Friday, April 16, 2010

Working, Working, Working

The girls are together again!

They have been getting along well.  Brynn and Bonnie are joined at my hip.  Beth has been keeping to herself and hanging out with Ranger & John.  No snarking at each other, thankfully.

Ranger's nose has been a little bent out of shape, but he will get over it soon.  I think it is because he is no longer the center of attention - and he has to share my lap again. 

Ranger wants Brynn to go back to Idaho. 

Get over it Ranger.  Things will settle down soon.  

I made a commitment to work the dogs at least five times this week and have almost reached my goal.   Last Friday and Saturday we had lessons with Dianne at Brigands right after we picked the girls up.

Last Sunday on the way home from Brigand's we stopped at Cindy's house to see the new puppy.  While we were there Cindy had me run the ewes through the foot bath chute several times.

It was a big challenge.  Brynn has never worked anywhere with fences & she is just learning how to work for me.

Me, the huge ignoramus.  Needless to say Brynn did wonderful, handicapped by down right sucky direction.  I saw this was an area we needed to work on in the future, after we work on our working relationship a smidgen.

I asked a bit too much of Brynn I think - still she did pretty darn awesome in my book.  Although some of the sheep did not agree.  (sorry about this picture - it is pretty blurry- but you get the idea - Brynn started griping from the pressure)

Monday afternoon John and I went to Fido's.  John worked Beth and they look incredible!  Beth is a driving fool.  They make such an awesome team.

I have to admit that I miss working Beth...a lot.

Who wouldn't miss this goofy face?

Tuesday I had my lesson at Sue MacDonalds place.  I am not sure what happened to Bonnie...perhaps aliens switched her out and gave me a real sheep dog?    Sue and I discussed it and decided to give Bonnie one last try, if things didn't look better we were going to hang it up and retire Bonnie from sheep permanently.

She surprised us.   Needless to say, Bonnie is not going to be quitting sheep this week.  It was like a huge light-bulb turned on in her brain.  She was listening to me, laying down when asked.  Keeping a decent distance from the sheep and other things that made me smile.  Sue smiled too.  I think somewhere the sheep God was smiling too.  All is well in Bonnie world.

I also worked Brynn with Sue.  Brynn handled it quite nicely.  We shortened things up a bit and worked on some basics so I could reach Brynn and keep her from getting the sheep when she didn't listen.  Brynn is a lot of dog - considerably over my head.  I am going to have to learn FAST to keep her from slipping backward.  I am so thankful that Dianne will be here teaching in May.

Thursday evening Bonnie passed the Canine Good Citizen test, 10 out of 10 elements - all perfect!  Next step...therapy dog.  If you could have seen Bonnie a year ago - you would be proud of her too.  This hyper reactive, disobedient little monster has mellowed into a lovely well mannered dog who can handle having a metal chair dropped next to her and still hold her stay - with me 20 ft away.  She doesn't flinch if a person crashing a noisy walker shuffles by.  She is stellar at meeting new dogs, allowing strangers to lift her feet or look in her mouth.  I am very proud of her.

It is Ranger's turn next time. He is on the Canine Good Citizen fast track too.

Today I went to Fido's and met Cindy and Judy.  Cindy and I shared a field and worked our dogs.  It was good experience for Brynn to learn how to lift sheep off another person.  We had some issues with her listening to me - which is to be expected.  She is sticky on driving, but I am learning the right combination of things to get keep her moving.

Driving is a whole new thing for me.  Remember that Beth just started driving, other than that I haven't worked a dog driving yet.  So I am learning right along with Brynn.  I am not so sure this is a good idea.

What if I screw her up?  Egads...I am so totally out of my league.

Dianne calls Brynn a hill dog.  She is fast and loves to run big.  Sometimes I stand there and watch her - enjoying the beauty.  Then forget to watch the sheep, and forget to say anything.  Oops.  At some point I hope we get past that.

I worked Bonnie on sheep again today.  I am so pleased she will hold a lie down now, and let me walk to the sheep to set up some triangle drills with her.  She is finally getting wider and deeper at the top.  She has been stopping the zippy, crazy ass speeding up and appears to be thinking more.  (knock on wood) Let's pray she keeps this progress up.

Today I worked on 'Get-Back' that Dianne taught me.  I stood up against the fence with the sheep, told Bonnie to "get back" by putting pressure on her (walking at her etc).  The minute she backed off (nose turned away from the sheep) she got the sheep, scooped them off the fence and we started all over again.  She seems to be getting it.  

Tomorrow we are going back to Fido's bright and early.  If I keep this pace up I might be able to fit into my summer clothes again by June.  Sweet.


The Thundering Herd said...

Glad to see everyone home - and you know we love to see working dogs work "their" jobs.

P.S. - I hate to guess how many times I have had my Siberian Huskies glare at me while they are in harness and I ask them to do something stupid. I think I have learned that I will never be perfect, but I do just have fun with it.

Karen said...

Gorgeous portraits of your dogs as usual!
Sounds like things are going really well. I think after you are asleep at night, the girls are having some herding talks, and Brynn and Beth are passing on some knowledge to Bonnie:)

Emma Rose said...

Your pictures are so gorgeous! You must have framed prints all over your house now. I ordered 11x14 prints at Costco online and framed them. (Prints were really inexpensive) I am slowly replacing family portraits with DOG portraits! LOL
Your story gives me hope that someday Higgins will grow out of being a "teenager" and become a wonderful companion. We really miss our herding lessons :(

Keep up the good work and keep posting those awesome photos!


Bandit's Pack said...

I hope you've gotten yourself one of those portfolio carriers that artists carry around. You ought to be starting up your own photo business, definitely, or working for someone in that line of business.

Pat A said...

Sounds like a total fun week. I think I would go crazy trying to learn myself and train 3 dogs at the same time.

susan said...

What a great report.

Love the photo of you and Dianne.

Are you coming to Idaho for Dianne and Patrick's handling clinic?

Paws on the Run said...

Sounds like everyone is doing just great! Absolutely stunning photos. I can tell you are enjoying your camera still. :)

Monique said...

Must have just missed you at Fido's! I was there this morning with my Lucy.

BCxFour said...

Monique - we got there at around 11 this morning and left at 3:30. Sorry to have missed you!

Monique said...

LOL - I left around 11:15 but was giving Lu a bath in the barn!