Saturday, March 21, 2009

You made the mess, you clean it up

first, here's a shot of Mr. Dan on his 13 week birthday. Isn't he cute? I ended up bringing him back to the vet on his 13 week, because his eye was pink and he was squinting (and I over-reacted) and by the time we got there, it was fine... Anyway, he weighed in at 16.8 lbs, which is less than what Lucy weighed at that time... I think he will be in the 35-40 lb range... He is doing well. He has outgrown his small crate, and at night now, he is in Tucker's crate, because I don't want another crate in the bedroom. He loves it. It's HUGE. He doesn't smash the sides with his feet, as he isn't so cramped :) He went with Lucy and I to work sheep today- he had a great time playing with my friend's female pup who is 5 weeks older than he. Cute as a button she is- and FAST.

Okay, now onto the mess. I was working Lucy in the field. My friend had brought a garden cart into the field with hay- oh, and he brought one of his dogs. So, the sheep make a bee line toward him up the hill. Picture this, a triangle: garden cart at the apex, sheep pen to the right, and in front of the sheep pen is well behaved dog. I sent Lucy right, so she *should* have been able to head them, before they got to all that mess. But, she decided to avoid the mess on that side, and go left (bad girl!- don't you cross that line!). Okay, so, now the sheep are behind the garden cart, and one the far side is a person (to the right) as well as a BC, laying down, and the pen. She first tries to take them through past the small opening between the cart, and the pen, but there is one big problem- a dog laying there. That's when I said quietly to myself "I told you not to go that way, now, you clean up your mess".

So, then she has to figure this out. Sheep are blocked by garden cart, dog and human on one side, but they are behind them and to the right... So, I give her a "come on", which means get them here whatever you have to do. So, then I see them all of a sudden come to THIS side of the garden cart- and she almost circles them- as it was high pressure getting them around it- well, probably more like high pressure figuring out HOW to get them around it. Anyway, so, then they come down the hill. It was not easy folks. I didn't give her any commands, other than a reminder that she best bring them. I remember hearing from a clinician once, who in response to her dog screwing something up, and making a mess, said "you made the mess, now you clean it up".

These sorts of opportunities don't come along much. But, when they do, please use them. It allows your dog to use the tools they seldom have to, and when they are successful, they are indeed on top of the world.

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