In the last lesson, we talked alot about small steps. Molly has always done big steps very effectively, but little steps are new. So here ^ is our diagram. In this exercise, you and the sheep are in the middle of the circle at the cross and the dog is out past the point where the dog applies pressure on the sheep. How far that is depends on the dog. Step 1 is to be able to flank your dog and stop (down) your dog on all the points or bases to keep the analogy and not effect the sheep. Since i own the great circling wonder we wouldn’t do full circles, but if your dog doesn’t circle its stock as a habit then that might be a good way to start. For us, we mix up the direction (away, away, comebye, away, comebye comebye, away, away etc), but always stopping at the quarter section mark. For part 1, i’m finding i have to turn with my dog to face her. I got slopping with what Down means. Part 2 is doing the exact same exercise, but you face one direction or object and do not move from it. Swivel your head to see where the dog is, but the body stays facing your chosen object or place on the horizon. Eventually you should be able to face your chosen object, call out your down without facing or looking at the dog. Remember to keep your dog out so as to not effect the sheep.
And we’ll get there, eventually.
While learning this exercise took up a good portion of our lesson time, we still had the opportunity to talk about goals for 2010. As a team, we’ve decided that finishing her ASCA started title is a have-to-do. We’ll be entering in ASCofWA’s Lakebay trial at the end of August at Sue MacDonald’s farm. Which leads to goal two. It might be the very last trial in Winter Series… but I will enter Molly as a Novice/Novice team at Winter Series. These last few years, more Aussies (Vicklund’s Tick & I believe John Knepper’s Teton) have been entering USBCHA/WASH – lovelying referred to as the Border Collie People trials.
As large field trials they are very different from the Arena trials i’m more comfortable. The long outruns are often associated only with Border Collies. Though they don’t really have monopoly on that aspect of working any more than Aussies are only Pen Dogs or Border Collies can only work sheep. Not to suggest that any Aussie can do Pro-Novice or Open Handler work. The 70yard outrun in a Novice/Novice run is enough to make some Aussie handlers twitch a bit. So Aussie Handers, if the self described Biggest Chicken in Aussiedom can stand up, do a BC trial and have a great time doing it… Please don’t let me go alone. PLEASE!