Saturday we went to a small trial up in Washington, called Shepherds retreat. Vaider is about to be pulled off the recovery list but not for this one so I only ran Chuck. The photo is not this trial but it is Chuck!
We are running Pro/ Nov with Chuck and I have been feeling pretty good about him. I have been thinking “if I can get a few more miles on him I may move him into open.” A few more trial miles to be sure he is running consistent.
Anyone that knows me, knows that I like to work dogs but trialing is a struggle. Since trialing makes me nervous I tend to not check trial schedules, miss entries, or have something I have to do that weekend. This makes it a little hard to put on trial miles.
It seems dog have a sense of humor, waiting for you to be in public to do something that, I am sure, they think will embarrass you. Chuck decided this was a trial he was going to test me by not being consistent. Well, peculiar is maybe a better way of putting it (anyone that has dogs that do this may not find it peculiar).
As we were getting ready for our run; I thought it would be a good idea to get behind the truck the judge was judging from. That way I would be ready sooner and help the trial move along. Good thought… maybe.
We were following the fence-line around off the course. The run before us lost their sheep on the drive and the sheep come running right over to Chuck and myself. The handler gets control of the sheep and move along on their drive while I finish getting to where I can use the truck as a blind; all is good.
Can you see my set up for an excuse.
The run finishes and we go to the post. The problem is Chuck is focused on the exhaust. No problem I have had dogs focus on the exhaust. We have always got through it and Chuck has not had that issue. We approach the post walking straight at the sheep we are to work but Chuck keeps looking back.
I try to get him to look up the field by walking away from the post and back to it a couple times. That should draw his focus up the field, um no. Each time we stop he turns back to the exhaust. I try to wait looking up the field calling his focus forward. Finally I decide to just send into the exhaust and flank him past it. After all we did all that set up to help speed the trial along. Waiting at the post was not working or helping move things along. The longer we stand at the post also gives the sheep we are to work more time to get… fidgety.
We are now set to send toward the exhaust. I send. Chuck does not even hesitate he flanks backwards so if those were the sheep he was suppose to get it would have been a cross at my feet (good thing they weren’t). I did hot have a chance to flank him past (If I could draw the angles that might make more sense). Now my only chance was to flank him off those sheep to look for different sheep.
A few redirects later he is heading up the field; now it is fixed, sort of. He still has not found his sheep and is on a path the is not deep enough. I stop him and redirect again. He stops on a little rise. Looks at me with that, here hold my beer. look. Pops up on his hind legs and scans the field finding his sheep (that is the peculiar part for those of you that do not have dogs that do the hind leg search). Then he proceeds to get them.
I was fairly happy with the rest of the run and felt pretty good about my dog and how we handled our little “pop” quiz. We get back to the handlers and that was the only thing I heard about my run. “How did you teach him to do that.”, “That was so funny when he.”, ” I wish my dog knew how to do that.”, etc. I was a little embarrassed but that wore off quickly.
Unofficially, he won the pro/nov with a 56. Followed by a 55, 54, 53, 52 and on down. I only saw score sheets that were not checked but…
In the end, I was happy with my dog and happy that we got a chance to put a few more trial miles on. It was a good day spent with my wife (who, had a good run with Jill that I thought had beat me), good dogs, good people, all in good fun.