Monday, August 03, 2009

Working Fun

Duncan and I went sheep herding Saturday, for the first time since late November. Our session started at 7:00, which meant we left the house at 5:40. AM. The getting up at 5:00 doesn’t really bother me, and the drive to Pittsboro doesn’t really bother me. It’s the drive back that kills me.

Duncan managed to stay awake for the drive down, which surprised me a bit. Of course, he wanted the graham crackers I was eating for breakfast, so I’m sure that was part of it. When we took the exit for Pittsboro, Duncan perked up with an “I think I know where I am” look on his face. With each turn we made, he got a little more excited, moving from a sniffing interest to dancing and pacing in the back. When we made the last turn onto Claire’s road, he started whining and moaning and licking my face. If I don’t know better, I’d think he was excited…..

The first comment Claire made was that Duncan has grown up. She said his face doesn’t have any more puppy in it. I hadn’t thought about it, but I guess she’s right.

Duncan had a wonderful time working the sheep. The only trouble he had was me. I’m planning to enter us in a herding trial in late October, so Claire was really working us on technique. Duncan picked up what she wanted him to do pretty quickly, which was basically to stay off the sheep unless he actually needed to get close to them. I was so impressed a couple of times – Duncan was about 15 feet away from the flock, and Claire asked him to turn the sheep. He didn’t even move, he just looked at the sheep, and they all turned. It was amazing. Then Claire had me work with the flock and Duncan while she stood in the middle of the arena, and it all went downhill from there. Duncan tried to do what I asked, but I had a bit of trouble figuring out how to ask the right way. Duncan got so frustrated a couple of times that he walked over to Claire and stood with her. She finally had to get almost to the other side of the arena so he’d stop doing that. I’m also having to learn techniques that are opposite from how I normally do things, so retraining myself is going to be a priority. By the end of the session, though, I think we were doing pretty well. Duncan and I were successfully moving the flock around obstacles at a steady pace, making turns, and stopping the flock. It’ll take some more work, but I think we’ll be ready for the trial.


Anonymous said...

It's good that you and Duncan are getting back in to sheep herding!!! Have fun!!! :) Mom

Anonymous said...

I can just see Duncan walking to Claire as if I really do get it but I don't understand what my mom is trying to tell me...I'm so confused.