Often times, we loose track of the important things when competing or training. The past weekend i managed to totally loose track of my center and let my own anxieties about people watching me ruin a perfectly wonderful day.
I don’t go to Fido’s often on Saturday’s. It works better for my schedule to go on Friday’s. Friday’s have lots of nice bonuses. The traffic getting home isn’t so bad, i can dawdle and if there are 5 people at Fido’s it’s a busy day. This past Saturday there were more people than available pens and my anxiety level was through the roof. The pen i use is front and center and the battery to my MP3 player was dead.
Evidently, doG was conspiring against me.
My first run was in a larger pen with heavier sheep. While nothing bad happened… nothing really good happened. There was a lot of “i don’t wanna stay behind the slow sheep” running around going on.
I decided that i didn’t need to do a repeat of utter failure twice and moved my heavier sheep to a smaller pen. At first, i thought this might not work so well as the heavier sheep had not worked well in the larger space. What ended up happening was further proof that i need to just settle in and work my dog. All the time.
At first she was just a nutcase. Bombing around all over. Taking her corrections and her good nods, but not really applying them as learning like she usually does. We took a break. My head was pounding and this was not working as hoped. Brain Go Boom. My stress was traveling down the invisible leash and her little self couldn’t be expected to keep it together if i couldnt’t.
The next run was really only done because a very special visitor was at Fido’s. If you’ve not had the experience of meeting Mrs. MaryAnn Lindsey… i suggest it. Mary Ann has been fighting cancer for years and still gets out with her pups and works sheep. It’s pretty amazing, really.
Anyhow, MaryAnn immediately commented how much better that run looked and i was pretty well intrenched in ‘petulent child mode’. My first instinct was to go home, but i let Molly rest while i found my brain.
The next two runs… i’m not sure what happened. There were wily young dogs next to us who pretty consistantly disconnected from their sheep to work our sheep through the fence. It should have gone badly. MollyMae had decided that we were going to work and it would be ok. Or maybe i did and she wouldn’t let go. Who knows?
She got out beautifully. Nice wide flanks, coming in almost square and either lifting them off the fence or keeping them to me all the way around the pen. No more bombing off. Even started to stay back a ways after i shook the flag over the sheep a few times. She totally got it.
I had to laugh a little at her. She went to get her sheep off the fence line and the young dog next to us approached the sheep to work them through the fence. That little 30lbs dog showed off the very ends of her pearly whites while she lifted them and that dog didn’t come over to play ‘her’ sheep again.
Always the probem solver. 😉