Monday, November 10, 2008

What a Fun day!

Yesterday morning, Me, Chris,Hank,and Bear loaded up and headed out to Julie's farm for lessons with Robin. I got there per my usual half an hour late, but no one seem to notice, or, they are all getting so use to Darci standard time that they realize when I say 9:00am, what I really mean is between 9 and 10am. LOL
I was pretty nervous about working Chris, we have been doing so well at home, I was hoping she was becoming comfortable with working and not just working here at home. We really have been working hard to correct some of her and my....shortcomings,and I have been so proud of her, but was nervous non the less. For me, the real test would be taking her someplace else and on different sheep, and seeing if all that we have been working on translated to other places and other sheep. Too, I have been working her on my field, and I wanted to take her back in the round pen where the pressure was the highest, and see if she could/would maintain her new found ease and courage, and not fall back into her fearful sheep eating ways. When we work on the field, she is able to go off contact if she starts to feel to much pressure, but in the round pen, theres no where to go. I was very elated to see her working with ease and with a thoughtful workman like attitude and handling herself in the appropriate manner. She eased around the sheep, almost floating between sheep and fence and kept a nice pace, as opposed to her zinging past them as she had done in the past and taking hold of the first sheep she could get her teeth into. She didn't try to take any sheep down, and those rare couple of times that she did try to grip, one word, and she was outta there and back where she belonged. Then we took her out on the big field, another tense moment for me, as I knew she knew if she wanted to, she could run down a sheep and take it down and maul it and would/could be far enough away to do her damage before anyone could get to her in time to stop it. She has done this in the past, and so I really tried hard to remember to trust my dog, but for Chris and I, this was a real test to determine if all the hard work we have been doing over the last month of working almost daily had really paid off. I am very proud of my dog today. She proved to me that she is worthy of the trust, and that she really wants to work with me and be correct. Which just spurs me on to do even better work and keep this positive vein going for us both. What might seem like trivial baby steps to some, for Chris and I, and where we started back getting into working her again almost a year ago, well, we've come a long way. This was a dog, I really didnt ever want to work again, because she was so dangerous that I feared for the sheep. But I just knew if we could get her straightened back out, that she had it in her to be a nice dog, and Im seeing that come true now, and am loving it! Robin gave us some home work to take home and work on, and it is going to be fun helping her develop her pace and learning to feel her power. We will be heading to Robin's farm next weekend to work some, so I hope that by then we can show her that her time with Chris and I has been well spent.
Bear, and I went first to the round pen, as I hadn't worked him in small spaces and was interested to see how he performed under that kind of pressure. Needless to say, he did well. I got a lot of ribbing about my "free dog" but it was all positive and everyone thought he was a nice dog. So do I. Later we took him on the big field, and again he did a nice job with what he knows and we got home work for him to take home and work on too, which will help him to cast out a bit more on his flanks. He is a bit slicy, but was showing improvements once I figured out (for the most part) what Robin was trying to explain to me, and I got to see what she was talking about. I'm really enjoying Bear, I couldn't have asked for a nicer boy. He and Chris are so different that both are going to teach me alot.
Julie took Hank in the round pen for me, as I asked her to see if she could get him circling and fetching a bit, and see if he could find his balance. It was very unfortunate, that one of the sheep, decided to split off and take a dive into the fence, which cut our work time short. He did however start to do a little circling, and I was pleased to see that. I have a feeling its going to be awhile before Hank gets to working. He is relatively keen, but so much puppy still. I saw him pick up a mouth full of sheep poo, and try to wander off a couple of times. Not things I like to see in a young dog, but that could change, so I will keep him off sheep for a couple more months and see how he does again later. He is just 6 months, so we're in no big hurry to get him going anytime soon. All in all, it was a great day. We met a few new friends, and got to visit with the not so new ones. My dogs performed well, and I was very happy with them. We had a great lunch which rendered most of us, full and lazy afterwards, but that didn't stop us from going back out and working more dogs! I finally got to see Becca's Ted working. I hadn't gotten to see him working since the JK clinic last January. What a change! He is doing so nicely, and what a handsome guy. Too, I was pleased to get to watch Laura's youngen Link working. He is going to be loads of fun for Laura, and a nice fella. Her and her "Mad Spaghetti Noodle" are quite the sight to see and I marveled at Laura's ability to wield that 8 foot piece of plastic pipe! I got to shake hands with a really cute little corgi, who was steadfast in making sure no water got out of the baby pool all day, snuggle and kissed on a sweet little 6 week old BC pup, and enjoyed watching all the other folks working their dogs. It was a good turnout, and Robin had her work cut out for her. I did in fact bring along my camera, but it stayed in the truck. There were a number of other folks taking vid and stills and I am hoping to see what they got soon, so sorry, maybe next time I'll have some to post, but yesterday, I just wasn't in the picture taking mood. Again, I want to thank Julie and Robin for their time and hospitality, it takes a special kind of person to set aside their own personal time for others, and to share their knowledge, and I appreciate them immensely for that, as I attribute most of Chris' and my success to their time, and faith in me and my dog. So this week, we will be doing our home work, and hopefully making more progress towards the ultimate goals of correct, happy, useful working dogs. (and maybe I'll even break out the camera)


Dancing shepherdess said...

Sounds great!!! Especially happy for you about Chris :)

Darci said...

It was great. I can get bored training at home, and some times quite unsure if Im doing the right thing. Its so helpful to get to work with others, and hear input about how you can get a better flank, or pace or whatever. I enjoy, but mostly appreciate those kind of days, and always look forward to more!

Laura Carson said...

One day the world will beg me for MSN training. Bwaahahahaha. No seriously, you guys did a good job - I can see the obvious progress Chris has made, and I'm so totally thrilled for you guys! Bear was looking good, too! It was really nice seeing you guys, as usual.