I have been trying to find the time to write about this for a week now. I'll try real hard to keep it brief.
The drive out there was uneventful. In Billings MT I got my Cracker Barrel fix and a cushy stay at the Motel 6. I was so excited to be headed out to Jamie's huge ranch near Sturgis, SD.
On Friday morning I got up and drove the 6 more hours to Jamie's house. I worked Z once that day, twice on Saturday and twice on Sunday.
My main goals were to take him out in the big open spaces, use the tricky terrain and tougher sheep to expand his experience.
For the most part I worked on out run issues. I set up some shorter ones at a comfortable distance but used the hilly undulating terrain to make finding the sheep a difficult. He would often lose visibility several times, sometimes leaving my feet blind or seeing them only for the first bit of the run. I placed them up on hills, on the side of big hills and sent him from all over the place. Usually the fetching was kind of tricky because the terrain was hilly and he really had to work at keeping the line no matter the terrain I also had big spaces where the out running was pretty straight forward. In these place I was sending him 400+ yards.
We did some driving. It went alright. These tougher sheep are very sensitive and not very forgiving if the dog is and whisker out of place. I didn't work too much on the line just keeping him going confidently on, just letting him chug a long. It was nice to not have worry about a fence. I also practiced 90 degree turns while driving. I have been struggling with my timing at the drive away panel. Often I let him go too far.
I did work a little on shedding these sheep. They were pretty hard to shed. We managed it a couple of times, but failure out weighed success in that department. Which was ok with me, it is a skill he knows but he's not practiced enough to come through small gaps and hold sheep that want to fight a little bit. I practiced just making gaps and not calling him through too. This really tuned my eye up.
We also worked cows a tiny bit while we were there. He was interested but a little unsure.
Thanks so much to Jamie and her family, it was great!
Here are some of the videos that were taken from the trip.
Blind out run
On Monday morning we headed home, staying in Missoula on the way back. Just a couple hundred miles, me and my dog.
Ruminating on Letting Go
1 week ago