e·piph·a·ny: a sudden, intuitive perception of or insight into the reality oressential meaning of something, usually initiated by some simple, or commonplace occurrence or experience.
The weeks have unfolded, revealing a common theme in my relationships: dogs, running, friends. It's that double edged knife....when to push, when to let go and allow. I just came back from a KK clinic; as I watched a young dog start its lifelong journey of sheepdogging, the first steps in the round pen, I listened as Kathy encouraged with a hint of warning, "Let some things go with this dog" Ah the mystery of knowing when to clean up with correction and when to allow for confidence.
This actually started two weekends ago at a sheepdog trial. One I attended because, once there, I find a bit of refuge in the shade of the trees, wind always chatting up the leaves, the newly mown grass easy to relax into. This trial gives back to Nell some of what I have taken from her by asking her to do things for me she would rather not, given a choice in the matter. The sheep like Nell, they move off her, providing her with the opportunity to enjoy her job. Her first run was stop-less...I'm pretty sure I did not get a single one. I do know for a fact that i stomped my foot in frustration at this little bullet of a dog; seven years old, trained to decent partnership, running as if she had no idea who I was, or at the least what the whistle meant. I played it out in my mind, back and forth, what would serve Nell best: should I walk? make a point in having her know that I was large and in charge? She was not rogue by any means, but she was not a partner and I actually tried a few things to see if i could get in her head a little, or at the least between those ears. (Perchance a BEAR test was in order?) We finished the course with thoughts of "I'm going to take this little rocket out and show her what a stop looks like when I get back to my Bed & Breakfast"!!!!! running through my mind. Thank God the drive included a ferry ride and lasted long enough for me to think about all that Nell had been through in the past two months. I changed my mind about the schooling and looked to myself instead.
The past few days, I watched and listened intently as dog after dog was evaluated and worked under the skillful eye of one whom i would call "mentor". Between Kathy and Jack, my foundation was formed with the "method" and mission statement they live and bring to the start of dogs. They are the rare few that bring the sheep into the forefront of what we do and why we do it when it comes to working sheepdogs. "The sheep will tell you when the dog is wrong." I study my sheep to hear what they tell me. I've also been challenged at so many clinics to be open to what the dogs are telling me too. Then it comes right back to me, whiplashing me into looking at what my pressure is doing, what my correction and tone is doing, what my timing (or lack there of) is doing, what my perfectionistic nature is doing.
"Get versus make" has been an argument I've had with myself, and Jack for that matter, since that very first double Knox clinic I attended, years ago but it might have been yesterday. My epiphany came in the form of what I felt was correcting the wrong and leaving the right, never once doing the corrections to keep the dog out of trouble. My intentions were pure, however, the end result a mirror of an outcome that did not care one hoot about my intention. The dog was not understanding the "why" of the job. All the corrections of wrong were taken, the piece I was missing was the lack of understanding. And the dinger dings: Every now and then I have to give it all back to the dog and see if they have sorted out their part of responsibility.
I go back to looking at myself....my own dogs understand me, although I've had to do some unconventional work with Dot, I've been brought around to giving back understanding to responsibility and am not afraid to go there with her. I see more readily when she is doing what I say without taking responsibility for much of anything herself. Now my journey of digging a little deeper into myself to begin to pass this baton to others and their dogs begins. I add to my over-thinking thoughts of "get vs make"....now including "get vs give". The journey continues.....
Seize the day!
Mini Blueberry Galettes
16 hours ago