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.