Sunday, January 30, 2011

Weekend work

Well I got some good work on 4 dogs this weekend.
Abby- Outruns started off badly but certainly were better, she got worked Sat and Sunday. Driving was really pretty good, did some on the fence and some in the open field. She did some nice sheds this am. Shed the group of 15 to 3 then the 3 to 1 and did some driving with the single. Really very keen and flanking off on her own pretty well, always work to be done on her desire to grab stuff when she is frustrated but overall I'm confident in her work at the moment.

Sally- Did some nice outruns, but mainly worked on the balance of the drive and flanking. She did much better taking quicker flanks and continueing the drive. I asked for a further drive, while maintaining contact with me and she did really pretty well. I used the round pen and did a couple sheds which she has not done before that I remember. Very nice job on the shed and she got down like a cutting horse to hold the ewe that she shed off. I love that! Overall pretty decent job, though still lots of work to be done before the Nationals.

Rosy- Did a pretty long outrun on the light whethers and fetched all over. Her fetching was pretty nice, some push here and there but overall rated herself pretty well. Flanks were good as long as I watched her cutting in, if she got away with it once then she was worse the next time. Very nice work for her as well though.

Dory- She got a few minutes in with sheep. She has really gotten a lot more keen since last time. Hasn't found her balance yet, she really just wants to keep covering to make sure NOTHING gets away. She won't get much work for a while but I'm going to have to get on her for going after the goats and sheep when I walk in back. I walked tonight to let sheep out and she brought all the sheep up the field in the dark with all the dogs out! Thats not really good, even though I'm happy she wants to work so badly.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Retirement sucks!!!

Well I made the very difficult decision to retire Evy from trialling this week. Still tough to think about but she is 7.5yrs old and has some mild lameness from time to time. Last weekend while working her she pulled up lame on the left rear, I still don't know what caused it. Vet thinks it is a tendon that may have pulled off but nothing was visible on the Xrays of her hips, back and leg. The chiro doesn't know either and deems her sound and ready to work. I hate to do it but we all have to do things we don't like! I had to pull her National entries and shred her local entries last night, very frustrating.
Evy is laying at my feet now sleeping. I just love all the things she taught me through the years, and the devotion that she gave. I only regret that I didn't feel enough urgency to trial her while she was younger! She is quite the dog and while she wil continue to work here at the farm; her trialling days are just over thats all.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

The real world

The real herding world is not made up of kind sheep who walk along with the handler and don't have a brain. The REAL sheep are those that have babies in a field and have to be brought in during extreme weather. Such as my two mommas that had lambs this last week/end. These have never been easy sheep to work, they are not worked by students they are only worked by me and mostly my dogs. They were broke by my dogs, and know that they should respect them WITHOUT lambs. They had to be re-educated today... We are expecting severe storms tonight and tomorrow and while sheep should survive them, our large oak in the front is old and rotting, and their shed is in poor repair. Hail and tornados are possible and every baby is important to life and this farm!
So I tried first without any dogs (grain) and that was a BIG no go! They weren't about to leave more than about 10' from the gate with or without their babies. Second I tried Sally, no go again, they had Sally wheeling. One would go after her then the other with no break, she couldn't win that WAR. So then I picked both babies up and brought Abby out to help her daughter. With me holding the lambs, the two girls had to work together first to break the sheep off the fence/gate and then to break them back to me. All in all I think the job took about 40min, the barn is 100yds from the front pasture. That is real work in the real world... The two girls worked their tails right off, no quit, no give but really had to work at it. By the time we got half way to the barn those two ewes were marching along right behind me like little soldiers! You go girls! Sally and Abby got extra scritches and plenty of time in the spa after that:-))

Monday, January 24, 2011


Here is a video of Abby working last November. So while its older at least you have a video:-)) Terrible video sorry...

Thursday, January 20, 2011


We're back to it!:=)
Sally worked on outruns and driving flanks. Still trying to find consistent balance of control and idependent work. Some of the work was great other not so much but the good work was better, so I guess thats good! The weather was pretty warm today 76, so the dogs didn't work as long as I have been with the heat.
Evy had moments of brilliance and terrible too. Outruns needed some dusting off! Breaking off her stock on the fetch wasn't crisp enough either... bit sluggish. Driving went really well though good flanks and control on reactive sheep, though sloppy Way flanks. So good stuff to work on.
Rosy was last and did really well again. She started out a little pushy but quickly gave on flanks. Her outruns were really pretty nice across the board. She does not like to break on running sheep yet, that could take a while too. She goes out nicely with just body pressure ok distance just tightens up at the same distance each time. We'll see how that goes. I also penned the light whethers with her, penning and unpenning them several times. It was great fun for her to push and then get back off of them also working on her unpenning flanks on the corner of the pen, which she does not understand or care to do. (Haven't figured out which it is yet) All in all she was again the star of the day!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Started and in between...

Well Sally and Rosy got worked today in between the storms we've been having today. Sally did a great job on the whethers. I really wanted to work on outruns, which have been really good but the sheep kept taking off when she was correct and then couldn't cover them before they made a dash for the bottom of the field, rat bastards! So we worked on driving with her and the light boys. It was great work because if she didn't square off they bolt. She figured it out pretty fast and was flanking like a pro when she knew they wouldn't escape, when they might she wouldn't take the flank. But I'll take that over lack of thought and desire to cover. I also had her work all the goats just a little driving and fetching... mainly because that is reward to her. She gets to push and heel on the goats:-))
Rosy we did outruns and fetching as well as throwing in the control and flanks she will need for started in March. She did BEAUTIFUL! Rosy is coming along so nicely she may well be the best dog since her auntie Libby. Outruns were overall very nice and she reads sheep so well you really dont' have to say much until she wants to get pushy. I didn't drive much with her just little bits here and there, we won't need that for a little while. She did have one buggery sheep that escaped on her and she gave full chase to the bottom and tried to get him back but I had to help her figure out how. All in all a good rain day here in FL
Sorry I couldn't get videos of them guys:-)) Just too wet for pics or videos today...

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Been busy... not the good kind!

Very little dog work so far this week. Rosy got just a bit Tuesday working on some driving with a student. I worked a boarder this afternoon for just a few minutes. She hasn't been here in forever and is staying for 10 days and she had a blast! Heading out to work Rosy now, starting to feel the pressure of upcoming trials. Looks like I won't be able to do both FL trials before the Nationals so will probably end up doing only the 3 day March trial.
Rosy needs miles but I'm going to work on outruns and fetching on the light FL native boys today. We'll see if I can stay on my feet and she can stay off the stock... I'll report back later...:-))

Rosy did really well. We worked on outruns and flanks. First I worked her on two sheep that are in the barn, cuz I'm lazy... It ended up really well, she stayed off nice and controlled the two sheep. Then I took her in the big field and did some bigger more difficult outruns on all the goats and sheep together. She works the goats really well but had to be reminded that ALL of them had to be worked, sheep and goats. Then after a short break and saw the sheep were seperating and called her in on them. The first couple minutes she kept looking back to the goats like " Why can't I just put them all together?" But then she was on her sheep and the whethers did what they do best try to run and act like idiots. She did a nice job covering and staying at balance to contine forward motion. Also worked in her flanking there too so I could take control as well as depend on her to hold up her end of the bargin. She did well there though got a little sloppy towards the end and wasn't covering far enough. Overall a great workout for both of us:-))

Monday, January 10, 2011

Weekend work

Abby and Sally got a little work, though no training over the weekend. I used goats for lessons so we split the sheep and put them in the barn. Goats are pretty telling of dogs and what theya re capable of as well as exploiting any holes in the dog... Also had to doctor a couple of animals so Abby brought 2 out of the front pasture to fatten a little and trim feet, Sally helped get a goat that has not been doing well into the barn.
Abby, Evy and I walked 2 miles on Sunday (as well as doing lessons...) My legs felt like jelly but I think it will be great for all of us since doing a brisk trot for 2 miles is very good for the girls and I. Getting excited about upcoming trials this Spring.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Day off...kinda

Well I'm not training dogs today but we did set sheep for Dianes last morning here, with Evy this am. Evy worked very smoothly even with sheep being stupid about Dianes dog and the cold weather. Outruns are anywhere from jawdropping gorgeous to "oh my god thats not my dog"... the story of Evy and I:-)) We took the "extras" to the barn and the two crazys tried to attack her in the barn stall, but she didn't take it personally (though the offender has a bruise on her neck). It seems I'm the only one still holding on to our two building years after the sheep got the better of a much younger Evy. That was such a big obstacle to pass, even made me cheerlead for a bit (which I don't do), as long as she will take stock pressure and push back I'm happy. I don't ever want to go back to those years! So other than feeding this evening and bringing sheep around for the lesson this afternoon, no real training. Oh forgot I have goats to treat so someone will have that job as well, maybe Abby, she needs a bath and some primping anyway for our shows this month.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Another good day

We got Sally and Rosy worked today. Using the little roundpen area we worked on outruns and drives.

Sally fetching the sheep up to our set out spot. Sally did ok, got blown up about something and took a while to recover. I need to work her other places more I think... Also balancing control for both of us on the drive. If I take any control she starts looking at me and loosing focus. If I don't then I can't control her so we have to find the right balance.

Rosy did pretty well on outruns. Way is better than Come both in flanks and outruns. So I need to work more on Come bye stuff.

Sally driving around the trees.

Rosy was a little pushy but as before she needs time and miles so overall I was happy with her.

Resolutions 2011

I've decided that keeping a herding journal is a very good idea. Helps me remember where I've been and where I need to go. I need to keep goals very close to the surface. I'm going to use this blog as a spot to specifically put a herding journal for my dogs. I can keep track of what I want to work on and hopefully see a progression in the direction I would like to go with each individual.
First Evy: A dog that needs solid, steady work; consistently! So my goals for the year are to polish her to trial and keep her working at the high level I expect from her. Improve outruns (as always), more crisp driving and keep her happy. Sounds easy!
Second Abby: Also needs some polishing for trialling this Spring. Steady her drive, actually steady all her work since she likes to move with speed and purpose but no thought. So Abby should be fun to work since she just mainly needs polish.
Third Sally: Sally needs miles of work, though the work is good, where I would hope for a 3.5yr old to be. Good outrun lenghts, get better (more proper) lifts, fetches are improving, get better distance on the drive with flanks and finally keep a consistent flank on both fetch and drive.
Fourth Rosy: Trial her in HS this Spring. Outruns need more consisitency, flanks need squaring and stops need enforcing. She is doing well though for a coming 2yr old!

Will also try to get working pics posted, for both the header and post bodies!
Here's to a new year full of working Cardigans and good solid trial runs!