I discovered what made Cian lame for a few days last week: he had a rather large gash on the side of his paw pad. The location of the gash was such that whenever he put weight on the foot, it made it reopen so it wasn’t healing well. I’m pleased to say he’s now sound. I’m also glad it wasn’t any kind of a strain or soft tissue injury.
He got his tail worked off on Sunday. Late morning, I had pushed the sheep and goats out into the back pasture. I was doing housework and then realized I only had an hour before Wally was due to arrive to go with me to look at the dairy goats. I fired up the ATV and took Gel and Cian with me to pull up the sheep and goats. They were no where to be found. Gel knows his work and was quickly on their trail. If I had the time, I’d love to train Gel to do search and rescue work as I know he’d excel at it.
We first went up to where my landlord planted blueberry bushes to make sure they were not there. As I headed over towards the blueberry bushes, Gel went in a different direction. Cian stayed with me. The sheep and goats were not in the blueberry bushes (luckily) so I headed down towards the back pastures in search of. Gel hadn’t reappeared. I knew if he found the sheep and goats, he’d hold them where they were until I got back to him.
Cian and I did a big loop. No sheep or goats. Then I headed back to where Gel had branched off. When will I learn to trust my dog? He was holding the sheep and goats. By then, Cian was pretty tired so when he flanked around the stock and started moving them towards me, it was not at his usual warp speed. As we got back with the stock I saw that my landlady was down by the pond so I brought Obie down to show her. Both Gel and Cian kept him following me. As we talked, Cian lied down while holding Obie! Yea! What a good boy. This is the first time he’s lied down around stock. His standing stops are progressing as well. I think he’s going to be a sharp dog.
My landlady commented on the progress Cian was making. Neat that someone with a relatively unexperienced eye would notice the difference in him.
You may wonder where Fern was while we were doing sheep and goat search and rescue. She’s on a brief hiatus. Having Cian, who is a year older than her and Gel to train is good for me right now. At just a year old, she doesn’t need the pressure of training. She’s a special dog and I want to make the best of her. I did use her last night to put the ducks up so she’s getting some work, just not quite as much as she was before Cian came. Right now, Cian needs practical work and I don’t need three dogs for practical work.
I’m toying with pulling Gel from the next trial. Even though we came in second at our last trial, his driving is still weak. They finally cut all the fields around me, but until they bale it, I can’t set my panels up. Also, we are rapidly loosing light; it’s dark by 7:30 now. Not much time to train if you work full-time. I’m thinking I’m going to refrain from entering any more trials in 2008, train as much as I can and then just move him up to Open in 2009. Hopefully by 2009 I’ll have Cian and maybe Fern ready to run P/N and Nursery. There is absolutely no sense in entering trials until I am sure my dogs can run the course.