I have not written here since december. Much too long of a break.
Thought I should update as I sit here in my front grazing sheep with Tommy and Dari. Without a fence, the dogs become the perimeter control. Always good for the dogs as they learn patience, as well as working on their off balance flanks, outruns, and just general work. I like it when the dog starts moving without direction when the sheep start to go places they do not belong. I also like it when the dogs will take flanks and commands without me having to get up from my chair!
And so, in the last 6 months what have we done? To much traveling between judging agility and stock (I am now an ASCA stockdog judge), my clinics in Nashville and trialling. Though ASCA trials are my preference, I did compete at the AKC Aussie Nationals herding trials, with Tommy in Advanced course A sheep (we qualified 1of our 2 tries) and my friend Sally's girl Choca in started sheep and ducks (A and B). Choca q-ed both duck runs (great ducks) and one sheep run (pretty dogwise sheep). Tommy also finished his AHBA herding championship! Baby Dari (who turned 2 the end of March) also had a good spring, earning her started sheep, duck and cattle titles with several really nice runs, and then turning around and earning her AHBA level 3 ranch dog sheep title. But enough of the bragging.
Training wise, I have been slacking. I need to get up early, so I can work all the dogs. Tommy needs mileage driving, and confidence, and mileage. He really is a good dog to work with, as he tries to please. He also has such nice outruns, and is good about gathering stock even out of sight. Its the driving that holds us back.
As I entered Lizzy in Nationals, I have to "knock the rust" off of her, and work on everything with her. We need to become a team. Pieces and parts are there, and she really is a talented dog, however the months without training have allowed her to become sloppy, and forget flanks. So lots of driving and off balance work are needed, as well as chore work. Lizzy did make me proud in the cattle farm trial when she decided to hit a heel! We were loading the cattle in a trailer.
Dari is coming along nicely. She has no qualms about driving stock away. We do need better off balance flanks, for driving, for penning, and for grazing. She is a pushy little girl who does like to bite. She is also very quick. The wonderful thing, verbal corrections are working well on stopping her cutting in on outruns. They keep getting better and more consistent. She really is a fun girl.
My little Bug is also making me proud. She works nicely off stock and will balance nicely (well, one side she tends to overflank). We usually work in smaller areas as she will bite if given too much freedom. At this point, lots of turns, stops backed up to the fence, and I'm starting to use flanks.
Rango is also going to be a good little stockdog, once we get this teamwork thing figured out. He seems to be going through a phase where he would be happy holding them in a corner. Like Bug, he also is bad about biting. He does have a lovely rate, and loves to control the heads. And I certainly do not want to loose appropriate bite, just keep him from having opportunities to grab unnecessarily.
That would be all for now. If I can get the video's posted on U-tube of Bug and Rango from the beginning of the month, and find the link from January, I will post them.