December 29, 2011

Puppies everywhere!

I'm getting a new puppy.

I'm very excited.

I know, I seems like I collect them and I guess I do.

I bought Otto and Stanley last year and sold them to clients of Kenny's.  They are still here in training with us and doing great!

I bought Loki and raised her and sold her to the client of another pro.  She now visits her own vineyard in Napa on her private plane, so I'm thinking Loki is living a good life.  I miss her a great deal.

I have Gordie now and he's a blast.  I'm hanging on to him for awhile to see what he's made of.

And now introducing Willie!!!  She's from the last ever breeding of NFC AFC Clubmead's Road Warrior, so I had a hard time passing this litter up.  She'll be ready to come home to me in a few weeks.

Willie is one of these THIRTEEN puppies.  I can't imagine 13.  The biggest litter I've ever had is 8 and they were a handful.  One of these cute little faces is Willie and I can't wait to meet her.

And re-introducing Stewie.  He's from the recent Arson x Miikka breeding and he's Gordie's brother.  Stewie now lives in Ohio and is having a grand time getting acquainted to ducks.

He's already a proficient little retriever.

And as an aside, Miss Miikka was spayed just before the holidays.  Even though she is young (ish) and had another litter left in her, I decided she has done enough.  Having 2 pups on the Top Twenty Derby List in the US this year and many others that are QAA and/or MHs is quite an accomplishment for a 7 year old mom.  I'm proud of her and can't wait to see what the future holds for her daughter Libby and I.

Darbi was due to be spayed the same day, but she came into season.  I'll have the surgery done sometime in 2012 when it's convenient for all of us.  

I have a daughter of each, and that's all I ever wanted.

December 21, 2011

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas Everyone!!!

I hope everyone has a wonderful holiday season!

From me and the "girls":
Darbi, Miikka, Libby & Ahti.

December 8, 2011

Training-When do I step in?

Back when I was an Amateur, I really struggled at knowing when to step in and help my dog.  I didn't know if I should handle for a bad line, help for a bad hunt or what to do?

We all know that training dogs is more an art then a science, so there are no black and white rules.  Many different variables arise such as what the particular dog needs at that moment vs. keeping the standards of training high.  But I will point out some generalizations of training on marking set-ups that I've learned over the past couple of years.

When to re-call:
We re-call for a poor initial line to the mark.  We generally only re-call the dogs within the first 75 yards and more often then not it is less then that.  A poor intial line does not mean the dog left great, but fell into factors on route. 
Too many re-calls, especially ones at a distance, can really erode a dog's confidence and momentum.  A re-call is as much mental pressure to a dog as a collar correction is physical pressure.

When to handle:
We handle dogs on marks when a dog loses their line to the mark due to losing the mark itself.  This can be due to many factors such as suction of other marks, wind, terrain or just plain lack of focus of the dog.  We try to use only enough handle to regain the mark and then allow the dog to resume and get the mark on their own.  We don't handle all the way to the bird as if we were at a field trial.  Training and trialing is always different.
Our personal belief is that we don't handle for having a bad mark i.e. backsiding a gun.  Dogs trained to the All-Age level need to be independent thinkers and learn how to negotiate the tough tests they will see in an Open.  We also believe that marking is as much learning where not to go as learning where to go.  So if a dog is taking a wide line to a long retired and it looks to be on it's way to hooking the holding blind, we let the dog go.  This teaches them to recover, to think, to have perserverance and feel confident in doing so.  Many dogs are "area markers" at the distances we're dealing with in modern field trials, so it would unreasonable to expect pin-point marking at the All-Age level all of the time.
Don't forget that water is the #1 "factor" that we handle around.  Our general rule is to correct to get in the water, but never to correct to get them out.  This is always attrition and many a good water dog has been taught to hate the water due to poor corrections in and around the water.

When to have the gunner help:
We have gunner's help the dogs when they've reached the area of the fall and can't come up with the bird after an extended hunt.  Some dogs at times, especially young dogs learning multiples, will "blow" out of a mark if they can't come up with it quickly.  It is these types of scenarios where we have the gunner help to keep the dog in the area of the fall.  We don't put them right on the bird, but get them back to establishing a hunt there.  We don't believe in ever putting pressure on a dog in the area of the fall, as it can lead to dogs being nervous hunting around gunners, popping, "piggy" hunts at the area of the fall, severe blowing out, etc.  Dogs need to be relaxed hunting in and around guns considering some of the tight tests we see these days.

When to do nothing:
There are times when a dog is putting on an extended hunt that is painful to watch.  We let these dogs hunt, and then hunt some more.  A tough short retired on a hen pheasant will need a dog that is willing to go in and really dig out the bird and feel comfortable doing so.  Nothing teaches this more then the dog being rewarded with a bird after an extended hunt in training.  As long as the dog isn't doing anything stupid...we let them hunt.

Before you do anything in training to assist your dog (re-call, handle or help), it is always helpful to ask yourself one question: Am I Teaching The Dog Anything?  If the answer is no, or "I don't know", then best to sit back and let your dog figure it out.

December 2, 2011

Gordie's Sleeping Habits

Gordie has no problem sleeping LIKE his mother.

He also has no problem sleeping ON his mother.

November 30, 2011

Still alive

I'm still here.

All is good.

Gordie is already house trained!!!  That's the big news in my life.  Gotta love it when they catch on fast.

I'm a little blog lazy these days, but I'll try to get some pics and a training article up soon.

November 23, 2011

Mr. Red

Looks like he is having fun with his new owner in New Jersey.

November 20, 2011


This is how she sleeps.


November 11, 2011

Just Gordie

Two little boys have left, leaving me with one.

A quiet, well semi-quiet, house now.

Before he left Mr. Red is shown exhausted from toy over stimulation.  
Too many toys and not enough time for him.  He has gone to his new home in New Jersey.

Mr. Orange left to live with his "Auntie Emma" (a Darbi daughter) in Ohio.

And introducing Gordie!

Elmingo's Hat Trick.

I thought the name was appropriate as there is only three pups in the litter and his mother is named after a hockey player.

It looks like he thinks life is pretty tough.  He didn't even KNOW the couch was an option until yesterday and now we can't get the little rascal away from it.

Some people hate dogs on the furniture.  I respect that.  We are a dog on couch friendly household for sure.

November 7, 2011

7 weeks!

I can't believe how quickly time flies.  Boys are only a day or two from heading to their new homes.

They are fun and busy.

Mr Orange, like any good Miikka offspring, likes to sleep on his back.

And yes, they are 100% paper trained.  They are pretty clean little pups.

The boys spend a lot of their time playing outside (i.e. dirty noses) and playing in the kitchen where they crash on their dog bed at the end of a long day.  Note: the Angry Bird toy made it's way inside the house, earless.

November 3, 2011

Can you see it now?

Peanut thinks she's doing a wonderful job burying her bone.


November 2, 2011

Indoor play

Puppies were very busy this evening!

November 1, 2011


Sorry for the lack of posts and PUPPY pics lately.  We've been busy trialing and on the road.  I'll be better this week.

Pups are doing great!!  They weather was so nice in Missouri that they spent the better part of each day running around and having fun while we trained.
They also had their first shots and second deworming while there and they came away with a bill of excellent health!!

The trial this past week-end went well.  Darbi and Libby were the Green Queens.  Darbi Jam'd the Open and Libby Jam'd the Derby.
Libby had 7 pins and one hook (again....) and I was really proud of her work. The last series especially.  It was a nice water double with the short bird up on the hill and the long bird across the whole pond, with the gun out of sight while the dogs swam.  All the handlers were a little stunned when they shot the test short, then long.  This order of throws threw a number of the dogs off.

Libby, as only her mother would do, primary selected on her own after the birds went down and I let her.  She smacked the test.  The whole situation made me smile as she reminds me more of her mother every day.  We don't train on primary selection, largely because of the flyer influence down here in the states, but some dogs do it on their own and it worked in this scenario.

Darbi worked her butt off in a tough Open and had a handle on the short retired (a hen pheasant) in the last series Quad.  A number of the early dogs handled or had giant hunts and then that bird seemed to get easier as the day went on.  That's the breaks of running early.

That was our last trial of the now for some rest!

October 24, 2011

Hard Lesson Learned

I'm still learning this game.  I suspect I always will be.

It's hard.  Very hard.

When my dogs let me down, I get a little frustrated but move on.  When I let them down I can't shake it and dwell and dwell.

First series of the Open in Missouri this week-end was a very hard quad.  The two middle birds were giving everyone fits.  The short bird was retired and thrown angle back against a tree line straight towards a stand out gun.  The birds couldn't have been more then 30 yards apart (I was out there to pick up the blind station later and was stunned at how tight they were).  Dogs were just NOT getting the short retired.

When I ran Darbs I tried to get that bird second, and expected to run past it as most everyone else was doing.  She PINNED that bird.  Absolutely knew where it was and face planted it.  Then the wheels fell off...

Judges said only one other dog had done that...blah blah blah...I started talking to them...made a joke or two...

I still had two more birds to pick up but I thought I had it in the bag.  There was a fairly straight forward retired gun off to the right and then the stand up gun just deep of the retired.

She came back to heel and I thought I was all that and a bag of chips.  Loosey goosey, look at me.  I took the bird and sent her for the right retired.  Sent her WAY fast, didn't bear down and she left weird and nervous and we ended up handling.  Out.

Kenny left me alone for about an hour and then we had the "talk".  EVERY bird matters.  EVERY send is important.  QUIT yakking, bear down and run your dog.

He's right.  I let my dog down and it really hurt.  Hard lesson to learn and I believe I wouldn't have learned it any other way.  I needed to pin the impossible bird to get that one through my thick skull.

Libby ran an amazing Derby.  First three tests were a little light for such a big field.  The third series water marks were kind of puppy markish, but we all had to run them just the same.  They had a 30 yard go bird across a tiny corner of water and Libby hunted that dumb little bird...a lot.  Then they set up a giant 4th series as they had too many dogs clean and knew it.  Not many dogs did it, but Miss Libby did it better then anyone else.  She made the big swim with the gun out of sight the whole way past the short bird.

Pin, pin.

7 flat out pins and a stupid hunt.  That is green and no other color these days.

She makes her debut in the Qualifying this upcoming week-end.  Qual debut and last Derby as we won't run any more after this.  She ages out two months from today.

She's really coming on and I highly doubt I'll be doing any training on 30 yard birds in the future to clean that up...but one never knows.

The Three Amigos came to Missouri with us and they're having a blast!  They stay in the trailer with us at night in their box, but come with us all day and spend lots of time outside in the x-pen meeting new people, and some time in a hole on the truck having naps.

Puppies have already been touched by greatness.

L to R: Dave Rorem, Bill Eckett and the Greatness that is my hubby.

October 18, 2011

Angry Birds!

Pups are having fun in the yard several times a day.

Miikka was more into her Angry Bird toy.

As you can see, Miikka is still wearing her brace.  The foot portion has been removed and it is being used as a "sports" brace now.  Her partial tear of her achilles is 95% healed and one can't even tell by looking at her that she was ever injured.  

October 15, 2011


Weaning is always fun.
I wait until Momma tells me it's time and then we dive in.

As you can see, pups are still tubby little guys, so the food I put down for them was ignored the first couple of days.

Mr. Blue actually fell asleep on the food dish last night.

They started to show interest today.  
As you can see from the dirty little nose, I've been taking them outside a few times a day now.  They are having a blast discovering the great outdoors.

And they were hungry after their evening romp outside!  The kibble here hardly had time to moisten as I didn't think they'd want to eat tonight, but when Miikka walked away from them I quickly moistened up another round.  It was the first time they dug in to their food!
I let Miikka clean up any leftovers and there wasn't any tonight!

October 11, 2011

Three amigos walking!

Well, kinda.  Staggering maybe.

And yes, Miikka can sleep through anything.

October 10, 2011

Home again!

Back home from Kansas.

We're tired.

Darbi ran a great Open and was dropped after the water blind.  I thought it might be good enough, but alas, it wasn't.  They went into the water blind with 30+ dogs, so we all knew some would be pencilled.  Darbi is never going to run a 3 whistle water blind...that's just not who she is.  She runs workman (or lady) like water blinds.

Libby had her marking shoes on...mostly.  The last series was a tight, tight land double and I saw dogs hunt the old fall and switch, and do everything in between, and knew I might be in trouble.  Libby went a little deep of the go bird and looked over and saw the memory bird gunner almost right beside her...she made a couple jumps towards him and I was quick to hit the whistle. As I've mentioned before, I'm a big believer that no green ribbon is worth letting them get away with bad things, especially at her age.  Miss Libby has a bright future ahead of her if I keep her on the straight and narrow.

Can't complain...ran a very hard trying Darbi to the third series of the Open and a fantastic marking Libby to the fourth series of the Derby.

Puppies are big and happy.  Pics to come soon!!!  And a video or two!

October 4, 2011

3 Weeks

Pups sure growing fast!

3 weeks and 1 day old today.

We had a friend bring their granddaughter over the other day.  The puppies and her shared many cuddles.

Mommy Miikka cuddling with her boys.

Head rest.

They are really starting to interact with one another...including some play fighting.

October 3, 2011

Fun in Nebraska

Elmingo had a great week-end in Nebraska!!

Turq (Backwater's Smokin Turq) finished the Open with a Reserve JAM.
His Momma Darbi finished the Open with a JAM.

They both ran a great trial.

Zink (Elmingo's Little Man) and my Libby (Elmingo's Flip Your Lid) got 2nd and 4th in the Derby respectively.  Zink now has 30 Derby points and Libby has 19.

I've heard that Zink is now the highest point Shaq pup in Derbies to date.  Makes me pretty proud of Momma Miikka and her pups.

Puppies are doing wonderful.  Their eyes and ears are now open.  I'll get some pics up soon!

September 27, 2011

Feed me...

These are BIG puppies.  Enormous.

I've never had such fat little puppies before.

It's an easy explanation...there's only three of them.  No fighting at the buffet and no jostling for a meal.

This does not mean that they will be big dogs, nor bigger then they should be...they will drop all the baby fat they're putting on once I wean them.

But right now, these boys are a solid 3 1/2 to 4 pounds each!

Mr. Orange looking for momma.

Mr. Red trying to teeter on wobbly legs.

And Mr. Blue looks like a beached whale.  He has no trouble finding his way to the food trough.

They have finished their Early Neurological Stimulation exercises and will be opening their eyes very soon.

September 25, 2011


Way to go Turq!!!

He was a finalist in the Canadian National at only 2 years old.

Momma Darbi and I are so proud!!

September 19, 2011

Poopy...and puppies!

Well, poopy.

Lost Darbi in the first series of the Canadian National today.  Hard to explain, but she had some bad luck and not ideal wind conditions.  It was a very wind dependent test and dogs with bad wind either ended up not finding birds, or going to birds they weren't sent for.

Two previous National champions and one of the top pointed dogs in the US this year also went out in the first series, so at least we were in good company.

It was a downer for sure, but she's still my bestest dog.  She has some good trials left in her aging body and she still wants to work hard, so we'll keep moving forward.

But time for puppy pictures!!!

My Three Amigos.

Miikka, as usual, is a wonderful mother.

The little guys are doing very, very well and getting their daily Early Neurological Stimulation exercises. 

September 18, 2011

18 and counting...

Libby stayed behind in Colorado when we travelled north for the Canadian National.

I just got word that she WON the Derby at the Rocky Mountain trial in Colorado with our client, Kathy, running her. Kathy had only run her once in training, ever, and it did not go well. But it seems Libby left her run around in the training field and ran a great trial for Kathy!

This puts Libby at 18 points and counting. She has 4 more derbies to run before she ages out.

I told my friend to give Momma Miikka an extra cookie tonight.

Speaking of Peanut...her and the pups are doing great! The little guys are thriving and growing like weeds.

Canadian National starts tomorrow morning. We've worked hard all week and we're as ready as we'll ever be.

Keep fingers crossed for Darbi, her son Turq and the rest of the Horsetooth gang!!!

September 16, 2011

All clear

A quick note as I have horrible cell here and no Internet. We're moving tomorrow, so hopefully the reception is better and I can get online on my computer, instead of just my phone.

Preliminary autopsy results surprised us. Seems the little boy pup had a similar birth defect as his sister, except there were no external signs like she had. His digestive system wasn't functioning properly and never would as it was mostly undeveloped. Nothing could have saved him.

The vet checked out the three amigos today and said they were in great health and showed no digestive issues at all. It seems we're out of the woods.

I'm ready to move forward.

The "boys" had their dew claws removed today as well and are now back at home nursing and sleeping.

I can't wait to meet them.

September 14, 2011

Another angel

And another devastating loss.

One of the little boys died today.

He was doing well first thing in the morning, and a couple of hours it all changed.

My friend called to say he was off by himself and seemed lethargic. I told her to make sure the little guy was warm and try to get him to nurse. In 20 minutes he wasn't improving, and we made the decision to rush him to the vet.

My friend put them all on a heating pad in the back seat of truck, and took Miikka along for good measure.

The poor little guy passed in the 20 minute drive to the vet. My wonderful vet suspected that he had aspirated some milk, but we're doing an autopsy to be sure.

What a nightmare.

The rest of the pups and mom are doing great and he sent them back home with a bill of good health.

I have pics, but won't post them yet. The little guy is in them and I can't bring myself to do it.

It's a coincidence that one had a congenital defect and one most likely aspirated, but it just doesn't seem fair.

Many breeders have experienced similar pain, and some have horrifying stories of loss. Breeding is not for the faint of heart, and we do it for the love of our breed and the dogs itself.

Keep the rest of the pups in your prayers.

September 13, 2011

4 boys and an angel

Tears of sadness and tears of joy.

Miikka went into labor only a few hours after we left for the Canadian National yesterday.

She did great and had capable hands with her.

I was in constant contact with the girl who was whelping her and the labor was progressing nicely.

When the first pup came out, we all knew it was not good. The little girl was 6 oz. (normal weight for my pups is 13-16 oz). And the pup had a wound on her abdomen. I told my friend to stop the bleeding and immediately called my friend, Mark Edwards, who is a pro trainer and was staying down the road.

Miikka cleaned the little girl up and she was trying to nurse, but struggling. Mark arrived and grabbed the little puppy and rushed her to the vet. Miikka was not at all concerned when she was taken, so that was a telling sign for me.

I spoke to the vet a short while later and she said the little pup had a birth defect and would likely not survive on her own. I told her to put her to sleep and end her suffering.

In short order, Miikka had 4 big, healthy males, all weighing 16 oz or more.

Those little guys have a big sister that will watch over them forever.

It's the first pup I've ever lost, and I'm sad I wasn't there, but me being there wouldn't have changed a thing.

I'm sad for the loss, but happy that she's not in pain. The boys are thriving and all have gained 2 oz already.

Miikka, as usual, is being a great mom and is very content.

I'll post up a couple pics later as we're still driving.

4 boys and an angel.

September 11, 2011

Sunset Swimming

We get some gorgeous sunsets at our place.

Ahti tries to keep us with Momma D and Auntie Miikka.  Those two have been at it for years though.

Miikka swims pretty good in her brace.

A new member of the pack!  Loki tries to keep up to the big dogs.


Miikka is very big...but not so big that I think there are more then 6 or 7 in there.

We set up her whelping room tonight and it's hard to believe she's due in only a few days.

A friend of mine is moving into the house tomorrow while we're gone to the Canadian National to whelp her.  She'll also get started on the Early Neurological Stimulation and be Miikka's best buddy while we're gone.  I hate leaving Miikka AGAIN to whelp, I just hate it.  Thankfully she's an easy whelper and I've lined up oodles of help in case my friend is in need.

So, we're off to Manitoba tomorrow and will pre-National for a few days in Brandon before heading over to Winnipeg.

Darbi looks great right now.  Balanced, marking well and high on life.  My goal is to get further then I did last year, which was my first ever National.  I made it seven series last's hoping for eight (or more!).

September 9, 2011

Swim-By in the Rain

A video of one of the young dogs doing swim-by.

Unfortunately my fingers were over the microphone on the you can't hear my dialog.

September 6, 2011

Wyoming Trial

Had a long, hard week-end in Wyoming.

It was a PRTA Trial, and Kenny and I essentially put it on.  

Here's a pic of me running test dog on the water blind with the Luckiest Guy In The World (AKA Kenny) standing behind me.

Yes, I was running test dog.  Darbi went out on the land blind after I couldn't get her close enough to the flier crates and poison bird.  She knows where "trouble" is and there was no way she was going over THERE.

Handlers watching the greatness that is Darbi.

Kenny running Boomer.

What a neat pic.

Libby ran a great Derby to finish 4th.  It was a tight race for sure.  She hunted one bird.

I'm getting more and more excited about her.

September 1, 2011

Favorite photos - Part 1

I have some favorite pictures of the "girls" over the years.

Some are great and some are of poor quality, but I still love them none the less.

Darbi and me.  My bestest girl.

Darbi and Miikka: The Bridges of Madison County - one of their many adventures.

Darbi and me awaiting our turn at a field trial many years ago.  I love this pic because it shows how much she loves doing this with me.

This one always makes me smile.  Little Miikka hopping in the fresh snow.  Peanut was just a baby here.

The infamous party hat photo shoot.  Miikka was bored with the whole affair.

Miikka always got the stick, and loved to laugh about it.  She is so athletic.

Darbi dock jumping in British Columbia.

The typical Miikka expression.  "Look at me...I'm cute...aren't I cute?"

August 30, 2011

Best friends

Loki and Ahti are best friends.

Unfortunately for Ahti, and even more unfortunate for me, is that she will be heading out to be a kennel dog in the next few days.  Time for her to grow up a little and learn that working is the most important part of her day.

She is great during her obedience lessons, and we started with "hold" today.  She marks gangbusters and runs back as hard as she runs out.

I'm going to shed a few tears as we walk the 50 steps to the kennel building, but it's best for both of us.  She's been spending lots of time in there as of late, so the first day will be more of a shock to my system then to hers.

August 29, 2011

Congrats Eider!

Congrats to NMH Elmingo's Pacific Eider*** MH WCX for finishing the Canadian National Master Hunt Test!!!

I remember this pup well (I remember them all well, but he sticks out in my mind) as I flew him out of Calgary as a wee babe on Boxing Day.

He is from the Shaq x Miikka litter of 2007 and turns 4 later this year.

Eider and John are having lots of fun together in hunt tests and field trials.

Way to go!!!

August 21, 2011

Cheater, cheater pumpkin eater.

Had a fun time at the Cheyenne field trial this week-end.

Darbi ran a great Open and finished with a RJAM.  She didn't have any bad birds and was super fun to run.  And NO CREEPING or breaking.  The honor was in the fourth series and she watched the birds a little too closely, but didn't move.  :-)

Unfortunately I had to pick up Libby in the third series of the derby.  It's hard to describe the bird, but she was not getting out "early", but getting out way wrong and cheating the water no matter which way you looked at it.

No green ribbon is worth letting her get away with a water cheat.

Funny thing is that her brother Zink did the exact same thing which left Kenny and I scratching our heads as to why these two very solid water dogs did what they did.  They must have saw something that flummoxed them as usually they take too much water.

Whatever it was, we'll never know.

I wish dogs could talk...oh I don't...or Libby would never shut up.

August 15, 2011

Peanut is Pregnant!

Miikka had her ultrasound this morning.

She's pregnant!!

Vet saw "6, but probably there's more".

Ultrasounds are inaccurate at best, but a good vet can usually count within 2-3 pups.  Generally their estimate is lower then what is in there.

Can't wait!

August 11, 2011

Lil Miss Manners

Loki (the Arson puppy I'm raising) has been taught to not be rude when another dog is eating, and butt in to their food dish.

Here she is practicing every bit of restraint she has while watching Ahti finish her dinner.

August 10, 2011

Miikka's Brace

Miikka got her new brace on Monday.  It is a custom made orthotic made by OrthoPets.

It is a world famous company and I'm so lucky that they happen to be in Denver.

A week ago, they made a cast (mold) of Miikka's leg and the brace was designed just for her and her injury.

She is showing no discomfort while wearing it, and we take it off at night when she goes to bed.  She will be able to be a lot more active while wearing this and it will be adjusted every two weeks as her achilles tendon heals.

When she is all better (8 weeks they guess), then the brace can be used as a "sports" brace for her.

The things they can do nowadays...

August 7, 2011

Libby on the List

My Little Libby, who mysteriously lost her brain the last two week-ends, was back in full force this week-end.

She WON the Derby, which put her on the US Derby List.  Her littermate Zink was second, thus giving Elmingo a great Derby showing and I'm sure that made Momma Miikka and Daddy Shaq very proud.

Zink now has 27 Derby points and Libby has 12.

Kenny ran Darbi in the Open and they went out in the first series.  It was a tough test and Darbs tried real hard.

I need to break out my camera as I haven't been taking many pictures lately.  Look for some this week.

August 1, 2011

Not One Bird

I didn't get one bird at the trial this week-end.

Nada.  Zip.  Zilch.

I have to think back about 4 or 5 years to the last time that happened...when Darbi broke in an Open in Canada.

Well, she did it again.  She broke in the first series of the Open.

I'd like to think that a 175 yard flyer is NOT a breaking bird...but nobody told Darbi that.


And to add misery to company, she tried to break AGAIN on the honor when she was ON LEASH.

To say I was stunned, was an understatement.

Darbi is creeping??  And now breaking???  What happened to my dead serious, dead steady dog??  Well, she is having the time of her life...that's what is happening.  It is a fine balance to train a dog at this level.  We have her in the right frame of mind, the BEST frame of mind, that she has ever been in.  But we need to reel her in a little bit...just a wee little bit.  Too much pressure on line and she gets stale...too little...and well, we know what happens now.

And Libby...Little Lunatic Libby.

I picked her up on the flyer in the first series of the Derby.

She was quiet in the holding blind.  Good going to line and watched the birds nicely.  But when I released her, it was akin to a patient escaping a mental hospital without their medications.  She went under the arc of the flyer and ran WAY deep and then started to run around in random places.  I got tired of watching it and picked her up.  Well, my sweet little dog that is so nice in training WOULD NOT pick up and I had to walk out to the field and get her.  The Walk Of Shame they call it...and shameful it was.

This week-end will go down in the Anals of Field Trials (spelling mistake intentional) I'm sure.

But my spirits were lifted thanks to the children of my "girls".

"Turq" (Darbi x Prime 2008) WON the Qualifying at this trial and "Zink" (Miikka x Shaq 2009) was SECOND in the Derby, bring him to a total of 24 Derby points at 19 months.

WAY TO GO kids!!!

July 24, 2011

Seven Stages of Grief

The streak is over.

Libby didn't just not finish the Derby this week-end, she did so in spectacular fashion.

First series was a TINY little double.  Not tight, not long, no cover changes...the longest bird wasn't over 70 yards.  Serious.

She pinned the flyer and then went under the arc of the memory bird, and without hesitation, went hyper speed back to the flyer.

As I stood on the line watching this, I went through the Seven Stages of Grief:

1) Shock & Denial: "No way she is going back THERE"
2) Pain & Guilt: "I wonder if it's because I haven't been getting on her for making dumb loops behind a gun.  Maybe it's my fault."
3) Anger & Bargaining: "TWEEEETTTTT.  GET IN HERE!!"
4) Depression & Reflection: "That was depressing."
5) The Upward Turn: "Well, it WAS just a little test and she's been doing bigger stuff".
6) Reconstruction:  "I need to work on her run around in the first series".
7) Acceptance & Hope: "Hey, she's cute anyways and it made me laugh".

And then I was over it.  On to the next trial.  She's just a dog after all, isn't she?

On a happier note, Darbi finished yet another Open with a JAM.  She's finished 3 of the last 4 here in the US and is running great!

She was in fantastic shape going into the last series as one of only 17 of 75 dogs to do the first series (and she did it very well) and she had a great water blind.  The last series was a big Quad, which scared me to death.  She got one bird pretty ugly, but did the test without a handle.  She was so much fun to run, as she has been as of late.

Kenny said to me after "she may not be the most talented dog I've ever seen, but she is certainly one of the smartest I've ever trained".  She used her brains to figure the test out and didn't look too shabby doing it.  I'm thinking I should let Kenny run her soon...but I just don't want to give her up.  We're having WAY too much fun, just the two of us.

July 20, 2011

Go Pedro

I guess dropping his name yesterday on this blog helped!

My racehorse, affectionately known as Pedro, WON tonight.

Yeah Pedro!

Miikka had her ortho consult today.  She's going to get fitted for an orthotic brace and we have a treatment plan in place for her.  The ortho vet thought that with her improvement since the injury, and further physio treatment, she should be back to normal in 8-12 weeks.  It brought tears to my eyes.  He even felt that she may be able to chase a tennis ball, do light hunting and pretty much do anything but field training in the future.

Such a great day today.

July 19, 2011

Flip Your Lid

Look what I found!!

I have a book full of old win pictures from when my Grandparents had their horse racing stable.

As you know, I've named all my dogs after horses raced under the Elmingo Stables banner.

I found a picture of Libby's namesake in the stack of photos.

From the looks of the purse money, Flip Your Lid was running in a bottom claimers race, but a win is a win.

My Grandparents are the couple on the left in the photo.  Sadly my Grandma passed away years ago, but I own a share of a racehorse, Cactus Cut, and Grandpa is his "honorary" owner.  It's been so much fun to share a horse with him and I owe my love of horse racing (and horses) to my Grandparents.

Flip Your Lid actually raced for Rotary Stable, which was a partnership between my Grandpa and a friend of his.

July 18, 2011

Green Team

Tim jokingly called themselves the Green Team...and the name stuck.

Left: Elmingo's Pacific Eider MH *** - owned by John Hatfield (Shaq x Miikka 2007)
Middle: Elmingo's With One Twist*** - owned by Time Duhaime (Shaq x Miikka 2007)
Right: Elmingo's Violence On Request - owned by Rod Neterer (Prime x Darbi 2008)

THREE Elmingo puppies ran the triple Qualifying in Logan Lake, BC a couple weeks ago and they did very well.  All three finished one or more!

What is to be extra proud that all are Amateur owner handled and trained.  We had Matti for a short time 1 1/2 years ago, but Tim has done pretty much all of her work himself.  I "believe" it was Rod's FIRST field trial and he trains by himself in Alaska.  What an accomplishment!!

I'm so proud of my Elmingo babies and it's nice to see that no matter where they are from, or where they go, they are all one big family.

On another note:
Miikka was bred for the second time today to Arson.  We'll ultrasound in 26 or so days.  Keep fingers crossed!

July 16, 2011

Growing Up

Elmingo's Lone Ranger ("Spur" Prize x Darbi 2011) doing some retrieving.

All the pups in the litter are starting to lose their baby teeth and will shortly begin formal training.  It's a big step to move from being a puppy to the beginnings of being a "big dog".

And what does Spur think of this upcoming change in status...