Thursday, September 24, 2009

Flankity Flank Flank Flank

Moar inside flanks!

I think Soda is ready for them now. We went into the little pen and set it up and she was soooo pathetic but by the end she was getting that it was "okay" to go between me and the sheep. She tried to run out of a pen a few times--mostly because she was trying to go behind me, I think and I told her no and just asked for the flank again. I was, without thinking, standing on the side with the gap under the fence initially but when I moved to where she couldn't go behind me, it was a lot easier. Eventually I was able to be on that side. She also tried to run out of the pen when she blew off the flank and went to gather the sheep, blowing off my verbal corrections and so I had really drive home the point. She didn't see the wire between the planks and ran into it. I'm going to be brutally honest, it was hilarious.

Also, I held The Soda Killer and had Soda bite her. She freaking LOVED that and the Soda Killer had a better attitude. I don't know why that damn sheep is always out when I'm working. She's a jerk.

I'm really glad I haven't entered any trials coming up. Our previous course A intermediate qualifications where a miracle and as I've said before NOT good stockmanship and I think part of that is a lack of an inside flank makes it very difficult to have any finesse. I don't know if it's not an "inside flank" at a certain distance but virtually any distance between me and the sheep is too much for the Soda. She's a sensitive soul. :) We'll be working on this some more but I was really pleased with her today.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Drilling: Not just for dentists

We spent a little time drilling this week on flanks--getting her to take them and getting her to do them correctly. It went really well. She tried to pout a few times (I'm just going to go wider and wider and wider and then run off) but calling her name pulls her in really well as does "go go go go go go go go go watch em!" She really started responding quickly to the flanks on the whistle.

I was really surprised that she lasted as long as she did. She did 9 minutes of drills (she got to move her sheep several times during this) then took a small break and then 6 more minutes of drills. Terry said she was really impressed.

Soda has come a long way in every way, but especially her "try". She is willing to put it all out on the line for me and I appreciate that. I get frustrated and stuff, but times like this, I always remember how far she's come. It makes me very proud!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

She's ALIVE!

I'm not dead. :) I promise.

We've been off for a couple of weeks. Lots of stuff going on.

Anyway, I had a lesson on Thursday and it went really really really well. Terry agreed that chores were a great idea so we set out to the pens and sort a crap ton of sheep. Little Soda used to not like pen work but I think I see a glimmer of "oh boy" in her eyes now when we go back there.

Terry has a sheep I affectionately call "the Soda Killer" and she, as her name implies, tries to kill Soda. So we're putting all the from the big arena to the middle arena and it was a FAIL. She had to send her dog in b/c poor Soda didn't have the power to push them through because the Soda Killer was at the back, eyeballing her and scaring her.

Anyway, we got them all into the middle arena and managed to get them into the holding pen area by ourselves. From there we started sorting into the little sorting pens. The sheep were being... sheep and didn't want to be sorted and I told Soda to "get up there" and holy cow she ran in and gripped the crap out of the Soda Killer! :D I was pretty proud. We'll see if next week the Soda Killer has a little respect.

We were sorting and I had Soda push a little bit and a Dorper Ewe got a little sass in her pants and jumped up and Soda was underneath her with her mouth open (lol) and then the ewes foot landed on Soda's hock. :( Soda was a big girl thoughand didn't cry out but rather went back to work with three legs! I pulled her out and saw it was decent little cut but she kept on working. It's all healed up now and she's fine. She was a bit sore that day, but kept on working.

We took a rest then went out and practiced driving some. Ughhh. Terry insists it's coming along and I think part of my problem is that it's not pretty like when the real border collies do it. But she's getting it done and I KNOW she has very finite limits but ... still. Also she will.not. take an inside flank. That is a huge bane. We have to get that to continue working on driving--otherwise it will take her 20 minutes to make a 2 foot adjustment because she has to run alllll the way behind me. I could be like 10 yards away and she still has to go all the way around. I'm just not a good enough handler to stop her every time before she overflanks and her stop isn't good enough for that to be enough anyway! This is our next project.

Terry says I need to get out there and just drill on her for inside flanks but that takes money I don't have. Lametimes. Anyone have a farm I can borrow? I can throw hay with the best of them!