a blog about Kilt and her kids plus Trouble our JRT mascot.

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Sequim, Washington, United States

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Thinking out loud

Just some musings on my dogs and last weekends sheep trials:

Shared hotel room at the trial.  My two spent their time next to my side of the bed.  There were four other dogs in the room.  They had the run of the rest of the room.  They all did well and were easy to care for, believe it or not.  Hard part was no dogs on the bed.

I have Jet...now almost 11 yrs old.  The King of finesse.  He has wonderful bloodlines, but not quite TUFF enough blood lines for me.  Yeah...half brother to the National Sheepdog trial winner.  Good for him.  Next, I have Kilt.....brawn and brute, but no partnership on the trial field.  She adores her work, never gets backed down, but I'm wasting my money in open.  Yeah, we won one small open class and have received a few token ribbons in open.  But, she does not need me.  Nor does she include me on the trial field.  The more difficult the ranch chore, the better she likes it.  Ms. independent thinker.

Yoko says, "No fair."  The crate is their partition.

Now, I'm just thinking out loud this morning, so if this dribble is bothering you, move on, or maybe it will make you think about where you get your next dog.  My 3rd dog is Yoko.  I'm clueless as to how Yoko is going to turn out.  Kind of a needy, funny, OCD type of puppy that wants to team up.  I have seen her confronted on several occasions.  And, I have seen her take care of business.  Not exactly how I would like her to take care of business, but she goes into action and gets them a moving.  Sometimes you have to take what you get. :0)  I wouldn't want to discourage the rousting up endorphins she musters up to move confronting stock.  That's her way of handling it.  I haven't taken away her "secret weapon."  What's that you ask?  Well, she doesn't have the confidence at 3 yrs. to walk up and bite them on the nose, so she will be as fast as lightening and grab a heel before they even know it.  Most animals don't like their heels bit.  This is something I have noticed.  Sometimes a well placed nose bite will encourage even more confrontation.  But, a heel bite is a different story. And, most stock will get a move on...maybe, not all in the same directions, but they will be moving !!!!

Lovely potluck luncheon at the Spencer's beautiful farm.

I just came from two trials up north this last weekend where  I wished I had Jet trialing.  The sheep wanted finesse, steady, and slow. The first trial was on a soccer field.  The sheep were light and consistent.  Kilt on her way to the post (all business) ran into a dog that was coming form the opposite direction walking by the post.  The handler obviously didn't know where the exit/entrance to the field was.  UGH.  Anyway, I'm watching my dog and the sheep and suddenly, a dog shows up in Kilt's face.  Kilt gave her famous sneer and would have liked to have torn that dog's face off at the post.  I didn't even see the dog because Kilt and I are concentrating at the matter of hand at this moment. We "were" in the ZONE. Now, Kilt is FIRED up beyond handability.  Hey, is that a new word?...."handability."  :0)

Kilt doing a split on the farm flock (2nd day trial)

Okay, snap the lead back on Kilt, direct the lady and dog off the field.  Send my dog.  Absolute disaster.  Kilt was so fired up, I couldn't even grab the bit if she had a bit to stop her.  Stopped her after the fetch and snapped the lead back on her.  Didn't even allow her to exhaust the sheep.  Okay, you're done.

Yoko on her first leg of her drive (2nd day trial)

Yoko...everyone loves the little white faced dog with the squinty eyes and huge Snoopy smile.  I sent her left, because this soccer field was at a rodeo fairgrounds with amusement rides and everything.  I just made sure no one was walking with ten gallon hats down the road I was going to send her.  Or they might have gotten a heel on their boot on the outrun. :0)   Plus, I wanted to send her into the direction of the set-out, golf cart, people and dogs.  I want her to be accustomed to obstacles and I'm willing to take a hit on points for her to gain experience.  If I sent her to the right, she had nothing to interfere with her.  If this was the Nationals I would have rethunk my thinking...haha.  She did okay.  I couldn't get her to give me a flank on the fetch.  That cost us.  She made her panels and the pen was a given.  Set your dog in proper position and they walk right in.  They should have put a blanket in the back of the pen or something.  I dislike sheep that have seen the pen so MANY times they just walk in.  C'est a vie.  So-so run.  She got a 79...probably deserved a 69.

Yoko working the Maltese cross

Next day.  Trial at the Spencer's farm.  Difficult field with a 300 yd. plus field that is so FLAT you set a level on it.  Dogs that are there for the first time, usually have a bit of difficulty on the outrun.   Yoko worked much better for me at this trial.  Her outrun was gorgeous.  Her sheep left the post way before she arrived, but thankfully, they left the post in a straight line and not back to set-out.  She was easy to handle.  On the crossdrive, I thought she was low so flanked her high and that's what I got. Missed the cross panel.  I apologized later :0(  Yoko received an 83, but probably should have been about a 73 in my eyes.  The nice thing is that she is getting "consistent." 

Kilt coming down the fetch line

I can't say that for her mother.  I sent Kilt on her outrun.  She just doesn't bend off her sheep where I would her to bend to give room at the top.  I yelled, "KILT" and then a whistle and blew her out.  Thankfully, she stopped and blew out....not as much as she should, but she gave me an foot or two.  That showed me she isn't completely autistic. She came behind her sheep at a decent distance, but with a presence that SCARES her stock.  They tried to run to set out.  Of course, that was a stupid thinking on the sheep's part.  Kilt brought them down the field.  She took her stops, but her flanks (if any) were atrocious.  Made the first drive panel okay, then I had to stop her, get her up, stop her, get her up...UGH.  This bitch can pace her sheep from here to New Mexico.  But, I'll be damned if I'm trainer enough to get her to do that at a trial. :0(  Missed the crossdrive (high again) and then couldn't get her to cover that left flank for a decent turn after the crossdrive.  Waaaaay offline to the shed ring.  Got the split after a few attempts on the farm flock, of course they walked right into the pen, and then the single came pretty easily.  A sorry score of a 65. Such a LOVELY bitch, so DEPRESSED, that I am not an experienced enough trainer/handler for this girl.  She has everything I want in a stockdog, but she will not partner up with me on the trial field.  She is my RIGHT HAND gal for ranch stuff.

So, there comes a time that you have to accept the inevitable (and, boy, this is hard for me to do).  I think Kilt and I are done.  I know, I know...she can do a blind gather at 800 yds and bring you sheep to your feet, she can gather stock in high brush at night, etc.  Those are the jobs she thrives on.  This trialing shit is just that to her....SHIT.  It means absolutely nothing to her.  Get it, Suzanne.  Yeah...I think I'm slowly figuring this out. But, it's depressing to me, because of how much I love Kilt's attitude and her stock ability.  And, I give the "breeder" kudos for telling me upfront, that this pup was way too independent for me when I purchased her.

And Lasoya...thanks to her for taking the great photos!

Sooooo.....where does that leave me now?  Sounds like a country western tune :0)  Kilt can continue to do work here and there and on any ranch she likes.   Jet is pretty much retired.  He may enjoy an arena trial or two this year.  And, Kilt would like to do more time and point trials.  :0)  Plus, I'll start offering her up to do set-out.  She is an extraordinary pen dog.  She will sit quietly while other dogs go around her.
(Funny note here.  LisAnn was setting with a young bitch and a male dog ran the field and as he came around on his outrun he stopped and peed on her set-out dog, before moving on to the lift)  Kilt would not have tolerated that. :0)

Guess that leaves me with Yoko.  I'll just keep working with her and see how far we can get....who knows?
Meanwhile, my older dogs are now, 9, 11 and 13.  Kilt and Yoko are 6 and 3.  I'm looking very carefully for a new Border Collie to bring up and train.  I want what everyone wants...biddability, guts, and push.  Plus, something that is nice to look at...if the dog is staying with me for a lifetime, I am vain.  I  like a nice looking dog.  No hurry...watching, waiting, and studying. :0)  Might be a year or two.

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