Monday, July 6, 2009

"Best" Day Ever

Dianne told me today that Cedar and I had our "best" work ever.


Um, really? Didn't feel so great to me.

Part of me gets it, but part of me wonders a little bit if maybe she was joking. If "best" = smooth and calm, than no.... not our best. But if by "best," she means that we got a lot accomplished, yeah, I can see it.

From Journeys With Cedar...and Moss!

We worked in Dianne's outdoor arena again, since her alfalfa field is too tall to work dogs in right now. The outdoor arena is kind of tricky because the sheep can get under the fence on one side and bolt to their pen. Most of the time we managed to keep things pretty under control. Like last time, we worked on keeping Cedar nice and loosened up, wide off her sheep, and calm.

At least, that was the idea. We did some outruns and a little driving, which looked nice. I had to get after her a bit for pushing too hard and going tight, but other than that it was fairly uneventful. I put her in some bad spots, and she gripped some of the time(and got flipped around by a sheep once, which was scary), but other times she acted smartly and kept her head, working with me to get through it.

Then, the sheep got free. I thought I had Cedar stopped and laying down, but then she took off after them. Muttering expletives under my breath, I ran after her but stopped when Dianne told me to "quit running at her!" (haha) She laid down about a hundred feet or so away, over by the sheep pens, where the sheep were headed. Dianne had Annie working as the backup dog, and sent her around to pick the sheep up. I clucked at Cedar to walk up, and she calmly helped Annie to bring the sheep back into the arena. Pretty big stuff for her, especially considering how little we've worked in the last month or so.

As we all know, Cedar has a tendency to, when things get a little out of her comfort zone, to panic and frantically try to "fix" things to make me happy with her. Her idea of "fixing" the situation is usually to dive in, grab some wool, and go along for the ride. She does NOT like doing this, and she's not being naughty. It's just like she goes into frantic mode and her brain flies out the window. Luckily, our recovery time continues to get shorter and shorter, and I continue to have hope.

But damn it, it's SO freakin' frustrating!!!!!!! AGH! I'm mostly frustrated at myself.... that I seem to constantly put her in bad situations and then don't have any idea how to really help her out. But I'm also frustrated that we seem to be stalling/struggling with the same crap we always have. I wonder if I just have a complex about it now? No wonder Cedar doesn't trust me.

At one point today, when we were having trouble getting the sheep off the fence for the umpteenth time that day, I remember yelling something at Cedar and then saying to Dianne "BUT I'M NOT EVEN MAD AT HER!!!!"

Dianne just laughed. And asked me what good it was doing for me to get so frustrated. After all, Cedar didn't know I was just frustrated and not angry with her. The more upset I got, the harder Cedar tried to make things better.

That was when I realized that I just needed to freaking calm down... and not let Cedar escalate my emotions. I put my one semester of acting class to good use and got control of my voice. Slow, deep breaths. After some squirreling around, we managed to get in a few nice, wide, controlled outruns, and called it good. Cedar was exhausted.

I'm going out to Janie's on Wednesday night with Cedar and Moss. Dianne wants to try Moss in the round pen! I'm pretty excited, should be fun :) I'm going to try and get some pictures and maybe a little bit of video.

I'm sure Moss will be stoked...

From Journeys With Cedar...and Moss!



JoeC said...

Nice acting class reference, and we should be able to get some good shots and video of Mosd

SprinklerBandit said...

I want to see Cedar grab wool. That sounds fun.

Of course, Lew would never do anything like that because he's not tall enough to reach it. Ha!