Saturday, January 9, 2010

A fine day to work dogs

We had a great working day today. A bunch of us got together to do training trial practice. We had a course set up and depending where you stood, you had an Open or PN course. We held the sheep on alfalfa and they were more than happy to hold on that. Ron graciously held the first sets for us so that Janet, Kathleen and I could run our dogs. Kathleen worked Emma, Janet worked Scott and I worked Faye, Lucy, Roo and Nan. Ron held the sheep using Kane and Ruby. He was able to work on the long outruns with his dogs which is what he wanted since he doesn’t have access to large field at this time in eastern WA.

It was sunny so we were wearing vests and were even sweating in those!! Sunglasses were drug out and we lounged in the chairs awaiting our turns. It had rained the day before so 1/3 of the field was very soggy and muddy. Directly in front of the crossdrive panel was a huge lake so the sheep did not want to go through the puddle (knee deep) to hit the crossdrive dead on. That proved to be the bane of us all day but we made the dogs push the sheep through the crossdrive.

The setout was about 300 yards out and it was a crisp day that the setout person could hear the handler clearly. We used the Clun Forest and Katahdin ewes and lambs. The ewes were hard to push and the lambs were light and fast. We combined the Clun Forest and Katahdin together which made for some interesting runs, as they were two flocks that had just been put together the day before.

I ran Faye who belongs to Tony Pardini. I will be running her in Ranch and hopefully in two weeks run her in PN. Her mother is my Nan and I see some of Nan in her. Namely the tight, slicey inside flanks and quick, reactive movements. I haven’t run her in a couple of years and despite that she did well. I just have to work on her slices of the flanks, which I did, and it got better. She has a wonderful outrun, lift and a bit of a bobble on the fetch but soon was going well. Her drive was good until the crossdrive and we worked on a better flow. She did well on the whistles and responded quite well.

Nan had a nice wide outrun and came deep behind the sheep and had a bit of muss on her fetch when the setout dog decided to take her sheep away. We fixed that and she brought them true to me. Her drive was nice but tight at the turns so we worked on her getting square. We did a couple of singles and she flew in, gripped a couple of times, and then settled down. When she flew in the ewe didn’t move as quick as she desired so she helped it along. She finally settled down, came in, and gave the ewe time to move.

Roo was a good boy. His outrun was fine until he saw the setout person walking down the side and slowed down once he saw it was Ron (his former owner) but a redirect got him back and he went deep and had a nice lift. His fetch was slow and smooth and he took each flank, downed well, and had a good turn. The drive was very nice until the dreaded crossdrive panel where I flanked him on an away and went on a com- bye. He soon saw the light and settled down. His singles were impeccable and clean and he held the lamb who wanted ever so badly to join her buddies. One ewe refused to stay with the group and he kept his cool and worked her calmly as she tried to run off during the drive and kept the other two tucked in. It was very difficult and he was calm as that ewe was trying to dart off and could care less about her buddies. I was very proud of him.

Lucy was the rock star. I have her for two weeks while Monique is out of town and will run her this weekend as well as the trial on Jan 23rd. Her outwork was spot on and she had a cautious lift, held the pressure point and did not unwind her flanks. I about peed my pants with joy. The drive was spot on and she got the sheep lined up nice. On the single on the first two attempts, she was slow to come in even though there was a large gap. I scolded her and on her next try she came in like a rocket and held her single like a trooper. She marched off the single as if she owned the world. She was quite pleased with herself and I was very happy with her. I haven’t done a course with her for month and she was my little rock star.

Janet worked Scott and on his first run he was not responding to her but on the subsequent runs, she got a hold of him and did much better. It’s just fine tuning their partnership at this point. She tried her shed and almost had it but next time I think she will have it down. She did the course quite well on her last run. Kathleen and Emma worked on a few minor issues but overall, that little red Emma has done quite well. She lifted the sheep off the setout person, no crossover and a nice drive, again having issues at the crossdrive like the rest of us. I remember in the spring that she was working with Emma to teach her the drive. She, like Janet, has come so far and you can see the quality partnership that they both have.

Ron set out for a good portion of our runs with Kane and ruby. Ruby did quite well, running over 300 yards to get her sheep and I can remember about three months ago, she was just only going 50 yards. Ron stayed after Kathleen, Janet and I were done . He worked Tigr and Kane on the lambs on driving and shedding and the night began to creep up on him quickly. It was a fine day to work dogs, sun, good sheep, dogs and company….what more can you ask?

1 comment:

An English Shepherd said...

To much snow here to do any work. So just a quick walk today :-(

Wizz ;-)