So, lots of stuff happened dog working wise, so I'll start with Nick. Saturday I used him to hold out for a while (and to sort, and so on). By the time we went back down to the bottom he pretty much had the bit in his teeth, and his fingers in his ears (figuratively speaking). I'm starting to think that he just might be getting tougher as he gets older, too, because he didn't seem to be sensitive to the fact that I was on him about stopping. Turned out he was right first time out actually - if he stopped this ewe lamb in our first group would try to run away. At any rate, later I finally got a chance to run him around the course that was still set up - using his whistles. He's not only taking them nicely, but REALLY seems to like them. He still had his fingers in his ears, though. Here we are waiting for our sheep to be set:
Picture by Darci Gunter. Did I mention it was rather chilly? Nothing like overalls and three layers of clothing to make one look like they're wearing one of those huge blow-up sumo wrestler suits, right?
Anyway, Sunday I used Nick to bring Chuck's calves in (only 5), sort them out, and do the same with the sheep. He still had the bit in his teeth some, but worked both the calves and sheep nicely. He did run into some trouble on the calves because his handler would stand in the gate and wonder why they wouldn't come through. Duh. Needless to say I'm learning a whole lot about how cattle react and think. Not. Like. Sheep. And they're big. Pretty... but big. At any rate, I didn't work him much on Sunday other than to use him to hold out some, and shuffle stock around for everyone (and he digs that stuff).
I worked Linc at Robin's and I think he liked the slightly larger area. He was really nice - but slightly hesitant in a few spots. There was some really good stuff there, but I didn't like those hesitant moments. It was enough for Robin and I to agree that probably he needs more time to grow up, so I'm going to put him away for a month.
I pulled Spottie out at Robin's, too. I was worried she might not work for me on her home turf, but she actually worked pretty nicely. I chickened out on shedding with her (then), but we had a pretty nice go and I was really happy with her and the progress we'd made. After we finished Robin came out and gave me some thoughts that I think will help. Then, Sunday I pulled her out over at Chuck's, and things did not go so well. We just were not making the same kind of connection as we did on Saturday. It wasn't a total bust though! Spottie and I managed to shed our sheep! Surprisingly with a dog that knew what she was doing (and was digging it, too) and sheep that were settled and happy it was much easier for me to think. I remembered what Robin's been teaching me, and we did it. I could feel where I was going wrong with Nick, too.
I went on and scratched her from the trial in two weeks. I didn't want to - but logic tells me that even though it's possible we might get it together between now and then it's not together enough for me to be comfortable NOW (and today's the pull date). I feel like maybe I'll be inclined to put too much pressure on both of us with a two week deadline, and may be doing so already. I know I'm feeling sort of under the gun, and maybe not having the fun I'm supposed to be having with her. So. I'm going to aim for running her in January, which feels more reasonable to me. This coming week I'll be farm-sitting, and will get ample opportunity for some good dog working, and I'm looking forward to it! I'll still run Nick in two weeks though (Nursery).
So that was our weekend. I'm pretty wiped out today. Socializing and dog working sometimes takes a lot out of a girl.