Monday, April 26, 2010

Dunnigan Hills USBCHA trial, April 24-25, 2010

Coal and I ran in the Dunnigan Hills spring trial this past Saturday and Sunday. Saturday was sunny and while it was cool in the morning, it got hot in the afternoon. Sunday provided us with the famous Zamora Wind that can be relentless...again it was sunny and while I left before noon, I am guessing that it got hot again. The course was long and the sheep very even. The time allotment seemed short! Despite this, many teams got 'round the course.

On Saturday, Coal ran late, #43. So it was hot when we went to the post. Thankfully he did not seem too affected by the heat. He did a decent outrun and lift; we barely missed the fetch panels and continued on for a respectable drive. He turned the sheep right through the first set of gates with a really nice tight turn and line. At the second set of gates I had probably set them up too low and we skimmed the gates just barely on the low side. Not too bad though. We continued straight to the pen for zero points off that exercise and I was thrilled to get the score of 65++ points (out of possible 90)! What a way to start off in Open!

On Sunday we ran in the morning and it was much cooler but very windy. The wind blew my hat right off as the run started. I thought it probably blew away but didn't take my focus off the little black dog. He did a better outrun but the sheep took off to the north and he had to go back around the hill to collect them. We were able to put them back on line well before the fetch panels but not before eating up a lot of time. The fetch was straight as a string after that. We had some trouble turning the post as the sheep were reluctant to step over a darn hat that was lying there. Arghghgh! The drive was nearly perfect; we nailed both gates and had good lines. I was so disappointed to hear "time" called right before the drive was completed. What a bummer. We had used up too much time fixing the runaway sheep at the top, apparently, and getting them back on line before the fetch gates.

Anyway I am very happy with Coal's work and he seemed happy and fit. He still ended up with 41 points for Sunday, even with no drive or pen points. The trial was very fun as usual. Thanks to Leslie and Bill, judge Bill Orr, and all the many helpers for making it happen. Pro-Novice and Nursery continues today.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

RESDA Spring Trial 2010 Video

George Powell at PK9P video productions surprised me by uploading Coal's video from the RESDA Spring Trial to Youtube.

This is the traditional Redwood Empire course: all the obstacles are fetched; the handler does not assist at chute or pen; and at least two attempts must be made at the chute before moving to the pen. The field is at the historic Johnson ranch in Mendocino County. The sheep are commercial ewes belonging to the Johnson family.


Sunday, April 18, 2010

RESDA Slaven Trial April 2010

Today was the RESDA trial at Slaven's in Zamora. It was held on Henry's Hill (same gorgeous setting and location as the big USBCHA trial in February). The course was a hybrid with two driven panels combined with a RESDA-style chute and pen. There were 24 Open dogs. Coal ran 6th so it was still a little bit cool out but it was definitely warming up. The dogs are not used to heat yet since we have had so much rain this winter. The ewes had been sheared the day before so they were a challenge, but very even.

Out of 24 runs there were no runs with chutes completed and only two runs with pens completed. Those two runs gave you your first and second place winners, of course. Coal took third place and I am very pleased with his work.


Thanks to all who helped to make the trial happen!

Friday, April 16, 2010

April RESDA Newsletter is Online

The April RESDA newsletter is online at the RESDA website. There are pictures from the recent Spring Trial and an interesting Trivia Quiz on the RESDA course rules for those who want a brain teaser! Check it out.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

What My Dogs Eat

There is no topic that gets "dog people" talking faster than dog food. Lately I've gotten a lot of questions about what I am feeding my dogs, so I guess it is time to talk about it on the blog. I finally made the transition over to all raw last September after we got home from the National Finals. I wish I had done this years ago, but that is water under the bridge. I could not be happier with the results and it is not nearly as difficult as people think it is.

When Alix turned ten (in the year 2000), she developed ulcers for an unknown reason, and I started cooking for her (and the other dogs benefited too) part-time. That was the beginning of the very slow transition away from all kibble. I would fix big pots of cooked homemade rice, veggies, and cooked ground meats. The dogs loved their mostly once-a-week treat of non-kibble meals and I enjoyed making it for them. As time went on the rice went out of the mixture but the cooked/ground veggies and meat remained.

For many years after that I had dabbled with part kibble, part raw. I was giving both at the same meal. I had mixed results. Sometimes the dogs had upset tummies but I wanted them to have the raw as at least part of their feed. I kept on a quest for the perfect kibble, which was never perfect for all of the three or four dogs that I always had. I can't even list all the kibbles that we tried. At times I would have three or four kibbles on hand to serve to 3 or 4 dogs, sometimes in combinations.

When Augie developed seizures late in life, I read up on epilepsy and cancer. The thought was that he had a brain tumor and would live only maybe a month or two. I immediately switched him to a (mostly cooked) grain-free diet and he lived almost two more years. That was enough testimonial for me, to at least feed the dogs mostly grain free and to continue to work toward a natural raw or at least unprocessed diet. I fed Augie a lot of Honest Kitchen dehydrated grain-free food and this worked well for him and for me. I also mixed in raw and cooked veggies and meats. He thrived. Again I wished I had started him on it sooner. He had always had digestive upsets, unexplained high fevers, and (I think) reactions to being over-vaccinated, his entire life. There are many regrets but at least I think the diet he was on in his last years was good for him.

Last May Bid died supposedly of pancreatitis. He was eating a very high-end grain-free kibble (lower in protein and fat than the Evos of the world) with raw added. This kibble was one that many of my friends both in the agility and sheepdog worlds still use. When Bid died I swore I was getting the remaining dogs OFF kibble, and so all summer they ate one meal raw, one meal regular (not grain-free) kibble (I feed twice a day and have forever). This worked SO much better than ladling the raw on top of the kibble. I saw instant results and was pleased. All the remaining dogs were on the same kibble and the same raw. The next step would be all raw and while I was a little nervous (mostly about freezer space more than anything) I wanted to go ahead.

After we returned home from our more than a week trip to Tulelake for the National Finals, I left out the kibble and just fed raw. The good results I had seen from the half-and-half change were repeated again with even better results. I hope to never need to go back to kibble.

So what exactly are Chief, Coal, and Rime eating now? For about one-third to one-half of their food, they get a raw ground green tripe mixture called "Exkalibur" (a formula for working dogs) that is from For the rest of their meals they get mostly raw meaty bones in the form of chicken pieces, turkey necks, chicken/turkey organ meats, and sometimes beef ribs, beef meat, canned fish, boiled eggs, and whatever else I can find on sale. The Willie Bird store sells turkey necks and organs packaged in their freezer; that is a great resource. Occasionally the dogs get canned or cooked or mashed-up veggies. They like sweet potatoes and green beans. I always check the day-old veggie rack at the Pacific Market for what's available that I can throw in the saucepan or blender. These veggies aren't really necessary but I figure that they provide variety and probably some trace nutrients that the dogs don't get from the meat and bones. The dogs get very excited when they see me walk outdoors with a dish that they know contains something raw and meaty for them. It's so much nicer than setting down yet another bowl of processed kibble--even the high-end kind. For emergencies and when there is nothing thawed out, I keep Honest Kitchen and some canned green tripe, "Trippett", on the shelf.

I am in the middle of reading Lonsdale's book, "Raw Meaty Bones". It is an in-depth read but well worth it for the scientific/veterinary background on the reasoning behind advocating a raw natural diet. I know I am coming to the "table" late with this for some, but better late than never.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Pictures from Pescadero

A friend was kind enough to take these pictures during Coal's HRD goat run at the recent AHBA trial in Pescadero.

All photos are copyright L. Allen-Byrd.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

RESDA Spring Trial 2010

Yesterday was the first trial of the RESDA season, the Spring Trial at the Johnson Ranch in Mendocino County. The weather was forgiving after many days and weeks of rain. The field was beautiful and the sheep were wild 'n' wooly, just as they should be! We had a mixture of the ranch's mature ewes, white-faced yearlings and black-faced ewes (yearlings also?) to use for the trial, which made sorting out the runs a real puzzle. I do not envy our judge. No one got the chute all day. The winner was Nancy with Lad and second place went to Sandra with Drift.

Coal ran well and placed third (out of 27 entries in the Open class). Coal and I had one older ewe, one young white-faced ewe and one black-faced ewe (just to keep things interesting) to work with. I was really pleased with how he handled these mostly-undogged sheep who weren't too interested in staying on the course either with us nor together!

Results can be found here.

Some random photos that I took can be found here.

Trial Field
The next RESDA event will be in two weeks at the Slaven Ranch.