I awoke to a steady drizzle this morning. Not really sprinkles more like a wet mist. Four of our clients went home with Family and two went to Church this morning, Sundays is Vic’s regular days off and she also went to church. I’m just not used to this quietness, the silence was deafening hehehe but I might be able to get used to it. I figured around one I would take a quick nap and turned on a boring baseball game. Wouldn’t you know I got so involved in that game that I couldn’t even take a nap? By the way the Mariners won it one to zero. This morning the first chicken hatched in the incubator and I wished my grandkids were here. They are going to be so excited. My daughter called and asks if I still needed her as a worker to watch the clients and I looked outside, whew the wind was blowing and its raining pretty good now. How could I pass on a training situation like this?? Yes please come over I do want to go work the dogs. She mumbled something like you’re crazy or something of that nature.
The way I figure this is if it rains or the winds blow at this trial I have rehearsed that scenario. All the handlers who are only fair weather trainers I have one step up on them. I could be wrong but that is my way of thinking. The dogs don’t mind at all. I’m saying a little silent prayer on the way to Hopes that she’ll not mind either. It very hard to set stock them run 300 or so yards send a dog bring the stock and then run 300 more yards to reset. You know if you do that a couple times with each dog that’s starts to build into mileage. Hope has been very diligent and willing to help me in every way possible. In the last week or two I’m planning on things getting a little more intense. Kane and Tait are old hands at lifting cattle off or between horses and riders but I’ve never tried it with Tigr yet. Tonight I’m planning on making her lifts a little harder on cattle. I think she now has the confidence to lift them off of grain. On the drive over I’m making plans of shorter outruns for Tigr and lifting off grain where I can assist or encourage her if need be. If all goes well I might try a longer outrun with her. I think the more I can do at this point to get her used to all the different situations she might see the better off she’ll be.
When I arrived at Hope’s I noticed she had fed the stock their hay already. The bulls, ops I meant future steers had their heads buried in the hay. So I decide to see if Tigr could lift them from their feed. The big red Angus moved right off but the Holstein and Galloway stood their ground a bit as she walked up on them, pretty soon the Holstein decided to follow the Angus, but that ornery white one was still standing there sort of daring her. She was walking up real steady right into his face when all of a sudden he had total recall of last night.. She held that pressure and walked within two feet right into his face. I’m just totally tickled with her performance. I had her drive them through the corner drive panels and gave her a “that’ll do”.
I figured Tait wouldn’t mind working next, yep I was right. He was sitting on his hind end front legs waving in the air to me. That Tait is such a character; you just got to love him. He does a beautiful little outrun lifting them with ease. Tonight he is not on the muscle as much as normal. The stock still knew this wasn’t the wolf to mess with and moved off, doing exactly as he asks of them. When he isn’t over bearing and reading his stock this dog is just something else. He doesn’t always need that power that he processes and is so very willing, even eager to use. I could drive, fetch, cross drive, or pretty much anything I wanted to do with the stock this rainy day. “That’ll do” buddy come mere and let me pat you on the head.
Kane was fired up and ready to go. It is just pure torture to him to be last. Well at least he will be the first of my dogs to run at the finals this year. He also did a really nice little outrun-lift and made the stock look real easy. By now Hope came out, bet I messed up her dinner. I finished the drive and cross drive with Kane and told her—Looks like these are dog broke already. I told her what I was planning on and she thought this was a good idea. We had to rearrange the stock in order to work in the larger pastures where the horse herd is. I used Kane to drive the steers and sheep across the smaller pasture and go to the round pen to get the two heifers. We took them from the round pen out into the same pasture with the sheep and steers but Kane wouldn’t let them mingle and we take them to a large pen. Hope talks the horses into the round pen leaving us with the three Holstein steers to work. I must say Kane made this task look easy.
Hope gets a bucket of grain for setting these steers as I walked off into the pasture. I have Tait with me also and tie him to a small tree at about 125 yards from the lift point. Like I said I wanted to be prepared to help if needed because I know cattle can be really hard to lift off grain. Now I know she can hear me encourage her and she can also see me pretty well. I also have the dog who will fire them up and show her how to move them if needed. Off Tigr goes in her normal beautiful outrun, wide and deep. She turned in on the top side and started coming towards the cattle, and lay down. I wanted to not say anything but I also didn’t want to chance her getting stuck using her eye, so after just a few seconds I blew a walk up. Then I vocally encouraged her also hissing her onto the cattle. Oh wow she sure is doing this nice the steers split and she was keeping them headed correctly till I decided to help her here also. She was singling the one out and working almost ignoring the other two. So I blew an “Away” command which she obediently took. The moment she turned to get those two I realized I had made a mistake as that steer turned and ran for the grain. Dang me, she had it under control, sometimes I should just keep my mouth shut and let her do her job. That steer was picking up a head of steam and I was doubting she could head and stop him. Mistake number two for me as she went in and took him on. She turned that steer went and gathered the other two and brought them at a nice clip to me. I am so impressed with this young girl’s ability. Next I did the sane thing only from the opposite direction.. Kept my mouth shut and just watched her do her thang. I am just amazed how far she has come in such a short time frame. I know Hope has to be just beaming after watching her tonight. This is getting to be a pretty regular thing how Tigr impresses everyone around.
Next its Taits turn. He is just a wiggling all over when he knows I’m coming to get him. I sure hope he don’t think I’m going to do such a short outrun with him. I start walking to the far end of the pasture.. This outrun will consist of him crossing a flat but marsh area, then through a creek like swampy place, over a levee where the cattle will disappear from sight. From there he will travel through a wet marsh coming out on higher ground where the cattle will come back into sight. He must then travel another 100 yards or so to come in deep enough to satisfy me. After he started out at around 75 yards he wasn’t going wide enough so I blew a redirect. He took it bit just slightly so I blew a stern “LIE DOWN” yelled you better listen to me! “Come Byeeeeeeeeeee” With that he went way, way wide and came in on the top side perfectly. On his second go he was right on running wide and deep even though he could not see the cattle all the time he completed it and I was happy.
I decided to give Tigr one try at this also. She started out her normal beautiful self but as she went over the levee she didn’t look for the cattle or didn’t see them. So she turned in and was headed for a cross over. I’m a little bit lost because I don’t think I have ever had to blow a redirect for her on the outrun. So I decide to blow a “lie down” then “come byeeeeeeeee” She took it without hesitation. She went very wide and came in deep on the top side. Lifted the cattle and was just simply awesome. I had to walk all the way back to get Kane. Kane was very happy to see me. I’m sure it was driving him nuts to hear me whistling commands and he was tied him to a post. I bet he wanted to answer those whistles with every fiber of his mind and body. Poor guy just to think I left him and took those other two dogs out to work without him. Well let me tell you it was worth ever step of that 300 plus yards each way. His outrun was just perfect very wide and he came in deep not one single word from me. His lift was done with clock like precision. The stock came towards me in a perfectly straight line. I decide to see if I could get him to do a full flank on the run bringing him from a fetch into a drive position. Man I must say tonight is Kane’s night he really shined. It was such a sweet outrun lift switching to a drive that I decided to call in a night on this good note. I’m drenched the winds were pelting me with rain. I don’t care tonight made me believe even more in these dogs. I am a very lucky man to be working with such talented big hearted dogs. I’m on a little cloud of my own tonight.