Versatility

Okay, no photos, sorry. I really do have puppies! The weather (hot and we are suffering from an extreme drought) is killing me. I tend to be quite sensitive to extremes in weather.

On Saturday, Gel got to prove what a truly versatile dog he is. We had to help round up and load 19 sheep from my friend Wally’s house over to mine. It seems Wally and I botched the neutering (a neutered sheep is called a “wether”) of two of my ram lambs from this spring and they were trying to breed one of the adult ewes. We bought a colored Dorper ram to use as a herd sire this year and really didn’t want to use either of the “wethers” so it was time to separate them.

Gel had to cross drive at a distance (which I know is hard for him as, in general, all he wants to do is to bring the sheep to me, not drive them away) and then drive them through the gate into a different section of pasture and then into the barn. He did most of his work on whistle. Sheep are rarely cooperative, especially when they know something different is about to happen, but we managed to get them loaded up into the trailer in record time.

Later in the day I took him to an agility lesson and again, he shined. Gel can run Open (and possibly Master’s) level agility classes. He proves it whenever the instructor runs him. I can’t run anything more difficult than a Novice level class. My handling skills suck. Poor Gel, he tries hard, but this stupid handler is always giving him the wrong queues. We have another lesson next Saturday where we’ll be running full Master’s-level courses. Oh, can’t wait!!!

My agility field at home is shaping up. I now have a dog walk, five jumps, a set of 12 weave poles, a tire jump (missing the tire at this point) and a tunnel. It looks good to see it back.

The puppies are doing great. They are starting to walk on all four legs. Their eyes haven’t opened yet. Today will be their first day out in the run with Midge.

No matter what happens, these puppies are a blessing. I am incredibly happy that I am no longer struggling to break in the USBCHA trial world. I would still be there if it were not for the puppies. I’ve been reading the posts on Sheepdog-L lately and I’m really glad I am no longer attempting to be a part of that culture. Maybe training a Border Collie to do agility, AKC or AHBA herding, obedience or even, heaven-forbid, freestyle dancing (no, we don’t do that, but whoever wants to, all the more power to them) doesn’t make the USBCHA people happy, but if it makes my dog and me happy, then that’s what’s important.