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 Freeway is now Dogplay's Roadside Rescue RLFI-ge

Three weeks after Freeway's success at a "French Trial" we went for his second and final qualifing score hoping to earn an AHBA "RLF1-ge" title. Translated that means Ranch Large Flock, Level 1 on Geese.

A Ranch trial is a free form trial. It does not have a set pattern. It has certain required elements but how they are put together is up to the person who designs the course. That is the "Ranch" part of it - supposedly like ranch work (ha ha). The Large Flock part of it is that there are more stock than would be used in a regular ranch trial. In this case 15 geese instead of 5. A couple weeks ago at the French Trial there were, I think, 50 sheep instead of 5. Level 1 - beginner, handler can help the dog more.

And just as earlier it was fun and exhausting and, yes again it wasn't pretty but he did get a passing score. This time our problems came at the beginning and he steadily improved as we went along. There were 90 available points and we lost 20 of them in the first two scoring sections. In two sections we lost no points, and 4 and 3 points for the others.

The Judge's comment "This is a team sport" was pretty much right on. For the first part Freeway was doing what he wanted to do. Then he settled in. He has good instincts on geese so if he is work mode he doesn't have to listen to much - I just have to shut up and let him work.

There are sometimes interesting tricky parts. For example, the dog can't really be judged if the dog isn't doing any work. So when the task is to put the stock back in the pen and they run over to the gate on their own and just stand there waiting to be let in has the dog done anything? In our case the geese did just that. Task number one was not to mess up what we had. Don't lose points by the dog disturbing them so that they leave or it is messier getting them in. BUT I also wanted to show that they were staying there because of the dog. So I moved Freeway up to just the point that the geese kind of shifted a bit. And only then did I walk around the geese and open the pen door. Freeway didn't exactly hold his stay, but he walked up on the geese the right way so that they walked (not ran) into the pen so that was actually a good thing. Sometimes these geese had been reluctant to actually go in.

Oh and in honor of these trials I created a new herding t-shirt design. At the trial a very good handler and her nice Border Collie tried the geese. The dog had never worked geese at all. It was funny to see the dog looking all around for sheep, completely ignoring the geese. But a combination of good handler and good dog finally got the dog's attention on geese. Much to the dog's surprise these odd creatures could actually be herded and they qualified very nicely.



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Copyright © 2007, Diane Blackman     Created: November 18, 2007     Updated:

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