Tsuki and I went to an AHBA trial hosted by Western Rottweiler Owners in Pescadero at Willowside Ranch. The weather was lovely, a bit too much wind perhaps, but over all very nice. On Saturday Tsuki was a little ramped up. OK he was very ramped up. I figured we weren't going to be in the arena long when he started turning circles just walking to the post. Luckily I had it video taped because I really don't remember it, except I stopped him pretty quickly said "Thank you" and left. While a lot of people told me how they were surprised I left so quickly the judge was very complimentary. He said it was a good decision that would pay back in the long run.
On Sunday Tsuki started very very nice. Calm trot down to the lift, very nice wide out run, and straight as an arrow down to the post. We lost half a point out of 20. He got just a bit intense and I had trouble stopping him but the turn at the post was as tight as could be. WE lost 1.5 points out of 20, not bad. The problem was that the draw was diagonal to the post. Meaning that if I sent him on the "come bye" the way I'd been doing in practice he have to race like h*ll to get in front and cut them off and person after person had lost the sheep to the corner trying that. I don't remember exactly what I tried but it went OK. Lost 4 out of 15 points. AT this point the devil dog shows up. He knows the sheep want to run which makes him pushier and faster which makes the sheep more anxious. We got the run away down to the dreaded corner. There was no real wear/drive to the 2nd panel although we did get them through it, put lost them again to the corner. We lost half of the 15 points. Sent him to pick the sheep back up. The judge got out of her chair to watch him. I'm pretty sure she was concerned about his wildness, and that the corner was pretty much out of my view - not entirely but blocked by the panels. Ha! He kept them off the fence and brought them down to the pen. Points lost? 0! I had a little trouble getting him to stand for the pen, he wanted to take the stock somewhere, but we got them all penned with no runaway, lost 2.5 points out of 10. We needed 63 points to qualify. We finished with 74 points and fourth place. And that's the first leg of our HTD1. I'm very very happy.
Tsuki also got some real work done the last couple of days. I think I've said before that his element is the open field. My instructor was under the weather but offered to allow me to practice. But I need to bring the sheep in. So we went out the the big field where he went and gathered the entire flock (30-40 sheep) off a steep slippery hill and brought them all straight to me with no bobbles at all. WE drove the flock out of the pasture, though a gate, into another field, out another gate, down the big practice field, out another gate, through the middle field and finally into the front pasture where we sorted out five to practice with. Very cool.
And at the trial the ranch flock decided to come down and grass immediately outside the trial arena, so Tsuki and I went down and pushed them back up their hill behind the trees to screen them from the trial dogs. Tsuki thought that was way cool even though I wouldn't let him off the leash to do it. There were ewes with lambs in the group, not to mention a guard Llama, so it would have been out of his league but it worked well enough as it was.
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Copyright © 2003, Diane Blackman