Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Peekay Watkinsville Herding Practice Report

Tuesday night Peekay, Lauda and I were back in Watkinsville for herding practice. Fall was in the air, and all of the dogs were loving the cool air.

The entire time Peekay was on the property, she was lit. She never is the the best dog waiting her turn, but tonight she was extra impatient. I typically tie her to the fence while I walk Lauda. I could here her mild protests the entire time I was walking the big guy.

Whatever I commanded Peekay to perform she typically did it faster than usual. Outruns where she typically trots, tonight she was running. Flanks where she would run, tonight she would do it at a sprinter speed. I had to work very hard to slow her down.

For the majority of our practice time, we continued our work on the cross drive. Peekay wasn't having too much trouble shooting the gap between the fence and the sheep. The new problem was once she shot the gap, she wouldn't stop. She was running so fast, she would shoot the gap and her momentum would carry her around the sheep. After 3 attempts with the same outcome, I had her take the sheep to the center of the field where we practiced flanking the sheep in both the "come by" and "away to me" directions. After each flank I would stop her at the 6 and 12 0'clock positions.

At the beginning of both practice runs , we did a simulated outrun. Both times they were flawless. Each time we drove them down the center of the field, made the turn at the #1 cone and drove the flock through both the Y and Z chutes. My only criticism was that she was very pushy, moving quicker than she needed. Peekay has a lot of natural "power". When she's jacked up, the sheep get jumpy and are more likely to try a jail break down the field.

I did leave practice feeling good. Training for sheep herding takes patience. Last night we made some small progress. Last week she wouldn't flank along the fence. We seemed to have corrected that problem. Next Tuesday we'll be back on the field, working on the cross drive.

Until then, Speed is good! stopping on a flank along the fence is better!

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