Monday, June 8, 2009

Sheep Time!

Some sad news: John's mother passed away on Friday, her 85th birthday. She slipped peacefully away surrounded by her children & family. Services & internment are scheduled for Friday June 12, 2009 at Mt Olivet Cemetery in Renton, WA.

Saturday we needed to get out of the house and get our minds off things. The sweltering temperatures have fallen back down to reasonable Pacific Northwest standards and we were able to enjoy a comfortable, albeit drizzly morning at Fido's.

First up - Bonnie. We have been working on building Bonnie's enthusiasm for the sheep. I think it has been successful. Bonnie knew when we were getting close to Fido's and started yipping, whining and pacing. Pulling into the barn yard I thought she was going to explode from sheer joy. When we unloaded the dogs she was yanking on her leash to get down to the sheep. It was like walking a cat on a rope...

Enthusiasm - not a problem!

Bonnie is working in a bigger field now with spicier sheep (Puppy sheep BE GONE! Poof!). She starts in a flurry but settles down into a nice steady pace.

She has been keeping a nice distance and learning how to hold back a bit.

The darting in and slicing to grip has subsided. Now we can see her thinking and considering her options.

She isn't hesitating to go between the sheep and fence & is consistently coming into balance.

She is making good choices and is learning how to feel her sheep.

She needs time to continue building confidence & that will come with exposure and practice.

Bonnie is taking lie downs well and listening like she should. She is still pushing the sheep a bit too hard at times but is figuring out that I will lie her down when she is running them past me.

Chris, our instructor was very pleased with Bonnie. I am so proud of her.

Now for Beth. Wow, what can I say? She is working beautifully. Saturday we had some challenges with the horrible sheep we got. A bunch of stupid 2 yr old culled ewes. Every time I sent Beth on an outrun she would make it to either 3 or 9 and the damn sheep started to run right at me.

I chose to stop working any distance & concentrated on close up work & driving.

Beth is challenging me on her lie downs again. So we did "stop, drop and go" over and over again until she got it through her head she needed to lie down the FIRST time I said it instead of the 3rd or 4th. I think she panics in the tall grass and when she lies down she loses sight of her sheep - regardless she needs to drop when I say it, tall grass or not. *sigh* Does this challenging ever stop?

Once I was getting a nice lie down on her we started working on driving again. Getting the sheep to go in a straight line... is freaking HARD

Beth loves driving. !

Confidence isn't an issue & she is moving futher and further ahead without looking back at me constantly for guidance.

I think she is terrific.

Last but not least BRYNN!

I couldn't help myself. It has been a month since Brynn's last teaser on sheep. This time...we put a drag line on her so I could catch her.

Brynn has a bit of an attitude with the sheep, she also has a VERY strong eye and is showing signs of getting stuck. I won't be putting her back on sheep again for a while because I don't want this stickiness ingrained.

Brynn has oodles of confidence. From the minute she sees the sheep her tail is down. It is serious work to her already.

One sheep today was giving her the business. See her standing off to the side in this next picture?

She wasn't going to move. So started the stare down. Brynn stares at her, she stares at Brynn.

Brynn says "Oh no you didn't....You didn't just stamp your foot at me... Stupid woolie"

"Listen sheepy, you are gonna MOVE when I say MOVE!"

"You stare at me, I stare at you...but I will get CLOSER and CLOSER to you while I stare...uhoh...I am stuck in the stare....what now???"



"Don't you give me any gruff either....stupid woolie"

"You go where I say!"

"Got Sheep?"


sheepkelpie said...

Great pics!!! That last pic of Brynn looks like she is smugly winking- love it ;) Should say, "go ahead, make my day".

She looks nice on the sheep- they all do!

Life With Dogs said...

Wow do I love this post! Our two Borders never truly worked, so I am always awed to see them in action. And Brynn is on fire! I guess there is no doubting if she has the drive. :)

Raising Addie said...

We are very sorry for your loss. Our thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.

OMD that last picture of Brynn is GORGEOUS!!! She sure does LOVE those sheep!

Good job girls!!!

Chasing my tale...
Addie, Lucie, and Hailey

StellaStar said...

So sorry for your loss.

Looks like you (and the dogs) are doing a great job with those sheeps! I just keep thinking of "Babe"...bah, ram, ewe, sheep be true" (heh heh)

Go Brynn, sportin' the 'tude!

Southbay Girl said...

Mommy and I loved looking at the pictures of all of you guys with the sheep! I think I get to see sheep this weekend! I have my started title-but the next step is hard for me-driving the sheep away from mommy! And we're sill working on my outruns as well! In true cattle dog style, I get really close at around 10 or 2! Mom and I are working on it but I want to get in their tight so badly!!!



Ann said...

Great news about Bonnie!!

Love that last photo of Brynn.

Pat A said...

They all look good and like they are having a great time.

Emma Rose said...

We are sorry to hear of your loss.

The pictures are great. We had a good chuckle at Brynn. It's such fun to watch her grow and learn.

Paws on the Run said...

Sorry for your loss.

Great pictures and stories. I love your new header picture too!

Paula said...

Dang, I love that little Brynn!

I'm sorry to hear about your Mother In Law. :(

Doodles said...

Hi , So sorry to hear the sad news about your Mother in Law, my thoughts are with you and your family.

Your dogs working the sheep are adorable I have a border Collie who we rescued and was from working stock , When i first got Ben he was like a wild animal , Untamed and very unsure of us , Not a pleasure to own and at times during the first 6 months i thought we would have to give up on him. Previously to my ben i had a cross collie who was 6 when she died after a three month long battle. Ben came into our family by accident only 6 weeks after losing our little girl so i think both myself and my husband had still been raw and had forgotton the work pups could give. However that being said Ben was not a nice nor easy puppy to love i still have scars to prove it *Giggles* but i am glad that we kept trying with him. We both love ben very much and he is now becoming a beautiful young dog full of love.
We love his endless energy and his stuborn streak. He has a great personality and sometimes he still tries to be boss but on the whole we have a balance and he is sure a joy to have. We both feel very blessed to have been able to turn a frightened , wild animal into the loving pet we now have.

Ben's mum was 15 yrs old, He had a brother which apparently died as ben was a demanding pup on the mum and he had to be taken away from her at 3 weeks old , the charity we bought ben from said he liked cuddles , this was not the case we believe Ben spent at least 2 weeks locked in a cage till we took him home at only 5 weeks old. I have pictures of my fur baby on my blog.

Laura Carson said...

I'm so sorry to hear about your Mother-In-Law's passing. You all will be in my thoughts and prayers.

That pup... zOMG adorable! What a cute face, too. Glad to hear Bonnie's coming along!

Greenhill Farm said...

Cull ewes are thw worst! So stubborn! Well done Brynn for moving them anyway - she's barver than Sheila at staring challenges!