Today, I did my first ever Facebook live – showing our puppies and how they spend their time with us before leaving for their new homes. We have two litters right now, both are seven weeks old. The oldest litter are out of Bud’s sister Ale and by English Tweeddale Jamie. Thomas drove to England in February to make this litter happen. The younger ones are out of Bud’s mother Fay and by our Volt – Thomas’ main sheepdog. Having puppies in April and May is really nice, as they can spend their days outdoors. Less cleaning and much more fun and healthier for the pups. Even in winter, I try to let the puppies out as much as they like.
For The Win Slip. Yes, she’s blue. We very surprised to get fancy colors in this litter. All four girls are blue, two of them with tan.
They have a pen in the garden and a place to sleep indoors where they are free to go in and out as they like at any time. When we’re around we let them out of the pen so that they can play and explore in the garden. Their mothers spend a lot of time with them but are also free to jump out of the pen and have some alone time whenever they want. The mothers also get some time away from the puppies when they join us for walks, swimming in the stream or sheepherding. Since the puppies are just four days apart, the mothers have raised them all together since they left the whelping box. They work in shifts feeding, playing and taking care of all the puppies.
I’m really pleased with both litters so far. They are outgoing, happy and playful. The first pups will move out on Thursday when Ale’s litter turns eight weeks old. Some are staying a few weeks more because it works out better for their new owners. And then there are three pups that we haven’t sold because we like them too much…
Here’s the Facebook Live video. I hope you enjoy the tour.
Puppies live! Let’s see how they spend their days.
Two weeks ago, Squid, Bud and I went to the Swedish Team Tryouts. We have one weekend with eight runs that determine who gets a spot in the Swedish team for World Championships (four spots per size), Nordic Championships (ten spots) and European Open (twelve spots for large dogs). In order to get points, you need to run clean and not more than 4,99 seconds slower than the winner of the class. The winner is awarded 50 points and all other teams get one point deducted per 0.1 seconds that they are behind the winner. One second behind the winner gives you 40 points, two and a half seconds behind gives you 25 points, etc. In order to get on the team, you need points in both jumping and agility.
I did not feel in sync with Squid. She was picking up off-course tunnels, missing weave entries and dropping some bars. We had one clean jumpers run on the first day, and that was it. Bud and I had not had a good feeling in training leading up to the tryouts. He’d been dropping more bars than usual, and my expectations were really low. Bud is just three years old and this was his first tryouts, so I was fine with that. We were just there to learn and have a good time. Tryouts are always so much fun. You get to run great courses by great judges in really good conditions. The courses this year were challenging, and a lot of really good teams didn’t get points in both jumpers and agility.
I had no luck with Bud on the first day, where we ran three jumpers courses. On the second day, we ran three agility courses. The second course had a really challenging start where very few made it to the backside jump after the first tunnel in a good way. I walked it a few different ways and had time to decide later since I was running as one of the last dogs with Bud. Since so many struggled to make it, I decided to just take it easy and threadle-rear both jumps before the A-frame. Bud can get frustrated if I rush and I thought we had a better chance of getting through it using a more defensive approach. I was really calm and not rushing at all as I gave him the three first jumps. I trusted that he would take them nicely and just worked my way forward. I then realized that I had plenty of time to make that blind, and in a split second, I decided to run for it.
I made the blind and that difficult start just felt so easy. I ran the rest of the course as calmly as possible, just trying to get us around. All bars stayed up! And when the class was finished, I realized that we’d won it by almost a second and was the fastest dog overall. I was so happy and proud that we actually could set a time like that competing with the best Swedish teams. Many of them don’t run in the same height category as Bud normally. He jumps 50 cm in normal Swedish competitions, while most of the others in tryouts normally jumps 60 cm. Therefore, we rarely get to compete on equal terms against the best dogs in Sweden. Such a thrill! I was certain that we wouldn’t be able to run the Sunday jumping run clean since we’d been so inconsistent all weekend. That last jumping run was our only chance to get on any team if we also got enough points.
I woke up on Sunday morning with a cold and a very different voice. The jumping course was a really fun one by Jan Egil Eide, requiring both running fast and trusting your dog. I ended up not being able to do either. I didn’t trust Bud in the weaves, so I got behind and had to do a rear followed by a panicked threadle-rear. And then I couldn’t run, so Bud ran the wrong way and spun before finding the last tunnel. But we got around clean! And despite those mistakes, we were fast enough to get decent points.
Suddenly, we were one of the teams with points in both jumping and agility, and everything would be decided after the last run of the day – agility. We got eliminated at the end of this challenging course, but it was also challenging for others, so it ended up not affecting our placement. At the end of the day, two clean runs (with one win) was enough to get us on the team for European Open and Nordic Championships. I’m so happy to have three championships (Swedish, Nordic, and EO) to run with my awesome badger on speed this summer! We’re still figuring out a lot of things, but we’re having so much fun together on the way to consistency and perfection.