A Border Collie's Mistress' Place for News and Musings

Travels, Trials and Tribulations

Sunday, June 5, 2011

All About Hank- I'm divulging his deepest darkest secret here

So far in Hank's short time with us he has been the subject of one measly blog.  Probably and after mention in one or two more.  What can I say, he's not really doing anything note worthy, yet.  Thought I would write a bit about what he's been up too.

In May Hank turned 7 months old.  At this point I he has been to puppy kindergarden with Tanya.  He has also been hauled for a few hundred miles around in the van to work and back, to trials and back, oh and his favorite, the park and back.  There's not much the makes this guy give a second look, he hasn't met a person he doesn't like or a dog he wont try to play with.  Pretty much unflappable as far as noises and weird looking things go.  What can I say, we live in the city and we deal with weird  things all the time, especially on trash day.

Hank loves sheep, he's been keen since I brought him home a 12 weeks old.  It has been tough work to keep him out of trouble.  Although once he was too big to squeeze through the fence it got easier.
Basically I have put him on sheep once or twice every couple of weeks.  Right around 6 months, he started to want to go around the sheep.  Prior to that he just wanted to run through the middle and I had nothing to do with the picture.  Hank also began to bring me sheep and  he began to notice me in the field with him and the sheep.  It annoyed him at first and finally he accepted me as part of the equation.

Yesterday, he had a great working session.  He is changing directions easily and I am keeping him from circling all the way around now.  He is starting to give thought to balance.  Although he blows right by it 70% of the time, he looks in a hitches up at the correct point, still a lot of temptation to go to head :)  If I can get him settled down some behind the sheep he paces himself down, respecting the sheep's bubble.  Hank also begins to flank a bit more squarely.  He will also stop with the sheep between us.  So we have been doing walk abouts making sheep sandwiches in a fairly good sized field.  He will pull the sheep off the fence by going between the sheep and the fence in both directions.  The sheep that we are using are not knee knockers, they are pretty light and mostly sensible.  

He is still pretty toothy, especially on the away side.  This is the flank he slices worst, so I have been trying to bend him out with out making too big of a deal out of it.  Otherwise if he causes a mess I let him fix it and I don't get on him if he uses his teeth from the shoulder forward.  He's getting better at grabbing faces on the break aways.  I can wind him up  and I can settle him back down pretty easily.  I think our bench mark for more structure training will be when he goes out and doesn't bust through the middle of the sheep when I first  let him go.  I set him and tell him wait while I walk to the sheep and he just fights the bend on the first little run and there's usually a bit of a mess for him to fix, after that he settles right in.  He is still in the let's have fun and keep it light stage.

I'm pretty happy with what I see so far.  Hank is sensible, but full of hell :)  I am starting to trust him a bit now to fix his messes without piling on the carnage.  He wants to listen and do right but at the same is very forward and doesn't care about if he makes a mistake.  He's taking correction well, he heeds me and then lets it go.  As far as working style, so far he's pretty plain, up right, and medium eyed. Right now I am stopping him on his feet, which he seems to be respecting very well. He seems to be favoring line and straitness to flanking and bend.  He comes from a line of strong out runners and squared flankers.  It will interesting to see how he progresses.   

Now for Hank's dark secret- He loves to lick bare feet.  Ick, right?