Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Working Sheep....

makes for a tired, content dog!

Reese wiped out. 

Last weekend Reese and I attended a Kathy Knox herding clinic. It was a long drive but we had a great time with the friends we went with. Reese and Spot a dog that we roomed with are now pretty good buddies. The second morning at 5:30am they decided it was time to play... um no, I don't think now is an appropriate time...k  thx.

Reese worked in a round pen and the sheep we used were really nice and perfect for her. They moved off the fence real easily and that is one thing she needs. 

Reese is lacking in confidence when she gets too close to the sheep, she will ignore corrections and will not give to pressure from either the handler or the stock. 

The method used last weekend is to correct the wrong and leave the right alone.  The dog chooses his/her actions and they will get the consequences.  Either she will get her sheep back to work or she won't. I love this way of working the dogs. It is a very natural way of training.

The first time Reese worked she was mess, wouldn't acknowledge the trainer, wouldn't take a correction, and couldn't feel any pressure from the stock or the trainer. the end of the weekend, she was trying so hard to do what was right. She took a correction, she gave to the trainer and stopped trying to beat her and she started to feel the pressure from the trainer. She was by far the most hard headed little thing at the clinic. She is very smart, won't back down and will work every angle to get what she wants - the sheep.

Reese gives the slightest indication of when the pressure should be released off of her. A flick of the ear or tail, a very slight head tilt etc. She also does not like raised voices or yelling, when that happens she immediately shuts you out, and starts working alone and only for herself.

Reese needs to learn to trust the handler that the hander is there to help not there to make it harder for her. It is a partnership this stockwork, the dog can't do it without the handler and the handler needs the dog.

The changes from the first day of the clinic to the last were huge. Watching her work that last run I had tears in my eyes, and I was beaming. She did it!

This weekend we were lucky enough to get into another clinic. This one is with both Kathy and Jack Knox. Reese is right on the cusp of really starting to see the light and get some bad habits and things that were trained into her that shouldn't have been fixed. Hopefully, with the opportunity this weekend presents, she will be well on her way to being a different stock dog by Sunday night. Well on her way to being the stock dog I know she can be!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Gotta Brag about my ReeCee!

First up herding.  Last week at our lesson Reese kind of went back to her old ways and didn't quite have her head in the game.  Or, as I like to say she got a hair up her behind and couldn't quite shake it loose.

I am happy to say that at this weeks lesson she was back to her good working self.  Yes, she needed a couple of reminders at first but then things fell back into line and she was working nicely.  She is still uncomfortable on her Away flank but she is comfortable with her Go Bye.  You can really see her start to tense up and then she looks at the sheep and then she's cutting in on her Away.  As soon as she looks at the sheep she can't relax and she stops thinking and then she can't stay out.  On her Go Bye flank she stays out wide and will casually look at the sheep to see where they are and then she will look away and bend out more and stay off the sheep as wide as the ring lets her.  She is just more relaxed and it shows.  She is also walking up calmly to the sheep feeling their pressure and stopping to give them plenty of room when they are at the fence and she feels they can't go anywhere.  She can now comfortably stop and not feel that she has to charge in and bust them up. 

On to Agility.....
We had our lesson tonight and Reese did awesome.  Our last obstacle to really master was our running A-frame.  She missed the first one tonight and then nailed the rest of them, both the A-frame alone and when it was part of a larger sequence.  And......she worked all night with the sheep in the pasture and yes, she knew they were there!  She had one moment of disengagement but then she got a big Aha! moment from our trainer and that was all that was needed.  So proud of my girlie.  We haven't had a lesson in a few weeks due to my work schedule and stormy weather so it was really fun to see her work so well.  Now she is out cold from all her hard work tonight - also good to see! 

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Five Little Darlings!

When Momma first started bringing her babies around I thought there were only two.  Low and behold she's got five little ones.

Keep in mind all these pictures were taken from inside the house through a window.

Can you find them hiding?

How many do you see in this picture....hint there are two.

Momma on alert!

Momma counting all her babes.

Feeding time for he hungry little bunch!

We've Got Babies!

Baby Rabbits that is.  I have a Momma Rabbit that brings her babies every night. 
Momma Rabbit and one baby

Momma Rabbit

Baby hiding against the house. 

Little baby hiding in the bushes. Look how thin the ears are you can see right through.


Tuesday, July 6, 2010

My First Harvest!

Whoo hoo.  I got my first harvest.  Well, truth be told my sister helped herself to a couple heads of lettace over the weekend.  But I told her to go a"head" help yourself - so she did!

Tonight I picked radishes, and I thinned them out.  It was a bit overcrowded in the radish rows, so I only got 6 of them and so far I have eaten 3, ha!  Oh and by the way, in case you have forgotten, when it comes to radishes the little ones ARE the hottest!  Just in case you were saving the big one for when you were ready for a doozy! It's the little ones my friends - they will get you every time.

Total harvest so far =  4 heads of Romaine lettace and 6 radishes. 

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Flowers and Color Galore!

Went to flower gardens and took some photos.  I used to live across the street from a flower store and would get fresh flowers every week for the house. That is no longer an option when cats are in the house.  (Oh, and I don't live there anymore.) I do love the different textures, colors and shapes of different flowers though. 

Airshow (warning picture heavy)

Last weekend I went to an airshow.  It featured the Navy's Blue Angels and the Marines Raptor and many other air acts doing lots of loopty loops. Now when I see a plane fly over it seems really boring.  They just keep flying straight ......