Sunday, January 30, 2011

Dogs Update

I think I'm very much overdue on the dog updates. There have been some recent changes here. I finally came to the very difficult decision to send Moon back to Robin. The biggest reason for this is that she just needs more than the casual sort of work I can give her. Now that Julie has moved away I certainly won't be able to work my dogs at much, at least not until I can change my circumstances. So I've cried a lot of tears, and feel like I've done the right thing.

Linc... Linc is growing up. He's in a place now where he's still a bit rash, and a tiny bit silly, but finally at least on the trial field willing to listen. I've been working on opening his flanks back up some, letting him be a bit more natural (now that he's less of a bonehead) and reinforcing his stop. Well... more like sort of trying to reinforce his stop. I really appreciate the motor in this dog - and really appreciate his stamina, but dang if he would just STOP when I tell him to... we'd have a lot less of a mess to clean up sometimes. He managed to place at Montpelier in Pro-Novice, and I'm toying with the idea of moving him up to Ranch if I can get enough work on him to make it reasonable. He's getting his whistles, and growing a brain. Good boy Linc.

Then, there is Nick. I can't remember what I've updated but he placed fourth in Open both days at Montpelier. This was our first time placing in open, and our first points for the finals. Neither of those runs were our best, but they were good, solid runs. On the second day we sat in first place ALL day... but there were a few really great runs in the last 7 or so runs. They were really nice runs, and ours was only good. It worked out the right way!

At Rural Hill the first day he crossed over at my feet, thus DQ'ing us. He had set himself up to go left... but right as I was about to send him he started leaning to the right, HARD. So I flipped him around to my right side. Then, the second I sent him, he crossed over to the left at my feet.ARGH! I could have choked him. I was trying SO hard to set him up right, knowing beforehand he might have issues with the horses at setout. Well... he did.

The second day had issues again on his outrun. He *really* didn't want to go around the horses. After a couple of redirects (which he ignored) he ran out to the left STRAIGHT up the side of the field - no real bend, so that he could squeak in between the horses and the sheep. He then proceeded to bugger the sheep all of the way down the field - straight as an arrow, about 50 yards off line, despite my very ardent protesting. Did I mention that it sometimes makes me happy when he flips me the doggie bird? This was not really one of those times.

I gave him an earful as he went around the post, and we got it together on the drive - to a point. I was surprised that the sheep pretty much forgave him. Then we had a little shedding lesson. I do a pretty good job of setting it up, but sometimes have trouble closing the deal. I need Robin's shedding lesson #2. BUT, we got it, with 9 seconds left on the clock. I don't even know why I did it, but I ran laughing like a lunatic to the pen. The entire crowd was roaring with laughter. I ran to the pen not saying a word to Nick, and as I turned with the gate open he was cramming those sheep in the pen... right as the timer went off. I'm guessing the sheep were just grateful. So yeah, we sucked it up bigtime at Rural Hill, but we at least offered some sort of crowd entertainment.
One of the conclusions I've come to is that part of our problems are just me being a new Open handler, and Nick being a new Open dog (with an inexperienced handler). The other big problem is that my dogs are just not getting enough work to make any of us happy. The housing market still sucks so much I don't want to sell my house yet, so I'm going to look into the possibility of renting some pasture.

In other dog news, June is good, Ginger is good and Zippy is getting old and doddery.

So far, for this year, I'm planning to work at Robin's March and April trials, but beyond that I don't know. I do know that the CrazyMobile is probably going to have to be replaced soon. But I plan to drive her until her wheels fall off! Rattletrap Power!

So that's it. Back down to my five dogs, and I think at this point I'm going to wait before I have another pup. At the moment I am really enjoying just having five. I wouldn't even mind getting down to four. Yeah, I'm sure that's going to happen.

1 comment:

Laura Carson said...

Since I'm having editing issues I'm going to post this here: Photos by Julie Poudrier (using my POS camera).