Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Found and Lost

Found. One outrun at Point Pleasant, for Spot.  We went to the Father's Day Nursery/Pro-Novice trial, which was Spot's third sheepdog trialling trip to Point Pleasant in 2015. In his other two attempts, earlier this year, he did not find his sheep in the nursery classes, so we RTed both times. This trial, I am pleased to say that Spot FOUND the sheep. In the nursery class I sent him come-bye which appears to be his favored outrun side at this point. Spot did a really nice outrun on that flat field. Found. Yippee!  We still RTed because while there was a decent fetch most of the way, listening to commands except for one faux pas, there was a difficulty getting Spot to start and continue the drive towards the first panel. After we flustered about with it for a bit, I walked. I am still learning about patience. :)

Spot had another run in PN later in the trial. I sent him to the Away side, this time, just for sporting's sake, as one of my old bosses used to say. The course was different from Nursery and the drive was tricky and long; I knew Spot would not be equipped to handle it. This PN course was built for all the really competitive PN dogs in our area...not for beginner nursery dogs like Spot. So I told myself, just do the gather. I sent him Away and he ran out...and stopped partway, just like our other trips to this field. But this time I was able to convince him to look and bend out and he did get out to the sheep on the away side, without crossing over, after much ado. But he got out there which is a huge victory. Again we RTed on the drive. He is just not ready for that part, away from the home fields. We have much work to do on the drive and just keeping Spot settled behind the sheep. His peers in the nursery class are far ahead of him in terms of smooth and polished execution of the trial courses. I am trying very hard not to make those comparisons.

I will write more in another post about the trial, which was very nice, and Ryme got to have a go.

Spot and I run nursery at Dry Lake back in May
Lost. One lamb disappeared. We were babysitting two ewes and their lambs, over the summer, for a friend. There was a single boy and a pair of twins. One Friday night, I checked the sheep and everybody was fine. On Saturday morning, when someone went to feed the guardian dog, the single boy lamb was gone. Just gone, with no trace. Several of us looked and looked all over for any sign of his disappearance, but he was just gone. There was no blood, no wool, no body, no nothing. We looked all over, and found nothing, nada, zip. We suspect mountain lion but it could have been that or any other predator who was quick enough to grab the largest and slowest lamb. It is really unfortunate since this is the lamb we worked really hard to pull when he was born, as he was too big. As a result, his front legs were messed up at first but they were coming around and he was walking sound. We moved the other ewe and her twins to more safety, at a friend's house who was very generous to offer to put them in with her ewes and lambs that live practically right under her nose. So on we go as such is keeping sheep. It is very strange. There have been no reports of mountain lion kills in the area when I talked with the county trapper. Our sheep were not jittery, at all, which is also strange; it must have happened really fast.

Overall, I'm very much enjoying the summer with long evenings of daylight when I can work dogs. It feels like I am burning the candle at both ends right now, with multiple candles. It's light so early and light so late. I love it.

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