Sunday, September 1, 2013

A Birthday, A Holiday, and More

Coal gives me the border collie eye from the vantage point of his swim tank
Coal's birthday was last week on August 29th. I didn't get a post on the blog for him due to other things that happened that day. Still I wanted to post something about Coal's birthday even if it's belated. He is now seven. It is hard to believe he's that old. Time flies when you are having fun. Coal has always been a bundle of fun. He is a jolly fellow who enjoys life. I try to take a lesson from him daily in that regard!

One thing our trainer said about Coal last weekend has stuck with me. As any know who watch us run in a trial, Coal has a lot more eye than most folks want in their sheepdogs. I have stuck with it because he is my dog and he has lots of other talents; he's not going anywhere. But what our trainer noted was that "there is nothing wrong with that kind of eye." "You just have to have obedience from the dog to go with it" (or something to that effect). In other words if the dog is obedient you can use the good parts of that amount of eye yet still get around a trial course in good fashion. That's my goal. When things are flowing it is a lovely sight, Coal and the sheep on the course. I'm not drilling him as such, but every day when we work I am running through some exercises to promote obedience, making sure he listens.

Coal is getting tuned back up. I am hopeful that we can put in a respectable showing at the nearby November USBCHA-style trials. I have more things to work on, and need to also put time into his fitness. But it's all coming along. Some of our sheep went on walkabout the other night; I found two of them enjoying irrigated lawn. I was glad I had Coal with me to put them back into the (dry as a bone) pasture. Oh my.

It's Labor Day weekend, so we have some holiday time off. Some down time is much welcomed and appreciated by me this year. A lot of the sheepdog folks are out of town at the various trials: the Scottish Games in Pleasanton, of course Soldier Hollow in Utah, and there is a small fun trial on Monday at the Gibson Ranch Park near Sacramento. I'm staying home. The holiday weekend traffic, the Bay Bridge closure and more factors were enough to make that choice. We have work to do at home, I have training and practicing to accomplish with the dogs and just some rest and chore time to put in here.  I am watching the Soldier Hollow scores online though, and it looks tough especially at certain times of the day.

Spot is doing well too. We're working on our assignments from last weekend's lesson. I would like to have a little bit cooler weather so that we could work a few minutes longer each session. Right now it's been pretty hot though so the sessions are really short. Some would say that short duration is a good constraint right now. Perhaps! :-)

We had a problem at home on Coal's birthday which is the main reason why I didn't blog that day. I'm still processing it and working out a plan to deal with it. Ryme has suddenly (at least to me) revealed animosity for Spot. If the signs were there before, with a fermenting issue, I did not see them. Spot has a great temperament and just wants to get along with everyone - which is one of the main reasons he is here. But we had a bad altercation early Thursday morning. Ryme would not give it up even though Spot was completely submissive. So they are separated for now at home, although walking them together out in the open still seems to be a possibility. To be determined. I continue to learn.

Happy Labor Day weekend, all!

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