The Real Time Canine II

After spending 2 years writing the Real Time Canine, the adventure continues with The Real Time Canine II. Read along as I look for just the right puppy to continue the experience. After false starts with Tim and Jed, I am currently training young Tam, and Spot, which are both off to a strong start. Please visit the RTC II to read about training sessions as they occur.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Day Three Free to Be

Look at my handsome boyz
Today we moved to the South side of the ranch where the open course was smaller, but more deadly, I think, on a couple different levels. Running out, the dogs were lost in a large swale, which swallowed dogs and sheep on the way back for what seemed like a very long time. It pulled many dogs in on their out-work, but of my 3, it was only little Starman that needed the re-direct...then another, and 1 more to be sure. With a barbed wire fence close in, he would be feeling the pressure.

Patricia Macrae's Cap for 3rd place

4 sheep today, with a single - pen finish, and generously 12 minutes on the clock. The overnight sheep pen directly to our left set up a nasty little draw that punished many on the left hand drive all but straight towards it. The dogs had to block sheep on the drive-away, then shove sheep on the cross-drive, then hold sheep for the single. I assume due to their background, the yearlings loved to walk in the pen, and those of us who got that far were most assuredly glad for it.

Train at the top
 There was an element of "drawing contest" to today's trialing, and poor Mirkie drew the short straw...or the worst set that I saw. He had one sorry yearling that was fairly determined to run off all the way around, and, if at some distance, her buddies were quite happy to toddle along. He did his level best, and for the first time recently, took every command I gave, smartly ignoring the ones that were wrong. He finished 10th, and I appreciated him today very much.

Buff won my "most improved" award, running out well constrained by a fence, lifting smartly where others couldn't and listening intently. So intently, that we timed out in the shed ring leaving 20 points with which to clean our clock yet again. That's OK, now I understand. Our Irish judge, Dennis Birchell, knows my Irish dog, having judged him at the Irish Nat'l a few years ago. I knew my away-to-me whistle wasn't right, and after the trial, Dennis helped. He also promised to get the "pull in" whistle he assured me Buff has at this year's Irish Nat'l from Seamus Gallagher, the man who trained him. I'd buy him a drink for all that, but smiling brightly, he assured me that he never imbibes.

Running at the end of the day, Star and I let it roll, and had some fun. We missed every panel, missed an attempt at the single, and missed the pen on the first pass as well, but we had fun. Even with all that, in 8th place, he was my highest scoring dog. What a happy guy he is. So calm and content before and after his run. He looks around aimlessly before, then stands at attention when I tell him to "look." Afterward, a nice long drink, then off from hand to hand looking for the praise he's sure he deserves. At this point, I'm instilling confidence, trying to make him feel 10' tall and bullet-proof on the road to the finals. We were all of that today and more. That dog is growing on me.

Yesterday's monsoon weather hung with us today, and it was cool, cloudy, and just perfect all day long. At one point this morning, I even slouched into a fleece. The storms are still swirling around us even now, and it's been very peaceful in my little trailer home watching nature's trunk show and the trains roll by. This part of the country is wide open with nothing but prarie, distant purple mountains and sky as far as I can see in every direction.

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