Wednesday, May 6, 2015


Clearly, blogging has taken a back seat to putting mileage on the dogs and my car recently.

There comes a time when you have to start hauling a young dog out (Spot) in order to widen his experiences...and what you find out is where (some of) the "holes" are in your training...and you try to fill them inbetween trips!

Additionally, there have been some opportunities to get Coal and Ryme out for trials and experience on different sheep, so we were lucky to take advantage of those too.

Photo of Spot by M. Lyons

We went to the RESDA Spring Trial in Boonville, back in mid-April. Ryme was the star of my team for that day, ending up in seventh place on the day with 27.5 points. Ryme gave me some very good at-hand work, including a lovely pen where he convinced three wily commercial ewes to agree to going in so I could shut the gate.  Coal and Spot were the also-rans...again nothing to write home about there except for more experience on the white-faced commercial ewes from the Johnson Ranch. Spot did a nice gather for his first-ever run at the Boonville arena, but then got too rattled at the turn around the pen so I retired.

A couple of weeks later, we attended the Barn Dance Trial near Auburn CA. Spot was entered in Nursery. What a nice venue this was for getting the young dogs out! And it was also a great opportunity for the newer handlers to gain some trialling experience. They offered Nursery, Pro-Novice, and Novice-Novice. The sheep were perfect, borrowed white hair sheep from the very consistent Spencer flock. The field was gently rolling to provide a little terrain to negotiate. Spot did a very nice outrun lift and fetch. I was so pleased to find that he would stop for me on a whistle at the top of the fetch.  But, like at the RESDA trial, when we started to turn toward the drive, Spot did not want to work with me and take the flanks that he needed to another RT. Since then we have been working on lots of "turning the post" type of manuevers of all kinds, as much as I can dream up. That is just one of the "holes" in Spot's training that needs to get filled up. He needs to be able to do all those things away from home, just as smoothly as he does at the "home" fields. More mileage needed.

And then my car got its oil changed, tires rotated, and so forth, so we would be ready for the next adventure which would not be too far out on the calendar...but that is another blog post.

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