July 28, 2013

Libby does it again

Miss Libby got an Open fourth this week-end!

This is four Open finishes in a row for her, with three placements!  She needs the coveted win to qualify for the US National in South Carolina this November.  Wins in Opens are hard to come by...VERY hard...so I'm not holding my breath, but I will keep my fingers crossed.

This is all very impressive for a 3 year old dog.

We had a great week-end at Horsetooth Retrievers.  First, Second, Fourth and Fifth (Reserve JAM) in the Open...and three of those four dogs are three and younger.  And we won the Qualifying too!

Our future looks bright and all the (mucho, mucho) hard work is paying off.  We have an exciting truck of dogs and they just keep coming.  Willie and Gordy in the Derby look great, and we have a few Basics dogs that are making us smile every day....including my home-raised Rip.

Being a pro is a tough, tough life.  It is exhausting, demanding, never-ending and all-encompassing but it's week-ends like this that make it all worth while...and then some.

July 12, 2013

Love my "kids"

If you've ever looked at our training website (www.horsetoothretrievers.com), you'd notice that I try to promptly post results from the trials that we run.

I posted these from our last trial:

2nd - Elmingo’s Flip Your Lid

1st - Horsetooth’s Center Ice
4th - Horsetooth’s Otto Know

3rd - Elmingos Controlled Power Play
JAM - Horsetooth’s Willie T Wiffic

I raised every one of those dogs.  There is an art to raising a puppy for sure.  I think I do a good job, but I've also had lots of practice...13 puppies in 3 years at last count I think.

I am now raising Hattie and am already on the hunt for my next pup to raise.

Things I've learned from raising pups:
-get one from the best bitch you can afford.  Sires are great and there are some I am really fond of, but by and all, the best dogs I've raised have been out of the best bitches.
-don't fret about anything when they're young.  I had one dog I raised that was a STAR as a puppy.  She looked like the second coming of Lean Mac.  Then the more work we started doing and the harder the tests became...she just fell apart and we washed her out.  She hated the yard and hated the job.  We did everything to make her love it, but she didn't like retrieving with rules and that was that.  On the other hand, one pup I raised did NOT retrieve, even by 5 months old.  He would wander out at a walk, shuffle around and maybe pick it up.  I didn't fret and stopped retrieving with him completely until he showed me he was ready.  I let him be a puppy and raised him the best way I knew how.  He is now 9 months old and a retrieving fool.  He is stylish and fun and LOVES his yard work in the morning.  He looks like he's going to be very nice.  It goes to show that they are just little guys.  One has to be careful not to teach them to hate retrieving and I think I could have done that easily with this little guy if I had pushed him.
-I only teach the mechanics of the retrieve when they're young and nothing else.  Go out, pick it up and bring it back.  A dog cannot be advanced without the mechanics down.  If they go out great, pick it up and then play keep away...everything else stops until I get them returning reliably.  And I stay at 20 yards on short grass until we got this part down cold.
-Pups need to learn to learn.  Teach them everything.  I taught Willie to shake a paw for example.  It is a parlour trick, but she was so wanting to learn MORE, MORE, MORE as a young puppy that I tried to teach her new things all the time.
-Noise (and general obnoxiousness) on the line needs to be dealt with as SOON as it shows up.  It IS a big deal and it is not at all cute if they are thrashing and screaming while we're throwing puppy bumpers.
-Most importantly, just let them be a puppy.  I think the best pups are raised in the house.  So much more opportunity to learn.  Do no get on the counter, do not jump on people, wait at the door while I go out and on and on and on.  I let them have toys (many, many toys) and play and run.  There is THEIR time and there is MY time.  I don't bother them on their time, but I expect compliance on my time.

I have oodles and oodles I could say about this, but the most important part of a dog's life is the first year.  How they are raised and how their Basic Training is done can create or prohibit success of the dog at any level.

July 10, 2013

Gorgeous Meg

A picture of the NEW FTCH Elmingo's Prime Suspect with her owner Jill and her handler Kevin.

I am so proud of the FIRST Elmingo Field Trial Champion!!

July 8, 2013

Horse and hounds

I am an Amateur at heart.  You see, my horse WON a blue ribbon at a show a couple of weeks ago with his trainer, so you know what I did...I brought him home.

My trainer gave me the same look that Luckiest Man Alive gives some people when I asked "Can I bring him home for a week"?  I didn't care.  I wanted to enjoy him.

I've had Zed 2 1/2 years and I've never had him home.  Why not, I thought.  We have the room and a safe place to keep him.

Some random horse photos from the past week or so.

Heading out on the evening ride with the "girls".

Going for a swim after the ride...everyone but Zed that is.  He wanted no part of it.

Zed at a show with his trainer.  Since I don't get to ride very much, I don't have the "legs" to do a show.  But...I'm planning on showing Zed in August now that I'm home for a bit and able to ride more.

Zed in my front yard...literally...after the show.  Picture from my deck.

The new sign at Horsetooth Retrievers.

Peek-A-Boo...with Hattie snot on the window.

Hattie at the most recent horse show.  It was a hot day and she was very tired from all the visiting.  I tied her up for a second so I could take some pics of Zed showing.  Looks like the tying was unnecessary....she wasn't going anywhere.

July 1, 2013

3 more points

Miss Libby got SECOND in the Open this past week-end at the Colorado Women's field trial.

So proud of her.