Thursday, March 26, 2009

Sheep Sheep and More Sheep

The past few days have been very busy. I have been honoring my commitment to work Beth every day. Today I bit the bullet and brought all four dogs with me to Fido's.

Ranger: I tried Ranger on sheep again. The sheep still think Ranger is their buddy. He dove in for a couple drive by howdy's, then dashed off to distract the poor Aussie in the next pen over. He ate a lot of sheep poop, tinkled some, thatched a bit, said howdy to the sheep again, then he was pretty much done.

Bonnie: I worked the Bonster for the second time this week. She has A LOT of drive. She is showing a tendency to be a bit grippy. Chris worked with me quite a bit today. Our mission is now to develop our 'relationship'. Chris said Bonnie is still challenging me and my authority. Which is pretty clear ... so we are changing tactics. Bonnie has earned the right to approach sheep, but only on a long line. We will be going into the pen and following the sheep, approaching from the side, from the front etc. If Bonnie lunges at them we back off and try again. We are working on learning to read sheep behavior. By the second trip back into the pen today I think Bonnie was starting to see that she can move the sheep with just her 'eye'. The lunging seems to be stopping - she started circling around behind them. It is pretty cool to see this process. I can't wait to go back tomorrow.

Beth: I am so proud of Beth. I have been doing the things Scott showed me. One example - When I lay her down I am immediately giving her a flank so she doesn't have time to worry, or think/second guess me. We are moving around the field at a pretty good clip. Then I break it up and send her on a longer outrun - WOW her speed is really picking up. She is showing so much more confidence it is amazing. I think my relationship is improving and maybe I am telegraphing more confidence to her. She is approaching the sheep so boldly now. Today it was darn near impossible to get her out of the field. She didn't want to leave the sheep. I actually had to leash her to get her to leave.

Daisy: WOW WOW WOW! I think I may have my first failed foster. Daisy is AMAZING! (I will try and get some video tomorrow). We tested Daisy on sheep today. For only six months old, she showed a tremendous amount of talent. She seems to have the eye of a border collie with more of the upright approach of an Aussie. She responded nicely to pressure & to the flag, she circled beautifully (once she figured out that was what was expected), she isn't afraid to get in close to turn the sheep or go head to head without any signs of gripping. She remained engaged during her entire session & left wanting more (I had to drag her out of the pen). She will make a splendid farm hand or trial dog someday with the right training. Chris didn't realize how old she was and worked her like an adult dog - she was stunned to find out she was only 6 months old. Daisy is fitting so well into our pack and I just adore her - I don't know how I will be able to stay goodbye to her. I am going to require she go to a working home (if she leaves at all). Who knows - maybe we will finally be back at BCxFour permanently.

I am going back to Fido's tomorrow and Saturday. Sunday is a Fun Trial we are going to watch for a bit, then pop into Fido's so John can see the progress Beth is making.

This entire week...errr...month has been dedicated to dogs. At some point I need to clean my house. I felt something touching my foot under the dining room table this evening when we were eating dinner. I looked down and saw my foot was engulfed to the ankle by the largest 'dog-hair dust bunny' I have ever seen. I was too tired to care.


Laura said...

I'm so glad to hear you're having a good week with Beth (and Bonnie and Daisy, too)! It sounds like what you learned at the clinic has been helpful in reframing your approach and Beth is responding well. Hooray!

Oh, and I totally think Daisy has found her forever home ;-)

Nibbles Treats said...

We loved reading your post and the progress you have made. Your hard work is paying off.

Tinkerbell, Oscar and Tucker