June 27, 2011

Peanut is in

Miikka is in season.

We're breeding her to FC FTCH LKY's Controlled Burn.

I'm very excited about this breeding for many reasons.

Arson is level headed, consistent and tries very hard.  As mentioned in previous posts, he got three AA placements with three different handlers in 2 week-ends this year.  Amateur First with Brad, Open Second with Kenny and Open Second with me.  Not many dogs can say that.  One of the very first times I ran him...EVER, we won an Open together in Canada.  As I walked off the line that day. after the last test, I said to Kenny: "so this is what it's like to drive a ferrari!".

His mother (FC AFC Mizpah Miss) is also our house dog.  She is a 3x National Finalist and Kenny says Arson is a lot like her.  I love how they're not great at any one thing, but they're sure good at everything. Arson can mark, he can run blinds, he's very good in the water, he's stylish, he's tractable...what's not to like?

I think he's a great match for Miikka.

I'm not just breeding to Arson, I'm breeding to his mother Miz.  "Families to families".  That's what I've been taught from breeders I look up to.  I've also been around a brother of Arson's and trained with Miz's mother quite a bit a number of years ago.

Plus, I have a puppy here I'm raising...she's 11 weeks old...from Arson's first breeding.  She is a hoot.  She retrieved, literally, right off the plane.  She's easy to have around and seems like a smart little gaffer.

I like the family.  I know the family.  Let's go for it.

June 25, 2011

Three in a row!

Another great day for Team Horsetooth in Saskatoon!!

1st - FC Westwood's Sunday Silence (NEW FTCH!!!)
2nd - Big Red Herding Cats
4th - FTCH AFTCH Maralan's CEO
RJ - Backwater's Boomer

Now we have SEVEN qualified!!!  (Plus Ollie makes eight of course).


June 23, 2011


For all of you Darbi fans out there...

HI Mom!!

...she is being scratched from the trial in Canada this week-end.  She met both her objectives in short order, a title and a National Qualification.

We're going to give Momma D a rest and try to qualify a couple more dogs.

Our focus is finishing her FC now.

June 21, 2011

Handsome boys

First litter, last litter for Darbi.

On the left is Elmingo Flight DirectorXXXVI*** (Tiger x Darbi 2006)
and on the right is Elmingo's Lone Ranger (Prize x Darbi 2011)

Both of these handsome boys live in Ohio.

I think it's safe to say that Darbi throws herself.  :-)

June 19, 2011


Darbi got ANOTHER third today in the second Open at Lethbridge.  She is now FTCH Darbinator.

It's been a long time coming and she deserves it.

Tears of joy for my "heart" dog, my first trial dog and the 4-legged love of my life.

I'm going to need a couple days to let it sink in.

Kenny WON the Open again the second day with Backwater Boomer...a wonderful up and coming young dog.  He's only 3 and made it to the fourth series in the last two US Opens he ran in.  Although all the dogs in the kennel are special to me, Boomer grabbed my heart from day one and he's my best buddy.

This was Miikka's and Ahti's reaction when I told them.

First day in Lethbridge

Good first day in Lethbridge, Alberta for Kenny and the gang.

1st - FC Westwood's Sunday Silence
3rd - Revilo's At Full Tilt
4th - Backwater Smokin Turq

Darbi needs ONE more point for her FTCH.  It's been a long time coming!  Like I've always said...she really struggled the first years with me training her, not knowing what I was doing, and she's finally the dog I knew she always could be under Kenny's tutelage.

And CONGRATS to Darbi's son Turq (Prime x Darbi 2008) for placing in his very FIRST Open!!!  I couldn't be more proud.

It takes only a placement to qualify for the Canadian National and we have FOUR qualified already (plus Ollie makes 5).  Arson qualified by way of his being a National finalist last year.  Ollie is qualified too via his finalist status, but he is now enjoying his well deserved retirement.

Arson is competing in the US National Amateur this week.  Good luck Arson!!!

Another Open today.  Fingers crossed for everyone.

June 13, 2011

What makes a good dog.

From here on out, I'm going to try to do some training articles from time to time.

I have sure learned a lot in the past 2-3 years while being with Kenny and I have a LONG ways to go.  But I hope to add some things that I have learned on this blog.

According to Kenny, four things make a good field trial dog:

1) Trainability
2) Marking
3) Desire
4) Guts

Trainability is a all-encompassing label.  A trainable dog is one that is intelligent, a team player, handles pressure well and learns.  Trainable dogs may not always know what it is that we're trying to teach, but they WANT to learn and generally do not make the same mistakes over and over.
Dogs that are low on the trainability scale can include:
-dogs that are hard to force fetch
-dogs that are very difficult in the water and don't imrpove
-dogs that have trouble with multiples
-dogs with a poor attitude

Marking is somewhat genetic and somewhat taught.  Knowing WHERE to go is genetic, and knowing where NOT to go is taught.  Some dogs never figure out where NOT to go (they keep going back to the flyer regardless of the number of lessons against this) and these dogs would be also low on the trainability scale, as well as marking.  Great markers never seem to have to be taught this lesson.
Knowing where not to go is just as important as knowing where the bird is in the big All-Age tests judges put up.
I have seen puppies at 6 months of age not knowing how to mark a single at 25 yards, and never improve.  This could be due to poor eyesight, lack of focus, lack of desire, too MUCH desire or just missing the genetic quality that makes a good marker.  I have seen fantastic markers out of no-name parents, and very poor markers out of very accomplished, titled parents.  Generally, the better the family, the better the marker though.

Desire can be a tricky one.  It is inherently genetic, but desire can also be taken out of a dog pretty quickly with poor training.  Especially with young dogs, we try to not make the learning more difficult then the desire of the dog.  Kenny calls it the plateau.  When a dog is ready, they need to be pushed upwards and onwards.  This will cause stress for the dog (and owner!!).  It will take time for the dog to reach this new level of expectation, and no more degree of difficulty should be added at this time.  Once a dog "plateaus" at this level and begins to have a large amount of success over time, then we can do another push up.  This type of training keeps the desire level high and the dog progressing.  The desire needs to be there in the first place though.

Guts is an intangible quality.  We believe guts are taught.  A dogs LEARNS that it can swim 250 yards in a cross wind and be brave in doing it.  But, as with the other criteria, some dogs never get those guts no matter how well we try to teach it.

As you can see, all these criteria blend into one another.  Guts is desire, and desire is guts.  But a dog can have desire with no guts and vice versa.  It really is more an art then a science.

Be sure to teach slowly and thoroughly.  Don't push the dog more then it's ready for and don't ever "test" for guts.  Evaluate your dog thoughtfully and work on the weaknesses.  There is no such thing as the perfect dog.

Another win!!

Congrats AGAIN to Rett and Zink for winning another Derby.  This is the third win by 17 months for this wonderful team.  Zink now has 19 derby points.

Zink is a littermate to Libby and is out of the Shaq x Miikka litter of 2009.

Way to go!!!

June 12, 2011

Productive Week-end

Back home from the trial in Cheyenne, Wyoming.  Had a very fun week-end.

Darbi finished the Open with a JAM.  She was in very good shape going into the last series, but had a big hunt on the last bird of the trial.  I was very proud of her...and told her so.  She did a few things that made me especially proud.
She tried very hard and went very tight to obstacles (gunner and flyer crates) on the double land blind.  Darbi does not like going tight to anything she thinks may get her in trouble...so I was so happy that she trusted me and took the great cast she took to slide by the crates.
She ran an excellent water blind.  The initial line was past water...another thing that makes her squeamish.  And there were several  dicey water re-entries that she took on her own.  A dog needed to be seeking water on this blind, as they were out of sight at several critical moments.  She was balanced enough to run past water and then hit every piece of water afterwards.  And she did it in only 4 whistles!
I was most proud of her last series.  She went off line on her own going to the last bird TRYING to be a good girl and take an extra piece of water.  Some dogs did this and never recovered.  She ended up deep and upwind of the bird and worked in out on her own.  A real effort on her part.
She didn't even creep!  Okay...maybe she did...but just a tiny little bit.

And Libby got a Reserve JAM in the Derby (5th place).  It was a very fun Derby to run and I really enjoyed it.  Libby needs big water tests to really shine, and unfortunately for us we ran three land series and a little water series.  She is becoming more focused every day and takes her job very seriously.  She does not take life seriously at all though.  She does get happy feet on her land marks, but her hunts are becoming better all the time.  The judge called her a "pocket rocket" which made me laugh...that's my Wibbs.

June 2, 2011

Miikka's Leg

Poor Peanut.

Although she doesn't look too bad today, I thought I would share a quick video of what her leg looks like.

Classic Achilles Injury: dropped hock and curled toes.

We're consulting with an ortho specialist to see what we can do for her.

Ahti the brat

A neat photo of Darbi's daughter Meg with her BLUE ribbon from this past week-end!!

And speaking of Darbi daughters...I haven't posted about Ahti in a while.  I thought it was time for a little update.  As much as Libby is her mother's daughter, so is Ahti.  She is an "easy" puppy, just like Darbi was and is so much fun to have around.

I tried to take a nice picture of Darbi to celebrate her third place in the Open two weeks ago...

but Ahti decided SHE needed to be the center of attention.

Darbi looks like she's actually laughing at her daughter (or is wondering how she ever gave birth to such a brat).

One day Ahti...one day.