Sunday, May 20, 2007

Well, we're back from our weekend work-shop and BOY what a weekend! I think I had about the best time in recent memory, certainly the funnest and most relaxing!

I'd planned to mostly work Hope as she just has much more and much better natural instinct and talent for herding. We worked her a dozen times over each day and had a nice time doing so. She is turning into a very nice little dog and will definitely be my chore dog. She was balancing nicely, a bit of casting, taking directions to turn, keeping a moderate distance etc. It was a great little work shop with a lot of good humor going around, some good natured razzing, a good dinner at the local pub and I enjoyed the laid-back teaching style.

My goal for the weekend was to get some "homework", ie some basic skills I could take back home to work on to get her started on being able to move sheep for me so I don't have to chase them up and down our paddocks myself! So I was quite happy we achieved that and can't wait for my sheep arrive so we can continue. Need to build a round-pen and other things so we have somewhere to herd into instead of just back and forth between pastures.

Hope also got to go on the cows, a dozen poddy calves who hadn't been worked with dogs before and got her first exposure to them. We didn't want to push her too far and let her take a kick, so we stopped her after a short time but Paul reckons she ought to do nicely with cattle. Turns out this picture, taken when she was a fluff-puff at Toora and decided she could handle the little cow there was a bit on target! ;-) LOL That tickled me pink to hear, as while I'm not planning to run cattle here, I wasn't sure what to expect from her with cattle as she is a soft dog in terms of being sensitive to approval, it doesn't take much to correct her - a very mild 'ahhh' is all you want to use with her but she's also a tough little nut in her tasks, without being (as many Aussies tend to be) prone to being heavy-handed in their approach to sheep since they're often used as cattledogs historically. I'd worried she might not have enough "umph" for cattle work so to speak when things got gritty.

We also got to work her on Runner Ducks and she did a good job with them, keeping more moderate pressure on them, going on the outside, going a bit wider, not scattering etc too much. She had a moment of just buzzing them about, I reckon at first she figured they were the same as the wild ducks she buzzes off our dam but she settled in and gave a nice bit of work. I was real tickled to hear he reckons she'll work ducks nice.

All in all I had an absolutely great time and wish it could have been a week long! LOL So many people say Aussies aren't a working breed any more, so it's pleasing to see her do as nicely as she did and starting to 'get it' when I wanted her to turn or come off balance back toward me. One thing that it did point out to me was that I've neglected her obedience more than I should've as I know we can do better in that area than we did this weekend. Not that she was bad per se but it was bad for US as I know she has a wickedly fast response time when I train her and is quick and smarter than she showed. However, after a month in a kennel and me ignoring training since I was all focused on moving and finding a new place previous to that she didn't do horrible and was affiable about doing what I wanted despite it.

I naturally have reams of photos but it'd be photo-overload if I did them all at once so instead here is a few of the first week in our new house and I'll do our herding ones tomorrow.

Noir in the bird-cage.

Our new backyard.

La having fun charging about throwing leaves around! ;-)

And picking ones to bring to mummy.

Hope attempting to stare Nic down as he's holding a tennis ball. (Throwdaballthrowdaballthrowdaball!!!)

Sierra was laying on one side of the fence, Hope was on the other, so she slid under the barb wire and laid down for a rest.

Here's WHY they needed the rest... this is what they spend the majority of the first day, second day etc doing.

These pics were literally shot within a few seconds of each other on the first day, as soon as we let them out of the car. This is the rather low dam.

Chhharrrgggggee!!! (Could they look any doofier?)

Having gone up one way, time to go up the next.

Sierra tiring before Hope is going at non-warp speed.

Finally sitting still and looking sweet... Hope always has such kind eyes and expression about her.

Finally this is my tree... I knew I had to have one and this place has three big ones!

No comments: