Sunday, March 11, 2007

We got a text from RE Dude the other day saying the family are considering our offer and he'll get back to us. He knows where our maximum is, so if he accepts it, we'll sign the contract and if not... oh well, we'll keep looking. Feeling really philosophical about it all at the moment and moving ahead with my plans for what we'll do with the place we get in terms of animals. Having been researching breeds for the past 2.5 years, now it's a matter of researching where I want to get mine from, so I've been doing that lately, as well.

Saturday, we went to see some Anglo Nubian goats.

This is mum with two kids (one on either side) having a sip. Mum and kids are the colour/markings I like best on these guys! Brown, black and white with white spotting on the coloured bits.

This is one La liked.

It IS eatting a rose. Eyes don't decieve on this one!

Now how can anyone resist this charming invite? After getting a lot of enjoyment out of feeding the goats and watching La interact with them, he was tuckered and we went home quite happy with the day.

Then today (Saturday) was the ASCV's newly instituted herding! I was really looking forward to it but wish these things didn't start so early! Thankfully Sir Lala seems to be feeling better and actually slept the night through, after a week of tossing, turning and being miserable!

(The hairy hooligans waiting and watching the sheep.)

Sierra got another lesson of sorts, which she didn't do as nicely as she has in the past imo. There is a clicker-herding list I reallllyy want to get onto as I think that'd work great for her! I know from experience when she doesn't know what you're asking of her (ie asking a behaviour that's not yet taught) she gets very stressed and worries about getting it 'wrong' or takes it as a correction (no, don't do that it's wrong!) instead of a cue for a different behaviour (that was great, now do this!). She is way more sensitive to approval or disapproval than either Cade or Hope, so even though she's never been punished she stuggles when put in situations like this and I feel a bit unfair asking it of her when I know she does have a hard time with it. (Asking her to stopping or turn hasn't been taught, so instead of looking like another behaviour that's being asked for after she did the first bit perfectly well, it looks like I'm upset/correcting her/telling her the first bit was wrong. When the first bit was moving the sheep, she stops moving the sheep which kind of makes herding difficult! Instead I need to be able to explain "moving them that way is great, can you now move THIS way? Thanks! Good girl!") I have a distinct feeling if I do break the behaviours down, teach them and use access to the sheep as the reward, I'd have a lot more success and that's what I'm hoping to do with my own sheep when I get them. She's SHOWN me this is a pattern in the past (she did the same at agility, freestyle etc but was brilliant once she knew what the cues/behaviours were) and that she has natural talent, eye, ability to assess etc. At any rate, here's a few of the nicer shots of Sierra from today:

This is my favorite shot. :-)

Nubby bums all around!

My good girl at the end.

Now for Hope!

It was also Miss Hope's first time seeing sheep and she got her first two introductions. The first round, after watching the sheep very intently from outside the pen, she alternated between moving after them when they moved and looking rather baffled how she was supposed to get the buggers MOVING in the first place because they ploinked themselves on the side of the fence and did not want to move for love, money or my attempts to haul them off the fence.

The second round she seemed to settle in a bit better and was starting to get it a lot nicer. Started to take a couple of directions, turning, starting to get some idea of balance and not rushing up to them... working at a bit of a distance, instead of straight up the sheeps bums! Was probably most happy with the last part, since I don't like it when they run right up on the sheep and jam them into my knees! ;-) She's more confident overall than Sierra and is able to stay back and assesss things a bit better because of it.

I'd been really wondering how she'd do as I've seen her do things that our pups growing up would do that we had to channel their instinct so it didn't get out of control (eg bumping legs, herding cats, feinting/heeling when you run) and they were working farm bred dogs (NOT trial dogs) that were always mixes with Aussies. (All were Aussie/Blueheelers except one who was Aussie/BC, which was prefered in our area as they were all over. They were great dogs!) At any rate, I think with a bit more training she will probably be my useful chore dog I'm looking for and am really happy with that!

I also got to spend much of the time cuddling a cute little bubba who is much tinier than my own right now! So gorgeous! When I wasn't cuddling (or chasing...) La of course! (Thank gods for slings!) There was also a gorgeous little chocolate Border Collie that was stunning on the sheep... wow-o-wow... not normally a BC fan but that one was a pretty sight to see - keen but not over the top, nice balance, rating, responsiveness etc. So, that said, here's Hope's photos!

Walking up together. Showing nice control but also attention!

My favorite of the lot, just because it's a cute shot!

(Moving the sheep but far enough back they're NOT jamming up my knees!!! LOL Ahhh!)

I don't have a reliable distance down on her yet (haven't taught it) so we simply used a bit of body blocking and firm, "stop!" to halt her. Then when she stopped sent her back the other way.

Good girl, you stop when I ask and I let you go work them again! Yay Hopie Puppy! Again, very nice, moving at a good pace - not too fast, not too slow, enough pressure the sheep were going with me (walking backwards fast is hard!) but not rushing! All in all I was delighted with the little booger! For a 6 month old hooligan girlie she is such a little sweetheart!

We're finishing out the night with a big treat of a movie, Red Rooster and then having Nic's friend Justin over as it's his birthday! That and we haven't seen him in foooorreeeevvverrr!!!

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