It was a great weekend- I eschewed all things domestic and just worked my dog. That's very cool indeed. On Friday I worked Lucy with a couple of friends and their dogs. When I got home around 7 that night, I called Mary Brighoff, to see if there was still room in the fun trial. I really wanted to get Lucy on new sheep, and a new field. To my delight, there was!
So, I left the house at 5:30 on Sat morning, and arrived to Mary's at 7:45. It was an easy drive, no problems getting there. First thing I noticed was what a beautiful place Mary has. The fencing alone... just beautiful. The whole place.... I could live there for suuuuure.
So, we were given the option of running our dogs non-compete, with, or without a score, or compete, or just spend your mins out there working on what you needed. These are the most colourful Kathadin sheep I have ever seen. The field was set up, so that the post was at the top, the pen at the your left, and the exhaust to your right. It was a tiered hill, and for our novice run, the sheep were set up amongst the bottom tier.
I watched a bunch of other runs, and then it was our turn. I made the decision to go non-compete, but with a score. My goal at this fun trial was to work on me. My staying calm out there, and being the steady one for both of us. I had already decided no more stick when I trial her, because all I do is wave it around looking like a monster. Not the picture I want to present- and it makes Lucy that much more tense.
So, we walked out to the post. The sheep were being expertly held by the set out person. I sent Lucy to the left. She was tight- her ears were pinned back- which means SHE knows she's tight and just goes faster. Anyhow, she got around them in a huge over flank past them, and then back and then she settled in. I asked for and got (what do you know?!) a down on the fetch, and allowed the sheep to drift in a straight line toward the post. As they hit the plane of the post, I gave Lucy a come by flank, and she flanked beautifully, and she turned them tightly at the post. On we started with the assisted drive. Lucy was on the throttle, but listening for the most part. When we went got to the drive away gate, one squirted out, but we got them turned. Then we headed up for the pen. I downed her, and got there, just in time to get two in, but one squirted off the side, but Lucy handled that well, and we got her penned.
All in all it was a decent run- even if she had a bit of a windshield washer effect at the top. Best part was though, someone told me that I looked like a whole different person out there :)) What I found was that if I gripped that post when I was getting concerned on the fetch, it helped dissipate my nerves ;)
Okay, so then we had a nice lunch break. Good food and chat.
My second run I decided would be compete. So, we went out there, and I decided to send her away. Well, that was a mistake. She was so freakin tight- I think partially it was because I sent her on the pressure side and she figured she had to not only outrun, but not let them leave... Anyway, it was tight, and then when she saw the sheep, she got around behind them, and brought them up. Ugly Lucy.. But, by the time they got to the post, they were more settled. Turned TIGHT at the post, and off we went. One of the sheep clearly was jiggered because she kept stotting. I actually sort of chuckled as I walked, because the other two were no where near that nervous, and she was looking to create a riot- to no avail. Anyway, we got done with the drive and to the pen. This time the pen didn't go as well. The highlights were that when sent Lucy to cover as they squirted away, she went out wide enough to cover well, and stopped them in just the right spot that they would feel my and her pressure, and then, they started in- but one (the stotter) turned to look. At that point I took the pen rope and twirled it in front of her- worked like a charm. Penned those suckers, even though we had two misses- usually, that doesn't happen...
Anyway, I was really pretty pleased with Lucy. All her at hand work was good- but clearly we need remedial on the out runs- which have always been solid with her.
So, then, today, I decided I best work my lass on outruns. So, I made another long drive, and was able to revert back to 1+ year ago on widening her out. It worked well, but who knows. I know that it is important that I set her up right, and I don't think I did that at the trial. She will take a "get out" command on the fly, so I will probably employ that at our next trial should she decide to cut corners.
Then, Mr Danny got to be on sheep for the very first time. As we were heading to the round pen, and another dog was moving them for us, they stopped to look at Danny and he confidently stared and walked up on them- he would have gotten right to them if they hadn't bailed ;)
Anyway, into the pen he went. Immediately went into circle mode. He seemed to like away better, but we could change his direction. His tail was down, and he was engaged the whole time. He was fast, but from what I hear he was not just circling, he was keeping tabs on the sheep as he did. It was just a teeny exposure, but it was definitely positive for him.
When we got home, I made a wonderful steak dinner. It was okay- but not the best- lost of gristle. So, the dogs got some of the drippings and left over steak. It was yummy- I am sure. Danny- what a red letter day for you- your first sheep AND your first steak.
Lucy has been acting oddly- as I mentioned, and it is really weird. She is so against any other dog coming near her- she snapped at mr chips last night. She is so bad I videotaped it. If anyone wants to see it, let me know- you can tell me what you think. What I got on camera isn't the worst, but it shows some of it. I feel so bad for her. I think it's got to be hormones. She was in heat in March, and she would be having pups about now. Either that, or she has lost her marbles. Please think good thoughts for my lass.
Anyway, this week will be down time- no real sheep work, so maybe I can get that carpet pulled up....