Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Back to School

We finally went back to school tonight for our obedience training. It has been awhile since we have been there. From bad weather to busy work schedules to injuries we have had quite a break. We are planning on going regularly as I have a trial date in mind. That is all I am going to say as I don't want to jinx it, and we have a lot of work ahead of us to get ready.

I figured since I am a goal oriented person I better set one for our first Obedience and Rally trial. Our training has been stagnating in this department lately and it is high time we got back on track. I think having a goal will help us focus and plan our training sessions.

Reese did really well considering we haven't been to class in months. And actually, we haven't been doing that much obedience training at home lately either. I was very pleased with how she did during the recalls. She did her recall well and more importantly stayed calm and watched the other dogs do theirs. A couple of times she started to get a little excited but then calmed herself down when she looked at me. We will continue to practice LAT or Look at That as it is helping quite a bit.

Her toe continues to heal and she really isn't limping any more, a bit here and there, but not like it was the first few days. Hopefully we will be taking our walks again soon I miss them, and I feel guilty not running with her.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Testing our Power and Control and Almost Happy Feet!

We went herding again today. I wasn't sure if Reese's feet were ready for pounding the pasture just yet, but they have healed over the past couple of weeks enough that we have been back to playing fetch in the yard, walking our 3 milers and a even got a couple of runs mixed in. I am still waiting for the Mushers Wax so hopefully it will arrive tomorrow and we can start building some toughness into those little toes. We thought we'd take a chance and see what would happen and headed to the pasture. I worked her once and she did tear one toe again, but the others are all intact. So back to the soaking her toes in the tub she goes. At least I know what to do this time. I checked her toes as soon as we were done and Jackie the vet med expert was there to take a look at it.

Reese did a great job, her flanks are really coming along nicely I couldn't have been more pleased with how she did. Of course since she did so well we have no pictures or video for viewing pleasure, but you'll have to trust me and when I do get some pics and new video I think you will be surprised.

The pasture we are practicing in is rectangular in shape. The sheep were against the fence but about a 1/4 of the way across the field on the left so they were not backed into a corner. The plan (and it worked) was to walk Reese down the middle of the field and a little to the left which is the side the sheep were on as we got closer the sheep started to move and I let Reese go, she went towards them and went wide and got behind them and moved them away from the fence and we started working flanks around them as we moved out to the middle of the pasture.

As she worked her flanks she was testing her power and her ability to control and move the sheep. She started out a fair ways from the sheep, keeping plenty of distance between herself and the sheep. As she worked them she started moving in closer and closer. As that happened the sheep were not moving too much and then on the next direction change she widened out and the sheep started to move again. She adjusted a bit each time around to see where she could be and what was working the best.

This dog has so much power from her father and her mother is phenomenal at reading the stock. Reese is starting to figure out what power she has and how best to use it. Each time we are out there she shows me something else. It will be interesting to see what her ability to read the stock turns out to be, and based on what her mother does it should be quite good!

We also celebrated a graduation and a birthday and as always enjoyed good food, good conversation with good friends.

Reese's Sire Imp Roy 250932

Here are some pictures from the past week of Reese being silly playing with her ball.

A snooze-a-day....

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Working Stock Can Be Hazardous To Your Toes!

At least that is what Reese thinks. She told me after we were curled up on the couch for a little snugglin' on Saturday night that herding is like running. You don't feel the pain until later after the thrill is gone. Yes, she managed to rip up the pads on her toes on both front paws. Not all the toes but a good chunk on one and two of the pads on the other foot. I wouldn't say she was limping but she was stepping gingerly.

She did manage to bang them up enough to have them bleed all over when she was upset about a squirrel dude boppin' across the street. So that was a minor setback, but otherwise I was able to keep her quiet for a few days and that helped a lot.

In the process of soaking them in water she managed to tip the bowl over on the kitchen floor, which is carpeted so that provided some humidity in the house for awhile! The next time we used a different approach for soaking the toes. I thought it was a good opportunity to teach her another husbandry behavior. So I taught her to put her own feet in the water and swish them around and stand there for a few minutes at a time. How did I do this, by simply shaping the behavior with a clicker, it took literally minutes. I love clicker training, the applications you can use it for are endless.

Reese is doing better already so it won't be long and she will be back to long walks and working stock. I ordered some Musher's Secret Wax so we will try that once she gets a little thicker layer of skin over her toes.

She is getting tired of playing hide and seek games with her toys and would like to go for a walk or a hike. It has been nice cool weather this week so it is kind of a bummer that it happened, but now we know we need to toughin' up those dainty little feet.

I started running again, I wanted to get a little base under me before I start taking Reese. So in a way it has been good that she has been laid up. This way I know she can't go, so I don't feel so quilty about not taking her. She'll be running laps around me soon enough.