Sunday, December 1, 2013

Grateful

I'm always grateful but recently the gratitude list contains these thoughts...

I'm grateful for four days off of work so that I can put in some extra time working my dogs, especially Spot. I was also grateful just to have some down time.

I'm grateful to have good places to work the dogs on a variety of situations and different sheep. We're very lucky to have excellent places to work.

I was happy on Thanksgiving to go work dogs for a few hours and then come home and roast a turkey. The boys and I shared turkey dinner and I was very grateful! We followed up our dinner with watching that holiday favorite movie, A Christmas Story! I love that one.

The four days off work and training dogs each day created an optimum situation to try to make some progress with Spot. The weather was clear and I had new booties to use on his feet so he would not tear his pads and be sidelined from that as a result. Each of the four days we went out and worked sheep.

Day One (Thanksgiving), he seemed like he was trying to work with me and there was a little progress. He stopped sometimes. For the first time ever it felt like we were more of a team working the sheep and less chaotic.

Day Two, it was less fun. It seemed like Spot and I were just putting in the effort but not with any results and not really working together. I tried not to be down about it. I knew that there would not be improvement each and every single day.

Day Three, we had a breakthrough! Spot actually stopped and laid down at the end of his cast, on balance. For the first time ever! I felt like I'd won the lotto. For someone looking at us for the first time they might think we were not too good. But for Spot and me it was a major step forward.

Day Four, no breakthroughs, but just a continuation of what we have been doing. Some casting around the sheep, which is just gorgeous...and a few stops. Spot is clearly trying very hard to work with me. What more can I ask? He is super, super, super keen. He is trying to fit in with my abilities and limitations. We're both trying.  We have some yearling wethers who are quiet and are working just great for Spot. I'm very grateful for them!

As for the other dogs, we had a great practice on lambs that showed all the holes in our Open dogs. Oh my! Nothing like getting your false sense of security shot out from underneath you, so to speak!  Coal gets mesmerized by lambs, even older ones, so it is always a battle to get him to work lambs properly. I'm very grateful to have those lambs to work on.

For Ryme I am trying to get him driving better and at a little bit more distance from me without him blowing up. It's slow, just like everything else. But we're working at it. Even though it's a lot for me to work multiple dogs, I'm grateful to have dogs to work. They are all different and keep me digging deep to find what each one of them needs as an individual.

I'm also very grateful to have kind friends who are willing to toss around ideas, help me to set up training situations for my dogs, and set up training dates to help keep us all going. There's a lot to be grateful for!

I hope everyone had a nice Thanksgiving!

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