Sunday, November 8, 2009

Deep South AKC Herding Trial, Folsom, LA

PRE-TRIAL TRAINING UPDATE: A few weeks ago we took pictures at Grace's herding lesson. Things have been so busy that I had not had time to upload any of them to the website. I thought it important that I remind myself how calm Grace has learned to be around the sheep. She was not this calm over the weekend. Once she spooked the sheep said sheep (either set) were quick to dash away from her - making her somewhat frantic to control them. Saturday's sheep draw was not as dog weary as Sunday's sheep --- read on for details.

SATURDAY: Great News for Saturday. Grace qualified on the Herding Pre-Trial (PT) test. There is a video which I will get loaded to the web... after two failed attempts to included herein I'm posting blog entry minus video. All of students that Linda had enter the PT test qualified. YEAH for us. We took a team photo. Linda's day was made complete when the judges announced that Jack had won high in trial.

SUNDAY: By the end of the day Sunday the sheep were tired of being herded and Grace was anxious to get back to work. To calm her down more than Saturday I threw her frisbee (flying squirrel) toy until she was panting. After just a few minutes of rest she was pulling on her leash all the way back to the back pasture (so much for the exercise approach). When it was our turn, Grace walked calmly to the sheep. She was tugging but not fussing. She waited politely while I walked to the sheep. Then Linda words were "She dove into the sheep" ... well I guess that was one way to describe it. The attached photo is indicative of Sunday's run - Grace pushing the sheep past me going at an all out run. After she spooked them badly on the initial fetch there was no settling them down because I couldn't get her to drop from 50 yds away so the sheep could walk towards me (not run or trot very quickly).

One of the judges has Aussies and loved Grace's work ethic but thinks she is not giving me any respect. The judge suggested to Linda that I herd in flip flops until I can keep Grace off the sheep. Since Grace needs more stern corrections the judge wants me to get a softer wand (the current one is graphite and bangs the ground well without breaking). However, it seems I will need to bang Grace on her feet or just in front of her so I need to order a more flexible fiberglass wand from Koehn Marketing or Border Collies in Action. While I'm ordering I might as well get a whistle - maybe that might help with a down at a distance?

Tracey called on Sunday from Houston to tell me that Kazee had passed her TD track this morning. YEAH for her. Kazee now has her VCD2 title. Unfortunately Tracey had a extremely rough day on Saturday so I was pleased that her weekend experience ended on a positive note.