Last night my plans were to work Gel and Fern on sheep on my property and put the goats up in the fenced-in area and work Joe on them.  When I got home, Joe was pretty ramped up so I decided to take them all for a run on the ATV in an attempt to take the edge off him, then bring up the stock.  We got back to where the goats and sheep were in the ElectroNet and I grabbed hold of Joe’s long line and sent Gel in to pull out the sheep and goats.  As they came out, Joe pulled out of my grasp and went around the sheep and goats.  They all bolted back to the house.  Joe stopped them and I quickly caught him.  I used Gel to separate the goats from the sheep and put the goats in the fenced-in area and brought Joe in.  He kind of went around them, but I couldn’t get him to cast out from me.  He acted as if I was putting pressure on him and he looked extremely uncomfortable.  I decided to put the experiment to rest then and there and not push him any further.  I let him get a drink of water, then put him on a chain.

While I was working him, I should have put Gel and Fern on lines as they were working the sheep outside the fence and that may have been what was confusing (upsetting) Joe.  There is so much thought and preparation that needs to be put into a training session if you have more than one dog to work.  I need to get better at it.

I put Fern on a line and worked Gel a bit.  He’s starting to drive quite well, but as I expected, there are too many draws and obstacles on my property to properly work stock.  While Gel was driving, the sheep would try to escape in all different directions (as a group, all different directions, no matter what direction they were being pointed in) and as soon as I flanked Gel around to stop them, which he did every time, we’d run out of landscape.  It was very ineffective training.  I put Gel on a line and took Fern out.  Since she’s only doing outruns and fetches, I was able to get a better session in on her, but it was getting dark.

Once everyone was put up and fed, I thought about training and realized that since I have temporarily lost the open fields to work in and was quickly loosing time to train in the light, that I should let up on training during the week.  I might see if I can adjust my work schedule a bit so that I could come home earlier a couple of times a week to try to get some training in.  Of course, I can get good training time in on the weekends.  I decided that I’m going to let up on trying to work Joe for a while.  I’m going to give him some time to settle down and learn to trust me.  He’s still giving me trouble with recalls.  I know he hasn’t been abused, but he sure acts like it.  Kessie did the same thing.  They seem to be pretty pressure sensitive dogs.  I need to build his confidence up.

I wrote Joe’s breeder yesterday letting her know that I had Joe and how he was doing and threw some of my thoughts out.  I honestly didn’t expect to hear back from her and I was right.  That’s okay though, I can figure this out.  I am going to give Joe all the opportunity in the world to come around in hopes that he’ll start to work well for me.  Hopefully by the time I go back out for another lesson I’ll have a reliable stop on Joe and will be able to work him there.  That will mean having to book longer than an hour long lesson, but that will be okay.

I wrote my instructor to see if she thought I should run Gel in Pro-Novice (P/N)  or Open Ranch (O/R).  I wanted to run him in O/R, but I thought she’d tell me that I should stick to P/N for now.  She wrote back and said to run in O/R!  Yea!  She said, “O/R is basically Open without the shed, and if your goal is Open then that is what Gel needs to run. PLUS, he is ready to run O/R. He can handle that course with no problems.”  The vote of confidence means a lot to me.  Of course, we will probably crash and burn, but that’s okay.  Lots of handlers and dogs crash and burn. 

There was a lot of news on this morning about gas stations being out of gas and long lines and fights at stations that had gas.  Lovely.  Don’t you just love humankind sometimes?  Wally called and I mentioned the gas situation and he said he had driven through Lincolnton last night and said there was only one gas station that had gas and there were long lines there.  I knew I had enough gas to get me to work and back today, but that was it.  I was able to get gas in Gastonia on my way to work, but I had to wait in a line to get it.  I only got $30 worth.  I got permission to work from home tomorrow which will be nice.  I can save on gas and not have to go out in the rain that is forecast for tomorrow.  There is a low pressure system off the coast of North Carolina which is heading north.  We should start to get rain later this afternoon or evening.  The winds are pretty high too.  At least it’s cooled off.

I realized last night that I’m going to have to start to do some serious leg work to find affordable meat if I’m going to be feeding five dogs and twelve cats a raw meat diet.  I round a bit of Kitty and Rose’s meals off with some vegetables, which helps.  I know once they reach adulthood their appetites will slack off a bit.  I can buy beef heart and kidney for less than $1.00/pound which is reasonable.  I can get whole Springer Mountain chickens (not organic, but they are not fed any growth hormones, antibiotics and are raised in a more humane environment) for $1.39/pound.  Most beef is out of the question, it’s too expensive.  I can usually get pork pretty reasonable, but my dogs don’t care much for pork.  Soon it will be turkey season and I usually feed a lot of turkey during late fall, early winter.  Now if I can only get that guy to get me a deer (or two or three or four)!  I have two young wethers (last year’s lambs) I could butcher, but I’m not inclined to do that now that I’m working three dogs.  I need all the decent working sheep that I can keep.  The seven that I got from the man in Myrtle Beach were a godsend.  Of course there is always rabbit which I get for $1.00/pound live weight.  It isn’t cheap or easy feeding this many animals, but I refuse to feed kibble.  I considered feeding kibble to Kitty and Rose, but I’m not going there.  If I’m creative, I can find meat to feed them.