Sunday, April 20, 2008

Picnic Day

The UC Davis Picnic Day trial was really fun. Held on the college during a huge campus-wide open house, the trial was on an athletic field so the venue was pretty small. There were many hundreds, if not thousands of spectators passing by our area, though, many more than I was expecting. The college students are a real kick. The ski club even had a mini ski hill made of snow for people to slide down on saucers. Too bad I don't have a photo of that one.

The sheepdog trial offered us two runs, in a pro-novice style course. The first run was a right-hand drive, and the second run was a left-hand drive. The top three dogs from that made it to the "finals". Bid's and my first run wasn't too good and we never settled our sheep. I knew we were in trouble when the sheep jumped about six feet into the air on their way out onto the field. Our second run was much better, however, and we navigated the course and even penned. The sheep did not want to go into the pen because of the wall of hundreds of people lining the trial field, which they had to face at the pen and also at one of the drive panels. The spectators made the trial very interesting and challenging, despite the small field.

The UC Canine Genetics Lab is always doing something interesting. At the trial they asked the handlers if we would mind putting a collar on our dogs that held a GPS tracker unit. They also put one on each of the sheep in each run. These would transmit data on the movement of both dog and sheep which they can use later for their research on behavior and genetics.

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