1. How do you teach recalls to your dogs?
By clicking and treating. Or dancing with them. THEY LOVE FREESTYLE! Pat likes C/W played really speeded up, especially Kenny Rogers or that Ass Monkey Garth Brooks…and Jai likes to "shake her money maker" to songs of the 70's. It's a huge reward after a day of flanking and laying the fuck down. JUST KNOWING that when I blow that recall it's heralding the intro to some cheesy but dancable music- that's all it takes for my dogs to come jetting back to my side. It's harder to pull off at trials because after you've been Thank You'd off the course, some people begrudge waiting the 3.5 minutes for Pat to dirty dance through the Gambler. Fuckers.
Jai and I still have to occasionally revisit this because when I recall her, she often thinks I'm just bringing her slightly back so that I can flank her. I hardly ever do that, but I must have done it once because she always hopes for or expects it; I can whistle loud and long, she doesn't believe me. So, my biggest headway with the recall is to lay my dog down far enough off the sheep to minimize the 'pull' and then SCREAM "THAT'LL DO! THAT WILL DO!!!!! GODDAMNIT! THAT> WIIILLLLLLL > DOOOO!!!" a few – ten times while I walk with purpose off the field. Humming.
2. What is your favorite Restaurant or type of food? Clearly I have food on the brain much of the time.
Immelda's in Caldwell for breakfast. They make their own tortillas and their huevos rancheros is the best. So is their salsa. Spur in Seattle for dinner. It's more of an event than just a meal. REALLY GOOD drinks and an array of new foods which I've mostly never seen occur in nature with a garnish. GARNISH! TAKE THAT FOOD DARWIN!
3. What is your favorite interest outside of dogs/livestock/sports? I run/hike and I read. Those are my big things.
4. Describe your path from where you started out to where you are now! (For example, how did you get from Novice to Open? How long did it take? Train dogs? Buy dogs? I'll take answers for any sort of discipline, or even how did you go from wild dog that didn't listen to well behaved dog – interpret this however you like.) This question was suggested by Pippin.
Unless you count the year or so with my aussie and ASCA trials, I didn't spend much or any time to speak of in novice because once I started trialing, I had a borrowed open dog, so I had to trial in pro-novice, where I imagine I will be for awhile. Last year I trialed just Pat and this year I have trialed Jai and Pat. Every trial gets easier in one or more ways, even if its just that I see the good more and am willing to move past the bad; learn from it, but not dwell on it.
I think it's good to get over the emotion of sucking at trials. It happens at every level, but only the new handlers seem to take it so personally. Like me and crying in wheat fields….considering starting a cat boutique. Wearing a disguise to the post.
Jai is the first trial dog that I bought and I bought her last year. I do not know the extent of her training, but she was started by someone back east. My understanding is that she had not trialed. Every time I work her, every trial, she is better. More fluid and correct, more confident, better at anticipating our next move… I like having dogs smarter than me. I like them to be better at this, but to really care what I think and that I might click and treat them to music later if they pull this run off. I'll have more time if I don't have to find a wheat field in which to cry.
5. Is there a dog that you raised that, if you knew then what you know now, you would have raised them differently? Question posed by Jodi.
All of my dogs, prior to Jai, I feel that I patronized, had insufficient expectations of, and to one degree or another robbed of clarity and self-confidence because of my warped idea of cute and what it meant to love your DOG. I am way more black and white with my dogs now. I demand more and tolerate less. I crate them (or most of them). I dress them in subtler outfits. I don't wear Scout in a snuggy around the shopping mall. Anymore.