Training Notes

I didn’t write about how our training went yesterday.  I worked Fern first.  I walked out to where the sheep are (rather than using the ATV) and as soon as I got out there, realized I forgot to bring any sort of tie out for the dog I wasn’t working.  I keep tie outs on the ATV.  Shoot.

I put Gel in a stay and walked out to the sheep with Fern.  She’s working well, but a little slow.  I wish I had listened to my own advice and not worked her much as a young dog.  I think I can get her speed back, but it would have been easier to keep it rather than trying to build it back up.  It’s like training in agility, you can always get the control, but if you loose the speed (and focus on control), it’s hard to get it back.  I’m paying attention to this in training Fern for agility.  I’m keeping her going peddle to the metal and will let control come as her training progresses.

When I was through working Fern, I brought her back to where I had Gel, but her in a stay and sent Gel to the right.  You may recall while at the trial in Huntersville, he locked up while being sent to the right.  Yesterday, there was no locking up.  His outrun was wide and deep.  I then worked some on driving.  I used the brass whistle and I forgot how much more moisture you have in your mouth when using a brass whistle.  That was one of the problems with the Commander whistle which is stainless steel: my mouth would be too dry.  So, my whistling was off and I did a lot of drooling on myself.

Unfortunately, Fern did not hold her stay and was up trying to help Gel.  I didn’t want to get after her for it so I cut Gel’s work session short.

That’s when I had the bright idea of doing a gate sort and keeping only three sheep in the field.  I ended up with two.  I tied Gel to the gate (there was a rope there that I had forgotten about until I got there) and worked Fern on the two sheep.  That’s when I got the photos in yesterday’s post.  It was educational for me to see how Fern worked those two sheep.  She’s got a lot of eye and working her on a couple of sheep is not a good idea, but I wanted to see how she’d handle it.  I was hoping the two sheep would be very light and she’d have to move quickly to cover them.  Instead, they challenged her.

Training is such a learning experience.  I’m glad that I have daily access to sheep.  I don’t think I would have stuck to this stock work training if I had to go to sheep to train.  I commend anyone who is doing that.

It’s windy and freezing out today.  I’ll be going out soon to start my car, make sure the sheep are where they should be, bring the dogs in and then head out to the movie, then the grocery store, then the post office and home.  Tomorrow is going to be an early morning.

I saw on the news this morning that President Bush is going to recommend that unemployment be extended.  That’s a good thing because I don’t know that I am going to be able to find another full-time job in 26 weeks.  If I can keep up with the part-time job at WalMart, I should be able to survive until then.