Saturday, June 10, 2017

Want to Start Trialing Again

I finally have decided that I want to trial again.  It has been years.   I think there will be money for it finally, as long as I don't go overboard, and the kids are old enough that they are more independent and don't need a parent at home every minute.

It has been so long that I'm more nervous about starting up than I ever was about trialing in the first place. I need to get over all that and just do it.  First of all, I'm looking at some other places where I can work my dogs just to get my feet wet again with different sheep.  If it goes well, I'll have a confidence boost. If it doesn't, I'll see where my training needs improvement.  

Pepper is the chosen dog, though I might trial Sprite some more in advanced also.  Sprite is lacking only 2 advanced cattle legs for a WTCH.   Pepper has never been to a trial at all.

To get ready, I have made the commitment to work Pepper every. single. day.  Regardless of weather or how I'm feeling, we are going to get out there and do a little something.  Or a lot of work, depending various factors.    

Pepper knows all the commands, her big issue is that if she gets a little too excited things go all to hell very quickly and herding turns to chasing.  Taking sheep off a fence line when I'm far away is one of her big bugaboos. She can do it just fine when I'm closer, so we need to work on that distance.  Letting sheep go through a gate and "escape" is another situation in which it is hard for her to be obedient, so we are going to be doing a lot of take pen/re-pens.    I figure this is something that a LOT of work, good work, not sloppy stuff, can fix because she will gain obedience and confidence in my follow through and in her ability to control the sheep correctly. 

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

An 'A Plus' For Ben

I wanted to sort off the ewe with the older lambs today, to put her out with the rest of the flock, but keep the one pregnant ewe and the ewe with the one week old baby inside the barn still, in case we get more bad weather. 

I planned out a strategy using a small pen, two gates and Ben and it worked perfectly the first time! 

How many times does that happen?  Barely ever, and certainly never when anyone is watching.  No one was watching us today, so that is probably why. 

 It worked even though one ewe charged Ben right away when we walked into the small pen.  He nipped her in return, and then she behaved.  

The pregnant ewe went back in the stall, I changed the gates, the ewe with the older lambs went out into the field, I changed the gates back, and the ewe with the tiny baby went into the stall.   

All done!  

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Spring and Lambs!

We're having a pretty day today, so I took the ewes and lambs, who have been living in the barn, outside into a small pen to get some sun and grass, well, dry weeds, for the day.  They were not going to move at all for me, so I used Tessa (on a line, she's never done this before) to put them out and Ben to bring them back into the stall in the evening.

I took some pictures of the second time I moved them.
Ben did a great job.  He really knows pressure. 

The moms with the older lambs or not lambed yet ran right in to the barn first.

One day old Peanut is not so fast.

This is the closest Ben got to them, giving her plenty of time to feel safe enough to turn her back.

She's thinking about going in the barn with the other sheep.

Baby Peanut, unconcerned about me or the dog, is interested in this rock.

Wow, this rock is really cool.

Ben waits patiently beside me. 

Mom checks out baby again.

She feels safe enough to walk away.

Baby follows.

Checking out the dog again because we have moved up.

Now they are back in the stall.  One of the other ewes peeks out.