Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Back Among the Living

Well, we all survived the food poisoning incident. Thank God. A few times I'm sure we all felt as if we'd have to die to feel better. I'm am sooooo sad that I missed the trial at Robin's, it looks and sounds as if a good time was had by all. Just my luck. But this month is full of trials and I'm sure I'll be able to hit a few here and there.
Chris has been working so nice lately. I am pleased with her progress. She has gone from being a dog I didn't even want to put back on sheep because of her sheep killer ways, to being a much more trustworthy and confident dog. The work has definitely paid off and I couldn't be happier with her progress. I really like this little dog, she is loads of fun to work with. Last night I was doing a little work on her inside flanks, and had to stop myself. I was starting to get back into the frustrated mode and about lost my temper. It showed in her work, as my tone changed and she started to get nervous and took a couple of grips. Old habits die hard. At this point, I think it would be a good idea to start getting her whistles on her., I think it would help us both a lot. I have been practicing whistles in the truck, as doing it around the house has been outlawed for obvious reasons, and now that I can be consistent with blowing it, its time to figure out a set of whistles for her. I'm not very creative that way, so I may just copy the some from the Kent K. CD I have. I had to laugh back in January, I was at a Jack Knox clinic and I was talking to a friend of mine Laura and discussing whistles. I had always been under the impression that you had to use a certain set of whistles for every dog so the judges knew what commands you were whistling so the judge knew what you were telling the dog to do, so they could see that the handler knew where to send the dog and that the dog was taking its whistles. Apparently, that is not the case, as Laura put it, hell, you can whistle Dixie if you want to! Well, I am quite proficient at several Christmas carols and a couple of Old McDonald and Mary had a little lamb type aria's and so perhaps today I will tape a set of whistles for Chris and get them down pat good and start her on whistles later in the week, or next week, Depending on my Constancy of blowing them. Stella is still on the back burner as far as work goes, It is certainly not her idea of a good idea as she asks me daily to go to work. Still, I remain stubborn. She just turned two this month, so maybe soon I will give her another go. She seems to want to listen and do the right thing, I just would like to see her more enthusiastic about more than just getting on the field. Once she is out there on sheep, she tends to loose the happy enthusiasm after a few minuets, and becomes worried and stressed. Hank is really been a lot of fun lately. He is definitely a mommas boy, and loves to be right with me everywhere all the time. Except when he is chasing Chris, which we are still working on. I have been giving Lex glucosimine for several weeks now, and the improvements are obvious. Could be that she is healing from an injury, or the glucosimine, or both, but she is gaining back her strength in her hind quarters and I am very pleased to see that.
Chris and I did a little "real" work last night, and brought up the ewes to be looked at. They are sure getting fat, and a few are starting to bag up just a little. We should be having fall lambs in a month or so. This lambing, I am really going to do some hard culling. Early this year I was hanging on to everything, wethering the ram lambs and hanging on to all ewe lambs, to build the herd back up. I would like to see the herd back up to 20 head again, but am now, as I have enough sheep to work dogs on, and use more than one set if need be, going for a particular type of lamb to hang onto. Those that exhibit more St. Croix attributes than the katahdin. I like the St. Criox. They are a more level headed sheep, are a bit bigger in size (yield more meat)and very hardy. Not that the katahdin aren't a hardy sheep, which in fact they seem to be, but they are a really light sheep, small, gazelle like and prone to acting stupid and have no sense of self preservation. They are the first to run into a fence or some other stupid sheep trick. The St. Croix, seem to have the better brain.
The weather recently has just been fantastic for working dogs! I have been so pleased to be able to get out there and work more than 5 minutes at a time. Last night, Chris and I worked well up to dark, and no one was any worse for the wear. At one point I almost though I may need a light jacket it was so nice and cool. After that thought though, I figured I just needed to get my but in gear and move my arse around a bit more. Remembering Robin telling me to quit standing around, and get my butt in gear! It works! Smaggin' that! So, now with the fall coming in so beautifully, ( I just love the falls here in NC) cant say much for the rest of the seasons, but fall has to be my favorite, we will be getting out a lot more and working the dogs and having some fun!


Dancing shepherdess said...

Remember this most important thing. Only work your dog for max 10-15 mins. And work on hard things, interspersed with easy things. The minute you start to get impatient, upset, ask the dog to do something they do well and quit. I have created my own tense dog, and I wish I knew these little gems before I started.

Darci said...

Hey Thanks, yep, thats what I did once I saw what was happening. We walked away, did a nice outrun and fetch, and a little flanking and thatll do. She is pretty in tune with me and I knew once she detected the tone, it was all over. Im hoping whistles will help, although I was warned this morning that you can sound cross with a whistle too. I think I need to take a chill pill! LOL.

Anonymous said...

Hey Darci! I'm so glad you guys are feeling better - yikes, that was no fun, hunh? I'm sorry to hear about the food poisoning, blech.

Whistles... I'm in that boat with you in needing to get them on Noodlehead SOON! Gah, the pressure is on. I've fiddled around until I think I know what I want to do now.

Darci said...

Thanks Laura, It was no joy ride fer sure! I was so upset I missed the trial, I hear you and Nick were taking all the prizes! Congrats to the two of you!
Yep, Im a bit whistle challenged, so we'll se how it goes, if I cant master it to some degree, I can always use my fingers, I do pretty good like that, and Ive been told me the volume and pitch that I use, makes the wolves howl on the mountain! LOL

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much - we did have a good time. We sure did miss you guys though. LOL @ wolf howling, though! You'll get the whistle thing, I'm sure.

Darci said...

Hey thanks Laura. I was reading your blog and thought I too might like to try the baby blaster. I have the same whistle you do right now, and its ok but not that great so let me know what you think of new ones you get to use.