It’s another beautiful day here in the Pacific North West. We are talking short sleeve weather, its pretty near tropical. Well maybe not quite that grand, but we sure are not complaining. I did clean the pine cones off the front lawn and started the mower to check it out for future work. I think maybe tomorrow might be a good time for a spring feeding of lawn food. I also got the water falls going in the fish pond, I might need to do a few winter damage repairs on the upper falls.
It now around 5pm and it’s still warm as toast outside. I’m pretty excited about heading over to Hopes this evening to work the dogs. I can’t wait to see if the dogs and I have this little hearing and understanding problem fixed.
Tonight the panels I set up at a paced 115yards. From the panels I paced off another 200 yards, this is where I will run Tigr from the first time this evening. Basically everything is different from last nights practice. We traversed across the field at an angle because we could get a longer distance from corners to corner than we could straight across. As I walked Tigr up on the levee to begin her outrun a coyote walked out of the woods. No it didn’t run out of the woods it walked out stopped and just stared at me. I wasn’t over a stones throw away from it. I’m guessing less than 20 yards. I’m thinking to myself I wonder if Amanda and Hope can see this. I didn’t want to shout because I thought it would turn and run back into the woods. I wanted them to see it so I decided to holler “hey can you guys see the coyote”? The thing didn’t run it just started walking farther out in the field. This coyote wasn’t scared of me at all. Once they shouted back that they could see it I started clapping my hands and yelling at it. It still never broke into a run but finally made it over to another pasture. Hope must be concerned right now because her sheep is lambing. I know I sure would be.
I set Tigr up for the away side and she did her usual spiffy clean outrun. Tonight we added Amanda as a holder so Tigr would have to get used to lifting with people present. By this weekend or early next week I’m hoping to have people on horses holding the cattle. We’ll soon be leaving to work cattle in strange places to the dogs. This will be especially helpful for Tigr. I want her exposed to as many strange cattle and places as we can get her to.
Tigr hit the lift point and the cattle were a bit squirrelly but she was persistent and got them coming towards me. I’m not sure how a Judge would score this but I think with these cattle under these circumstances she did an awesome job. I’m not sure how many she got through the panels but it was at least two maybe all three. Yep I think I’m getting that old timers disease hehehe. I’m having a little bit of a problem keeping a visual on these small white panels in this straw colored grass with the sun starting to set. The main thing tonight is whether the dogs are listening to me or not. If they are listening they will hit the panels any where any time. I’m so happy with Tigr’s first run that I’m going to move the more experienced boys out another 100 yards.
Taits first attempt will be 302 yards from the fetch panels. I’m going to send him on his favorite side. I set him up for a bye side outrun. As he sailed off going out, nice and wide I could see the deeper areas of water in this marsh. When he hit deep areas you could see the difference in his speed and the splash would be more visible. He was on a mission and a little water was not going to detour him. He came in very deep and made lifting the stock look easy. From this distance I am 417 paced yards from the lift point. Two nights ago this dog was not listening to me at 175 yards and tonight he can hear me whisper at 400 plus yards. There is a noticeable difference in the wind tonight, it isn’t blowing at all.. I’m sure Tait got all 3 head through the fetch panels. The panels are very hard to see now as the sun has dipped down right into my eyes. I know that if I keep the cattle in a straight line they will pass through the fetch panels. At about 275 yards from me I call him all the way around the stock and drive them back almost to the levee. I’m feeling good about my Tait dog again right about now.
Kane is next up, he will also do the 400 plus yard outrun, but on the away side. He is off, and being as he is the last dog to run he has a lot pent up energy. Watching and wanting to run the whole time really has him on edge. Kane is running really wide tonight at a very fast clip. After crossing over the levee then a small creek it’s pretty dry and flat, after that he won’t be able to see the stock again till he clears the end of the levee. His outrun is just awesome, never once did he break his stride till he hit the top side coming in fast and deep. Compared to last year his lifts are much stronger showing how much confidence he had gained. If he gets decent draws at the finals he will be hard to beat.. The cattle split on his lift and one headed over the levee in a different direction. As he went to cover it the other two were heading down the levee in the opposite direction. I blew a wide flanking command so he would go back and cover the other two. “Come byeeeeeeeeeeeeeee” and even at 400 yards he went and covered just as I had ask of him. The two came over the levee making the third one disappear from his view. He was bringing the two at a fast clip so it was apparent to me he was going to leave the third cow and bring just the two. So I thought maybe I could use this as a look back practice. I kept blowing a “walk up” to him, so he was intense on the two head in front of him. Because he is listening so well to my flanks I’m able to set the look back command area so much better than last year. When he was in the spot I had planned I blew a wide “awayyyyyyyyyyyy” command. I know I’m at least 350 yards away from him at this point so I’m praying he will take my directions as I yell “LOOK”. To my delight he turned around instantly and I blew a “Come byeeeeeeeeee” I was just stoked. I know he should have never left that single. But just the fact that he listened to me and went back and covered it has boosted my confidence immensely. After we had the group back together he brought the stock in a really nice straight line towards me. The last few runs I have noticed Kane is walking onto the stock much smoother instead of wearing back and forth’s, this is helping to keep his stock on a straighter line towards me. As I flank Kane all the way around to the head I’m just beaming at the success of the last two days. I have him drive the cattle towards the levee. I’m very happy over all with Kane.
I still have to run each dog on the other direction outruns. Once again Tigr did fairly well on the bye side with one exception. Because of Amanda standing there she crossed over at the last moment. I was wondering if having people out there would affect her, so now I’m glad we explored this possibility. It will add a little work on Tigr but it was in my training plans anyhow. Also this outrun was 400 plus tough yards for a very young dog. I’m not stressed at all because I know we’ll have a handle on it without a doubt.
Tait went on the away side. He wasn’t sailing around at his top speed, just a steady ground eating lope. I won’t go into details but I was very happy with Mr. Tait tonight. He was one of the top finalists last year for a reason. If he keeps listening and he has decent draws this year he will be up there again I’m sure.
Kane’s last run I’m going to tell as I saw it. I set him up for a bye side outrun. He is off on the run moving very fast. About 40 yards into the run there is a small marsh pond you can see the belly deep water spray as he runs as fast as he can through it. Once he comes out he pulls up on a little rise. I think it’s this little rise that forms the pond. He gains speed here then back into the ankle deep marsh water. You can see the splashes coming off his feet as he goes even wider. All of a sudden I realize I can see much better, this is because the sun finally went over the hill and is no longer blinding me. Kane hits several deeper little creeks on his outrun. It’s easy to tell deeper water creeks from the spray as he hits them full speed. Of the three dogs Kane’s outruns has been the best tonight. He is really breathtaking on this outrun. He came in real wide and about as deep as possible. His firm lift brought the cattle out in a nice straight line. For the first time tonight I can clearly see the fetch panels. Kane is bringing them so smoothly I hardly have to make any commands till right at the last moment when they veered, with one little short “come bye” they hit the panels dead center. I know Hope and Amanda must think I’m nuts because I’m out in the middle of no where jumping up and down with joy. Bet that coyote is scared of the weirdo out here now hehehe. It is still looking for mice in a field not much farther away than the dogs outruns. Tonight was a confidence builder for me. Just knowing that I was right, and placing the pressure where it was needed fixed a very perplexing problem, has me feeling very good. I was dreading set backs in training, from me looking for reasons, excuses and experimenting with cures. When it was simply explaining to them I would accept nothing short of excellence. I guess sometimes if you just ask the right questions the answers come easy. Tonight was a very good night.