I went through my usual trial routine. Get up, stumble about, get coffee, let dogs, out, find truck, find key, warm up truck, get dogs and drive. Hopefully in the right direction. Cheryl had asked me to be the Course Director again so that mean I had to be awake and at the handler’s meeting. They had reversed the course and the drive was very difficult. For Open, you had three lambs, who were fleet of foot. They bolted if your dog was pushy and since I have two pushy dogs, the runs were speedy. Nan was first, cast out nice and as she came do for the lift, they broke for their round pen where the other lambs were held. It was not the exhaust but another pen. She recouped and got them back online at the last part of the fetch. They were very fast and she had to slow way back down but by the time she got a hold of them, it was the last leg of the drive. She was too concerned about the lambs, was leaning on them and would over flank as a result. I see some homework here. She got the lambs settled quite nicely and had a nice single and then a nice pen. The offline fetch and drive cost us dearly but regardless, I will keep my pushy dogs. By the first seven dogs, five had retired and only two got scores so it was tough!
Maid was second and cast out very deep and came in nice. The fetch was off but she worked well, although a but fast. We fussed at the turn but lined them up nice, and had a nice first line. When I asked her to stop and then flank, she blew me off and then the sheep ran up the hill. I tried to stop her but she flanked and started to bring the sheep back. We had a point where she could have done the crossdrive but she didn’t down, so I ran up to make her mind me. She saw me and said, “oh shit” and dropped like a rock. As we brought the sheep back, she took every flank and down and settled the stock. I know what my homework will be. We did work on this today at the farm and she was spot on. She did blow me off once and I chased her off the sheep and it made an point) Considering I have had her for two month and we are getting used to each other, I think it will be a few more months before we are in sync with each other. She is a great dog to run and it is a matter of being on the same page.
Sava was the first of my PN dog. She had one of the best outruns and lift. The fetch was offline and she didn’t want to tuck in at the shoulder to hold the pressure until after the panels. We had a nice first leg, a bit of bobble on the crossdrive, a pull thru and a nice pen. She got third place for her run and each time we get better and better. My homework is having her hold the pressure. She is going to be one nice dog. She has it all and it is coming out each time we work. She wears her heart on her sleeve and tries for you. I really like her a lot.
Rainey was the last and she was eager. She spied the sheep in the exhaust and I told her to leave it and look up the field. She did and cast out nice and was tight but square at the top, Nice controlled lift with two people pinching the sheep. I had worked on her the prior week on coming in fast and deep when a person is holding the sheep and not sticking like she has been doing at prior trials. The fetch was fast and a little offline. She pushed the sheep hard on the drive and on first turn, the sheep snuck into a gully. I needed her to do an away and she wanted to do a come-bye but she finally did as I asked and then started the crossdrive. She really leaned hard on the sheep and I tried to slow her down. It really didn’t work and she was powered up. Go figure, I guess putting the edge on the drive is paying off. I asked her to flanked at the second panel and she did a wonderful sweeping flank and did a pull through. She marched them hard and fast to the pen and as I was closing it, the time went off. In spite of her score, it was a success for me as she was able to lift without sticking and me whistling her on and was pushing hard on the drive. Part of what is making her try harder is that she is very jealous of Maid. Maid is jealous of her and when I work one before the other, the second dog will work their session on fire. So I will work Maid first as she doesn’t need to be on fire since she has a lot of fire and then work Rainey. That is my homework.
All in all, the sheep were super light and my dogs were too pushy and I didn’t hold them back far enough. So, my homework is to get better on that and my dog’s homework is to rate and slow down a bit more. That’s ok as I love the lineup that I have and need to adjust better. Nan needs not to be so edgy, Maid needs to trust me, Save needs to hold pressure and Rainey still needs more push. I need to make quicker decisions. What I did well with Sava and Rain was to have them start the right line and trust them to hold it. I adjust a little as needed but they pretty much held it proper. Get them behind the sheep, drive and they will hold the line. Don’t over command. With Rainey, I saw it made her really lean into the sheep.
It was a long day and I was happy to get home. The girls all curled up to me on the bed, as I read, happy that they did well. I need to work more on light sheep and this week, I will go work the 100 sheep up the road. I will cut out 10 or so and work them. They will run or turn on the dog and the dog will have to think. They are not dog broke so we will have to work as a tea, They will run like gazelle so the dog will have to ease up and I will have be more aware of my timing.
This is a journey and I am having the time of my life. I am not letting any negative energy pull me down. Life is too short to be bother by that. Enjoy your dogs and good friend and hope for a good run.