Okay, after this weekend, I'm glad I can say "I knew Yoko had it in her." She laid down a smoking run in full control of her lambs from the top to the pen. When I closed that pen gate, it is probably the first time people have heard me whoop and holler with pure JOY. Yo has always been a bridesmaid in the placings, but this weekend she won her first open class.
I think I can safely can say if I had a place with my own sheep, Yoko and Champ would be competitive more than just now and then :0) But, since that's not happening, I will continue to work them a couple of times a week as long as they enjoy trialling and I enjoy trialling (and, as long as our money holds out)
Yoko, I started out wrong, pushing her to grip, because I was worried she wouldn't have the power to move range sheep. Her father didn't. Her father was the king of finesse.
Be careful what you ask for. I had kind of given up on her due to her gripping and other crazy stuff she stresses about. As Faansie said, "Who taught her to grip?" That hit home with me. I did.
I have come a long way since the training of Yoko. I have learned valuable lessons in the training of my own dogs. Being in the PNW has given me the opportunity to attend many clinics with some fabulous advice. Patrick gave me the courage to move Champ up to the open classes. He won two of his first 5 open trials. Thus, far, I have been pleased with his work, but I know he can do better.
Faansie has given me the ability to SEE. He calls Champ, the "Floater." And, he calls Yoko, "The over-thinker." He surmised my dogs in the matter of a few minutes. It was amazing. Plus, he took the TIME to teach me how to get correct flanks. He made sure I knew HOW to get them. Champ has to be given as much 'independent' work as possible so he has to THINK and FEEL rather than just 'float' through his work. Yoko tends to 'overthink' each situation, so I was instructed to give her FUN balance work with no corrections at each work session for a few minutes :0)
They both are enjoying their work sessions so much, I can't call them away from the sheep to tie one up while the other works without having to literally drag one off the field. I like their keenness, but it has become a bit of a problem having to drag one off the field to tie up. I appreciate their enthusiasm, but I'm open for suggestions on how to fix this problem? I guess I could do the obvious by leashing them both when coming out to a field of sheep, but usually my hands are full of water bowls, water, etc. Maybe I will have to resort to that :0)
If their extreme eagerness to want to work is my biggest problem, I'll accept that....LOL Anyway, I'm happy that both have been in the placings every now and then. Almost makes me want to think about a puppy down the road. No hurry, though.