My mantra now is to try to make my dog the best he or she can be with the goods they've got. Today, I sent my entry in for Deer Creek. I am just running Kilt in open Sat./Sun. Last year when Yoko was just 2 yrs. old I put her on the Deer Creek range ewes. Way wrong there, Corrigan. I scared her. The Deer Creek ewes are notorious for being the meanest sheep I have yet encountered . It was there that I saw the first bit of avoidance behavior from Yoko on her outrun. She did this beautiful wide outrun and at the top stopped, and pretended she was sniffing or looking at something for awhile before finishing her outrun to do her lift. That was PRESSURE. Pressure the sheep were already putting on her. I think Yoko was hoping that if they didn't notice her, they wouldn't be so likely to turn on her.
The sheep turned on her. She couldn't lift them. Day two I asked her to do it "again." Not exactly brilliant, my dear Watson. Yoko was able to get them half way down the fetch and then they stopped and turned on her. She growled and barked. I went out to help her, but not without first giving her much coaxing, "Whoop, whoop, etc." I set my own pup up to FAIL. What ever made me think she was ready for those sheep is beyond me. So, I'm apologizing a bit late to my Yoko.
I am wiser now. Yoko is pretty good about moving obstinate and ornery stock now. If they are NOT listening to her on the lift, she will jump into them to get them going. I most certainly do not get on her case about that. I let her choose what she thinks she needs to do. If the sheep are respectful, Yoko has the softest of lifts. I don't need to say a thing to her at the top.
I will take Yoko to Porterville with me and hopefully, she can do a bit of exhausting for the other exhibitors. That way she isn't enduring the pressure of trialing. Just doing a bit of ranch work with me. This will help her gain a bit more experience and confidence.