I got Taff in March and he has been a project. He was full of himself and quite hard to work. I ran him at a couple of trials this summer to see what I needed to work on and the laundry list was long. He would slice at the top, bust the sheep and on the first leg of the drive, would grip or fetch them back. He had a lot of tension and needed to learn to rate the stock. We spent the summer doing stall work, chores, drills and a few Come To Jesus Talks. A couple of months ago, I saw a change in him. He soften up and was willing to work with me and thus I gave him his freedom back. We began to work well and I decided to try to run him. He decided to work for me than against me. It was a good choice. I bit the bullet and entered him at this trial. Brian Ricard was the judge.
Off he goes at full speed. He is a very powerful and pushy dog. I was sweating bullets at this point, wondering if running him on light hair sheep was a good decision. But it was too late to do anything but suck it up and run him. He went out, looked at the sheep as if to cut in and I had the whistle ready to blow him out, when he kicked out wide and deep and stopped at the top when I gave him a down. I took a deep breathe of air then gave him a soft walk up. This is an area where he busts into the sheep but he lifted very nice and began a stellar fetch. I would have passed out but luckily for me, I was holding onto the handler's post. I am glad that I went to the bathroom prior to my run too!
I got him to the sweet spot on the bubble and he held it.
His whistles are opposite of Roo's whistles, so I made a mistake and gave him the wrong flank, which he took quickly. I realized this and downed him and he took it so I was able to recover and get the panels. Score one for Taff and minus one for Diane.
Nice pace to my feet. He had a very nice pace throughout the fetch and didn't run them down the course. He was taking my commands perfect.
Oh NO, he is a bit tight and furious at the turn...so I needed to get a handle on him quickly or all hell would break loose. I gave him the old "What do you think you are doing" followed by "You listen to me!" and he knows at that point, he better smarten up or I will go after him.
After that, he listened and started the first leg of the drive quite nicely. I held him back as the sheep were very flighty and he tends to scare the beejus out of any sheep. The boat anchor around his neck seemed to do the trick.;-)
I am whistling steadies to him and if he didn't steady, I hit him with a down. He got the hint and settled down. His lines were a dream!
I had to hold him back on the drive. He really gets tense on the drive and at the first leg will bust up the sheep or fetch them back. Our homework this summer was to fix this issue. we did a lot of work on this and it was successful.
He had a lovely cross drive and then made the second panel. A tight line to the pen.
Taff has a wee bit of tension at the pen. I guess I will be working on that. He was very tense but listened to me. I could tell he wanted to fly in at the ewes who were standing up to him. But he thought it would be a good idea to listen to me and we got the pen. We got a 75 and won PN....I will run him in PN this year and next trial season, hope to move him to Open. I hope we still will keep clicking well! I am happy that I got him and look forward to more trials this winter with him. we still have along way to go yet to being a good team but the first piece of the puzzle is in place.