Update 4/14/09

This morning when I got up a little before 7 and looked out the window I thought to myself, wow sure is foggy. As I passed by the bathroom window and glanced out oh my god it’s snowing! And I mean it is snowing hard we already have over 3 inches. Vickye wake up you’ve got to see this. I was so depressed that I got back in bed covered my head and went back to sleep. Vickye called and canceled our in town appointments. Highway 291 to town was closed anyway at Big Sandy, a quarter mile from our house. That’s the only road to Spokane from here. By the time it was around 10am we had around six inches this is just sickening. I’m way passed being tired of snow. This year we received more snow than ever before in recorded history. Right now its 4:35 pm and I’m just getting ready to head out to train. Guess what, all that snow has melted and its blue skies and sunshine here at our house. Maybe tomorrow I can mow the lawn you think??

Tonight I’m thinking of adding fetch panels for the first time. Its time to work on a few of the other problems we were experiencing. Last year when the cattle were fetched down the field the dogs would get so intense that they tuned me out. Now I want to get this corrected. I’ve waited this long in the process for a reason. I know they understand my commands because we’ve worked on them daily. I can have them switch flanks in a heart beat, or do full flanks and hold the pressure when I tell them to walk up. They know and take their narrow and wide flanks with ease. As I was walking out to set the panels I was thinking this was going to be an easy task for the boys. There was a wind but nothing to bad. Once I crossed the levee I was walking in marsh water pretty much the whole distance. Still wasn’t all that bad in my way of thinking. I could see the stock the whole distance. The panels were set up just a little short of a hundred yards of the lift point. From there I walked out another 125 yards, so from pole to lift point it is 220 yards. Tonight I decided to run Kane first and sent him on the away side. I knew this side the cattle would vanish about half way on the outrun and reappear as they crossed the levee. Tonight they couldn’t go as deep as I would have liked but it was still plenty of room as long as they didn’t slice on the topside. Kane did a nice outrun lift no slice. I blew an “awayyyyyy” because they were drifting offline. He was taking it then flipped back as I was asking for a “lie down”. Once I started dictating how I wanted the stock brought down the field the battle of wits started. I am pretty puzzled because they had been listening so well. Now all of a sudden things aren’t going as well as I expected. This is a much closer distance than I was expecting problems. I call Kane to me and Hope has Gus reset the cattle. I send from the opposite direction. His bye side outrun was much nicer but the results we pretty near the same. Hmmm well maybe tonight isn’t Kane night I’ll try Tait.

Tait went out but wasn’t nearly wide enough so I had to redirect him. I still wasn’t all that happy with his outrun overall. His lift started out nice but went to %^$ in a hand basket quick. One steer split off and he refused to cover it. I had to blow a “Lie down” sternly 3 times for him to take it. By now I have left the pole and am walking towards him. Holy smokes! Who stole the dogs I was working last night? I was expecting some work in this area but not at this distance. Finally I have him under control and he brings the stock. I sent him next on the bye side and it was much nicer of an outrun. His lift was a little strong but what happened next surprised me. He lay down and wouldn’t flank at all. The stock was rapidly heading out the wrong direction and he refused to cover them. Now I’m thinking something isn’t right, but what? I had to once again go assist him.

I decide to move a little closer and run Tigr. I sent her from the 220 yard spot but as she did her outrun, I walked closer. I was expecting to help Tigr in this manner. Her away side outrun was much better than either of the boys. Her lift was really nice bringing them towards me. Then it kind of broke down after she crossed the levee. I was still walking closer and was able to hit the panels but still I didn’t feel she was listening as well as I expected tonight. Now I need answers.

I can hear Hope talking to Gus from the full distance. I can hear her blowing her whistle commands clearly. I start looking for anything that might be causing interference causing my commands to go unnoticed. I ask Hope to go do an outrun with Gus so I could listen from the top side. I got down to the same level the dog would be listening from. I could have taken those flanks myself. The whistle was clear enough for me to understand. I went so low that my head was near the ground like a dog in the “lie down” position. I could still hear. I went behind the cattle so I could be close to the same places the dogs would have been. I got close enough that I think it bothered Gus. I could hear the sounds of the cows splashing water and the suction sounds as their feet pulled out of the marsh. But I could have taken the commands myself even the vocal ones. I’m looking for excuses but I do not like the answers I’m coming up with. So far there is no logical reason for them not taking my commands. I can hear the cars I can hear the birds and the frogs. I can hear the splashing and suction sounds from being near the stock. I can hear every command Hope made also. I decide to move up closer so I could enforce my commands if necessary. Both boys made the lift and hit the panels because they knew I was in the must listen to distance. This will be a major stumbling block if not addressed. I knew it was something that I needed to work on but the short distance of 220 yards is a shock to me. Tomorrow is Vickye’s Birthday so I’m not sure if I can get away. Maybe if I can get the bridge over the fish pond for her hehehe.

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