Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Runaway Recall

Now that the sheepdog trial season is over (for me at least), the focus is on working with Spot. I had a chance to work with him recently. I am hoping to get in more sessions with him over the Thanksgiving holiday.  It's a lot of prep work to get ready to work him; sheep sorted, gates to other pens closed, hay set out for training sheep to help hold them, and more. Spot is wearing booties to protect his feet from the sandpaper-like hard, dry ground, so those have to get put on him, a process for which he does not like to hold still! A backup dog (either Coal or Ryme or a friend's dog) is needed to put the sheep where we want  them and also to bring the sheep back if they run off.

The other day we had a fairly good session to start with, and I took a break to give both Spot and me a rest. It was cool out which is a bonus, now, so that he can work longer. The sheep -- a group of pretty dog broke wethers -- were on hay, munching away. Spot got some water and was catching his breath. Then all of a sudden I saw one wether leading the charge, running away from my dog working area. Big sigh. I tied up Spot, let Ryme loose and sent him to go find the wethers and bring them back. Ryme soon came back with three wethers and not four. The fourth wether was hiding, hoping not to be found, but Ryme went back and found him. Such a troublemaker that fourth wether was! At that point I decided that the troublesome wether's new name was 'Dog Food'.

The sheep were set back on the hay. Ryme was traded for Spot. But the instant that Dog Food saw me trade dogs, he again took off at a dead run to get away. But this time Spot saw Dog Food leave before I did, and Spot pulled the long line through my hand and I let go to avoid a rope burn. Spot tried very hard -- to his credit -- to cast around and head off Dog Food but it was too much for him. Dog Food then decided to try to crash through a fence and was unsuccessful, however, he was successful in breaking a water tub. The water tub had an automatic float on it, so water was gushing all over the place.

But somewhere in the mayhem, of loose puppy and running sheep, I had the presence of mind -- I don't know how -- to try to call Spot back to me.

That'll do, Spot, that'll do! I called out, in my most happy voice (while trying to catch up to the action)...and wonder of wonders, Spot came racing back to me, orange booties flashing, and his ears flying. That made my day! I figured my luck had all been used up and had run out, so I gave up on trying to work Spot on the sheep any more that day. But I was most pleased that Spot actually called off of the runaway sheep. Good times!


Anonymous said...

It's always nice when they will come back to you after mayhem! Becca has a good "that'll do" too which has saved some wrecks from getting worse!


Billy said...

Hi Carolyn,
I was very surprised because I feel that Spot's recall needs a lot of work! However I was very relieved to find that he came back to me on that day. :-) Trust your dog -- where have I heard that before??? :-)

Amosmum said...

Well done Spot!
Amos, who is developing a very naughty habit of having a bit of fun when he knows I'm about to call him off,could learn from him!

Billy said...

Amos'Mum: I was very surprised that Spot returned to me so quickly, calling off of the naughty sheep! :-) I am hoping that his recall will just get better and better...it will allow him more freedom, really... :-) now if we could just get that lie down on the sheep...we'd be in business!!!