04 September, 2010


Well, school is back in session. I'm still getting into the swing even though it's week 2, as my classes this semester have different weekly due days than previous semesters. I've spent a couple of days restructuring to figure out exactly how school will shake out.

On the dog trial front, Lacamas bested me. On Thursday I sent Lucy blind as she did not spot the sheep from the post. She got a bit lost on her outrun and rather than limp her along I decided to RT. If I had invested a few more minutes I could likely have gotten her to the sheep, but given that the trial was already 2 hours behind schedule and my dog was really listening well, I decided to call the run and left the post. She was quite happy when it was time to exhaust and she finally got some sheep time.

On Saturday, I got Lucy to her sheep. She still required redirection on the outrun as she was getting lost in the terrain. On either side of the outrun the dogs had to run a series of ridges and swales. Lucy got lost in the 3rd swale. I blew her out, which she took, went quite wide but not deep enough and obviously still did not know where to find her sheep. Finally I stopped her under the sheep and gave a look back. She saw the sheep, kicked herself out both wide and deep and lifted smartly. The sheep had been leaning hard on the dogs all afternoon and Lucy was no exception. I had used up a lot of dog during the outrun with the redirects. Her confidence was pretty much shot. I tried to stop her and open her up on the fetch to help her get better control of the sheep, but she ran through my stops. This is very unlike Lucy, so I just blew flanks on the fetch to keep her from unwinding and completely losing her sheep over the hill. Though it was quite offline she did get the sheep to my feet. Turning the post, she had 2 groups of sheep, and 1 particularly grouchy ewe lamb. She backed that ewe up 2 times, then the 3rd time she finally gripped so we were excused. I think Dee Marroni got the whole sequence on film.

So, Lacamas was Lucy's first RT and first DQ. Sheep 2, Monique 0. I have some new training goals. Our next trials are Vashon and Fire Ridge.

Terrain on outruns longer than about 400yds is a training hole for Lucy and I intend to close that hole as soon as possible. (She also struggled with running from bright sun into dark shade at the handling clinic.) It is a difficult hole to close in the places we have to train. Lucy has been sent 700yds with terrific outruns in the past, but never so far over terrain where the dog is blind several different times. Its a skill lacking but one I believe she can learn. She is normally a very good outrunner so this shook my confidence as well as hers.

On a positive note, Jorgen and I took our dogs to help a friend who needed to work his 1200 recalcitrant Romneys through the chutes for treatment. Lucy and Merckx thoroughly enjoyed themselves and it was good, practical, confidence building work for both of them.

Looking ahead, I have a trip to Las Vegas next weekend to give lectures at the SVBT CE Conference. Then 2 weeks later, a long trip to NADAC Championships with Zora. Lucy will ride along, as well as a friend and her Border collie.

So, that's what you missed. Nothing to write home about. Just a lot of work to be done.

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