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Fall Update

Big story of the summer was our recent horrible experience with apparently Frontline resistant fleas(???).
Joe has been a scratchy mess since sometime in July. Joe looked like he had a Mesa-like allergy…chewing on his legs, etc. I could not find any physical evidence of fleas. Then there was the occasional scratches from Elli, Tess shaking her head…still no (physical) sign of fleas. Must have been just a couple of persistent buggers(?) until the problem bloomed mid August. I give my dogs their preventatives on the first of the month. We did an emergency switch to Trifexis mid-month, which worked beautifully. I’ve never heard of the stuff. It makes me horribly nervous giving my dogs something internally that’s brand new and kills all the live fleas within 12hrs, but…it’s what the vet had and it worked. Now I have 3 months worth of Frontline for 5 dogs, and can’t use it. Worse and worse, we exported the fleas to my Dad’s indoor cats before I knew we had a problem and his vet gave them Frontline…which didn’t work…now they really have a problem.

Elli: This dog is not going to work stock. She is just way too soft. She obviously has the instinct, and some very appropriate and beautiful instinct at that, and presence, but no drive. If she perceives the SLIGHTEST pressure she thinks she’s wrong/in trouble and leaves. Useless. She is however obviously here to teach me how to deal with difficult/reactive dogs, read dogs better, and learn to be exquisitely sensitive & precise in my training. And she’s the most devoted dog I’ve ever had. And I thought Mesa was all about me!

Tess: Wow…are we having fun. This dog can work. We’ve been focusing mainly on developing our outrun. We’re working in the big field most of the time now, varying the type of sheep (steady to really light). We’re fetching all over, teaching her ‘there’, perfecting flank commands, etc. I am her Provider of Sheep and worshiped accordingly.

Mesa: She’s doing fantastic with her stock work too. I am working on re-teaching her smooth and calm take-pens in all situations. Her outrun is back. She can work in large fields again. We’re putting some precision in our driving….holding the line, maneuvering around obstacles, turning for a cross drive. She and I are working well enough as a team now, that I am able to focus more on being a better stock handler. At home she’s become very helpful with the ducks. It’s much easier to put them up with her now than without. Other than her work, which she loves, she has had an awful summer. Her allergy problem is back with a vengeance. She’s been miserable, scruffy, and on Benedryl most of the time. I’ve found ways to support her nutritionally, which has allowed her to keep working, but not fix it. She and I are taking a long trip to see a recommended holistic vet.

Joe: Poor ol’ Joe has got the short end of the stick this season. I didn’t take him herding while we suffered through all the heat. There was barely enough cooler hours to work the more accomplished dogs. He hasn’t done any tracking (TOO HOT!) and no obedience. He just gets lots of love. And it turns out Joe has an extreme flea allergy. His fur is growing back. : (

Me: I’m finally learning to train a stock dog. I’m playing around learning to use a shepherd’s whistle. Tess is going to need it. I finally got the opportunity to attend a Brenda Aloff seminar. (Holy Cow was that cool!) I am juggling a near-full load of Ag/Equine classes at the community college, work, and dogs…oh yah, and family. I should be doing homework right now, or exercising dogs, not blog posting. See ya!

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