Saturday, January 9, 2016

Working Dogs in the Rain

We worked dogs in the rain today. It was just light showers, off and on, and not enough to discourage us, at any one time. The vernal pools at this field have a lot of water in them, so a person has to work their way around those pools when driving or fetching the sheep. It does make for an interesting dog workout! If the dogs get hot they just splash through the pools, but if they don't want to go through the pools then a person gets to work on their bend-out or pull in commands or whistles, on the fly. :)

Ryme today
My dogs were just on the verge of a mutiny early this morning, since they have stayed home all week. It is rough for them and rough for me, this first full five-day work week back at the regular routine. Today however they all got out and the three black-and-whites (Coal, Ryme, and Spot) all got to work. Chiefie got to wander around a little but although probably not enough to his liking; I did not want him to get soaked as he takes so long to dry out. I also worked Sam and he was on the muscle at first; we haven't had sheep held by a spotter in a long time and that seemed to throw him off. He got better on his second turn though but it's a good reminder that Sam needs practice with a stock handler.

We are all very hopeful that we can go back out tomorrow and put in some more sheep work time. We have a very strange definition of fun, that only outdoorsy types would understand. While others surf the new offerings and specials at Best Buy, we get all suited up in your rain gear and go outside, stand in the rain and smile as you work your dog. It is a handicap having your hood up to keep the rain away, so that adds to the mix of training challenges because you can't see or hear as well as you can with it down. :) I'm happy with my rain gear for now, but of course we are all always on the quest for better, and drier. What will keep us dry -- without keeping us too hot or clammy in this climate? What will keep us just warm enough? Which boots work the best? I have not been able to wear rubber boots for a couple of winters. I am getting by with the Ariat waterproof terrain boots, plus gaiters, plus rain pants when needed. So far, so good. The rubber boots just do not offer enough support for my bad foot.

It's great to be getting the rain. We've had a few days of rain, and a couple days of clear, followed by a few days of showers. There has only been a day or two that was a deluge. I am hoping for no deluges, because those would bring damage, disaster, and other D words. Our drought (the other kind of D word) is far from over but its magnitude will fade more and more as we get these cells of rain coming through day after day and week after week. Let's hope it continues!

Spot was good today and we first did several fetches and then some driving and other things. He feels really solid on the outruns and fetches. The driving, is our week point. I need to spend some more time just working on the driving incrementally and troubleshooting where I need to be, how far away can I be? and so forth. Spot is definitely trying and that's a good thing. :)

Coal is at the point where he believes that compliance is optional. Not. We are going to have a talk about this.

Ryme's stop seems to be missing and I am wondering where and how I will find it?

January will be doable, if we can put in days like this on the weekends. Happy 2016 to all! :)

1 comment:

Kathy said...

Definitely a good dog day!!!