Weird, right? We didn’t qualify in the Ranch Trial and i’m good with it. We had problems in the places that we have had inconsistent success when training and did pretty awesome in places where we had very little experience. Which leads me to think that most of our problem are in my head. The good news is that these last few months i’ve been on a mission to get out of that spaz-head zero confidence place i’ve been for a while. I think that this experience gives me a good barometer of where I am. I seem to be coming along.
Let’s break down the Ranch trial, so i can get on with bragging on Molly and Simon. 🙂
1. CHUTE WORK ( 20 pts.) Time begins when the gate into the barn yard is opened. Move the 10 sheep
from Barn Yard through Footbath and Drafting race.
For the Chute Work we got 16 points. The judge indicated that “the dog seemed a little off contact”. Which she was, in order to avoid eminent blow up disasterness. We had a hard time getting the sheep from the Barnyard to Footbath. She wasn’t totally confident pushing that many sheep into a small place with those scary fences<sarcasm>.
2 . SORT WORK (20 pts.) Draft 1st five sheep into Barn Yard, last five sheep into Gate Box.
I think that what we ‘lost’ in the Chute work was a blessing in disguise as the sheep walked through the Footbath one by one and almost seemed break into groups of five on their own. I had a moment of brilliance, and backed away from the sorting gate so i wasn’t standing infront of the sheep heads – thus stopping them. We got ALL 20 points in this section and a ‘Slick Work’ comment. YAY!
3. PEN WORK (20 pts.) move the sheep from Barn Yard into Gate Box through Alley, Sorting Pen to Test
We got 11 of 20 points here and no comments. So i can only assume it was that we didn’t stay in control of the sheep from pen to pen – the sheep headed right over to the gate they were supposed to go to. I understand, but i’m still good with the pen work she did. Actually i’m good with what she didn’t do. She didn’t chase or bounce sheep or freak out. Score.
4. PASTURE WORK (20 pts.) move sheep into Chicken Field, pass sheep through panels in middle of
field. Repen sheep into Ewe Lane. Time ends when the gate is closed.
Pasture Work was a combination of all sorts of things going wrong. The first problem is that i have no idea what the standard operating procedure is leaving a gate and into a pasture. I know that sounds stupid, but i just don’t. The sheep took off and Molly took off around them; tight all the way around. Annnnnd it went downhill from there. There was no Down. My brain was melting and in an effort to try to get it back I misunderstood the time warnings. I heard 3 minutes, but what either was said or should of have been said was 10 minutes. With only ‘3 minutes’ left i gave up, skipped the obstacle and headed to the repen. Even though the sheep were freaked, Molly pushed them off the repen gate very smoothly and got out wideish to bring them in.
After all of that mess and a non qualifying score of 67, why Sparkle? My pups did things that were hard for them and didn’t give up.
On Saturday Molly helped me push cows through the Cow Alley for the Started Runs. She was so appropriate. A cow turned on us and at first she was a little hesitant, but didn’t give ground. So I walked up next to her and helped her turn the cow. She didn’t bark. She didn’t jump. She didn’t freak. I barely had to lean forward to add that little bit of pressure and help her build confidence. I wanted her to see and understand how i wanted her to behave. Calm and quiet until you need to break out the bark and teeth. I want her to learn how to powerup her presence and power it down. She moved three or four sets just cool as ice. A lot of people will poopoo moving cattle on leash, but i promise you, those cows knew exactly where she was. No matter that they were probably under the impression that she didn’t have legs. Poor thing got out of the pens and had mud up all four legs and all along her belly, but never laid down once.
Molly also managed to not get bitchy on Saturday. It was a really long day, first in the cattle pens and then over to watch the Conformation dogs. Shelly H was kind enough to do “structure 101” with me and Molly was our model. She put up with the prodding and lording over very well. Molly has proven herself to be a good little trial dog. I can tie her up to anything and she doesn’t take off. She rode with Shelly, Evie and I on the back of the truck from place to place and didn’t freak out. She presided over an ASC of WA Board meeting and then finally got to sleep while we were all eating dinner. 6am to 10pm is a long day for anyone.
For the last few years, i’ve not paid much attention to socializing Simon. I had all sorts of excuses like not having supplies to help keep him under threshold (or distraction LOL) and that Molly needed to be socialized after her big crash. On Sunday, Simon came out and hung out with some of the handlers and one of the judges and a handful of dogs. Once he settled a little, he did a great job interacting with people and just relaxing while we all talked. The crowd grew and he kept his head about him most of the time. He heeled pretty consistently to and from the barn. He didn’t try to pop off at any of the dogs (one little frustration growl in the very beginning) and even tried to flirt with one of the other dogs there. He was so good.
So ::Sparkle:: !