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Yep, we are definitely hooked.


Schedules have been very busy, so Mollie and I have only been to training a grand total of three times since we started at the end of July - the third time having occurred this past weekend.

Am I the only person who didn't realize it was going to be this hard? Don't get me wrong, I thought yeah, this is going to be mentally and physically taxing and I'm going to have to go into it seriously and expect to invest time and money. After last weekend, I was only thinking holy crap if I could do this every single day (!!) I would have my early-twenties-nowgonetoadeskjobandlackofwillpowerheadingtowards30 body back faster than you can say Slimfast!!! I am in Really. Bad. Shape. Whoo, did I ever feel it!


Mollie is also much, Much smarter than I am. And I am in platonic with our trainer, Ken. He is awesome.


We work in a large pen where the sheep are kept regularly (no small, round pen, this baby has Corners!) with the whole flock. The second time we went for training, Ken (at my request) kept only four sheep in the pen for us to work on. This time it was the whole flock. What was strange to me is that things actually work smoother and seem easier with all 12 (? or so) of the sheep as opposed to only a few. :rolleyes:


We worked on circling (?) the sheep (the terminology is still beyond me lol) - she'd do it her way, with me staying close to the sheep (after Ken yelled at me to stay closer to my sheep LOL) by her hip and then I'd have to use pressure to redirect her. At the beginning I was so confused by it all that I'd forget to MOVE (who was it that told me about 'giving the dog the sheep' or something similar?! How right were you...), she'd be on balance (? newbie and terminology thing again) and suddenly I'd be surrounded waist deep by jostling sheep LOL. Then it all sort of started coming together, and all of a sudden we were working as a team!!! A team consisting of one dog that is WAY too fast, and one gasping whale...


She does grip and works pretty agressively (at least in these uneducated eyes). Ken told me that he doesn't like for a dog not to have the ability to grip, so what we will be working on is teaching Mollie how to choose to grip when it's appropriate. Right now, she grips when one gets away from the group - sheep goes running off, she goes running after the poor guy, gives it a quick grip (she doesn't hang on, thank goodness, but lets go right away) which always seems to turn him back to the group. She only did this twice this past weekend. It's almost like she's trying to dominate them but she's doing it too agressively, using her teeth instead of her 'eye'?


Sheep got GAME! Man, can those babies ever JUMP!!


We'd take short breaks after we'd established several good circles and redirections (also so I could catch my breath lol) and then Ken would stay by Mollie while I went to position myself with the sheep. The first few times, I was walking forward (duh) toward the sheep and glancing back at her to ensure that she held the 'sit' - so Ken released her while I wasn't looking!!! You can bet I walked backwards to the sheep every time after that LOL - I even said to him, I have to walk backwards so I can keep my eyes on her and he laughingly told me that he deliberately let her go so I'd catch that!!


At one point they drifted up against the fence after we took a short break. I was thinking uh-oh, but Ken told me what to do before Mollie was released, and it went beautifully! I was sooo proud! She got them right off the fence and drove them after me right to the middle of the pen! :D :D :D


Did I mention that we're hooked?? :D


Homework is to continue working on distance downs. This one's tough because she wants the sheep so badly that she won't stay in a down. Hard to simulate that when you're off sheep, but we're working on it. He also wants me to start teaching her "That'll Do". Eeeeh. That one's going to be tough, because even when she's not on sheep she doesn't like to walk beside me unless she's given a heel command. But we'll get it :D


I've been on an incredible high ever since. The feeling of working in tandem with a dog is unbelievable, I'd never imagined and can't even express what it felt like. The fact that I'm working with my soul-dog is even more fantastic, like a special exclusive bond that you just don't get every day.


And bonus, maybe I'll lose a few pounds while we're at it! :D


PS -- No camera, again. *sigh* I'm going to have to twist some arms, because I really would like to see it from a distance!

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Good for you! How old is Mollie? When you're working on "that'll do," just make sure that you have a way to enforce it when you say it (as in a long line or whatever). Think of setting things up so that the right thing to do for her is obvious and easy, with the wrong thing much more difficult...have fun!



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Another one bites the dust!!!


I remember those first weeks, months, years....anyone that didn't have a bc quickly dropped me as their friend (not really but way less talking on the phone) all I could do was sleep/dream, eat, talk, dogs and sheep.


The bond is unlike any other one. I like to say it's communicating with another species. Not training, but communicating. It's so much deeper than just training. I do call it training or working now cause again my non dog friends/fam were getting worried when I talked the strange talk. Now they usually just shake their heads and ask how's the sheep.


Are you looking for a farm yet? We were by no means financaly ready for a farm but it didn't stop us from buying a small place and a few sheep. I would say before a year was up we had a small farm. I just quit shopping for clothes, food, and anything else we didn't have to have. We ate lamb instead of going out to dinner!

My DH thought I'd start staying home doing things like cooking and cleaning if he got me my own sheep. That just made it that much more important that I continue getting out there and learning more. Poor guy, still looking for a farm for me in CO.


Just wait till your frist clinic comes up. I couldn't sleep the night before a clinic for years, then couldn't sleep for weeks absorbing all the new info I got from the clinic.


My girlfriends that I work sheep with have a saying for us. We are Sheep Sluts. We even have magnets for the fridge that say we are the baa baa sisterhood.

Good luck.


who's off to work dogs and praying it doesn't rain till later today cause it started raining last night right after we got a funday trial course put together and didn't get to try it!

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btw I just got ducks again for a demo and remembered that, when I didn't have sheep, I kept ducks so the dogs could do some work between visits to a farm. It does change the dynamics somewhat, (they have to be tighter in) but I didn't find it mattered if they got to work elsewhere.


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Glad you are enjoying it too. We have a small ranch and a few sheep. Sold some off to pay for training. Hope to keep more this year. We don't have BCs but enjoy our dogs (Aussies). First trials are upcoming in October. Do get a camera. We used to tape all our lessons and watch over and over (DH really gets bored with these). When is your next lesson? N

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