Fern the Fiend

I’ve looked at that video of Fern a few times since I posted it this morning. She’s a little speed demon when working. I haven’t made any attempt to slow her down or put a stop on her, nor will I for several months now. Fern is slated to run nursery next year and I want to keep that “ump” in her. It’s much easier to slow a dog down than it is to speed one up. Fern learns via osmosis so I do not think there will be much difficulty in putting a stop on her or teaching her pace. She’s already showing a willingness to drive which is a good sign.

One thing she was doing that I did put a stop to was racing around the stock and cutting in front of me. The rules are: you stay behind the handler. I rarely use a stock stick when I work my dogs and I need to start carrying it with me so they stay accustomed to my using it. On Saturday when Fern tried to race in front of me, I tapped the stick on the ground and pushed her back with it. All it took was one time of pushing her back with the stick and then all I needed to do was tap it on the ground when she showed signs of circling in front of me to push her back. She’s a bright puppy.

I noticed in the video of Gel’s cattle run at the ASCA trial that when I waved the stock stick to move the cattle out of the pen, he ducked as if I was going to hit him with it. Of course I’ve never hit him with a stock stick, but I can see how he’d think that given how I waved it and that I don’t normally carry a stick when I work.

It is going to be a gloriously warm day today. Hopefully I can get out of work in time to get home to catch some daylight. A new series of local agility classes starts on Wednesday which will be fun. I was thinking this morning that I probably should resume training foundation agility skills to Fern. She’s so much fun to work on stock that it will be hard to stop that for a while, but it’s for her benefit that we do.

Given the price of gas, however, I don’t know how much trialing we’ll be able to do in the upcoming years. I think a lot of people are going to have to start picking and choosing what trials they go to. One thing is for certain, I will not do any more “other venue” trials once I finish Gel’s WTCH. The combination of the high entry fees coupled with the price of gas, hotels, etc. make doing these trials prohibitively expensive. I hope next year to put my trial money towards the bigger USBCHA trials (if I feel that we are ready) and round out our trials with local USDAA (agility) trials. AKC is not getting my money for either herding or agility trials.