Saturday and Sunday were the trials at Purina. I only went to watch for a short time Saturday, then went Sunday in hopes of getting a run. I didn't send my entries early, then when I heard it was full I wasn't sure I was even going to be down here.
The quality of dogs and handlers was very high. The stock was also good, which made for some very high scores. Sunday in the am trial the top three advanced dogs on ducks were 125, 125 and 125. I've never heard of that happening before. It was a real pleasure to watch and was the same kind of fun I get from going to watch the stockdog finals. I love to watch good teamwork. Hank did get a run in the afternoon on ducks and sheep, and he did pretty well but not enough to be in the ribbons.
The sheep were tricky to pen as usual. Hank did not remember "out" in spite of having worked on it for the last 5 or so years. (Did you ever get the feeling you were beating your head against a wall? I do.) Even the dogs who had a good out had a hard time with the pen because the arena size limits how far they could go. There seemed to be two strategies that worked on the pen. One, let the sheep settle after they exit panel 2 then send the dog "go bye" to the back fence, putting on no pressure back there, then open the gate quick as the dog comes around and catches the heads. If done perfectly the sheep would walk right in. A big "if" , especially for Hank, who does not do no pressure well. The other way was to position the dog behind the pen, way behind, and having him turn down pressure until the sheep sucked toward him.
Hank and I fiddled with it until the judge called "3 minutes" then I gave up and put them away. Hank still scored a 110, which I though was pretty good.
His duck run was ok, he got a 107 and got them in the pen on the second attempt. He would have had them in there the first time if he had stopped where I told him because they were nicely lined up.