Sunday, April 7, 2013

Saturday session with the dogs

Janet Thorpe and I went down to Fido's Farm on Saturday. One reason was to pick up Alta-Pete Dixson. (Imp Ben x Alta-Pete June) Ben is the dog that I imported and is a son of Bobby Dalziel's Joe. He also has Longton lines.  Dixson was named after Willie Dixson, a famous blues singer and writer and bass player. Getty names the dogs that are going to stay so we thought long and hard on this one. I think we were the last ones to name our pup. 
photo by Amanda Labadie
The other reason was we needed to work Jude and Maid. For me, I just wanted to keep working on Maid's and mine relationship. For Jude, working on his outrun and people at the top. We had to sort three lambs from the flock so I used Maid. One of the yearling had duct tape on his belly and he was lagging so I didn't want to sue him. I worked the flock then Maid came in smoothly and held the last three. I had her drive them off to the corner while Janet and Jude put the flock away.
We held for each other, making the outruns about 200 yards. Maid listen well, stopping or steadying as needed. I let her pick them up and let her fetch the sheep to me, only flanking her to hit the panels, then kept quiet. It's hard for me but it will help our teamwork to trust her. She had flawless fetches and was biddable.
Jude was unsure at first but by the end of the first session he was getting the idea that the setout person is best to ignore. His outrun started off a bit short but by lunchtime, it was nice and deep. His lift was very methodical and quiet. A little fast on the fetch but Janet will sort that out.
We took a break for lunch and went to a local Chinese place. The food was great and the service was amazing.  She bent over backwards so we left her a large tip.....whatever she will do in life, if she has that attitude, she will do wonderful!
The dogs having to rest, came out of the car, with good attitude. Jude had thought about what he had worked on and then ignored me at the setout and his outrun were crisp and wide.  is fetch still is fast but I rather have a dog with some gas than a dog you have to beg to work. He tries so hard for Janet.
I had Maid push the sheep through the water and the one who had been giving us trouble all morning, certainly didn't want to go in the water. You could see she was getting annoyed but stood her ground. She was patient and finally the ewe went in the water.  All during the work session, she was clam and quiet. I worked on giving her less commands. She did wonderful and I really, really love her!  She has partnered up with me, tries hard, realizes that sometimes I over command so doesn't get tense, and is very kind to the sheep. Flawless on her commands (Thank you, Scott). Now she doesn't fight me at the panels or areas that she thinks the sheep should go; you can see one brief step of hesitation if I give her a flank to miss the panels (deliberate on my part) but she softens up and does it. Before she would fight and not do it. Now it is, ok I will do as you ask and miss the panels and not fight you but I totally trust you.
Jude on his second work session was very nice. Ignored me and nice deep list, although still fast on the fetch.  His outruns on both sides were clean and wide and he checked on his sheep on the way up. it was good to see that he processed his lesson from the morning and did right by Janet, I think Janet was quite pleased with him.
I was totally stoked with Maid and how well we work together.  I think she likes being the main dog now. Nan only has one year left and Maid will be my main dog for the few years. It took a year to get meshed but it paid off. I am so happy that Scott sold her to me. Maid is quite happy with the arrangement as she gets to sleep on the bed. Plus get a cookie each time she come back in the house. Plus help me with chores and work chickens. Although I am sure she is not too happy about learning how to hold a cookie on her nose to do a trick.
So both work sessions went very well and we saw huge improvements in the dogs as well as us. I am learning to trust Maid and not command her as much and Maid is trusting me, no matter what I say or do.   The sheep were nice yearlings who worked well and the rain held off for most of the day.
On the way out, we picked up Dixson, Obviously in preparation for my farm, he covered himself in mud. Chris was kind enough to hold him for me until the weekend as I was in the hospital for part of the week and unable to drive. I am sure she spoilt him as well. We loaded the fat butterball up and off we went. We decided to stop at Reber Ranch to socialize him and look at chicken products. As I got out, this guy asked me if I wanted some rabbit so we got to talking. He had to get rid of them but since Nan despises rabbits, I had to decline. Then we forgot about taking Dixson out and went in. I know, how funny is that. I didn't find what I was looking for and managed to spend under five bucks- which is truly amazing but Janet spent way more than me. She got a cute beaded leash for Jude? I almost got some chicks but since last week I got ten chicks, figure that I wouldn't press my luck so didn't get any. That was tough!
Finally we got home and Dixson got out to meet the gang.  He is a tough puppy. Kiko tried to jump on him so he bared his teeth and she met her match. Nan and Maid ran off and Rainey saw a opportunity to make a pal. New puppy equals treats and by being a pal to a puppy, you get treats. She drew the line when he hung off her ear so she jumped on the hay bales to get away from him.
I got Dixson to follow me around the farm so he would have an idea of the layout. He quickly figured it out and learned not to bother the ducks. He saw Mr. MaGoo, the HUGE Muscovy male drake and ran up to him and got a peck on his nose for his efforts. Almost the same as Maid got when she first arrived. Mr. MaGoo is over 7 years old and the boss on the farm, well, maybe second in command after Mama Muscovy. She has everyone terrified, even the guardians.
By the end of the day Dixson was wore out and I found him passed out on my coat that somehow had fallen to the ground in the barn. I think the cats knocked it off my chair. He was curled in a tight ball and when I woke him up, he ran into my arms and licked my face.
Somehow, I think he will fit right in. Welcome home, Dixson.
Photo by Amanda of ManyMuddyPaws.  Much thanks!

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