Sunday, July 24, 2011

Joe at 6 Months

I got a little video of Joe (Zac x Rhyme) today. He's about 6.5 months old and has been on sheep 4 or 5 times.

I'm just letting him work as he wants for the most part. He prefers going to the right, and is much better to that direction, flanking freely and out far enough to get around the sheep and cover. He is willing to go left, but is tighter to that side so can't quite turn the sheep because he's always on their shoulders. That's why you'll see me whacking the flag on the ground to push him off just a bit as he goes past 10:00 or so. He seems to be figuring it out pretty quickly because he likes how it feels when he covers and the sheep turn to me. That's about the only thing i'd pick on right now and would want to fix early. I think he's going to be a bit of a lead sheep control freak like his father (I like it!). I like his feel for sheep and his cool head, and he's pretty comfortable going between the sheep and fence and also just walking into the sheep. Knowing so many dogs in his line, i'd have to say i like where he's at for a 6 month old puppy. They tend to be very keen dogs and there have been some hard grippers too, so i don't mind seeing him start out so sensible as i know he's going to just get more and more keen to work. I won't be doing much with him until the fall, even though he seems pretty mature for his age (we're just too busy traveling) but so far i'm pleased with what i see.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Our Next Adventure

It's just amazing how quickly this blog gets behind and out of date. Hard to believe it's been over a month since i posted but there ya go. Actually, not all that much has been happening around here anyway, so it was pretty easy to let it lie for awhile. I've been working the dogs as time and hot temperatures allow. I got Joe started a bit, just a few trips into the round pen and one or two in larger areas, and he's looking pretty nice. He seems fairly sensible and has a nice cast to his flanks, which hopefully will mean he's gotten his father's nice shaped flanks and sweepy outruns. So far i like him but of course it's a long way from round pen to Open dog, so we'll see. Zeke has been getting as much work as i can get on him, which isn't enough, but he's coming along. I got the chance to take him to a big new field last weekend and i was very happy with his outruns and attitude, but he's still a work in progress, with little holes here and there to fill in. Pretty typical for a young male dog. The next year will really tell with him. I've got him entered in some trials in the next few weeks so we'll see how he does. I haven't decided yet if i'll run him in the Nursery Finals in September, but for now he's entered. Bill and Zac looked pretty good on that big field last weekend. I've been mostly conditioning them with just a little work here and there.

We're kind of in a holding pattern at the moment as we wait out record breaking temps in the area. Next friday we'll leave for a Canadian sojourn. First we'll hit the second day of Open at the 80 Acres trial (decided to not take the extra vacation so will miss the first day), and then Zeke will run the following day in Nursery and PN, unless i decide he's not ready. Then on wednesday one of my favorite trials starts, Kingston at Grass Creek Park. 120-something Open dogs, running twice, each round over 2 days, with a double lift final on Sunday for the teams with the highest cumulative scores. It's not a big course but the sheep are pretty challenging. It's a really fun trial with a great atmosphere. I was really pleased with how my dogs did there last year and i'm hoping they'll do just as well this year, and that it'll be a nice warm up for the next western trip, which starts about August 27. I'll check in again with a report after the trial!