Spring has returned

After a few very, very warm April days (like 89-91 degrees F)! The temperatures have finally fallen to almost normal. Phew! Here are some pictures of Utley. He is the Ch. Acadia Rock Solid, HT x Ch. Acadia It's My Treat son who was born this past Christmas. He is owned and loved by Sally and Dave McKeever.


*NATCH2* & *Versatility NATCH2* for Acadia Rally Around The Flag

CONGRATULATIONS to Phyllis Sanders and "Rally" for completing the North American Dog Agility Council - or NADAC championship for a Second Time. To be awarded the NADAC Agilty Trial Champion (NATCH)- a dog and handler must earn 230 Elite Regular, 130 Elite Chances, and 130 Elite Jumpers points. Each subsequent NATCH (ie. NATCH2) requires an additional 200 Elite Regular, 100 Elite Chances, and 100 Elite Jumpers points.


Herding Demonstration

On Saturday, April 11, I didn’t get to show my dogs at the Blue & Gray cluster because I had been asked to organize a Herding demonstration for the public to enjoy.

The Blue & Gray cluster is 4 days of dog shows that are held in the Farm Show Complex in Harrisburg, PA. Each day the show is hosted by a different Kennel Club. The show that is hosted by the Harrisburg Kennel Club is also filmed to air on Animal Planet as part of the “Animal Planet Dog Championships”. On the Animal Planet website it says, “Experience the thrill of canine competition in a multi-city tournament series featuring three of the American Kennel Club's largest and most prestigious dog shows.” Wow. I am a member of the Harrisburg Kennel Club. I can say that as far as dog shows go, this weekend has a unique feel and it really something to experience. If you click on the links I have provided, you can get a feel for this event.

Many different specialty clubs take advantage of this unique experience to host specialty shows. The Harrisburg Shetland Sheepdog club has been one of those specialty clubs and this past Saturday and Sunday were there specialties.

In 2006 the sheltie, Ch. Pop Star SS of Northern Farm was Best In Show. This win not only gave “Pop Star” a Specialty “Best”- but also an all-breed “Best” at a Nationally televised show. A great day for this sheltie and for our breed.

Back to my herding demonstration. I organized a “Parade of Herding and Livestock Guard breeds” to start the demonstration. I had the dogs lined up grouped by country. I thought it would be interesting to have the Hungarian Puli and the Komondor next to each other. I also wanted the Briard and the Pyrean Shepherd next to each other and so on and so forth. I talked about how different traits were selected in different geographic area to reflect the terrain, the climate, and the personalities of the people. I also talked about how many of the “herding” breeds had multiple responsibilities and therefore they were not “just” selected based on herding traits. It went well.

I was SO THANKFUL to the people who brought their dogs to participate in this part of the event. They may not have felt it was much- but I sure did!!

I had 3 dogs to demonstrate the actual herding. We started with a Border Collie (which is what everyone expected to see of course), next I had a Pembroke Welsh Corgi, and I ended with a Smooth Collie. The BC and the Corgi were both upper level herding dogs and the Smooth Collie was less experienced, but I felt gave the audience a good demonstration of “instinct” (along with training). This collie gave me the opportunity to talk about how dogs change with experience. I thought he was a very good addition to this demonstration.

Animal Planet came to the arena at 9:30am that morning and interviewed me for about ½ hour. We demonstrated with each of the dogs for them too and they then asked me for commentary on each of the dogs. They said they would come back to film the “public demo”- but I have no idea if they did or not. I am sure they will reduce my interview to one or two lines and then my reaction to each of the dogs herding. I sure hope it turns out ok. It will be aired on Animal Planet in July.

I also really need to thank my husband, Mike. He gave up a day and a half to load sheep, transport sheep, help me do last minute running around, and lend support. It really is amazing how many people it takes to do “a simple demonstration”. Thank you to EVERYONE who had a part in this event. It went so well I fear I will be asked to do it again next year.


Congratulations to the Obama's on their new puppy

Well I couldn't be more pleased!! Way back when- at the beginning of the "dog discussion"- when the AKC was asking "What breed should the Obama's get?" - and DIDN'T offer the Portuguese Water Dog as a choice! I put my .02 in on the subject (on this blog of course) and stated I thought the First Family should get a Portie. THEY HAVE!!!

Congratulations! Of course the Animal Rights people are disappointed that the dog is not a "shelter dog", but I am so pleased that the President didn't bow to the tremendous pressure these groups were putting on a very personal decision. I am so glad this family did what was best for THEM. I love all dogs (and we have a mixed breed too)- but the RIGHT to CHOOSE is a strenght of our Country and I am just so glad that our President did just that - make a choice based on HIS family needs- not the desires of the vocal Animal Rights groups.

I am also pleased that the girls have gotten a puppy rather than an adult. Now- they didn't get the cute, cuddly, 8 week old, but my guess is that the White House would not be the best place to house train a puppy anyway- so 6 months old is still "puppy enough" for the girls to enjoy.

Congratulations to the First Family and the new First Puppy! I hope that this dog enriches your life as much as my dogs enrich mine.


Runner-Up Best in Sweeps for Acadia Simply Refreshing

This past Sunday, the Harrisburg Shetland Sheepdog Club had a specialty show in conjunction with the Blue and Gray Cluster. Fresca won Runner-up Best In Sweeps! I am very proud of her. She also won her regular class. I will post her picture when I get it.



Some of you will find this post funny. I am not known for my great ears. It seems that I am always talking to fellow breeders who consistently have nicely tipped ears and asking them to “show me again what you do”. Long ago I did conclude that my “technique” was fine, but my “timing” was lousy. Over and over the breeders whose dogs have nice ears tell me, “you must keep them over. You can’t wait a week between the braces coming out, and new ones going in.” I have a bad habit of “if they look nice when the I take the braces out……..”

So, I will pass along to you the “technique”- but I will tell you that if you really want perfectly tipped ears, take the braces out, clean the ear up again, and that same day (yes, you can wait a few hours), put the new braces back in. The ears will need to be braced at least until the adult teeth come in. Of course if you don’t care about this- then just enjoy whichever way the ears end up!

The ear consists of 2 parts (in my mind anyway). The skin portion -that is what what we will be working with to tip, and the actual "ear"- or the parts that allow the dog to hear. The "ear" begins at the skull and is identified by folds and lumps. I am going to call this the "button" for simplicity's sake. (this is a simplification of the ear since the shape of the entire ear, skin and all, affect how the dog hears- but that is for someone else's post).

Items you will need:

1. alcohol and cotton swabs
2. moleskin
3. ruler
4. scissors
5. an adhesive- and there are a few that are fine
a. Doc Brannon's spray adhesive
b. skin-bond
6. a paper plate
7. Fabric glue such as
a. Tear mender
b. speed sew
c. jiffy sew
8. yarn
9. small crochet hook (#6 works the best)

You can buy these items from Mel Cohen at roylsroyce@aol.com or from Nadine Iroff at triumphshelties@comcast.net

Step 1:
*Clean your puppies ears thoroughly with alcohol- *then put the puppy down so the ears can dry while you prepare for the rest.

Step 2:
*Get all of your materials together in one place.
* Cut out the moleskin pieces. You don't want your puppy to be sitting nicely waiting for you while you do this part as it can take a few minutes to really get ready.

Moleskin: (picture is of the pieces that go in the bottom of the ear)
- Cut (2) 1" x 1 1/4" pieces for the bell of the ear
- round the corners of one side. (Well, you will notice that I take the edges off of the top too, but that is because I don't want anything poking the dog.) The top edge should be straight. That is the edge that will be where the tip will occur. The bottom will go all the way down to the "button" (but not over it- just above it).
-cut (2) 3/4" x 3/4" pieces for the tip of the ear. Round the tips of this too. The rounded side will follow the top edge of the ear and the straight side will meet the straight side of the bottom piece at the part of the ear that is the tip. (see the picture #1 to see how they line up).
- cut (2) 1/4" x 1 1'2" pieces. These will be the cross braces.
- poke a hole on one end of the cross braces and using your small crochet hook, thread the yarn through. If you fold the yarn in half before you pull it through the hole, you will have a loop on one side, bring the end side through the loop and pull so that you now have yarn going in one direction.
- after I have cut all of the moleskin pieces I get the dog and check for sizing by placing the pieces in the ear where they will be so I can tell if they seem too big. If they are too big, this is the right time to trim them to the right size for that dog.
- the bottom piece should go from the bottom to just over halfway up the ear and from edge to edge.
-the top piece should follow the edge of the ear and not overlap with the bottom piece. It is OK if this is "too short" because you will be folding this over to meet the bottom piece. I usually do fold the ear over while I am checking size to make sure the tip seems like it will be in the right place- not too high- not too low! (easy for me to say )

Step 3: Preparing your moleskin

- peel the backing off of the moleskin and place them sticky side up on the paper plate. Apply adhesive (skin bond or spray adhesive- #5 in the list). Regardless of which adhesive you use, you will need to let it get a little "tacky". If you just put the adhesive on the moleskin and then apply immediately to the ear, the moleskin might slide.

Step 4: Putting the moleskin in the ear

-personally, I find it easier to have someone holding the puppy so it is facing me. Some breeders can do this alone by putting the puppy on a grooming table, in a chair, or some other place where you can keep the puppy reasonably still, but I find a patient spouse or friend to be ideal.

- place the larger piece of moleskin in the bell of the ear, all the way to the button. Make sure the straight side of the moleskin is even. Your adhesive should allow you move the piece a little if you need to make some minor adjustments. HOLD for a few seconds so it adheres to the ear. That part is critical. If you don't hold it to allow some "setting time", when you put the cross brace on and apply pressure, the cross brace could cause the moleskin in the bottom of the ear to "slip".

- place the top piece of moleskin in the ear. Again, HOLD for a few seconds.

- Using your fabric glue, attach the cross piece to the bottom piece of moleskin. Place this along the top edge.

- again using the fabric glue, glue the top piece of moleskin to the bottom piece of moleskin. You are now forming the tip. HOLD for a few seconds.

Final Step:

Use the yarn to pull the ears together on top of the head and tie the yarn in a knot. The ears might be almost touching- that is fine. Cut off the excess yarn, and VOILA!

You are done!

Thank you Utley- our model. He is owned, loved and spoiled by Sally and Dave McKeever and he came to visit to have his ears done.

This is my husband Mike relaxing with Utley. Mike helps hold the puppies for me while I do ears. Another site to go to for pictures and an explaination is http://www.bronwynshelties.com/helpful_tools/ear_pattern.php