Sunday, February 15, 2009

Lost Sheep - Part Two

Saturday we had another lesson with Chris. Since John didn't have to work he wanted to come along. We previously made the decision that I was going to work Beth the next several months due to his upcoming overtime schedule.

It has been a hard for him to let go. I don't blame him, he started Beth and brought her this far. Putting Beth on a training hiatus now wouldn't be fair to her. My taking Beth for now is good for Beth and also good for me. Since I have gotten up to speed with Rosie (Chris's Kelpie) I am now at a point now that I can move forward with Beth. When John can work her again he will be able to step right in with a little catching up. It is a win-win situation.

During the lesson John trailed behind Chris and me. It was a little confusing for Beth to have three people out there and a few times she just plopped her butt down in the grass and quit working.

We were working in the same field I lost the lambs in on Friday. During our lesson Chris made sure we had all six lambs. When we wrapped up our lesson she said clearly "Keep working the lambs, but if they go up to the same place they escaped yesterday - just walk away and don't try to get them out - they will eventually come back down. We haven't had a chance to get that fence fixed yet".

After the lesson and resting a bit John and I took Beth out for some more practice. I was glad to have John with me because I could use his guidance. We had a wee bit of a power struggle in the field (okay, not a 'wee' power struggle - this was of epic proportions manifesting itself in a passive/aggressive escalation of irritation).

John kept barking commands at Beth and correcting me when I was holding the stick and working her. At first I was sympathetic to how he felt (he had already admitted to me that he wished he could keep working her). I knew this was hard on him. I used mental imagery to keep calm. I fantasized about beating him over the head with the stick which helped me refrain from screaming at him to shut the h*ll up.

Soon, the lambs made their way back up to the top of the field. Dangerous territory. I turned tail and walked back to John at the gate (where I banished him) and said "I am stopping, if I put any pressure on the lambs at that gate they will escape again, like they did yesterday"

John said "Let me take Beth, I can get them out".

I said..."Not a good idea, Chris said not to".

John didn't listen...

I stayed at the bottom of the field, shaking my head and taking pictures. The chance to photograph a "I Told You So" moment doesn't come around to often.

John and Beth are walked up to the top of the field where the lambs were gathered at the gate.

Just over the hill is a small draw with a creek and a 'land-bridge' leading to the broken gate (leaving a three food gap if they push it). The other side of the gate is a field full of the ewes. The dog needs to know how to carefully get between the lambs and the broken gate and bring them down the narrow path back into the field. This is beyond Beth right now.

John is setting Beth up for an outrun down the path to the gate.

John's turn at the 'walk of shame'

They escaped

"Hey, John...are you missing some sheep?"

I made John tell Chris. Chris didn't smack John. I think she felt sorry for him since his wife was wiping tears from her eyes from laughing so hard.

On the drive home I mentioned I had excellent material for my next blog post. He said if I posted any mention of this to my blog I was going to regret it.

If you don't hear from me again - I am taking lessons from the Big Hat in the sky.


sheepkelpie said...

I think you ought to get that gate fixed, and then practice with Beth to get them out of there. Failure is not an option ;)

2halves said...

"passive/aggressive escalation of irritation"

HAHA! I totally feel like I was there!

Anonymous said...

From what I saw on Sunday you guys look good.