Training Update

On Saturday, we sent to Salisbury for agility classes for the last time for about a month now. There’s going to be a lot going on over the next month. Next weekend is a long weekend and on Monday we are driving down to Red Creek Farm in South Carolina for a lesson on cattle. The weekend after that I am going to Sanford for a herding lesson. The weekend after that we (Wally and I) go back down to South Carolina to attend the monthly herding clinic at Red Creek. All of these trips are about three hours one way. Given that I have so much money at stake for the ASCA trial I want to spend as much time brushing up on Gel’s stock skills as I can.

We’ll go back to agility classes after the ASCA trial. Given that I have to leave around noon and do not get home until around six, going to Salisbury takes up a solid half day each Saturday.

The lessons (I take one at 2:00 with Fern and then one at 3:00 with Gel) went well. Fern eats up those lessons. She picks up on new skills incredibly fast. She played well with the other puppies after class. While she wasn’t aggressive towards them previously, she wasn’t terribly interested in playing with them. After class we went out into an adjoining field with a Sheltie puppy. Fern opened up. They were running around chasing each other having a wonderful time. At first, the Sheltie was out manoeuvring Fern, then she figured out how he turned and she was able to keep up with him. After Gel’s class we let the puppies and several of the adult dogs run around and play. When Gel is out, Fern is all about Gel. She’s quite attached to him. In fact, she’s turning into a little Gel. There are a few of Gel’s habits that I’d prefer Fern didn’t pick-up, but all in all I think Gel is a good role model.

The courses were not as hard this weekend, or maybe it’s because my back was feeling better. After the first two sequences though, I asked the instructor if she’d run Gel. My back was feeling pretty good and I didn’t want to push it. Previously, Gel has run well for her, but he wasn’t following her as well this time. I think Gel and I have become a very solid team and he’s accustomed to following my albeit inadequate movements. He did a lot of spinning when running with the instructor but they made it cleanly through the sequence. I always love watching Gel jump. He’s such a clean jumper; he does all he can to keep the bars up. That is a good thing given even one knocked bar is a disqualification in both AKC and USDAA.

I received my entry confirmation for my next agility trial which will be an AKC trial in Charlotte the beginning of March. I am likely going to go back down to Georgia for another ASCA trial the middle of March and really shouldn’t be doing more than one trial in a month, but the agility trial in Charlotte is offering FAST classes. Gel needs two more legs for his Novice FAST title and not many clubs in the area are offering FAST so I wanted to take advantage of it. I like this club and location.

Today Wally and I set up a pen to hold sheep down in the back pasture. After we set it up, I gave it a try out. The sheep were not easy to pen and where we set the pen is in a high pressure (escape) area. While I was setting up to start the pen I said to Wally this was probably not the best place to set the pen. It took a while, but we got them penned. Later on four of the sheep got separated from the other group. I asked Gel to fetch them and then we penned them. This was even harder, but by the second time around, Gel understood his job and was even more precise in his work.

I’m heading back outside to work Gel a bit more. I set the last two sets of drive panels and want to try them out. The Purina Incredibly Dog Challenge is on at 5 PM today and I’d like to get back in to watch it.

Until later …