Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Slow down...

I had a lesson with Bill on Sunday, but I only worked Taz. Craig was limping a bit on Saturday evening after I got home, so I thought it would be a good idea for him to rest it. It's nothing serious, don't worry! He probably stepped into a cheep (prairie dog) hole while he was running on Saturday afternoon.

Taz went to get the sheep out of their paddock and Bill had me work in there for a bit to see how pressure-sensitive Taz would do with the obstacles. He did great! He didn't always want to take the flanks I gave him when it meant giving up the pressure, but he did it most of the time, especially as time went on. After a bit, Bill had me position Taz to move the sheep in a clockwise direction along the fenceline of the pen. Taz figured out what we were doing very quickly—what a smart border collie! Then we switched directions to move the sheep counterclockwise. Taz didn't like this idea very much and I think he thought I was flanking him incorrectly, since clearly the job was to move the sheep clockwise. Hmm, not so smart after all ;-)

We moved out to the field to do some more outruns, with Bill and Rocket holding the sheep. Taz was tight. Again! Even the trick of moving halfway up the field wasn't working as well as it had before. We shortened things up, and he did go around, but he's struggling with this. I spent some time just walking him around the field, which he loves. Then we repeated the fenceline exercise in the arena. I think I'll go out to Bill's again this week sometime and just walk again. By then Craig's leg will be better, and I'll walk both of them. And tell them what good boys they are ;-)

I think I'm going to chill out on the whole sheepdog thing for a little while. I'll still work my dogs, but maybe not as much. I am also going to try to back off immersing myself in sheepdog culture. It fascinates me, and I can't get enough of it, but maybe it's better to try to stay more grounded. I tend to throw myself into whatever activity I'm learning to do at the time—I did the same thing with whitewater kayaking—but maybe that is not very healthy. I'm probably putting too much pressure on my dogs and myself. So, I think I'll just try to slow down and play for a bit.