Monday, June 20, 2011

Stop when you're ahead



We've been having fun, can you tell?

Friday was "puppy" working day.   I split the wether/ram group in half and put one heavy group in the smaller pen and one lighter group in the 1/2 acre L shaped field.   Tessa went first and was a bit distracted acting in the small pen.   She was totally focused once we moved to the other group of sheep in the larger area, though.   They were much lighter and did not want to stick with me at all so she really had to work to keep them from running off.  She did a pretty nice job, although it would have been better if she had been wider and she would not have had to work so hard.    It was a learning experience for her to settle down and settle the sheep.  

With Sally, I worked only in the smaller pen and she did really a fine job.  She could have gone on to the other group in the bigger pen as well but I was getting kind of tired out.  Not physically, but a little mentally tired and figured it would be better to stop then rather than risk me screwing up.  Stop when you're ahead!    Sally is starting to get the standing stop better out away from fences, and although she still flanks a lot she stays out and keeps the sheep from running past me.   She is really looking like she will make a fine and biddable working dog.   I practiced the walk up and out with her and she did quite well.   I can tell she'd rather go around, but she's doing the walk up confidently even with the old ram in her group.   He sometimes doesn't think he should have to move. 

I've still been trying to work Pepper for short periods each day, and there's usually not much to write about as the sessions tend to be the same.   We do a few outruns, work on fetching slowly and do a little driving with the ewes and lambs in the big field.    She is so fast, and absolutely love to run.   I bet she'd be happy if I had several hundred sheep so the running from one side to the other was actually needed.    Working  three light sheep in a trial is going to take some work and more maturing for her.   A big herd of cows would also be really good for her, but I don't have that here. 

Sprite is threatening to take over all the chore work from the older dogs.  She did a lot of the sorting and moving work for me this week, as well as practicing shedding a little bit more and a few outruns.   I just wish I could convince her the cat is not a sheep and she should just ignore him.   If he's out there she's all worried about him not being in the group of sheep.   One frustrating day, every time I gave a direction command she was orienting them all to the cat and not the sheep.   Silly dog!      Butterscotch had no comment, except "Baa, I really am a small orange sheep".  

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