Monday, March 2, 2009

Lucy Lou and Danny Too

Hmmm, that's a neat tag line... Yesterday morning, I got up early, as one does with a young pup, and made a wonderful breakfast, and coffee, and thought about the day. There was a big storm in the works starting on Monday, and I thought that it might be a very good idea to get Lucy working again, and Danny to play with his friends again- one more time before the snow hit. It is also supposed to be cold all week, so this may well have been our last opportunity for a long time.... So, that all said- we headed up north again.

I worked Lucy a bit, and she did some good stuff. Again some of the older ewes are pretty heavy, and the lambs are testing, so at one point, I had sent Lucy to fetch them off the pen fence- they had their friends in there, and weren't interested in leaving. Lucy headed up fast, rated herself up to them, and there they stood. So, I could have waited, I suppose, and maybe they would have turned, but every second that you leave your dog twisting in the wind, as I call it- meaning, allowing them to hit that bubble and be stuck, then you etch away at confidence. Now, this is NOT the same thing as a dog walking in and still meeting pressure- for sure- give it more time. Lucy was stopped. So, I said "get them up" Lucy and she ran in, making no contact, and covered as they split, and brought them right to me. No, not the prettiest thing, but it was effective, and my dog knew that yes, she could in fact do what she needed to get them moving. After all, isn't that our goal? To have dogs be able to just bring the sheep, with no injuries to anyone? These sheep are quite heavy and I used to think that I shouldn't work her with them, but she needs to feel this heaviness regularly, so she can work through it and soon it will be just simple as pie. That's my goal anyway :)

We also had to bring some of these heavies into the other paddock, with Danny on the other side of the fence, and being sheep, well, even though he's a mini boy right now, they were leary of him. So, that meant as they got to the gate area, they split, and pushed heavy on Lucy, and Lucy kept them covered and pushed right back, past that pup, and then calmly lay down about 5 feet into the smaller area, and held them back. There was one ewe in there that is just trouble- you can see it in her eyes, and Lucy focused on her, and if she leaned to heavily, Lucy pushed them back five feet.

So, after working Lucy on and off for a bit, I got the Dan-meister out for some more play time with his cousin. They are bestest friends now, and it is great to see him play with someone more his own size- although she is, in reality much bigger, but not like an adult dog.

Later, I watched a young cracker of a dog working- this is one nice BC. Very natural, and easy. Oh, how nice that is. Keen as mustard, but calm. Yikes. That is a very nice thing. So, I brought Danny along on leash, into the field so we could watch. He was mildly interested when they were a fair distance away, but then we started to walk along as this BC wore the sheep through the field. Then, Danny got interested. At one point they had the sheep along the fence and they made a break for it, and Danny wanted to go and get them? I don't know, he was on leash and just started running. So, the BC brings them back and then we get them settled on the fence. Then, the handler asks for a down and the BC gives it, as does Danny- and he lays his little chin down on the ground and watches the sheep- right along side the bigger dog. It was a Kodak moment, for sure.

So, we know that Danny isn't afraid of sheep, which is great. Now, we just have to wait for him to grow legs and add some time to his little time on this planet, and then we see what we have. Should be interesting.

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