Friday, May 27, 2016

TGIF (or) Our Training Plan from the Past Week

If there is anyone who doubts that I have a list of training topics to address with Spot, then here is proof. I got distracted from making my flash cards but still intend to do that. We have a lot of mountain lions in our area and for the sheep's safety, we have to put the sheep up for the night, every night. This week, I have been on duty every night to put the sheep away. As a result I've been working dogs daily. 

This makes for very happy dogs. :)

It also gives me a chance to work on one or two things every night with Spot and just spend time on those things and not worry about other topics. I alternate between using Ryme and Coal to get the sheep sorted, and then use the other one to put the sheep away. This way they all get a little bit of work and no one feels left out. Ryme and Coal still need lots of exercise to stay fit and plenty of sheep work to stay happy.

Monday I had an acupuncture appointment for myself after work, and I normally do not like to go out and work dogs after that. I prefer to come home and rest, and let my treatment soak in. But there is no choice as the mountain lions will take the opportunity, and it was my turn, so I went to put the sheep in. I did work Spot a little bit, just on the whole group of Scotties which is now down to twelve head.  I took it easy so as not to push myself and was happy to get out and about in the lovely evenings that we have been having.

Tuesday I was back enjoying the cool weather. After work, I went to the vet to pick up Chiefie's ashes. This is always a rough time but the vet techs at the office made it easier. Bittersweet. Once we got out to the sheep, I used Ryme to sort off just four ewes for Spot. We have to make our practice harder, and four is much harder for Spot than twelve. I ended up working Spot a long time. It was cool and I just kept mixing it up. He just wants more and more work poured to hm. I had Spot at one point, bring the sheep up to a fenceline where I was on the other side. This is a very pressurized situation but he has to learn to deal with these. There is a handy corner nearby to where we were so I worked on him pushing the four ewes into that corner, then taking them out, driving them off, in several different variations, and putting them back in - all with me on the other side. I was cool and relaxed as there was no way I was going to get jostled in this routine. We also tried a shed of two from two out in the open; a single ewe took off and he chased her a little - uh oh. tomorrow night we will work a single. Coal brought everyone in.

Wednesday - I used Coal to sort off just three ewes this time and pushed the rest into the field with the really tall grass for them to munch on while I worked dogs. Spot working three sheep is much faster than Spot working twelve sheep (or even four sheep)! Oh my. But, he was good. We shed off one ewe and worked her quite a ways; he did not chase her. Bonus! We did a "blind" outrun to gather the three ewes. We penned. We were driving with some flanks on the fly, which is new for Spot. I was super pleased. At the end, Ryme brought the sheep in. I was tired, but happy.

Thursday - Ryme helped me to sort off four ewes - different ones from last night. I didn't work Spot as long as on Wednesday but it was mostly about pushing the envelope on the driving. Still using a lot of verbal and very little whistle. The whistle needs to get added back in! We did some pickups off the fence, with sheep on the other side, like we did at the last clinic. We also did some shedding. Spot is working really well and I am super pleased. Coal got to put things back together and put the ewes back in for the night with Cosmo. 

Friday - It was tempting to not work the dogs after the long work week, and just give them a run. Then, I remembered that I need to get those whistles back into the program. OK, we will work the whole group on whistles then. But when I arrived, six ewes had already put themselves in with Cosmo. So we just took out the other six to work. I used almost exclusively whistles and did a bunch of driving, flanks, and flanks on the fly, and as few stops as possible but stops where needed. We even worked on Bill's turns from last weekend, all on whistles. It went really well. Super pleased again. Buttery. :)  It was much warmer tonight, and the sheep were slow (for Scotties), which I have to keep in mind that we are working at the homey, familiar place on familiar sheep. The boys got a good run after wards. I hope they are getting enough exercise to keep their chiropractor happy.  Tomorrow, Ryme and Coal will be helping to hold sheep and help teach a younger dog how to pick up stock off of a handler.


Kathy said...

Love reading about your working with Spot. Really gets me to thinking about stuff I am working on with Colt.

Billy said...

:-) Thank you! I am so glad that right or wrong, it may be helpful! LOL.