Monday, January 27, 2014

Still Working...

Spot goes on a short cast

We're still working the dogs and crossing our fingers that we might get some rain...note that there is no grass in any of these pictures. Meanwhile Spot (now 17 months) is making a little bit of progress, although it seems like slow progress at times, and one step forward with a couple of steps back. Overall though we are taking some forward steps. I'm working him without the long line all the time, now, although we go to and from the field on leash. We can do short little gathers from either side although he prefers to be set up on the bye side. I'm trying to rearrange myself and the sheep so that Spot will want to run to the away side on his own choice. Stopping is still an issue and probably will continue to be; he is so keen. But I am insisting upon it as I am able. In our last session, Spot actually drove the sheep about 30 yards, after I coached him on getting the sheep out of a run-in shed. The setup was just so perfect to start an impromptu drive, that I went with it. What fun; he stopped just fine during that little driving excursion and then when he seemed like he might cut out around the heads of the sheep, we stopped and started over with a little gather. Cool. :-)

 Ryme waiting for his sloowwww walk up
Ryme is still working on his more deliberate approach to the sheep. We've worked on it now for about two weeks and I think I am seeing a difference. I am staying pretty close to him but also trying to add in some distance here and there to see where we are with it. Definitely this tactic is giving us happier, quieter sheep with Ryme behind them! Ryme also has an appointment to get "tutored" next month, now that we have the funds for it. I am hoping this might help his attitude toward things but it certainly won't hurt to have a few less male hormones around here.

Checking the forecast anxiously several times a day does not make it rain. Too bad. But neither does gloom and doom make it rain, either. We're trying to remain at least somewhat positive yet come up with a plan for what we will do. Some sheep are getting sold to preserve pasture space for others. Dog training will go on.......and we pray for rain. Those farmers and ranchers whose living and work is being affected by this water crisis, are in our thoughts daily.

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