Monday, April 25, 2016

Flash Cards

My latest plan is to create flash cards for my dog training. I'm making a list of the things I want to work on, this summer in the evenings and on the weekends.  Flash cards are most likely a thing of the past, as are these sheepdog blogs (!) but then so am I! :) I thought it would be a great idea for evenings when I get home tired from work, but still want to get the dogs out to the sheep. I won't just do the same ole, same ole, whatever comes into my head...I will pull out a flash card and have a fresh idea of what to work on, and might (just might!) actually get through (or at least to) the many many things that need to get worked on.

I'm compiling the flash card list (I don't have actual cards yet) from the training plans that I got from Derek. I'm also adding in many of the things in the Vergil Holland book (the new one) where he mentioned things that you should practice before you enter a trial. I am part way through the book, the second time, adding highlighter and post-it note tabs on those pages where the exercises are discussed.  I don't want to hand-write on index cards so I need another idea to make the cards. Something that is not hand-intensive to create even more hand pain than I already have, from work. Ideas?

Our trip to Ferndale (where I thought of the flash cards, as we were winding up our time with Derek) was exactly everything I'd hoped for, and then some.  The clinic was held on a beautiful sheep and cattle ranch. Spot got to work out in an open field, no fences (except perimeter fencing, far away) on real sheep and a chance to put things together a bit from what we've been working on over the past month (and really over the past year and a half or so). One of my plans for this year is to get Spot out as many new places as I can, on different sheep, without actually taking him to trials just yet. This clinic was perfect for that. We worked on our basics that we have been doing, and we did more driving, and even a couple of sheds. The older lambs/young yearlings that we were working were pretty easy to split apart so it was a primo chance to try a shed with Spot (who is a beginner shedder).

Plus and even more importantly the group of people at this last clinic was just fantastic. We have all grown supportive of one another's attempts to improve our dog work. It is just a great bunch.

Here is the field in Ferndale where we worked (excuse the faraway i-Phone photo):

This looks like heaven to me!
This is a photo of my boys on the last morning of the clinic:

Ready for the next adventure
Training a sheepdog from a puppy to a competent adult that you can run in Open (or even PN) takes a lot of work. If you don't enjoy the process, then it would be best to either buy a trained Open dog or find another activity. The time and miles are worthwhile to me but it does seem to take, forever. The people you meet along the way, however, are jewels who also make it all worthwhile.  My friend hauled her LQ horse trailer into town so that I would have a place to stay for this clinic...I don't think people get much nicer than that. I enjoyed staying on site, at the venue. The little enclosed barn lot above in the photo, was just outside the door of the trailer. What could be nicer for the dogs and me? Not much. :) We are very lucky.

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