Auditing the Patrick clinic this weekend was really interesting. It was cool to see how differently all the dogs worked, and really neat to watch them improve from one work to the next. I learned a lot for sure! Good mac n' cheese, too :)
This morning, I rode out to the desert with Deb Sussman to go work dogs with Dianne, Patrick, and a couple people from the clinic (Jeanne Boudrieau and Carloynn/BCx4). Deb and I were in one car and were following Dianne and Patrick. We were going (or SUPPOSED to go) about 15 miles or so, over the Oregon border, to Succor Creek State Park. Sounds easy, right? Well, we didn't take into account that Dianne drives like a bat outta hell... she quickly got so far out ahead of us that we lost sight of her truck. We just kept driving, thinking we'd go around a turn and her truck would be in front of us. Wrong!
About fifteen minutes pass since we've seen Dianne, and we come to realize that we don't really know where we're going. We pass through a small town (Adrian? I think?) and I start to think that maybe we've missed a turn or something. I say, "Umm.... maybe we should call Dianne..."
Turns out that Dianne had tried to call me but I didn't hear my phone ring, dammit! We had gone almost 9 MILES past our turn to the park. Great. We turn around and set Deb's GPS (maybe that would have been a good idea to begin with?) and find our way back there in spite of our little detour through Eastern Oregon.
What a BEAUTIFUL place! It was really neat to go somewhere other than Dianne or Patrick's to work. I brought my camera and took a lot of pics of everyone's dogs... Carolyn took some photos of Cedar but they are on her camera so I'll have to wait until she posts them to post them on here.
I haven't worked Cedar in over a week, so I was not expecting much of her. I was terrified that she would blow me off, single off a sheep, and chase it into the sunset. Agh. Thankfully, we managed to keep it decently under control. We kept it pretty safe the first time... a little circling, fetches, and a little bit of driving though I didn't feel too comfortable with it. Cedar was pretty good, other than being too pushy (which I expected) and sending the sheep up quite a steep hill. I need to get in better shape! She kept her head pretty well and didn't single anyone off, and even though I know she was really nervous, listened well after about five minutes, took my commands, and stayed off her sheep. The sheep were pretty light which was good for her because they wouldn't tolerate her pushing on them.
Our second work was a billion times better than the first, and I was very proud of Cedar. This time out I think we were both more prepared and in a better mental place. We picked the sheep up and after one "talking to," Cedar backed off nicely for the rest of the time. We worked on a couple outruns as we haven't done many of those lately (focusing on driving instead) and then did some driving. Cedar did really well and we did some "rectangles" around the desert. I also mixed in some more outruns and other stuff. I think I've been doing better lately about making her feel my "bubble" and understanding that my corrections carry some value.
Here are some of my photos:
Carolynn's Beth and Bonnie, givin' their mom some sass :)
Beth...driving, yay! (Carolynn, I have a TON more photos of Beth, email me!):
Carolynn's freakin' adorable puppy, Brynn:
Robin, a dog Dianne is training:
True, who is Moss's full sibling from last year's Riggs x Peg breeding:
Riggs (Moss's dad... see the resemblance?):
Dianne's good dog, Pat:
Pat's daughter, Perk... whom Deb will be running in Big Willow next weekend (Good luck!!!):
(Awww... Deb and Perk :) )
Deb's young dog, Trace:
Jeanne's dog, Moses:
...and her other dog, Rocky:
I reckon that's enough photos for one post.... :)
An aside... after watching so many great dogs work over the past year, I've really changed my mind about a lot of things. Most importantly, that not everything can be trained. Some things a dog has to just know... or have in his/her genetic toolbox prior to training. Watching the advanced dogs run up the side of the mountain on an outrun to pick up the sheep today was just... awesome.
Do you see the sheep? (Deb and Perk) :)
In my opinion, this is the most amazing sport in the world and I hope to always be involved with sheepdogs in some capacity. But I have no interest whatsoever in working cattle... eeep!
I'll leave that to Huck (Riggs x Rose)...
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