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

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Sequim, Washington, United States

Monday, November 14, 2011

Yoko has a break-through

Yoko tends to be a bit soft to correction.   She detests flags, hats, and most anything that is waved at her and makes noise.  She has never quit on me, but she sure gave it a second thought the other night.  I use Yoko to put the sheep up at night.  They barrel down the hill and put a ton of pressure on her.  When I would ask for a flank, she wouldn't give it.  It was like she was paralyzed by the pressure.  When I worked her for Suzy Applegate on her range ewes they confronted her.  I asked her for a flank and she blew me off.  She stood there eyeing them up.  Suzy told me not to let her get away with that.  She was right.  And, while I was at the Porterville trial when she had to jump into the sheep to get them lifted, then, she wouldn't take the flank I was giving her due to the pressure she was feeling.

So other other evening I had a plastic kitchen trash bag in my pocket.  Nothing I thought out.  It was just in my pocket. Kind of like a devine intervention (LOL) I asked her for a flank as the sheep barreled down the hill to their barn.  Yoko laid there frozen.  I took out the bag and gave it a small wave.  She went a few feet.  I had to wave it at her several times, before she would give me a flank.  We had about a 10 minute session.  At one point, she was so pissed at me, even though I was working her very quietly, that she wanted out of the sheep pen.  No such luck.  She was stressed.  I knew that because she was trying to take the wrong flanks.  I just stopped her and didn't let her get away with that either. A few more minutes of flanking under pressure and we ended on a good note.

I told my husband that night that I thought I had broken through a barrier with Yoko.  Next day I had Yo entered in a small field trial at EveLynn's.  The sheep are notorious for putting a ton of pressure on the dogs.  They have a huge exhaust draw.  I sent Yoko on a come bye and just as I sent her the sheep booked towards one of their pens.  Yoko handled it like a pro.  She kept an eye on them and broke wider at the top to catch them coming at her.  She pushed them back up the field towards the set out hay and when I asked for a flank, I got it.  She balanced them straight up the field back on line.  Can you say HAPPY?  I sure was!

That night when I got home we went down to the sheep pen to put them up before dark. I asked for a flank as the sheep bore into her.  She gave a few feet.  I asked 'sweetly' again...bing badda bing, she gave me a huge sweeping square flank.  Good girlie Yoko!
Sometimes I worry that I am putting too much pressure on her when it might be true of the opposite! I'm probably letting her get away with stuff.  I need to find the right balance. Gosh, I love working my dogs :0) 

"Ugh Oh...Mom's on to me"


Karen said...

Cute picture of Yoko:)
Luna's terrified of flapping plastic bags.

gvmama said...

Nothing bothers Kilt. Yoko's soft side comes from her father. I probably baby her a bit too much. It's hard for me to figure out the right balance. But, as soon as she gives, I back off. Pressure on, pressure off. Even though she was unhappy with the trash bag, it worked. And, she remembered it when she was under the same type of pressure the next time. Yea.

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