dog competition this year, we started tracking class C, and learned that we need to train under diverse conditions - and only let the track lie for as long as it does in a competition. For while Kane went off the track in the extremely windy weather, wanting to follow the wind borne scent up, instead of going to the track's core, when we started - he did much better later that day, when the track was four-five hours older!
He did a nice obedience though, even though he - being a control freak - stood up and turned to look for where the shot came from (I forgot that it comes from behind, and had run through it with the shots being fired from the front). After that, I signalled for him to lay down - which he did without batting an eyelid for the next three shots fired.
We also have done the Funksjonsanalyse, this saturday in Askim at the Rottweiler Club for judges Trygve Kroken and Runar Oudmayer. He passed it, did well on reactions and bounce back, concentration, coordination. He was, as on the MH, totally cool about the two ghosts as well as the guy "threatening" him - showing no defensive drives at all. Oh well, the judges haven't seen him at the vets when he is left behind (which I never will do again).
He thought the whole outing in the forest was great, and some sort of weird training session - he wondered when the different people in "ghost suits" would whip out his toys when he had "found" them, and actually tried to play with the hood of one of them.
He got much praise for his concentration, temperament and how he adjusted and handled throughout the test - also compared to the other handful of cattledogs one of the judges had seen. Fun day!
Sunday, April 4th, 2010
Spring is coming - although a bit slowly! Getting impatient here, for proper working dog training to get started. The training group is lazier than my old one was; they don't train in winter. I have been wanting to train particularly the "melding" part, but it hasn't been possible to get anyone out...
Oh well, I have done a few passes on our own, trying to teach Kane to bark at objects (my own) he finds out in the forest. Not much though, since I am not quite sure how to do this - competition-wise, nobody trains this, it's more for rescue dogs.
But the forests here south are getting more bare of snow, which is good. Kane is entered for another competition - tracking in class C (lägre) on April 17th in Sarpsborg. Exciting!
I laid a track for him last week, quite a few objects, most of them small pieces of stick which I cut with a proper cutting tool just before putting them in my pocket and laying the track (i.e. they are not old and sated with smell). Let the track rest for an hour, then out - and he did great: Chose the right direction of it when I sent him, and picked objects well - that is, he has a "dekk-markering"; he lays down when he's found one. Appearantly he missed one, just listen:
This Sunday, we were out walking through the same terrain - which is in a popular little stretch of forest at Bygdøy. I walked a bit off the track, and actually stumbled on the track from a week ago - I remembered the place, since it was were I had to suddenly veer off in another direction because someone actually lives out there in a lean-to. I noticed Kane had some exciting scent in his nose, and was searching in a circle - closing in. Then he laid down!
The clever boy had actually caught the scent of a small stick which had been left in the forest for a week, in rain and sun, and which also was one of the fresh ones I had cut. Impressing, I realize we constantly underestimate the abilities of our dogs - or rather, that we aren't able to properly communicate what we humans want. Because dogs like Kane are ready, willing and able...
We also have used Easter holiday to do some obedience training with my sister Danette and friend Nina, with their assortment of dogs. It went well, I hope to start in obedience class III with Kane within the first few months - right now, the only thing he's lacking, is the concentration to last - and that is, I see it, always our biggest hurdle.
But we keep on training. So keep fingers crossed! Also for Kane's participation in the Funksjonsanalyse, a Norwegian half equivalent to the Swedish Korning... end of this month now.
Sunday, March 7th, 2010
Kane is a great worker. Yesterday he again was entered in obedience again, another go at LP II class. We were to meet at the indoors venue at noon, which meant we could go for a nice walk in the morning sun at the frozen fjord outside Oslo.
One and a half hour drive, and we were there - meeting a lot of friends, and then we started waiting. And waiting! Not before 6 PM or so, it was ready for the long down in group with hidden handler that Kane was in.
Everything went smoothly, untill someone signaled furiously to me - that my dog had broken the down stay. Well, turned out that the dog next to him, a big Retriever male, had risen and gone to threaten Kane - who finally went up, he too. The judge went over to get them away peacefully, but retreated not to escalate the situation. Then Kane slowly wandered over towards me - good, good boy, but a bad start, even though we got to do it over again since it was no fault of his.
After some more waiting, we went in. He wasn't at his best, such a long wait is not the best - I get so nervous that I alternately crate him, or work him last-minute.... not the brightest thing to do, particularly when he'd rather run around outside!
But he works and works, as usual going from a bit off to the extremely focused - getting two straight tens in retrieving and the jump with sit. None of us give up easily, but since I didn't really feel it went our way - with Kane being a bit barky, telling me that "I've pretty much had it, get the rewards out NOW".
Then there was another shot at the down stay, and Kane behaved like a prince - a bit sniffing around him was all, not bad after the bad experience earlier.
So we ended up placing 2nd of the twentysomething entered, with a nice, calm, older border collie winning well deservedly and with far more points - and getting our 1. prize, which means we are ready for LP III, class 3 obedience, the second highest. That is... ready in theory, since we have to get our act together.
We are to go to Sweden this summer for obedience camp for a week, which will be interesting. We'll see when we are ready for LP III, perhaps next year - samme place, I am getting quite fond of it, since this was the same competition that we won in class I last year!
Thursday, February 25th, 2010
New club for cattledogs - and kelpies too
Since the ACD-owners of Norway wanted to leave the Aussie Club, where we had been joint breed, there is now work going on to start a new club.
It is called Australske Gjeterhunder Norge, and even has its fledgling web page here: http://australskegjeterhundernorge.webs.com/
The first meeting of the temporary board is beginning of March, and I am on it...
Exciting times; now we will have to gather together at least 50 new members, owning either ACDs or australian kelpies, to get it approved by the Norwegian Kennel Club.
Tuesday February 16th, 2010
Ponny is a great, little guy. He has to follow us on a lot of strange stuff that he doesn't train. When we train search/rundering in the forest, he accompanies us when we walk through and about the terrain, so the dogs in training won't follow tracks. Then he gets to roam around freely during lunch break, when the training dogs are in the cars.
But when we two weeks ago went down to work some stock again, he didn't want to wait in the car - so he came with us down on the snowcovered fields. It was a quite nice and warm day, but still cold, so he wore his little coat with the fake fur collar. But even then it was a bit chilly, we spent a few hours down on the field - so what to do?
Ponny climbed into the big, plastic wrapped bale of feed for the sheep, where they had eaten inwards, making just enough room for him to be quite cosy in.
Monday, February 15th, 2010
Cattledogs - and the heeler - always seem to be on the road to somewhere. A nice walk in the woods isn't just lazing about, or playing and jumping; they seem to take it seriously that "we are going somewhere"...
A track... it might lead to somewhere - somewhere to go. Well, the gang moves on!
And when the stop, or realize that we weren't going that way after all, they are still ready! Notice how this gang of cattledogs and a heeler covers every direction!
Sunday, February 14th, 2010
On Sunday, we went for a walk with our "other gang" - the birddog girls of Irmüns kennel, Bare and Jippie.
The boys very much enjoy such nice, female company, be it cattlegirls or birddoggirls, so they are a happy sight. Except that Kane is getting camerawise, and thinks it is boring to pose... and often starts barking or looking the other way to get some action. Have a lot of pictures of him with open mouth and glaring teasingly at me!
Afterwards, it was time for dinner at my sister's place - where there also is a cat, the way it is at Gry's house. Gry has lent me a very helping hand getting Kane to leave her cat be, so that he actually is off leash and starting to get relaxed even when her new, brave kitty sits just right by him on the couch.
That has worked quite well with my sister's cat as well, except that the old, redstriped gentleman - who has had to tolerate a lot of "strange behaving" dogs up through the years - yet has to trust the new order when we visit!
Saturday February 13th, 2010
On Saturday, we went for a walk with the boys' red cattlelady friends - Step, Issie and Yrja from OK Corrall and Gry. A nice walk in perfect winter weather, sunny and warm and lovely.
Earlier that day, we had been to the NKK offices where there was a meeting to establish a new club for ACDs and Australian Kelpies. I got elected onto the board, which has Janne with Arack as leader. Exciting times, now we have to gather 50 ACD and AK people to become paying members of the club to get NKK recognition.
Read a bit more here:
The name of the club means "Australian herding dogs Norway", to include both breeds that are now in on the foundation work - and to keep an open door also for the stumpy tail.
Wednesday, February 10th, 2010
I "stole" this picture off this webpage http://www.hunden.no/artikkel.html?news.nid=5821, where they ran a story from the competition in Flatebyhallen in January, where Kane did his debut in Class II obedience. Cool picture - he's in a hurry, but tries his best to do two things at a time, both picking up the dumbbell and turn around!
This was his debut, and we didn't get the first prize we wanted - only a 2nd prize, but the judge only deemed three dogs worthy of a 1st prize in the Class II, so Kane actually placed as no. 9 among 26-27 dogs or so that met. New try in obedience in a few weeks!
We have also been out to try the obedience part for the working dogs program, at Stovner Hundeklubbs inofficial Brukscup at Kløfta. First time out was as usual "heaven and hell", with Kane both doing great and being nosy - litterally: I had a pretty good "crawl" (kryp), but didn't realize before afterwards that leading him towards the old carpet to do the crawl on was such a good idea... he sniffed like a maniac (surprise, surprise!).
I also have to concentrate, never saying "yes" out loud when they ask me if I'm ready - that makes Kane jumpstart like a race horse out of the boxes, since that is the "release word" I use for clickertraining/training exercises I haven't put a command too. He catches EVERYTHING I say, he is the most attentive dog I've ever met.
When I was at the Kenth Svartberg course last year, he went on about how he and his wife had different signals to tell the dogs what was coming up next. Well, for Kane - I can just tell him, whisper it, "now you have to stand", while I'm patting him before we take the starting position. Then he will know that I will do a recall with a stand, and our old problem - him slowing down on the ordinary recall - is totally over. The same with the crawl. Cattledogs are amazing, but it does take a lot of concentration from the handler!
Last Saturday we also went down to work some sheep again, after a long break - since I was a bit disheartened with Kane coming on to strong in October. Well, at first it looked like it was back to old sins - and he is totally disobedient, even with a line on... untill I put a muzzle on him.
That made him totally quiet and taken aback, since he couldn't use his old "technique" - and I had a completely new dog, who calmed down to normal, did nice outruns, laid down at my first command, and we could get through to him and show him that he could both gather and drive - without losing ANY sheep at all, which is his biggest fear, and very self-fullfilling, since in his old state the sheep WOULD try to run away.
I hope that I might use this to indoctrinate him that he needn't worry - he will manage the sheep even when calmer, and everything will be much nicer this way.
Oh well, now it's dog walking time for a few hours out in the snow and dark. But now you all know that even though I don't write as often as I should, the days are busy with dogs, walks, training and also some competitions.
Sunday, January 2dn, 2010
New year, new possibilities.
We are still in holiday mood, but in a few weeks Kane will debut officially in class II obedience - so I have to get some training done, after having been a slacker this last month.
Thanks for all your nice holiday wishes in my guestbook! Congratulations also to Kane's breeder Else for getting her kennel name approved; Kane's official name is now Whoelse's B-Benjiman.
This Christmas was all snow. We went to my sister's in Sweden to celebrate Christmas; we were us three sisters, eight dogs and four cats in the house! With all this snow and the season as well, there is precious little training will to find among people.
Oh well, new year, new chances. The boys and I have had some nice walks in the winter wonderland. I don't go skiing anymore; with two dogs - and one of them short legged - it's more of a hassle than pleasure. Fellow skiers are not very tolerant of dogs, to put it mildly - so many harbour ambitions way beyond their age or bodies, and are so impatient with anything not streamlined in the tracks. So I stay on foot, and get creative.
The boys love exploring new places - that's The most important goal with any walk for them. Sure, they like to check out the neighbourhood and tell the others that they are still around - but when we go into explorer mood and venture on to new walks, they can hardly wait.
I have this really interesting book, "The Hidden Life of Dogs", where the author - novelist and anthropologist Elizabeth Marshall Thomas - writes about her life in the company of a pack of dogs. She left them more or less to live their own lives, and observed them - one of the a husky who couldn't be fenced in. He lived to roam, and Thomas followed him on his expeditions, to see what he actually was after.
That wasn't sex, that wasn't food, or hunting - it was to circle other dogs, and then move on, she writes. Interesting to read.
The boys seems to want to press on too. When we walk, and meet a nice female dog, they will greet her - and then trot onwards, onwards. We keep a bit away from strange males, or rather - Ponny keep them away from us, since Kane still has a bit of a problem making himself be respected without having to "yell".
Friday, December 4th, 2009
Time flies, and I'm getting a bit lazy updating Kane's diary - because so much is happening!
Since I last wrote, I went to the Norwegian winner show at Lillestrøm, where the day wasn't exactly great - Kane got his first blue ribbon from a judge who didn't like anything about him, Ponny didn't get a CK in the champion class. Because I insisted on showing them, I was stressed when I entered the obedience ring with Kane (and not only then...) - and really thought it went bad, there too!
Oh well, when I later returned to pick up the paper with his character grades, I saw that even when I thought we really were bad (Kane was totally in love with a border collie girl, and since there were two judges, she was in action in one ring with us in the next - and Kane litterally gawked at her) - it was still enough points to a 1. prize, and we placed as number 9.
We had a great day, met a lot of people and dogs we know, and the boys were at their best behavior (except for Kane in the ring, that is! :-)
We also had a lovely day out in the winter wonderland down at Ramnes, where Kane runs like a bird dog - he's hardly ever near me on the foot path, always running, running, running, that's his life... tracking exciting scents, just plain enjoying the outdoors. Ponny loves it when we are walking on a path, he does have a bit short legs (!), so both boys were very happy out in the sunshine. One such day can make up for a lot of dreary, gray, wet, slushy winter days.
This weekend I will try to do some tracking, and we have a training date for Sunday, training search/rundering in Maridalen. In January, I plan on debuting Kane officially in class II, about time too... and then when spring comes, more working dogs' contests.
Sunday, November 15th, 2009
Training and long walk in the rain
Up early Sunday, after a long Saturday which ended quite sad; we were called in to help searching for the missing dog of a friend of my sisters. It had been missing a few days after running away, and it had been spotted by the road. When we arrived, they had just found the dog, and it was dead. Sad for the owners, and a sobering thought on how fragile life is.
Well, Sunday morning was search (søk/rundering) training with the Belgian Shepherd club, and Kane did a very nice training session - running out in great speed, searching fast, barking at a nice distance and for a loooong time. We stretched it a bit, he did several "blind" runs, ie. without any people to be found, and motivation was still great - I reward him a lot for those too. We also let him do 10 runs, 5 on each side, and he did great. Good boy!
We train with some nice dogs, several breeds, and it's interesting to see. Good people to train with too.
So as soon as next year's season starts, in springtime, we will be ready!
Afterwards there is no going home, for now it's time for the walk. Ponny is ready, since he hasn't been working, and - no surprise - Kane is also very, very ready. We found a nice new walk, or rather - a route I haven't walked for a few years, since the Maridalen is my favorite haunt and I've been pretty much everywhere there. Down to the river, which was running big and fast with all the rain (yep, today no more snow, all rain), and through some old woods.
I can see that the boys think it's great to explore new places too, so I cannot imagine people who just walk their dogs in the same park for years; how their dogs don't get bored out of their minds.
We rounded off the walk by sitting by the lake on a small beach and watching the waves and the rain - well, the boys would rather sit and sniff into the wind for possible interesting scents coming their way. Good clothes, no weather problem - again, I know people who hardly walks their dogs when there's "bad weather", and they don't know what they are missing. The boys aren't very motivated for the "boring walks" when it rains. But if we go somewhere more interesting, they are happy to be out for hours.
Now they are both sleeping soundly after a nice day out.
Saturday November 14th 2009
Finally, the first snow that stayed for a while came. It's wet, wet, wet, but the boys think it's fun. We all usually do, untill there is so much snow we have to wade through it...
Kane jumps and runs; he starts barking almost angrily when he recognizes that we are heading towards Maridalen - "let me out", "let me out", I have a feeling he's saying; we aren't getting there fast enough driving the car appearantly.
After just a short forest walk, an hour, we headed up to my sister's place to train some tracking and object search (feltsøk). It went well; the track went straight from the car, crossing a road in the "slush" of the snow where lots of cars had passed after I laid it, then up a pile of dirt, from there onto a road block of concrete. After 20 meter, I had jumped down, and it was cool to see how he wondered - and then sniffed down. I lifted him, and then on in the track, who went across another stretch of road, going parallell to another set of tracks and then veering off from them. A lot of different ground (snow, concrete, dirt road), and then the last stretch through the forest. I am particularly pleased that he has nice downs when he finds the objects in the track.
In two weeks, we have another obedience competition - still in class I, on the big international dog show. If he does well, it would be pretty cool! He should do well in class II now, so I will enter him officially there soon too. Keep fingers crossed for us!
Making snow angels... fun and cooling.
Running is great... Kane frolics through the first snow that stayed for a while.
Saturday, October 31th, 2009
When we took our morning walk through the cemetary, Kane found a discarded Halloween mask and retrieved it for me. And of course I had to put it on him! The mask actually fitted him pretty well!
Oh well, he was by far happier when I took it off; then he shook it like it was alive, he was spinning around himself in circles while shaking it! Tough to kill the undead!
Friday October 30th, 2009
Cattledog Wake up Call - this is how it looks from my side!
Kane does do good work getting me up in the morning. Some ten minutes before my alarm clock goes off, he will start his own alarm system - staring at me too se if I'm awake, if I'm not he will jump onto the bed and sit there, his tail going thump-thump-thump, and he will try to look as appeasing as possible - ears all flat. He is humble, but extremely insistent...
It's actually working too! I do get up a little bit earlier than I used to!
Friday, October 23rd, 2009
Earlier this week, we spent a lovely morning in the forest at Maridalen. Kane works the wood like some sort of bird dog, runs, runs, runs. So many exciting scents, so many possibilities, he seems to think. But he is easy to call back.
I even called him back from flushing a roe deer out of a small wood at the bottom of a field - he had it in his nose, and as he turned his back and returned when I called, I saw the deer running away on the other side. Ponny was on his hind legs, seeing it and wanting to go, but as Mr Cool he is so easy to tell to "stay".
Kane wades through the water, Ponny walks the little wooden bridge. The light down here in the small gulley is fairytalelike.
Ponny looks like something wild and a bit ancient which lives out in the old, mossgrown woods...