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Monday, October 15, 2018

Farm Dog Certified

This weekend we participated in an AKC Farm Dog Test!  The test was held on Saturday in the morning, and then again in the afternoon with a different judge.  It was cold and rainy in the morning, but cleared up by the afternoon.  Even though we were wet and freezing, we all had a lot of fun, especially the dogs who were entered!


Both Sophie and Kori passed both the AM and PM tests, earning their FDC titles!  (FDC = Farm Dog Certified)  I'm very proud of both my girls!  (Ryder passed this test last year, I didn't want to leave him out of the recognition!)


The test is open to all breeds of dogs, not just herding breeds.  There was a Great Dane, a poodle and a Portuguese Water Dog taking the test with all the collies.  The goal of the test is to "assess the dog's aptitude as a working farm dog by exhibiting self-control, confidence and trust with you or his/her handler."  I found the whole test pretty interesting, as some of the elements were similar to what you see in the Canine Good Citizen Test and the Therapy Dog test.  It definitely requires you and your dog to work together as a team, and good communication with your dog is important.


The test is made up of 12 elements that must be completed:

1. Greet Evaluator – Initial Dog Appraisal
Handler approaches evaluator, dog stops at handler’s side on a loose lead while evaluator performs
introduction.
2. Perform a Walk Pattern around Farm Environment and by Passive Stranger
The handler walks the dog on a loose lead in a prescribed pattern through farm objects. A passive
stranger sits quietly on course.
3. Jump on Hay/Straw Bale
The handler instructs the dog to jump up on a bale of hay and stay on the bale for a minimum of 10
seconds while maintaining a loose lead.
4. Walk by Farm Animal(s)
The handler walks the dog on a loose lead in view of penned farm animal(s) approximately 30 feet
away from the fence line housing farm animal(s).
5. Walk Over or Through Unusual Surfaces
The handler walks the dog on a loose lead over or through three different unusual surfaces, including
a plastic tarp, safe wooded surface, and another typical farm environment surface.
6. Supervised Separation
The handler places the dog in a freestanding kennel or dog crate and walks out of sight for a minimum
of 1 minute.
7. Pass Through a Gate
The handler and dog navigate through a gate on a loose lead, the dog must wait calmly as the
handler opens the gate, calls dog through the gate opening and closes the gate.
8. Handler Feeds Livestock
The handler performs a farm chore of feeding farm animals while the dog is secured a minimum
of 30 feet away from the animal enclosure.
9. Reaction to Another Dog
The handler is positioned in a designated area with the dog at side on loose lead. The dog may
stand, down or sit. Another dog is walked by on lead approximately 10 feet away.
10. Reaction to Noise Distraction
The handler may stand or quietly walk in a designated area with the dog at side on loose lead. The
assistant creates two background noises typical to a working farm environment.
11. Dog Approaches Livestock
The handler, with the dog at side on a loose lead, enters a fenced area that contains livestock within
a separate enclosure. The dog is introduced to livestock and encouraged to approach the pen, the
dog is then called back to the handler and returns readily when called.
12. Physical Examination
The handler physically examines the dog for any plant material, debris or objects that the dog may
have collected while working on the farm.

* To pass the FDC Test, dogs must pass all elements of the test, including test assessment.

The goal is to have the dog be consistently responsive to the handler and successfully exhibit self-control while exposed to a farm environment.

You can learn about this test, and other AKC titles, by clicking on the link below:
https://www.akc.org/sports/herding/farm-dog-certified-test/

So if you are looking for a fun new title to earn with your dog, you should give this one a try!  I also wanted to share our news, this is our 500th post! 

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Thankful...

It's Autumn, and with this season comes spooky treats and a chance to count our blessings, to promote an attitude of gratitude, to be thankful.


I'm always Thankful for my family, which includes my collies.  I dreamed of having a collie of my own one day, and now I am surrounded by them.


I'm Thankful for the new experiences my collies have brought into our lives.  I'm grateful for the opportunity to travel across the country with my daughter for the Collie National, multiple times.  And I'm thankful for the weekends where we attended local shows together.  Raising our collies and showing them was something we did together, as a team. (And still do) It also helped me create wonderful friendships with other collie owners, and to learn to compete in various dog sports.


And I am especially Thankful that my Abby is doing better, and that she seems to be feeling better.  We can't fix what time has done, but because of my daughter's job at a veterinary hospital, we can keep her happy and comfortable for as long as possible.

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Do you know why Autumn holidays are the best?

Autumn holidays are the best, because of the all the delicious food!  From Halloween treats to Thanksgiving dinner, fresh picked corn and apples, and all those pies - we eat well this time of year!  As our dogs and cats are part of the family they also enjoy a special treat this time of year.  Last month we reviewed Blue Buffalo Boo Bars for our friends at Chewy.com, which are the perfect way to reward your best friend.  This month we are reviewing Merrick's Thanksgiving Day Dinner for Chewy.com, and the collies could not be more thankful!

Abby, our senior girl, deserves to be spoiled in every way possible!
I am a label reader, as I really like to know what I am feeding my collies.  Their health is very important to me, I'm actually more careful with their food than my own!  I was excited to read the label for this canned food - turkey, chicken, sweet potatoes, carrots, green beans and granny smith apples in gravy!  That sure sounds delicious!


Look at Scarlett's happy face!  

Ingredients:
Deboned Turkey, Turkey Broth, Chicken, Chicken Broth, Sweet Potatoes, Carrots, Green Beans, Apples, Dried Egg Product, Potato Protein, Natural Flavor, Dried Peas, Dried Potatoes, Potato Starch, Calcium Carbonate, Sodium Phosphate, Guar Gum, Blueberries, Cranberries, Potassium Chloride, Gum Ghatti, Xanthan Gum, Salt, Sunflower Oil, Flaxseed Oil, Salmon Oil, Choline Chloride, Cassia Gum, Rosemary, Sage, Thyme, Minerals (Zinc Amino Acid Complex, Iron Amino Acid Complex, Manganese Amino Acid Complex, Copper Amino Acid Complex, Potassium Iodate, Cobalt Glucoheptonate, Sodium Selenite), Vitamins (Vitamin E Supplement, Vitamin B12 Supplement, d-Calcium Pantothenate, Vitamin A Supplement, Niacin, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Riboflavin Supplement, Folic Acid, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Biotin, Thiamine Mononitrate), Yucca Schidigera Extract

Ryder, patiently waiting to try the new canned food!

So far, this looks like a pretty good canned food.  There are even blueberries and cranberries in the ingredient list.  We love our Thanksgiving Day Dinner, so I think our collies should love theirs too!


Key Benefits

  • Inspired by Thanksgiving dinner, this meal features real deboned turkey and chicken as the first ingredients for a great blend of protein your pal is sure to love.
  • Contains a savory turkey broth for added flavor and moisture that will keep your furry best friend coming back for more.
  • Grain-free recipe is filled with a delicious blend of vegetables and fruits such as sweet potatoes, carrots, green beans, peas, apples, blueberries and cranberries that will keep your pal satisfied.
  • Complete and balanced nutrition made in small batches with the freshest, highest-quality ingredients available, and can be served as a complete meal or as a kibble topper for extra protein and moisture.
  • Cooked in the USA with wholesome, nutritious ingredients from trusted farmers, so you can feel good about using it as your go-to meal.


I was happy to see that it was made right here in the USA.  And I like that the recipe was created with both nutrition and taste in mind. 


I feed my collies a dry dog food, and I'm sure it can get pretty boring after awhile.  So I love to add toppers, like canned food, to make the meal more appetizing and to give the collies an extra treat.  While they are all good eaters, and devour their meals, I can always tell when they are really enjoying it.  Maybe it's the speed in which they inhaled their food, or the way they spent extra time licking their bowls afterwards, but I could definitely tell that they loved this canned food.  As I want to keep them both happy and healthy, I love when Merrick comes out with special foods for the seasons.  If you are looking for a way to make your dogs' or cats' dinners more festive this holiday season, the collies recommend you order some Merrick Thanksgiving Day Dinner from Chewy.com.  Your best friends will thank you, and they deserve it!


We were sent this dog food for free, in exchange for our honest opinion.  The collies love to do these reviews, so they can share info about their favorite products with you.  You can order Merrick Thanksgiving Day Dinner by clicking HERE!


Monday, October 8, 2018

Abby pupdate...


This weekend was our Abby's 12th birthday, and I want to thank everyone for all the birthday wishes!  Abby had some real trouble walking this weekend, and at her age, this caused me some real moments of panic and endless worry.  But her veterinarian put her on some anti-inflammatory medications, along with her usual pain meds.

On Saturday she went for laser therapy, which requires the dogs wear goggles.



And she seemed to have some improvement on Sunday.  Since her veterinarian was at a dog event, they had me bring Abby, and she gave Abby acupuncture at the event.  Abby, who is the best dog in the world, was perfect for the demonstration.  Her vet was amazed, she told me dogs usually have to be bribed with canned dog food to remain still for the treatment, but Abby just stayed still the entire 30 minutes.

If you look closely, you can see the needles!

I think her happy face after the acupuncture says it all!  


She seems to be feeling better, so we are going to continue with the laser therapy and acupuncture.  We want to keep our sweet girl as happy as we can, because at 12 years old, every day is a gift.



And this sweet, beautiful girl deserves only the best! 

Saturday, October 6, 2018

Today is a special day...

Today my is my Abby's 12th birthday!  I don't know how 12 years have passed by so quickly, every day with my girl has been a gift.

Abby, last night

I wanted to do so much, to celebrate this big day.  But unfortunately Abby is having a bad couple days.  She is having back and leg pain, and is having a bit of trouble walking.  So today she went for laser therapy, and her vet put her on an anti-inflammatory.  She is going to have another laser treatment tomorrow morning, and possibly some acupuncture in the afternoon.

Abby, in 2016
Words cannot express what this girl means to me, but you can read more about her on the links below.  I'm so worried, I hope we can get her back to feeling better.

Abby part 1
Abby part 2
Abby part 3
Abby part 4

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

2 ingredient dog cookies


Last week we shared a recipe for 4 ingredient dog cookies, you can find it by clicking here.  With the arrival of Autumn, and Halloween just a couple weeks away, we wanted to share another limited ingredient dog cookie recipe.  This recipe could not be easier to make, and with just two ingredients it is a great choice for dogs with allergies.


Two Ingredient dog cookies

You will need:
2 cups 100% whole wheat flour
2 - 4oz jars of pureed baby food – you can choose any flavor - beef, blueberry, peaches, chicken, etc.  Just be sure to check the labels, as you do not want any foods that contain onions, raisins, etc.


I chose apple & pumpkin, in honor of the season.  And even though it wasn't necessary, I sprinkled a tiny amount of ground cinnamon into the mix for flavor.


Directions:

Preheat oven to 350°.
Mix ingredients together to form a stiff dough. You may need to add a little water.
On a lightly floured surface, roll dough out evenly until it’s about 1/4 inch thick. Use cookie cutters to cut into desired shape.
Place the cookies on a non-stick cookie sheet, placing the treats about 1/2 inch apart. Bake for 20 – 25 minutes.
Allow to cool completely before storing or sharing with your dogs.


They look very similar to the treats we made last week, but they smell differently.  The collies loved these cookies a lot, and we are going to try them with blueberry baby food next time.


Monday, October 1, 2018

Doing what he loves...

If you read the newest post in our series, the Versatile collie, then you already know that collies love to herd sheep.  If you haven't read the post, then you can find it here.  One of the puppies from our litter back in 2016 has actually been learning how to herd both sheep and ducks.  The puppy, who we called Ben (now called Gibbs) has already earned his PT title and is working on earning his last leg in his HSAd title.  I didn't really know much about all the different herding titles, so I decided to learn more, since one of my puppies is doing so well.

Gibbs, when he was just a puppy, would sleep on his slide every day.

There are different herding titles, and different levels as well.  But there is one thing that is immediately obvious, herding is FUN!  If you watch collies while they herd, you can see that they are all having a wonderful time, just by looking at the happiness on their faces.


These are the titles your dog can earn from competing in herding:

  • HIC (Herding Instinct Certificate) This is now a title demonstrating your dog has herding instinct.
  • HT (Herding Tested) This is the first title one may earn in herding. It requires 2 legs and is pass/fail.
  • PT (Herding Pre Trial) This is the second title one may earn. It also requires 2 legs and is pass/fail.
  • HS (Herding Started) This title requires 3 legs, earning at least 50% on each section.
  • HI (Herding Intermediate) This titles requires 3 legs, earning at least 50% on each section.
  • HX (Herding Advanced) This title requirse 3 legs, earning at least 50% on each section.
  • HC (Herding Champion)



Dogs can compete on 3 types of courses:

  • A course: The minimum size is 100x200. This is generally for most breeds in the Herding group.
  • B course: This is a large field. This is generally for Border Collies and other breeds that herd over fields.
  • C course: This field is set up for herding boundaries. This is generally for German Shepherds and other breeds that were bred to do boundary work.



The HIC, HT and PT are not done on A,B or C type of courses.  They have their own separate course.  These tests are done on sheep only.

Dogs can compete for herding titles with 3 types of stock:

  • Ducks (have smaller fields than the sizes listed above.)
  • Sheep 
  • Cows 


A title showing HSAs means the dog has earned a Herding Started title on A course with Sheep. 
A title showing HSAd means the dog has earned a Herding Started title on A course with ducks.
A title showing HSAsd means the dog has earned a Herding Started title on A course with Sheep and Ducks.  

Looking at Gibbs herding the sheep, you can see this isn't work for him, this is his favorite thing to do.  His Mom, who let us use her pictures for this post, has told me that he waits all week for his herding practice.  His trainer, Karen Malloy, has done a wonderful job teaching this young dog how to herd, while making sure he had fun.  


With all he has accomplished at just 2 years old. I can't wait to see what's next for this beautiful boy.


Our Sophie, who is Gibb's sister, is now a Therapy Dog and we will be starting to train to compete in Rally-O. Our Maizie, another sister, is well on her way to earning her conformation championship. Nigel, their brother, is training to become a service dog, and Finn is now a Therapy Dog as well.  All the puppies in this litter have grown up to be so special, and they make me proud every day.


Thank you Mary, for allowing us to share all these beautiful pictures of Gibbs on the Collie Blog!  And thank you for giving this boy such a wonderful home, and the opportunity to shine!

Sunday, September 30, 2018

Just say Boo!

October is almost here!  And with the arrival of October, comes Halloween.  Did you know that children aren't the only ones who like to celebrate Halloween?  While the collies do not enjoy dressing up in costumes, they do love to get a special "treat!"  That's why we jumped at the chance to review Blue Buffalo Boo Bars for our dear friends at Chewy.com.

Scarlett likes to take a break during our Therapy visits, and I like to reward her for being so sweet to the residents!

These treats are called Boo Bars Mummy Morsels, and they are the perfect reward for your furry goblin.  We took them with us on Therapy Dog visits, and we took them with us while we were out shopping for the perfect pumpkin!

Ryder is trying to decide on just the right pumpkin, good thing we brought snacks, this could take a while!

Key Benefits:
  • Healthy, oven-baked snacks in jack o' lantern, ghost, and bat shapes, so your pup can get into the Halloween spirit!
  • Natural treats, with added vitamins and minerals, don’t contain corn, wheat, soy or by-product meals.
  • A howling good bite with wholesome and nutritious ingredients like pumpkin, carrots, barley, oatmeal, flaxseed and cinnamon.
  • Crunchy, tasty biscuit for dogs of all breeds and ages made from an original and delicious recipe.
  • Limited-edition festive treats made in the USA without artificial preservatives, colors or flavors.

Sophie is waiting for the Great Pumpkin to arrive, I wonder if she will share her cookies with him?

Ingredients:
Oatmeal, Barley, Oat Flour, Pumpkin, Flaxseed (source of Omega 3 and 6 Fatty Acids), Cane Molasses, Carrots, Salt, Canola Oil (source of Omega 6 Fatty Acids), Cinnamon, Calcium Carbonate, L-Ascorbyl-2-Polyphosphate (source of Vitamin C), preserved with Mixed Tocopherols and Oil of Rosemary, Vitamin E Supplement

And these cookies are perfect for practicing "leave it!"

I love seeing healthy ingredients like oatmeal, carrots and pumpkin in the treats we give our little tricksters!  And you can smell the cinnamon when you open the package! They come in these adorable, spooky little shapes, to help get you in a Halloween mood!

"Ok Mom, can we have our cookies now?"

The collies loved these cookies, and they recommend you order some from Chewy.com before they disappear, as they are only available for a limited time.  They will leave your best friends howling for more!  Just click here!
Chewy.com sent us this package of Blue Buffalo Boo Bars, Mummy Morsels, in exchange for our honest review.  We were not paid for this review, or any review on the collie blog.