Sunday, February 1, 2009

Weekend at Fido's Farm

Yesterday (Saturday) since John had to work overtime Chris worked Beth & I had another session with Chris's Kelpie Rosie working on driving.

Today (Sunday) we went back to Fido's for some more practice. Since John is going to be working mandatory overtime over the next several months. I am going to be working Beth most of the time.

Chris took Beth out into the BIG field with lambs and set her up on some very long out runs with more snarky sheep. Beth is responding nicely to pressure, stopping and dropping to correct cutting in on a flank, and reliably looking back. She said Beth is doing everything perfectly, she just needs to build on her confidence - which will increase the speed.

Beth has already come so far in confidence it is amazing. That was our objective in beginning herding with her. To bring her from this....

To this...

Today when I worked Beth she challenged me a bit. I really hate to admit this (because I have been working on it for so long) but I still have a heck of a time remembering which way is "away to me" and "go-by". I kept trying to practice on the mole hills in the field - first facing it "away" and "go-by" then turning my back "away" and "go-by".

Good intentions however...still can't remember it. 'doh. Truthfully I have a hard time remembering right from left without pretending to hold a pencil in my hand.

I screwed Beth up a few times today. I need to remember the commands are based on the dog's relationship to the sheep - not mine. One time I told her to 'look back' and sent her on 'away' realized that it was actually 'go-by' and Beth turned around - looked at me in confusion and promptly laid down in the middle of the field (I think she was swearing at me in her head). She told me by stopping in her tracks that I was WRONG! It gave me a chance to correct it.

Another time I hosed a command she turned on a dime and ran in the other direction around the sheep and drove the sheep right into the fence *UGH* - she was doing what I asked - even though I was wrong AGAIN. It really drives home how dangerous this can be for the dog and the livestock - and the awesome responsibility you have on your shoulders to keep them all safe. One wrong command can seriously hurt an animal.

All the work I have been doing with Rosie (Chris's Kelpie) has paid off in technical knowledge(sorta). Now I just need to spend time in practice so it can become second nature. I shouldn't have to that 'away' or 'go-by'?

The only day John is going to be able to work Beth will be on Sundays which is also the day that Fido's has Corinne Berg teaching agility. I watched part of the agility class today and really liked what I saw. Agility at Fido's with Corinne Berg Next Sunday when John is working Beth I think I am going to take a class with Ranger.

Ranger and I are already in agility at Dogs World Training in Sumner, WA. I hope they won't have heartburn about me taking classes at Fido's too.

Mr. Happy Update: Happy saw the vet this morning too - they said he is in perfect health other than being a chunky monkey. The vet said that his missing teeth and jaw seem to be nicely healed. The vet absolutely LOVED him. She said she might know of the perfect family for him. She said she was going to call me this week. *Keep your fingers crossed for Happy*


sheepkelpie said...

Sounds great! Even the overtime thing. Money is money, and in today's economy, it's especially good. I would love to chat with Chris sometime about Kelpies. You just need to keep plugging away at working with Beth, you'll both be on the same page soon enough :) I am so happy for Happy! Sounds like a great weekend!

Sarah said...

i have a silly way of remembering "away to me" and "come by" - i use my left hand to make a "C", and I know the dog has to move around that way, i have to look at my hand a couple times each time i have a lesson :)

Dunedan said...

go beth!

(ps. you're purdy)


Raising Addie said...


We have our paws crossed for Happy!

Lots of Luv & Kisses
Addie & Lucie

Fenway said...

We can't wait for spring and our first sheep herding clinic!

Nice photos of that focus and intent stare!

Happy training,