Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Training the pup

A couple of weeks ago [I am so bad at journaling] Lora and I put Jill on sheep in the round pen. I really didn't have a clue what I was doing and was so enamored of watching my dog, that I forgot about the sheep part.  Thank Goodness for Lora, who stepped in and showed me what I was supposed to be doing.

Jill was keen and interested. When she came in, we'd correct her with the flag stick. She takes corrections very well, at least so far. Now this is only her second time on sheep, so we will just take it easy. The goal of this lesson was to teach me how to train a pup - right Lora? I felt like I had 3 left feet and no brain.

Every week, after Beau has his lesson, Jill and I go for a walk-about, check stock tanks, sweep up old hay or just whatever I can do to just hang around the farm and get Jill used to being there. The idea being that it's no big deal, we're not working sheep, just hanging out and we can just chill while we do our chores.  It seems to be working. Last week was perfect. She had interest, but not a desire to go rush at the sheep, which she did the first few times.

We go on vacation next week. Jill will be with her sis Gyp and Mom, Nell. It will be good for her to get some time with Border Collies. I think she's got an identity crisis living with 2 very vocal Cardigan Corgis. ;-)

Friday, May 28, 2010

Herding 101

Ok, the rule of thumb in the herding world is Never, never, herd just one sheep. Always bring the many to the few.   Well....except when you're sheering and there's only one and you have to get it to the many...who are way off in a field as far away from the sheering clippers as they can get. Way far away! Down in the bottom of Lora's field, far away.

Yes a shearing we did go. Lora [Rocking Dog Ranch] had about 15 or so sheep to clip, so friend Traci and her dog Kant, Lora and Tattoo Jennie, with clippers in hand went to work. Beau's and my job was to take the shorn sheep and take it - nicely - into the back field. So you say...piece of cake, easy as pie. NOT! One sheep all shook up from being unceremoniously plopped on it's back, de-nuded of it's fine fleece is not a happy camper. We had our work cut out for us.

To move a nervous sheep to the back field where she couldn't even see her buddies, was a challenge. I had to keep Beau on task, keep him steady, not rush and make sure that Ms ewe made it through the gate calmly and in one piece.  We had only one rush, but after that Mr. Beau did a mighty fine job. I was very proud of my boy.

That evening, both of us were exhausted. Not from physical stress, but mental stress. I do have a good little Corgi herding dog. He's so good at chores and loves it. He may be limited in trial work, but he's a good little chore dog.

It was a fun day, I learned a ton - as I always do at Lora's Ranch.

Now if Jill would just hurry and grow up so we can get her started...patience. Time will come and then I'll have my hands full. And we will begin at the beginning...again.  Oh the joys of a journey and the paths that open up to us. Life is good.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Settling In

We are settling in to 3 in a pack. Beau is coming around and accepting that Jill is just possibly going to be a permanent fixture. KC has been a trouper. She has become Auntie KC and is so gentle with Jill. KC was the first to do puppy play.

Jill has settled into the car crate and now rides in back with Beau and has a great snooze. We're learning recalls, give and leave it. Recalls seem to be the easiest as she truly wants to be with me or David. She even taught herself the tunnel after watching Beau run through. First few times she thought he had disappeared and she growled. Then she tried it on her own. Now it's a fun game to follow Beau through. She's more of a tugger than a ball dog, but she's learning that chasing the ball through the tunnel can be great fun.

Now here's a picture for all to see. My #1 skeptic - Mr. I'm gonna leave you if you get another dog, Dave - has totally succumbed to Jill's charms. He picks her up whenever he gets a chance and she comes and settles on his lap in the evening when he watches the news. I love it. She hears his voice and gets all wiggly.
Can't wait to get back to herding. Lora needs to get her PG ewes lambed first. Hopefully next week sometime.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Jill Is Home

Yesterday, Sunday, we brought Jill home. She is settling in nicely, although I'm not too sure how raising a Border Collie among the Corgis is going to work. They think very differently.

Her first day was a day of getting to know who's boss in the dog kingdom. Turns out Beau is the boss. KC, my elderly female, is being very gentle with her corrections. Jill even tried to figure out how in the world she was going to nurse KC when she had no teats. Very strange. KC gave her a gentle growl, then rolled over on her back. Beau has decided that all the balls (his favorite game) are his. We'll see about that.

Today, after a very good night, everyone is settling in. Jill is desperately trying to get Beau to play with her. She already shows a lot of eye in this procedure, which is quite funny. Beau too has good eye for a Cardigan Corgi, and it's really funny to see them both stand and eye each other, tails wagging, then run off.

David, my doubting husband, who said he would leave if I got another dog (yea right) is totally won over by Jill's charms. She follows him around everywhere, and gives him lots of puppy kisses when he picks her up. She slept in his lap yesterday while he watched the news.

So here are some pics from the first day. I've got my work cut out for me with this one. She's smart, active and very clever. Yet she's very good at taking a soft correction from me. Just a light "hey" seems to do it - at least for now. Sleeping peacefully at my feet as I write this.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Beau on the Ranch

Beau and I have been going up to Fido's for Ranch trial practices. Our first foray was in November where I had a few surprises - I forgot to check where the draw was; and I tried to send Beau in a tight pen with no help.  Both my "bad".

We just finished our second practice run Sunday, Jan 16th. With my memory in check, remembering to note the draw and learning from what I did wrong last time, we kicked you know what.

The course was a bit different this time. We had to take 10 sheep out of the puppy arena and put them into the runway - ditch full of water and only 3 feet of ground to work with. Then take them down to the big field through a gate that was new.  I wasn't going to do it because of the small ridge. I didn't want to get Beau in trouble or get run over.  However, Chris gave me a challenge. We took it and I vowed to make it completely right, correct and honest both on Beau's and my part. Well, mission accomplished. Beau took his flank as far as he could hug the ridge, came to the top of the sheep and moved them nicely down the ridge line.  They came into the gate at a nice slow pace.  As for the 2 pen takes, I went in this time to help him be correct. We had calm sheep coming out of those tiny little gates.

All in all, Beau did a beautiful job. He was honest and he listened.  He worked hard, and didn't argue. In turn, I was honest with him, and at the same time was there to help him be the best he could be.  It was great team work.

I love this little dog.  He gives me his all as best as he can.  I don't ask for any more than that. We will continue our journey of Ranch work. He works best at that.  It is not in him to 'read' his sheep - he needs help with that, so the little stuff is perfect. He enjoys the challenge of a job and for some reason he knows when I mean business. 

We have another Ranch practice in Feb. More to come.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

She's Mine

After waiting 4 weeks to see which pick I will have, it came down to a boy and a girl.
The story:  Lora's Nell was bred to Kathy Knox's Jake and she had 5 pups. A boy, 3 girls, then a little boy. I came over a week after they were born and one little girl stole my heart away - eyes shut, ears shut, still crawlin' but rarin to go, they had named her Amazon Amy because she was so much bigger than the others. Well, I thought, all the girls will be spoken for so I would have my pick between the boy pups.  But then, the person before me on the list chose to take the older boy and my chances of getting Amazon Amy were getting better. But she was so self assured, I thought for sure either Lora or Kathy would pick her.

Monday, yesterday, I found out that my heart dog was one of my choices - she and the little boy Peanut (now named Pip). Hands down she's my dog. Let me introduce you to Jill. She's full of herself and she's mine. She even comes to me when she sees me.

My first Border Collie! And I've got my hands full. But I'm ready - more than ready. It's been a long time coming.

Welcome to my world little Jilly. We have a long journey ahead of us.