I came to the important realization that Fern’s issues (her wilting daisy routine) are management issues, quite similar to those I had early on with Gel. Luckily I worked through them with Gel and I feel that I can get through Fern’s current mindset. Just as I did with Gel, I let her quit. I remember plain as day the first time it happened with Gel: we were taking a private obedience lesson. The instructor told me to ask Gel to do a hand touch. Gel only offered a lackadaisical touch. When I insisted on a proper touch, Gel left me and ran into a crate and wouldn’t come out.
I was devastated!! In defense of Gel, that day wasn’t a normal day of training. I had been without power due to a winter storm for three days straight. Coupled with the loss of my stove, refrigerator and freezer (which was full of meat), without power, I don’t have water. I was at my wit’s end and very stressed. I know Gel picked up on that.
From that day forward, I had refusal and quitting episodes with Gel, both in stock work and sports training. I still see glimpses of quitting in him, but he keeps working for me. Our relationship is strong enough now so that he won’t quit; but that doesn’t mean he always offers 100 percent. It also doesn’t mean he won’t let me know that he prefers to do this or that over what I ask him to do, but we get the job done.
Now to see if I can fix Fern. She’s getting better. I think that now that I understand what’s going on, it has relieved some pressure off Fern. This morning, she went in with Gel to help bring out Rain who was reluctant to leave her babies. Like her father, she loves a good fight and that’s something that needs to be rectified in both dogs. I have found that if I’m patient and let Gel do his job, he manages to do it without gripping. If I get pushy, he does too and he’s not always an appropriate gripper.
I think the geese may prove to be good for working Fern. I sent her to bring them out of the duck/chicken pasture this morning. She came in tight and fast, quite unusual for Fern, but quite okay. At her age and stage of training, I’d rather see her tight and fast rather than slow and overly wide.
Everything will work out as it should.
Oh the milk poured this morning! We put Rain’s babies up for the first time last night so I had four goats with full udders. The milk went right into the cheese pot. It’s so much easier making cheese from milk right out of the goat. It comes in the house at the proper temperature so I don’t have to heat it. When I milk tonight, instead of giving the milk to the dogs and cats, I’ll need to store it. I’m down to about a quart in the refrigerator.
Until later …