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

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Sequim, Washington, United States

Saturday, February 2, 2013

What did I learn?

Yikes...I learned I suck.  It's okay because we all learn that we suck, some less than others; some more than others.  Due to my location and the lack of lessons, I probably fall into the "suck more" category.  I'm okay with that.  This is a work in progress.  There are lots of equations to this sheepdoggin' and you never stop learning.
I'm probably fairly easy to teach, because I'm pretty laid back and can take DIRECT advise without getting my panties in a twist.  I really have no aspirations to run in the finals.  Qualifying for the finals is enough for me (at this moment and time)  I like to do well or I wouldn't be trialing.  But, with my outlook, I don't need to be a human 'sheep whore' or kiss ass to people I don't particularly like.  Some people will do almost anything next to selling their first born to work someone else's sheep.  Not me.  Plus, my friends and family will always override my dogs and sheep trialing.  'Nuff said.  Okay, what did I learn?

I didn't bring Kilt, because I didn't want to upset Champ with his mother there plus I didn't have enough money for two lessons with two dogs.  I have pretty much reconciled in my head that Kilt is my ranch dog, not my trial dog.  I'll be happy with our one open win and the placements we have received.  I can't stop her on a BIG course.  That is why her son is with Suzy. 
No use keeping another dog I can't stop :0)

#1) I have always known my whistles suck. 
All of the top hats have told me so.  I am pretty tone deaf, so I am fairly happy I can blow anything.  Suzy showed me that I make my whistles too complicated for my dogs.  She tried to get me to simplify my whistling.  This is like trying to teach a deaf person to talk, I'm sure.   I think I may be able to blow her away whistle, but her down whistle is going to take a lot of car rides blowing and blowing.  Thank God she uses my come bye whistle.  I'm okay in that department, sort of.

#2)  When I want my dogs to flank faster, I tend to blow faster and "louder". 
The louder my whistles get, tend to slow my dogs down.  I never really thought about this revelation, but I think it is true.  You really blow hard when you want your dog to STOP right NOW, gosh darn it.  So it makes sense that the louder I become with my whistles, the slower they get.

#3)  Yoko has been pulling up short on her outruns.
First and foremost I have been trialing her in Terry's field and sending her on an away because that is where the sheep draw is.  She stops short, because she knows she will have to lean on them all of the way on the fetch.  Uh duh?  I really should send her on the come-bye so she can race around to the 1 or 2 o'clock position and then lean on them as they push towards the exhaust.  I haven't been doing this because I am usually trialing in AHBA or AKC in the field and like anyone else, I want to win ;0)  So, I let her pull up short to keep the sheep on line to me on the fetch instead of possibly losing my sheep on the come bye.  I do this at the Oxford's place in Porterville, too.  Next week, I will send her only on a come bye.  If we lose sheep, we lose sheep.
Suzy said, "Pick up the sheep and take them around the corner so we can shed."  I sent Yoko and pulled her up short to cross drive them over to the field around the corner.  I think Suzy about busted a gut.  She said, "And, you wonder why she pulls up short?"  I felt a bit stupid.  I should have had her cover to about 1 or 2 o'clock and then given her a right flank to get back around them to the cross drive.  Live and learn.

#4)  Yoko comes in at a snail's pace on the shed
I just moved her up to open.  She has been in 2 open competitions.  The first one she was 4th out of 40 for 4 points.  The second one was at Porterville.  She got as far as the cross drive before she blew up at the range sheep.  When Yo blows, she grabs a heel and that's all she wrote.
This is where someone needs to hook me up to a shock collar.  No shit Sherlock.  I plant my feet like the jolly green giant blocking any chance for Yo to come in and shed her sheep.  You would think I would know better.  I have audited Scott's shedding clinic.  Of course, I broke my ribs at that clinic and was on some heavy narcotics, so I will take that into acknowledgement that I didn't quite get it LOL
Suzy made it easy.  Just lean in and give the correct flank to Yoko as YOU FOLLOW THE SHEEP YOU ARE SHEDDING.  Get it Suzanne...follow the sheep...that means MOVE your FAT ass!  Damn that sounds easy to do.  Then why is it so difficult? 
Oh yeah, and I have NO call in whistle other than a weak walk up whistle if I need them to come in or a very LOUD here! haha That will have to be another lesson, because my little brain is filled to the
top.  Yoko has been a WIDE runner since a pup.  This year she is OFF contact on her outruns, so I am trying to reel her in without upsetting and totally screwing her up. 
So, I learned all of this in ONE lesson.. Imagine if I was able to work weekly with her?  Or imagine if I could work weekly with any of the trainers I like.  I enjoy working with Jennifer and with Wilda, too.  They are 2 hours closer than Suzy.  Eight hours round trip is better than 13 hours round trip.  Anyway you look at it, it's an effort and lots of gas money.  I need to win the lottery.
It's going to be a bitch learning a new down whistle, but I'm going to try to do it :0)
I'm going to try to move my ass in the shed ring so my dog can position themselves better and I am going to try to be a 'softer, gentler' Suzanne overall. 
Who says you can't teach an old dog new tricks?  LOL


Karen said...

Sometimes it just takes longer to teach an old dog new tricks:)
That picture of Yoko....when I first saw it I thought it was some big tree that had fallen over on it's side. I had to enlarge it to realize that what looked like a horizontal trunk was actually the far bank of the pond, as well as it's reflection in that pond. It's easy to fool old eyes:(

gvmama said...

I think that was one of my most favorite pics I took when I made it black and white. It just appeared mystical to me ;0)

Anonymous said...

Cool picture, good post.