Sunday, November 2, 2008

Off to a clinic...

I had a fun but tiring weekend. Jack Knox was in town for a 2 day clinic. Audrey and I went to it. She drove which was good as I got tired by the end of the day. We got afternoon slots and she took Dan and I took Nan.

The weather was nice, a bit sunny, windy and patches of rain. There was a canopy set up with hot coffee and rolls, thanks to Lorri, the person who was doing the clinic.

I needed to work on Nan’s inside flanks as they were fast and slicey and she was not feeling her sheep. I had been doing the exercises that I got from Scott when he was here last month and was ready to take the next step. Nan has been willing to work with me and we both needed a tune up. Nan gives me her all and our trust in each other is tight. I love it when she looks up at me and I see her eyes glow with love and a desire to please.

Audrey and Dan needed to work on his flanks and downs. Dan is a very powerful and thinking dog. His mind is always thinking and thinking. He is a lot of dog and not an easy dog to work. Audrey was able to work on opening up his flanks too. By the end of their session, they were doing well. Jack was impressed by Dan too. He is one of the best pups from that litter, if not the best in my eyes. Audrey has her hands full with Dan but in the end, he will not let her down and is a top dog.

I was tired by the time we went out. People had briefed Jack on my condition so he did most of the work with Nan. I notice each day, that I am getting tired and more tired each day and my energy is draining quicker. That is a real bummer.

Nan looked at Jack as if, “Who are you” but soon settled down and worked. Her inside flanks as she would bring the sheep were fast and tight and we worked on that. We also worked on her trying to feel her stock. Jack commented to me that he had no idea that she was for sale until I had called him over 1 1/2 years ago to ask about her. He said had he known he would have gotten her but since I was going to get her, he didn’t. A lot of people would have jumped at the chance to buy Nan but I was the lucky person. As it is, Nan lives in the house and is well loved, sleeps on the bed and has a home for life. She will never be for sale as she is in my heart now. She has had five owners by the age of 4.5 yrs and I am her sixth and last owner. Her last owner loved her so much that that she sold her to me knowing that Nan would have a home for life.

Nan knows she has a permanent home and makes sure (under the guidance of Tess) that all things are proper on the farm. Any people arriving will result in a warning bark and praise from me. Any squirrel, chipmunk, raven or crow, will be driven off the front porch and she will be quite proud of herself that she had protected me from grave danger. She learned the potty routine in record time and how to paw or whine at the door to be let in or out. She will watch Tess to see what the rules are and does them. She wants to be perfect thinking that will make me happy. What makes me happy is that she tries and I can’t ask for more.

When we working with Nan, you could see that she was trying her best for me and giving me her all. At the end of the session, she strutted up to me and was proud of her work. She is such a silly dog that loves to please and loves to be loved. She won’t quit on me and once we get the final kinks worked out, we will be a great team. I will be her handicap.

We saw other people’s dog work and some were from beginning to seasoned dogs. Each dog was trying to work and you could see the improvement by the end of the session. Jack was his funny self and made everyone feel at ease. He did the usual picking on people but he spared me as I was very tired by then and no doubt he felt pity for me. I, on the other hand, did tease him.

Audrey and I left and we discussed our dogs and life as we drove home. It was good that Audrey was kind enough to drive and hang out with me during the weekend. It helped boost up my spirits quite a bit. It was also very nice to see how well Audrey did with her Dan. I think she is harder on herself than she should be but she has one heck of a dog that would be hard for anyone to run. She also loves her animals and is one great Vet. I am truly glad that Audrey is a good friend of mine. She is a true, honest, decent and caring person. I wish more people were like her.

I got home and Chuck was exercising the dogs. They were in the pond pasture and covered in mud but they sure were happy. We did the feeding and all were happy. Tess and Rainey were happy to be released from the stall. Tess knew that something was up and was miffed when *she* got locked in the stall and left behind.

To make up from my transgressions, Tess and Rainey and of course, Nan, got extra bonus treats and play time in the house. I was feeling some chest pain and took a Vicodin. I took myself off the painkillers and will only take a pill, if I am hurting. I was hurting so I took one and we all went to bed. I was exhausted and last thing I remembered was Tess, cuddled next to my face and planting a kiss or two when she could. Nan was snoring next to my hip. After all, she did all the work today.

Today, Audrey and I went early to the clinic. There were some people here today that were not there yesterday. Dawn was there with her Bran. Bran is an awesome working pup. I really like his style. Ursula was with her Pete and they did some nice work and they are clicking well.

Audrey did some fantastic work with Dan. He did the longest controlled driving and paced well. Audrey’s voice was right on and you could see that they really *got it*. She changed her walkup voice from a fast walkup voice to a drawn out, deeper voice and it worked. Dan was thinking and trusting her more. I was very impressed and learned that I need to change my walkup tone too.

I had Jack work Nan as I got tired and chilled. The temperature had dropped and it had gotten windy. I can really feel now that my energy is getting sapped more and more. We walked out and Nan was doing well. She did a few slices but by the end she was feeling her sheep more, pacing and opening up. You could tell that she wanted to do it right. By watching Jack, I could see where my timing was off by enough and what I needed to do to make myself a better trainer.

My philosophy is that to get better, you must educate yourself more. I strive to be better and go to clinics/lesson by people who I admire. Each time I learn more and more. By watching other people and their dogs, I see issues and how to resolve them. When you train dogs, you will run into the same issues and by going to the clinic, you already seen how it can be solved. I also learn how to trust my dogs and trust myself. I even got a compliment from Brian!!

It was a good day and I got home and let Tess and Rainey out of the stall. Again, Tess knew something was up this morning as she was jumping up and down on the hay bales, racing back and forth n front of me so it was hard to put her in the stall and take Nan. Tess doesn’t need to go to a clinic as she is a well seasoned dog and knows the ropes.

Tess, Nan and Rainey all raced up to the house and we all sat down to eat dinner. Then we took a nap as I was wiped out. The girls made sure that any spare room on the bed was covered. Later after we got up for our nap, we watched CSI and Cold Case. The super smart Border Collies would have been able to figure out the mysteries if they were on the case. I am sure I heard Rainey whisper in my ear, she would have solved it for a biscuit. Or part of my ice cream. She had to settle for the biscuit instead. She forgave me for not taking her to the clinic and not giving me her ice cream. Now I can sleep in peace.

Getty came home tonight and gave his little princess, Rainey, a Mardi Gras bead collar. She is strutting around with it now and quite pleased with herself. I hate to tell her that she is not going to wear it on the trial field.

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