Yesterday was my first 'real' day back at work, and it was wonderful!!
It's been an insane few months! Who knew shutting down my business for a few months could lead to so much work?
Since the last blog post I've put two five-week, filled to the gills, classes online. These classes have completely fulfilled my need for excessive geekery. And among the 100+ videos I shot for these I actually SPOKE in four of them! Crazy, I know.
I wasn't alone, all of my dog trainer friends suddenly became 'content creators' over night as well. We were trading horrid, awkwardly produced videos back and forth like dares to one-up one another in the dreadful video work - I may have come out champion when Cody decided to lick my face through half of a video on collar fitting (yes, that video shows up in the first few weeks of Dog Camp - If you have a prize winning video you gotta show it off!). I'd like to say my videography skills improved, but I suspect that they have done nothing of the sort!
I also just went live with a subscription service that I have high hopes for. Filled with insane dog geekery, more videos, tips, tricks, and in-depth information, I am enjoying every second of the hours of research required to put this subscription up.
The long awaited podcast is SO close! Like weeks away from going live! Unlike my videos, these are actually pretty damn good, because I am able to share the heavy lifting with my friends and fellow dog geeks Maggie Evans (currently running the Behavior Modification Program for a Bay Area shelter) and Emily Magnuson who is the coordinator for Pet Partners of Southern Arizona a therapy dog organization. I feel energized every time I record with these ladies! I'm hoping people enjoy our dog geek rambles as much as we do. The Podcast's name is Your Dog's Best Life, look for it soon on iTunes, or wherever you get podcasts (assuming I can figure all that stuff out!)
I stopped training my own dogs. The first two months of lockdown were incredibly stressful in spite of all my busy work, and training dogs anything meaningful just wasn't in the cards. I just began putting my guys back on sheep last week after a nearly three-month hiatus.
I'm hoping as the summer rolls along we'll be able to do a few herding trials. I was looking forward to trialing with Tagg in her first year, and I think we may be able to salvage a part of that. Her flanks have gotten better, and while she still has zero outrun, she has decent downs and lovely rate.
Life at the ranch never stops even in the face of a world wide pandemic. We've had a lamb born, and probably more on the way (the ram was pulled in February, but he's an active fellow, and some of the ewes are looking as big as houses!).
The geese against all odds somehow managed to produce a single gosling this year and he/she is currently stinking up my garage until tall enough to reach the water safely in the coop. Hopefully soon!!
The chickens raced to the rescue when grocery stores ran out of eggs and I was able to provide them to neighbors free of charge, a tiny bit of light in a fairly dark time. I usually feed the eggs to the dogs or back to the hens, and was shocked to realize how perilously low my chicken numbers have dropped over the past year due to the Bubbles onslaught (he doesn't kill the chickens, he tears the coop apart to steal their food, and frees them for possibly Ruby and Tagg to engage in chicken murder.) Likely next year I'll replenish my hen supply. I love my chickens and spend too little time with them. I need to change that.
After months of uncertainty yesterday was the first day of classes under the new Two-max system of only two dogs per class, and shorter classes to accommodate more dogs. It went well, and after a day spent in private training with my favorite dog, Jace and his incredibly dedicated mom, Alicia, and my new favorite ever bull terrier, Bug, who is a battering ram tied to a rocket, and his awesome humans, I got to train back-to-back basic lifeskill classes and it was so fun and wonderful! Videos are ok, and they certainly make me heed my own advice when it comes to technique, but humans and their dogs is where the action is!
Finishing up the evening allowing a slightly fearful malanois puppy rampage with Tagg just put the icing on the cake. Online is fun, and it's a great venue for my geekiness, and the podcast is great because I get to share time with wonderful, talented canine professionals, but just one day training beautiful Jace, wild man Bug, and then meeting five special people and their amazing puppies and dogs makes my heart sing.
Thank you all from the bottom of my heart for being there, for getting dogs and wanting to train them! Thank you!