I started my journey of a lifetime.......ending up at Brigand's Hideout, just 6 years ago. A good friend of mine took me up there for the first time....I was nervous....I had no idea what I was doing. All I knew was that working my border collie on sheep is what I loved doing......and I wanted to find a way to have access to sheep. Brigand's is a facility of sorts.....so a person can pay to rent sheep and work their dogs. In the beginning....I could only be at Brigands with somebody who had more experience than me....a person to sort sheep for me, and be there in case something went wrong.
I visited Brigand's today...and so many memories flooded my mind. Remembering the first time I had my rescue girl Porsche in this very field...and she took off chasing the sheep. I stood there yelling and yelling and my friend placed a calm hand on my shoulder and said, "maybe you should go down and see if you can help her." Or the first time I met Patrick Shannahan....right here in front of this sturdy red barn....working my Snook dog. Trying so hard to listen and learn....he recently reminded me of some of the things I said to him.....six years ago. No way, really, I said those things?!
Right where I am at in life...so bitter sweet......changes that are just part of living and breathing. Sons growing, planning, moving at the speed of light. So are the changes at Brigand's Hideout....seasons of life. I was the only soul there for the first time in my history of visiting and working sheep there. I had the place all to myself......and where my first visit was filled with fear and wonderment.....today was filled with awe of how far my dogs have come. I did not need anyone watching over me. I was not worried that anything would go wrong.....and my thoughts were on the beauty of my dogs....the gift of the sheep....and the lessons unfolding for the day.
Nell was the gather and sort girl. Bella worked on being tension-free on new sheep. Gyp got a spin.....looked good and I can't wait for some input from my mentors. And then I got out Miss Sally. Sally and I worked on shedding......something that she hates to do on dog broke sheep. I am so proud to say...she did it. I am replaying over in my head...what I did to make her so excited to come through.....I think our relationship is coming out of its cocoon!
I know I can not fully express my gratitude to Brigand's....what it gave me in the gift of sheep in the days when I did not have my own....and how it empowered me to follow my dreams. What a great day....to take a close look at the roots of my passion.....
days like today help me appreciate the wonderful life I have. It also helps bring a slight twist of perspective as I head off to the Homecoming football game with our biggest rival!
Today, I finally had to leave my comfy chair, abandon my computer....and hit the road to sell a few Rocking Dog Ranch fleeces at the Oregon Flock and Fiber Festival...OFFF! I broke into a cold sweat when I realized that my newly Bella revised iPhone was not digging the monsoon rains and gave up all but phone calls so I could not even live vicariously through tweets! Thank goodness for good friends who did not mind phone calls every 30 minutes to get updates!
Back to life....back to reality.....this was my first year of selling fleeces in the parking lot of OFFF. I am so not a garage sale kind of girl....but I wanted to sell my fleeces....so the OFFF fleeces sale it was. It was raining....something that I had thought of briefly....but did not take serious....and I paid the price! I have a flimsy shade tent I keep in the car.....and was forced to use it. I did not look too bad until the rains came down in buckets and the wind picked up! Here is my little display:
Folks loved my bluefaced leicester cross fleeces...and those sold first! My coopworth fleeces went fast but I had them marked to sell! And hardly one Shetland fleece left my stand...what is up with that? Possibly because one of the biggest and nicest Shetland producers was a few booths down.
After a few hours...and when I was down to 5 nice fleeces left to sell....I decide to pack it in. The wind was blowing my shelter.....I had to stand holding onto one leg while being soaked.....and it was time. I knew a few friends were looking at the fleeces left to sell....so I packed the car and went looking for that last closures! Not a bad tactic.....and I think they were happy with the delivery and sale price.
I walked around the fiber show a little....saw a bunch of border collie friends. It was fun talking dogs.....especially since the finals was going on and we all were waiting to find out who the 2010 USBCHA National Champion would be!
I was so glad to see Patrick Shannahan and Riggs win this year! What a team! Great dog/great handler! And I was happy for Tommy Wilson and Sly.....2010 reserve champion! I'm hoping next year...all those contacts I made with happy fleece customers pays off with repeat sales in the spring.....because I plan on attending the USBCHA Finals!
Good morning.....I tried to get up early to start my day glued to my computer....but last night's football game left me dragging. I now have my pot of coffee......my comfy chair....all my dogs.....and we are watching.....
Many of the folks on my blog list are there.....some giving great details about the trial. I guess it has been stifling hot...but getting cooler. Lots of great dogs to go...but good to see Scott Glen leading right now with Don ...they have a 192. He is always fun to watch in the double lift final! I'm rooting for him and Maid......who is Bella's half sister. Funny how when I root Bella's the "family".....Scott's Maid and Tommy Wilson's Sly.
Yesterday I brought in the katahdin ewes that I plan on breeding. Decided there were 11 that needed to be moms next spring instead of 10. Kept back all my yearlings and lambs for good dog work practice. I am following the same CIDR program....looks like my lambing will be over in two weeks time, if it all pans out the way it is looking to.
Tomorrow, I head to the Oregon Flock and Fiber Festival ....peddling my fleeces in a parking lot fleece sale. All my fleeces are skirted, picked, bagged, weighed and priced to sell! Hopefully I will sell them all...and make a few spinners happy! I am charging up my iPhone to give it a whirl at watching the finals from. I might need to stop and buy some glasses to see the dog on such a tiny screen!
Today starts the hunt for the 2010 USBCHA National Finals Champion....WHO will it be????? Sorry BCx4(plus 1) I gotta do it! Let my phone explode...let my lessons be disrupted....let my husband and children think I have gone off the deep end....we know its true! TWITTER.....here I come!!!!
In other news....not that there is much other than this......I pulled the CIDR plugs out of the girls...stuck Hoosier, sporting blue marking paint, in with them....then got nervous and put red marking paint on Sam and stuck him in too! No red or blue rumps yet...and I do know they might have both colors on their rump....if I see for sure Hoosier is taking his job seriously, I will pull Sam. But for now....I just want to make sure I get all those coop girls bred for all the work I have done!
Looks like the USBCHA finally got their "official" site updated......now we know who the top 40 nursery dogs are......and what the running order looks like. Today the scores are looking quiet competitive!
I got up this morning greeted by rain! Generally we don't have a big weather change until the end of October...but this year the rains are coming early. Nice for the brown, thirsty fields....and great for sheepdoggin! I packed up the dogs and headed to Wolston farm where Ian was allowing the brave to come out and participate in a mock trial of sorts.
Ian has been teaching a "setting" class....and his students were the set-out crew for the trial. The field was the exact same one that we used at his SheepThrillz trial back in July. Nell ran non-compete open at that trial so she knew the field. However, we ran on Ian's farm flock....ewes and lambs....all in a variety of breeds....making for real work as the dogs mustered the sheep around the course.
I learned a little more about each of my dogs during my runs...and left to go home to see what I could see there! Some things I have been working on were looking better but still need more attention. It is always a great day when a little dog and sheep work happens!
The International Sheepdog Trial wrapped up today.....and here is the winner: Supreme Champion: Michael Gallagher I F CAP From the looks of it.....Mr. Gallagher is from Ireland...the host to the International. He is an unfamiliar name for me.....I can't wait to read about him in my newly ordered International Sheepdog News!
Of course all of us left behind have been burning up the Internet...refreshing and living off tweets! Many fine handlers off my blog list on the right...have updated with real stories from the trial field.....Thank GOD! My good friend, Geri flies out tomorrow.....I'm so rooting for her! Kudos to those keeping the tweets coming.....it is appreciated beyond words. I am looking forward to next weekend.....where Saturday and Sunday will have live streaming of the runs!
Tomorrow, the CIDR plugs come out of the ewes and Hoosier goes in to visit for a few days! Life is great....as I live vicariously through those running at the finals....and dream of the day I join them!
A friend of mine is on the journey of starting a young border collie pup, which is so very fun for me by the way! We were talking about all that is going on, as this pup is starting to get very naughty. Naughty at home, naughty at the ranch......naughty on sheep. Personally, I love it and am glad to see that naughtiness! This friend was asking me to summarize my training ideas and here is what I told her. I believe that training a dog on sheep is a lot like baking a cake. Disclaimer...this analogy might be all because I have not had any cake or sugar for three weeks now so I am could possibly be looking for cake in other forms!
When I (used to) bake a cake......I always start with the greasing of the cake pan. This is a very important step...otherwise any cake I bake...no mater how tasty....won't be useful to serving others as the cake would stick to the pan. This would be the "teaching of respect" phase of working a dog. Some people don't know what respect looks like.....and some people just don't care....which works for them...or not...but it is their cake to bake. To me, thanks to my mentors that have molded me....respect is so very important and certainly a quality I want with my dog right from the beginning!
After I grease the pan...I need to flour the pan so the cake can raise proper. Again, if I omitted this step.....I would still have a cake.....just a short cake and not as good of a cake as I could have had! To me the flouring of the pan is the "teaching the dog to take a correction". Gosh, I have been watching run after run after run from the Lead Me On web site....and every handler gives their dog numerous corrections in each of those runs. From a "you had better get in there and push" correction to a "omg settle down correction"...top handlers use them. Here is the catch....their dogs understand and take those corrections. Red Top Kennel has a fabulous article about corrections that I refer back to time and again.
The rest of the cake is how each of us train...combined with what talents the dog brings to the sheep. Chocolate, yellow, carrot.....so many different flavors. Plain, iced, decorated....each cake is unique; baked and embellished to the specifications of its creator. And each working sheepdog is the same.....some are plain, some have bells and whistles....each is a unique design! I could go on and on with my analogy of ingredients and baking time, what each idividual likes best for their cake choice.....maybe another day.....but it certainly is something to think on as we start young dogs. What exactly do we want our cake to be at the end of the day.....and how best to get there.....any cake certainly won't be the cake it could have been if steps are skipped or rushed.
Enough already! And I have to stick in a second disclaimer....I am writing this to share my thoughts and hopefully inspire others to think.....I am on my own cake baking journey and am not a professional teacher of baking cakes! As my friend, Brian, would say....I quiet possibly am an over thinker...and I am okay with that.
As you know, my eye has been on the International Sheepdog Trial. So sad to see my Nell's dad Roy not make it this year! Aled Owen and Roy seemed to put down a respectable run today.....but the top 15 teams are taken from the two days combined. ISDS is doing a great job updating scores and giving a little commentary....check it out
Good luck to all those who are there for nursery and safe travels to the rest who are making their way to Virginia for Open! Me, I'm home......spreading grass seed and compost.....putting the ram in with the ewes.....working dogs...and dreaming of the day when I too will be a competitor at the USBCHA National Finals!
Today....over in Northern Ireland...there is a wee little trial going on called.....The International Sheepdog Trial. Filled to the brim with top handlers from the UK.....it's a dream of mine to attend one day....and then stay for the World Trial....until then....I will continue my Internet stalking!
If you go to the "Event Programme" page....and scroll down...that lovely lady in the USBCHA Finals brown Carhart vest is our very own Claire Burson! Man our world is so very small!
The web site is to be updated with scores.....last year it was done once at the end of each day. I also can not seem to find a running order but if you go the following link you will see who is running for each of the four countries.....and if you scroll down you will actually see who ran today for what country and what their score was...and it looks like those in charge are updating this very regularly. Thank you ISDS!!!!!!
The other exciting news of my day.....Mr. Dave Imas posted his video footage from Soldier Hollow and Meeker yesterday! I have been burning up the Internet watching and watching! Truly, the next best thing to being there!!!! Thank you, Dave for being so generous with your time and talents that the rest of us might live vicariously through your road warrior life!
Its raining here in the Willamette Vally today....probably a good thing as my house has suffered from my summer travels and lack of attention. I think I will roll up my sleeves and work for say...15 minutes before I come back to reward myself with yet another run from that fabulous smorgasbord available on the Lead Me On web site!
Well, things in the world of working sheep dogs are getting VERY exciting but I will share that tomorrow. Today, I want to finish telling about the sheep party I attended.....big outruns at the park and then....Mob Work!
So after Geri, Lana, and I got done with big outruns....Lana asked if we wanted to help move the mob of sheep to new grazing. "Oh here, twist my arm!" Of course I wanted to help move her mob of sheep! And Bella was the dog of choice.....mostly because I wanted to see what Bella would do with that many sheep!
Lana's husband, Marty...pulled the sheep out of the pasture at their house and we started them in the direction they were to go....a couple miles down the road....but these sheep had other things on their mind and ran across the road into some alfalfa.
First order of business....get them back on the road.
In addition to working 600+ sheep....it was a new experience for Bella to be working for me....while other folks were working their own dogs. At first, Bella thought it might be cool to be Lana's dog....and as Marty came by....she wanted to work for him too! Soon enough she figured out that I was the one using verbal commands and that perchance those whistles were not being used for her benefit. She settled in and started to push.
Just as the ewes and lambs would get going down the road.....one of the leader ewes would decide to dart into the next open field...and away the flock would follow.
We finally made it to the big open field the mob needed to cross to get to their new grazing field.....so the dogs were able to slow down the pace a little and I got to enjoy the whole experience without worrying I was not holding up my side.
And finally, the sheep were in a fresh field of alfalfa.....and were back to doing what sheep love to do the most.....eat.
That'll do...dogs....that'll do.
Every time I go down south....my visit is filled with wonder and excitement. No two times have been the same.....generally things don't go exactly as planned....but that adds to the adventure of discovering what each day might bring to my book of life. I appreciate the fact that as I worked Bella in this new situation, Lana, Marty and Geri were supportive in letting the two of us sort it out. Lana giving words of encouragement to let Bella work and not worry...because she was doing a fine job.
What an absolutely perfect way to celebrate the beginning of another year of living the dream.
Okay..I did it! I inserted 7 CIDR plugs into 7 of my coop coop/blue face ewes today. It's so easy to do.....I'll pull them out on Sunday and put Hoosier in with the girls. I'll need to paint his chest so I can tell who gets bred which day. Wow am I glad CIDRs are readily available now....fingers crossed this turns out to be a plus when it comes to spring lambing. It would be so nice to have all the lambs here in a timely fashion! And even if all 7 ewes lamb the very same day, my barn can hold 6 jugs so it is doable!
You have all probably figured out that my computer is going strong again! I got a new wireless receiver that gently takes all the router power from the whole house! I'm loving it! And my new computer gets along with blogger so I can post pictures...I am excited to finish a few posts that I was working on two weeks ago...when my faithful computer bit the dust.
I had a birthday at the end of August.....part of my celebration of life was to go to South Dakota. I was just a tad disappointed when those plans fell through...and very grateful for good friends that would not let me create a pity party for myself. Nope, they invited me to a sheep party of sorts...and I could do nothing but go. My birthday morning dawned with the promise of hot temperatures....so we all got up early and Lana and Geri hauled sheep to the neighboring park...aka dry land cow field that is so huge a girl could either get lost or do huge outruns with her dog!
Lana volunteered to set and took the trailer full of sheep up to the top of the field....a short 650 yards away!
I had decided that Nell was ready to move to open.....and wanted to see how she would handle this big of a gather. Nell seemed to have no doubt that she could nail it...."come on...send me already!"
I decided to send left...
I love this picture as she headed out leaving behind jet stream in the still quiet of the early morning.....
And as she reached the top.........
it is so cool to see her sort it out.....all by herself.........because I was way back at the beginning and could not help her. Here she seemed to pull up a bit short...... I was caught a little by surprise as Nell generally overruns her top ends.
But she quickly read the error in her ways and went to the heads of the sheep to cover.....
and brought them handily on a nice fetch.
A big thanks to my personal, traveling photographer....Geri! This was a great beginning to a fabulous day.....
Can't get that Police song outta my head today....as I plan my synchronized breeding attempt for my 2011 lambing. Yes, that is right...I am attempting to induce standing heat in my ewes.....trying to reduce the 5+ visits a day to the ranch...week after week in 2010!
Tomorrow, I am using the EAZI-BREED CIDR device that they say will provide an "effective method for both synchronising and inducing oestrus in production animals". Insert the CIDR.....hopefully that will go well....remove in 5 days....sheep will be in standing heat in 1-3 days....so the ram goes in on Sunday! I'm using 7 woolly ewes as my test group.....then in a another of week or so, I will repeat with my hair ewes looking at breeding 10 of those. I will attempt to stagger them 5 & 5. I am very hopeful that this will work.....A.I. programs have been doing this for year. I'll let you know how it turns out.......
"Many miles away
There's a shadow on the door
Of a cottage on the shore
Of a dark Scottish lake"
Yesterday my thoughts were drawn into a deeper, more thoughtful look at life...probably from all the tribute to 9/11 music videos I watch yesterday. My whole family remembered exactly where each of us was 9 years ago....Dave and I were in France and the kids were with friends here local so they could go to school. Needless to say...our trip was much longer than anticipated when international flights were not allowed. That plus celebrating my husband's birthday.....talking about the Friday night football game with my younger son at dinner....and dreaming of the college pitching possibilities with my older son! How GREAT it is to live in America....where we are truly free. We have freedom of speech, freedom to worship our creator, freedom to disagree with our government without risk of imprisonment, freedom to pursue our dreams!
I don't think women in Iran have the freedom to do this:
I wonder if the women in the Congo would have the freedom, let alone feel safe enough to go to this:
Remembering the tragic events that unfolded on September 11, 2001 always brings me to appreciate all I have and all I continue to support and fight for: the freedoms we experience living in America. But it also forces me to face that one fact: my life will end....and I certainly don't know the day. Am I living every day like it could be my last? Have I told those in my life how much I love them? Have I pursued excellence in all aspects of my life, not settling for mediocrity or dysfunction? Am I giving a little bit more than I take? Those are thoughts that can never be evaluated enough!
Today...Meeker finishes up with the double lift final How very awesome to see Tommy Wilson and Sly in the mix yet again. He is a great guy and I have a relative to Sly in my pack! Oregon local, Karen Child made it to the final day. As did one of my favorite dogs....Buzz...bred, trained and handled by Suzy Applegate. Today's scores can be found here:
Yesterday, my shearer, Jenny, came out and we took the woolly coats from 5 lambs. Two Shetlands, Sam the Ram, and two whethers that are 3/4 blueface and 1/4 coop. Talk about BEAUTIFUL wool!!!
Sam the Ram......look at that luster!
I have since re-evaluated my breeding program for this year because the fleeces of the 'sons of Hoosier' were about as good as it gets at Rocking Dog Ranch. So next week....I will begin the process of flushing and picking the ewes to be breed to Hoosier. Sam is going in with the Shetland ewes. And Imur the hair ram will have 8 or so girls to call his own. I am also trying to synchronise my breeding this year......trying to get lambing done in a couple of weeks instead of the never ending lambing season of 2010!
So have you seen the scores from Meeker.....woozier! So many things play into a good run: the difficulty of the sheep, the terrain, the course time.....certainly makes Meeker one to measure a good team by! Best of luck to those who run today....and for those who make the semi-finals tomorrow. Those in charge are doing a splendid job of keeping the scores updated....check it out here
Meeker is the next top sheepdog trial as western folks and central folks work their way to the USBCHA Finals. Noted for its tough terrain and crafty sheep....it is certainly not a trial for the faint of heart! Where Soldier Hollow is an "invitational", folks being invited by winning certain trials around America or being a top world handler....like Mr. Basson from South Africa; Meeker is an open trial....handlers get in by the postmark on the envelope on their entry form!
I'm not so sure the webmaster for the Meeker trial is going to post scores....maybe on the last day hopefully. This will definitely put a damper on my attending the sheepdog trial vicariously through the Internet! So far here is what I know...thanks to Elizabeth Baker who is posting some of Facebook. Haley Howard is the Judge. They are running on lambs....and the course time is 11 minutes!
Check out their website and learn more about the trial,handlers, and dogs
Today is the final day at Soldier Hollow......the sheepdog trial I have been following from afar! It's the double lift day and the top five teams from the past three days are running....making for some great competition.
Patrick Shannahan has been one of my mentors since I started my journey of training and trialing sheepdogs. He runs last..which might be a great time of day for the sheep. It will certainly keep folks on the edge of their seats or refreshing their computers until the very end. Tommy Wilson and Sly are a team I always watch real close.....Sly is my Bella's half+sister. When Sly runs well, I feel great hope for what Bella might become. Lavone Calzacorta is from Idaho making him a "local" so to speak. He is one of the folks who puts on Big Willow and it has been fun getting to know him this year. Suzy Applegate...from the Northern California area....has two dogs in, including one of my all time favorite dogs to watch.......the 2008 Nursery Champion, Buzz. Then there is Wilda Bahr who is from Southern California and is one of the USBCHA District 1 reps. It is really hard to pick just one team to call "favorite"! Good luck Everybody!!!!
Over the past few days, I have been thinking about these highly competitive trails that lead up to the Mother Trial....the USBCHA National Finals. I've heard that Soldier Hollow...and Meeker....are some of the toughest trials here in the West. From all the blogging accounts I have read, Scott Glen and Don put down a real nice run....but the score did not get them to the double lift final. It was interesting reading Jenny's thoughts on this coupled with something Scott had mentioned in passing...that Don had never been on tough fine-wooled range ewes before and this trial would be a learning lesson. The Glen's "sportsmanship" presented amidst a disappointment is something I am hoping to take to heart and learn from.
While attending the Scott Glen handling clinic at Fido's farm a few weeks ago, Scott had us participants run a "mock trial". I drew up first....which was a great opportunity for me to feel what that is like! Nell ran really nice and we put down a respectable run....however, I had a handler error at the pen that cost me some points...and though we got the lambs in....those points might have been what I needed at another trial to get into the final day. As I sat there reflecting on how I could have handled my run different....Scott said to me something like this: "Lora, that was a real nice run......be good with that.... and know that if somebody beats you....they had a better run. But if you let yourself obsess about what you could have done different....you take away from the run you did." Okay...it was something like that...not word for word and with a Canadian accent for sure....but I got what he was saying to me. I did the best I could with what I had on that day with those sheep.....I can not change it after the fact.....and obsessing takes away from the joy of watching other dogs do amazing work....and certainly will keep me from learning and becoming better at the end of the day. Same song...next verse...a good run does not make me a good person or have a good day any more than a bad run makes me a bad person or have a bad day. Oh the lessons of sportsmanship!
Soldier Hollow has started...off to check scores....then on to work my dogs getting ready for some fabulous October trials!
That is right......some handlers still have today to put down a run to get them to the Double Lift tomorrow at Soldier Hollow! So far, judging by the scores....it certainly does not look like the sheep are getting any easier. Here is another blog that has great in depth information about runs and the happenings at the trial:
Yesterday, I went to a friend's local place to work my girls. He was teaching a class on "how to set sheep at a trial" and I was the gather girl! That ended up being a lot of fun! Each girl got 4 500 yard outruns.....Bella's were a little shorter and I ran up closer to give help at the top. Today, I think we will work around the ranch....getting ready for winter.
I know I sure am! Watching and refreshing that Soldier Hollow Classic Sheepdog Trial Web Page. And hats off to them...so far they are doing a great job of keeping it updated. Today, I am looking forward to seeing how Scott Glen and Don do...as well as Candy Kennedy and Moss...and, well there are so many great handlers and friends running.....I just want to see them all!
A couple of blog sites are giving detailed behind the scenes descriptions of specific runs as well as the trial itself. Check out:
SHEEPDOG NEWS These updates are coming from Bev Lambert and on occasion Amanda Milliken
ALTAPETE TRIAL BLOG is being updated by a very honest Jenny Glen. I hope Hemp and her put one down today!
I chatted with Dave Imas from Lead Me On Training and he will be posting some actual footage from the trial.....hopefully today!
I'm working on the possibility of having a guest blogger in the coming days.......he is judging a trial and then working his way on to Meeker.......
Well back to the trial to check scores and then on to work my dogs...dreaming of the day I will be running at the
I know the day will come when I am footloose and fancy free........where the responsibility to stay home is sadly on to college and the road traveled more by the top handler opens up for me to go watch. In the mean time, I will celebrate the Internet and rely on those who have committed to keeping it updated.
Follow along with me....as I visualize what those numbers might have produced on the field:
Okay...I am struggling here. I don't know if it is Blogger and their new improved changes, Internet Explorer 8 being installed on accident, or the new security program....but I CAN'T post pictures to my blog! And well, blogging without pictures is like life without chocolate.....and I am experiencing that as well! So if I can't have chocolate...at least I want pictures...... the computer guy is coming today to see if he can help sort me out.
In the mean time, being forced to picture-less posting.......I am going to put a few more of my musings here from the Scott G clinic, LaCamas and Colliding River....iced with a much appreciated post-clinic wrap up counseling session.
The clinic and the two trials after...were all run on lambs. Different types of running lambs for sure.....but still lambs. And those lambs showed me a magnified view of some training I am lacking.....that plus experience lacking for both the dog and myself....but I think the experience would have been lacking less if my training were more accurate. The "push" in training is something I am wrapping my mind around.....all the nuances of this and how it affects the sheep. Where I let my dogs hang while working sheep seems to be something for me to look at....in addition to how they are hanging in that point. But training aside, there are some aspects that I have NOT put enough thought into...yes, me the over-thinker!
Here is the question this is paving my path for my fall training.....why is it that handler after handler, including myself at this point, puts down runs where it feels like it is crisis management....and then somebody like Alasdair, or Patrick, or Scott puts down a smoker!? I wondered if it were time of day at LaCamas....as team after team including top hands retired. And then Alasdair walked to the post and puts down magic. So "time of day", "group of poor sheep", "terrain" and the plethora of other one-liners are all just really top end excuses for not getting the job done at the end of the day. Thanks to Dave Imas at Lead Me On Training I have watched Alasdair's run at LaCamas so many times I might be banned from this site, but this run really is the perfect example of all the ideas that have been running through my head being applied during a run!
Having never been "there" before, here is what will be paving my path for fall training
1) KNOW the sheep. Study the sheep....learn what different sheep behave like. Hair sheep, wool sheep, different breeds of wool sheep, lambs, ewes, well, you get it. Instead of just training my dog at the different places I go, I really want to start disciplining myself to study sheep behavior.
2) ANTICIPATE Be able to take the sheep knowledge and apply it to anticipate what is going to happen next. I think Scott says "be proactive instead of reactive". Being reactive leaves one just a heartbeat late....and maybe that is one aspect to my runs that feel like crisis management. In regards to this....knowing what the terrain and draws will do to the sheep is another twist to anticipation and knowing the sheep. Then not over anticipating if it is not going to happen.....more like "what is, and was, and is to come".
3) KNOW what the dog will do and how the sheep will react to that.
4) TRAIN train train for bells and whistles. If I need them, I have them.
My second go at LaCamas needed a' bell and whistle' combined with knowing how the sheep would respond to what my dog did. ......at the top, one little lamb was giving Sally a hard time. She would go over to cover it and the lamb would go back to the group a few times but never took her serious. I needed her to cover and then walk into that lamb to make it a believer...before she counter-flanked to bring them on the fetch. I also needed to anticipate what was going to happen better....and read those lambs a little better. I, like Sally, thought we had it!
I'm cleaning all the sheep shelters this week.....that gives me lots of time for more thinking. Frightening....I know...so here's to hoping my computer guy gets my blogger picture loading fixed!