Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Location, location!

Yesterday, I took Taz and Craig out to Cathy's to work. She gave us a packet of about 12 lambs to work. I thought we'd work on things close in, so we stayed in her field, rather than going to her neighbor's much larger alfalfa field behind her field. Cathy later pointed out that this was not really a good idea—the pressure of the fences and the significant draw back to the barn for the lambs are still there, no matter how close in the dogs worked. It would be better for me to work in the alfalfa field all the time, unless we are prepping for an arena trial or something.

I kept things easy again. Taz and I started with small outruns. I tried to visualize the trajectory I thought he should take and mark it with little landmarks like a patch of scrub, but he usually didn't go as far out as the path I had picked for him. However, I didn't know if I could really fault him, because the lambs were already on the go back to the draw before he could even get much distance off them. Even Craig had the same problem. Cathy thinks the problem was working in the field, and that I will be able to set this up much better in the alfalfa field.

Driving went much better for both dogs. For Taz, I didn't much care where he drove to, as long as he could take an inside flank every now and then. He did wonderfully! He will be such a nice driving dog one day. He kept them more or less on line all by himself :-) and I was very pleased. For Craig, we drove to specific spots, but not particularly long distances. Craig, too, did very well! He listened to me, and only once did I have to go through the voice levels to the demand correction. (He hadn't agreed with my request to resist covering the draw while driving, but after the correction, he did everything I asked right quick!) So I was proud of both of us for communicating and not letting anything degenerate into frustration on both our parts :-)

This Saturday is another trial in the novice series. Craig and I are working a bit more like a team now, I hope. I am going to put Taz in the pro-novice category, since he has won the last two novice trials. I am excited to see how we'll do!