Thursday, July 03, 2014

Sheepdog Vacation!

photo by Jenny Glen

9 days of awesome. and brain overload. and very good dogs. and great friends. 

a friend and I went to Coldstream BC, for a Herding Camp last week. It was completely awesome, and exactly what I needed at this point in my training. It was two days with four different clinicians. We got to work in three different sessions each day. I came home with a great understanding of stock, and more importantly LOTS of training ideas for both Brit and Leo. I had some great AHA! moments, and have a better idea of where I need to go from here. I am excited to put it into practice, and get working on filling some of those holes.

The two days after that were trial days. And my dogs were super stars. Leo won the Novice class on the first day, and Brit came second the next day. Leo's score was an 84!!! out of 90! I mean I was completely floored. What a good boy! Brit also had her highest score of 72. The sheep were fantastic, very dog broke and just trucked right along. Definitely Brit's kind of sheep! There is a HUGE novice class in BC- 20 dogs!! Here in Alberta we are lucky to get four, or five!

After that we drove back to Alberta to get ready for Louanne's first ever Phantomridge trial. It's been a busy few days. Set up, and the trial all went off without a hitch. We are a good team, and I think it was a great trial- despite the hot weather and swarms of mosquitos! Leo ran his two Novice classes on Tuesday night and won both rounds! He did very nice work, though that drive continues to elude us! I am super proud of him though, and myself. Handling at a field trial is tough business!  Brit was entered in Intermediate on Wednesday, and I pulled her today. It was a complete disaster. She couldn't see her sheep, and crossed over, and then could barely bring them to me. The final straw was when one nasty ewe looked at her and she turned tail and ran away. Ugh. So I called her off. I have decided to only enter her in trials that I know has dog friendly/broke sheep, and arena trials where the space isn't so big. She just does not have the confidence for the big fields and tough sheep. In the mean time I am going to back and work on the upclose stuff, sharp flanks, stops, and steady. I am going to look into some of the other venues- where she will be able to have more success.

Leo however is full steam ahead- first up is whistles. Jenny is going to help me teach him- I can mostly do them, and I definitely need them. So now is the time! Secondly is that drive. We are going to focus completely on that- he is doing well- but really doesn't want to stay "in the pocket" so to speak, and always tries to gather them if I am not keeping my thumb on him. I am more than ready to get out of novice, and he needs a drive for Intermediate! I entered him in one trial at Louanne's and it was a gong show. lol. He zig zagged all the way up the field, and barely had control, oh, and didn't listen worth a damn. We have much to work on!

So after all that fun on my holidays I am completely exhausted. And now I need to switch gears for the Kennel Clubs agility trial! Which also happens to be Leo's first agility trial. Ha! 2 weeks of sheep, lets see how quickly we can change gears in the Border Collie brain...

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