See....Jake just brought them all in!!
Wednesday, October 28, 2009
See....Jake just brought them all in!!
Monday, October 26, 2009
So, I took Jake out, sorted off 4 head, had him settle them up near the top of the pasture and called him back to me. I then sent him off onto his outrun, he came up a little short which I would expect based on the draws which actually set things up perfectly lifting the sheep right down the middle of the pen, some quick flanks and the sheep were spun around one cone and then acrossed the pen and around the other, with a major mistake...me giving Jake the wrong flank commands. Ok, so there's the hole, me!!! If I can keep the correct flank commands firing out we will be fine, hah!! I guess I better appoligize to Jake now.
The next dog out was Weasel, she did an awesome job for me. Each time I work her she shows me great things. Her future job is to be a goose control dog, but not just any goose control dog, she will be expected to have enough handle on her so that she can be used for round ups, pennings and to be able to drive geese off of nests. I'm just going to take things slow and easy with her.
After Weasel I pulled out Dixie. Dixie is also destined for a life as a goose control dog. I don't know is she will have the power that Weasel has but she's going to be a blast to handle. She is behind Weasel in training just now beginning to understand her flanks, shaping them is going slow but coming along.
My last dog was Ugh, he's another one of Wayne's Cattle Dogs. Today was the first day of his restart, he didn't take it very well. Oh well, gotta have one dog out of the bunch that does not excell.
Wednesday, October 14, 2009
"There is nothing more likely to lead to error than to begin with the part rather than the whole."
Monday, October 12, 2009
However.... Good for the pup!
Bell was sore and carrying her leg from working at the sale barn a few days before, so I reluctantly loaded up only Jax. I figured I could keep him on the long line and if he got out of hand, down him by force. Well, I am so happy to say that it wasn't necessary! No, he didn't down the first or second or third time I called to him, but he found his own way. We started in the back corner of the circle - with 1 rotten cow and 22 calves. No one bloated, but still, out on our neighbors volunteer wheat.
Jax unloaded with huge interest, I got out with him, to give him direction and confidence he might not get if I stayed in the pickup. I decided to leave the string off, since it would be unlikely that I could catch him at a full run anyway, and if he missed a flank and got in the middle somehow, I wanted him to be unencumbered.
He is a big pup at 32lbs already- and covers ground well, still a lot of foot to grow into though, and we laughed at his ears flapping all over as he hauled butt out there with just a hiss and "get them up!" . He got within 3 feet of the cow, and looked back at me, running behind him, and I repeated the command, and he took a bite of her cannon bone- quick as could be, then went to wearing left, to keep them on the path - something he did all on his own! A couple calves were starting to slow and looked for a way through the repaired fence, and he flanked on his own, ducking through the fence, and ran hard at them, pushing them back towards the group. Jax slowed and looked back at me, and then seeing me still jogging towards the main group, I backed him up with another hiss and "get them up" and he took off again, wearing right to left at speeds I didn't know he was capable of yet! When they got near the fence, my husband had opened the gate and Jax changed his position - again on his own - to the far right to drive them through the fence. I was in total awe!
How does a 5 month old know to do that - and I am so tickled with his confidence! He did check with me a few times, and that is fine, he never changed his body position, and didn't let them stray while he thought about what I might ask of him. He stayed focused and I never called him back until we were done - with a That'll do! Good Dog Jax, Atta Boy!
He was pretty excited, but a bit winded, with tongue out and willingly laid down facing the herd- about 20 feet inside of the pasture, unknowingly - or instinctively protecting the open gate. He didn't come right back to me, just laid there - looking at them and then me, then back to the herd. I was winded too - been a long time since i had to run 1/2 mile to chase cows!
A little later Jax helped me with moving the same cows to another watering point - through a gate they weren't familiar with, so we really had to work to get them to stay in there - some of those rotten, tough-customer, dog hater cows put their heads down at him, then realized a human was behind the dog, and turned, without Jax realizing he wasn't entirely responsible for the cows movement and hesitation. I worried about them - and don't like being afoot for them myself, but for Jax's confidence, it was essential. Don't want to break his egg or bubble!
So, now, the focus is on downing and I am assigning come bys and away to me when he looks like he is going to do it anyway, but not focused on more than down and get back this week - at least intentionally.
Friday, October 9, 2009
The little bugger is ruling the household. I was concerned about how he would handle other dogs, being a singleton....well, he attacks his dad, barks at the TV and chases JJ, and he's just 4 weeks old!!!
We began by taking Fly out to the pen, Fly is a little 3 year old spayed female that I took in on trade for Riley from a farmer. She has some drive and feel but lacks confidence, I am hoping to find her either a pet home or a low requirement hobby farm home. I worked with Fly last spring and put some basics on her, she can be handy in the back pens, has some direction on her a stop and a walk up. All I can do with her at this time is continue to use her, and be there to help her.
Next dog in was little Rosy, what a little crackerjack she is at 5 months of age. She just gets to discover what the sheep are all about. She just loves to get them stopped, hold them at balance and then walk right on in, which in turn creates an explosion and it happens all over again. After a couple of repeats all of a sudden she ran backwards just as the explosion began, this resettled the sheep, if she had an expression on her little face it would be priceless....wow, I didn't know I could do that!!!!
Each of these young pups spent just a short amount of time in the pen, just long enough to let them discover some new useful thing they can do, allow it to reinforce and then pick them up and take them out.
Now on to Jake, Jake is the older male that arrived back in August. I've been working him now and then, with my focus on retraining his triggers, and adjusting his pressure sensitive thresh holds. Much of my work with him is just daily encounters out in his kennel. Back up when I walk in, kennel up when I say so, understand that when I growl and bang the soda bottle when you are running a barking that you need to stop and not amp up more. It's amazing how this work away from the stock can improve your relationship while out with stock, so many don't understand just how the two environments intertwine.
Ben (JJ's littermate)
The last two dogs into the pen were Dixie and Weasel the two Border Collie females that are full sisters to JJ. Both girls are still lack in maturity but both also showed that they are learning. I found a great opportunity to bolster Dixie's confidence in close proximity of the sheep, boy did that change the way she handled herself, it was almost as if a piece of the puzzle fell into place and she suddenly understood something that was escaping her.