It was an interesting week. Unfortunately, it is a week I am not sad to see go.
My poor husband is a brave man. He patiently listened to me cry every night. Complaining about the heat, the frustration, the pain of not knowing what I was doing wrong.
I tried to keep positive, every morning when I got up I tried to focus on all the positive things we were going to do and learn. But every day that passed I found I struggled to go...
I learned many things this last week.
Many things about my dogs, handling and livestock.
Many things about myself that make me sad.
Many things about other people which make me very sad.
I learned an amazing amount of information about livestock handling and behavior. That alone makes the week worth it.
I learned that Chris Soderstrom & Elsie Rhodes are fantastic instructors and just plain neat people.
I learned that I have grown in my appreciation for Karen Child. I think she is absolutely amazing. I admire her ability to instruct to every person, dog and skill level. She is also a truly nice person.
I have learned if frustrated or upset not only will I telegraph those feelings to my dog through my voice and my body language but ALSO the livestock. If you are upset, your dog is upset and your livestock is upset. For example: if you are yelling at your dog you are also yelling at the livestock and it makes everything icky.
I learned the importance of approaching every training session with a plan.
I learned about inside flanks, outside flanks, driving, gates, chutes, alleys. How to handle lambs differently than ewes.
I learned that if you are laying on the ground in a flock of 50 ewes and screaming - no one can hear you.
I learned that I never want to be a handler that micromanages everything. If you micromanage your dog's every move & action you do not give your dog an opportunity to think for themselves. You can try to micromanage your dog, but you cannot micromanage your livestock, and more often than not sheep are not going to fit into your plan.
I saw people this last week who micromanaged every single thing their dogs did. Micromanage them into nervous wrecks.
I never want to be that person.
I learned I never want to do something like this again.
I learned that a group of 20 women in 100+ degree heat are not fun to be around.
I learned that Bonnie will give me lie downs consistently when I am not freaked out, stressed out, grumpy, anxious and upset.
I learned that Beth doesn't want to be in the same field with me when I am freaked out, stressed out, grumpy, anxious and upset.
I learned that my deodorant does not function well in 100+ degree heat. Neither does anyone elses.
I learned that not all people treat their dogs like family members, rather like tools or extensions of their own ego.
I learned that many people only want to talk about their dog's pedigree and when they learn you have rescue's...then *poof* you are dismissed.
I learned that being nice and letting others go in front of you gets you screwed in a clinic situation unless the instructor watches the clock.
I learned that there are always the people who have to go first then monopolize the entire session for themselves and don't care that the person who was nice is getting screwed out of their time.
I learned at this sheep camp you will only work your dog 30 minutes a day. That is all. The rest of the time you get to sit in the blazing heat and worry about your other dogs locked in a horse stall all day long.
I learned that if you are assigned sheep chores, the members of your team will go out and start doing all the chores without telling you, just so they can work their dogs more - then have the audacity to be upset with you for not helping.
I learned that some people are still in high school and never left. I never was part of the 'in' group in high school. I hated high school and don't want to revisit the game playing and psychological warfare.
I dislike people who have 'inside jokes' and 'you had to be there' stories.
I learned that I can be difficult, grumpy and bitchy too and I am sure there is a very good reason why the last day no one wanted to talk to me. Heck I was afraid of me too.
There is a reason why I am a 'dog' person. I find that I get along with dogs much better than I do with most people.
Dogs are honest, pure, do not lie or talk behind your back.
I read in in a Jon Katz's book that he found a great many 'dog people' are emotionally damaged. I am sure that is the case with me.
I didn't do a very good job of keeping my head in a positive space did I?
4 days ago