Update April 25th

This morning I was going to get a tank of fuel for my diesel truck, and to my surprise it was already full. I guess my son Steve snuck off and filled my truck while I was installing his bathroom ceramic tiles. Sure made me feel good that he did that for me. I didn’t charge him anything for doing his tile and I guess he felt like repaying me somehow. Anyways that’s a great way to start the day.

I got to Hope’s place a little afternoon today and several of the people were there to work dogs. I really enjoy this and I get to see some really nice up and coming dogs. I get a chance to help in their training giving a little advice to the handler on how to get the dogs to do certain things. Last week one was having trouble getting stock out of the corners so I showed her handler how I would approach the problem, today that same dog and handler were lifting the sheep with ease from any corner. It’s so much fun to see how these people developed a working relationship with their dogs. All in all I guess I worked or helped work five or six young dogs today. I am usually a bit leg weary by the time I get to work my own dogs.

Tonight I paced off 120-140 yards to the fetch panels from the lift point. From the fetch panels to where the handlers post is around 200 yards. Total outrun 340 yards. We are going to use cattle for a double lift. I will be demanding that they listen to me from start to finish just like in previous nights. I’m thinking now that I have their full attention no matter where they are or how far off this should be a lot easier “look back” practice.

Kane is up first tonight. I sent him on the bye side and he went wide and deep. I love watching these dogs outruns. The cattle are a little squirrelly, but he manages to group them and bring them over the levee.. Soon he has them on a trot towards the panels so I gave a “look” and he flipped around as I blew an “Awayyyy” command. This was done so quietly, efficiently that it almost caught me off guard. It just can’t be this easy. Next we did the opposite side and he did it almost the same. He was very nice, flipping to his outside shoulder, and taking the commands without a flaw. Can it be this easy? All this insistence on listening is paying off big time.

Tait is up next and he did it equally as smooth as, or maybe even smoother than Kane. I’m on a cloud right now. Tait isn’t chewing on the cattle but is still very much in charge. It’s nice that he is learning that he doesn’t have to always use that power. He is going to be tough to beat if he gets decent draws, and if I do get a bad draw this is the dog I would want on my side.

Tigr is next and we are going to use five head for her. She is doing so well that I’m looking to challenge her constantly. Last night I had her working eight head but in a smaller pasture. I also sent her on the bye side. Her outrun is still breathtaking, I know the judges are going to love her. There are four people and two dogs in the holding area so she will have to lift between them. These two groups of cattle don’t like staying together at all, so she will have to work to keep them grouped. She was also listening to her commands and easily hit the fetch panels bringing the cattle down to the handlers post taking them exactly where I ask her to. From there she went into a drive for 200 yards once again hitting all 5 head through the panels. From there I had her drive all the way back to the set out point.

Tonight I feel we did a full USBCHA course with each dog. Each and every one gave me their full undivided attention. I could not have asked for a better working relationship than these three honored me with tonight. I’m on a cloud knowing that Tait and Kane are far better this year than last. I don’t know if it will show in our scores yet, but I know how far they have advanced. Tigr is no doubt one of the finest young dogs I have ever worked with. So no matter how they do at the finals, in my mind these are three of the best dogs in the world. I’m very fortunate to be handling them. I hope they feel the same about me too.

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