Friday, February 27, 2009

Workin' dogs...

So with Taz away, I'm having a little trouble motivating to update the bloggo. I mean, it's not like I'm teaching Craig anything new, though we've been working a bit. Mainly we just work on improving my timing with driving, although for the past couple of weeks I've mainly been doing outruns. I've been going up to Fran's with Larry and her sheep are a bit wild. These sheep like to run, so we do round-robin outruns, with one person holding the sheep with a dog and the other person sending a dog on an outrun, lift, and fetch. Because Larry was working 2 dogs, both of whom are younger than Craig, we usually had each of his dogs do two outruns for every one Craig did. So after the first OLF, the dog would drive them back toward us and Craig would pick them up so Larry's dog could do the second outrun. I like working with Larry, especially because his Raid is Craig's half-sister. It is neat to watch her run and see the similarities between her working style and Craig's. Her outrun is much wider than Craig's is, but they both really have a tendency to want to overcompensate for any draws on the field. I like to watch Larry handle Raid, so I can get ideas about how to better handle Craig :)

I have been learning a bit more about holding and reading sheep during these sessions. Like that sheep can be intimidated into staying put while we're holding them if the dog is standing, but might try to break if I make the dog lie down. Also, they can be very sneaky, moving in one direction to lure the naive handler into sending the dog against the draw. Then, once the dog is committed, the sheep can do an about face and high tail it in the other direction. I've been experimenting with how close I can get myself and Craig to the sheep to keep them relaxed enough to stay put but not so relaxed that they attempt to run back to where they want to go. Often they'd stay put for a little while and then just start to drift in the direction of the side I was on opposite the draw, as Craig was guarding the side they were more likely to take off on. I'd lie Craig down and go to block them. If they kept moving, I got to be able to tell without looking whether I was coming in too hard or straight, or the problem was actually that Craig had sneakily gotten up and was actually driving them back so they'd stay further away from the draw. Because God forbid the sheep move a muscle in the direction of the gate...

Here are some photos from last weekend:

Some of the sheep

Craig lifts the sheep. He's coming in at around 2:00, but you can see he's right where he needs to be.

Mirk flanking.

Craig fetches the sheep to me.

Raid waits her turn.

Craig peeks through the opening as he fetches the sheep to me.

Mirk focuses on the action.

Mirk drives the sheep toward our general direction.

Raid begins an outrun.

Craig takes a break.

Come bye, Raid.

And, finally, isn't Craig handsome?


BCxFour said...

When does Taz come home? Scott is going to be in WA at Fido's Farm March 17th - 23rd. I cant wait for his clinic!

Darci said...

Lexy is a BIG outrunner too. Shame though, because as she gets older she could definitly come in a bit to conserve energy. Even though I know they are sisters, I still cant get over how alike Lex and Raid are in so may way!

Laura said...

Well, I might go get him this weekend because Scott is going to be away for much of March, but if I can't do that I'll likely have to wait until the end of the month so I can work with Scott some before taking Taz home...

thunderdog said...

Nancy Montgomery sent me to your blog. It's lovely, and you have beautiful dogs.

Laura said...

Thanks very much, Thunderdog! Nice to see you here. I totally agree about the dogs being beautiful :-)