Saturday, March 26, 2011


Baby Kip

In 2002 I was looking for a male dog to train and possibly for breeding, and I contacted several breeders with really nice litters.  It was hard to choose, but I eventually decided on Starstuff and the Keep/Sory litter.   Since we were living in Nevada I'd have to fly out and get him.  For reasons that seem a bit mysterious to me now I decided the best way to do this was to fly to Madison, where Dane was going to be attending a convention, and then drive to Michigan with my friend Sheri. 

There were two males left at the time that I picked and Kip seemed to show more of a preference for being near me, as well as accepting a first time on a leash more willingly.   He was very well built, as was his red brother.    The ride to Madison was pretty good, but at the airport we ran into trouble.  Our flight was delayed, and delayed and delayed  for 6 hours!  We finally took off at 1 am.   We had David with us, and he was just one year old.  He and Kip actually share a birthday (June 7).   So here we are sitting in the airport with a one year old toddler and a 9 week old puppy trying to keep them both amused and not have any accidents.  Kip was very good- every time he had to pee we had to walk all the way outside to the grass and he never had an accident on the floor.    David was getting a bit over tired and squirrelly by then, but no major meltdown.

While boarding the airplane Kip had to be in his carrier, but once we took off I took him out and put him on the floor.  He was very good and quiet and no one complained about him.  Being black and it being dark on the plane helped probably, hardly anyone noticed a puppy lying on the floor.  Then I tied him to my wrist and fell asleep!    I am not a late night person.   David had fallen right asleep as soon as the plane took off. 
Kip a few years ago

Kip started training on sheep at about 10 months, and he was really very simple to train.   He liked to be out wide, he was very biddable and responsive.  He was fully confident in driving and just was and still is a real pleasure to work.   His first time trialing he got very close to a perfect started sheep score, driving most of the course.    With ducks, first he had to be convinced not to bite them, but after that he did ok.   We practiced a lot with chickens also, and he learned they should not be eaten either (at least if I was there, if not, all bets are off for the chickens).    On cows he is a natural heeler, and prefers that to heading.  He got some training with my mom for three months on cows to boost confidence on going to head, which really helped.  I don't have regular access to cattle otherwise.   

Kip finished his WTCH at the Portage Wisconsin trial when he was three years old.    One of my favorite trials with him was at Becky Bailie's ranch trial on sheep where he earned first place in a big class of nice dogs.  Post advanced sheep he did pretty easily also, as open areas are where he does best.  
Kip herding sheep yesterday, also below are from yesterday

driving the sheep to a corner
I sold Kip two years ago, but got him back when his owner's health was poor and he was cutting down on stock and possibly also losing his farm.  I missed the big boy, and am happy he is back.   He is a little rusty on commands, and missing a lot of front teeth from working cattle, but as eager to work as ever.   I was a little rash in starting him up again.  The first weekend I had him back I used him as the cattle set out dog for two days of trialing.   Most cattle don't take a dog to set out, they are sufficiently wary of people, but my mom's cattle are quite tame to people and if the choice is being near a person or going into the arena with a dog, they will choose standing by the person.  So we used a team of dogs, not in a mean, stir them up way, but just one dog to gently bring the cows from the back hold pen and another to push them out into the arena.  Laurie Nichols and Rainie were our partners and it seemed to work very well and the cattle came out calmly.  


  1. I for one am very glad you got Kip so I could have Ben

  2. He is one handsome boy and he passed on his wide working style and biddability.