Sunday, November 11, 2007

Foxes and Sheepies

SUMMARY: A long drive, Boost is a herding dog, Tika isn't, and there's a fox out there in the field!

I drove to Vacaville this morning with a lonnnnng-time friend; we've been vowing to do more things together and, after our trip to Golden Gate Park (sans dogs) a month or so ago, this was our next adventure, since I knew about one microbraincell more about herding than she did--maybe. At least I got to sleep in until almost 6! Not like 4 a.m. for agility!

Turned out to be a lovely day for a drive--beautiful sunrise with just the remnants of what had been rain clouds overnight.

The lecturer/tester, Deborah Pollard, was the one recommended to me by the testers in Arizona. I liked her style of working with the dogs much more, and she was much better about explaining to all of us naive onlookers about what she was doing, what she was observing, what the dog was doing, what might be some training things to note, and so on. All intriguing and educational. Now I know *two* microbraincells about herding.

Tika was the first dog up and really wanted to have nothing to do with it. She wanted to come back to Mom. She'd periodically dive in at the sheep, barking,and then lunge away to try to come back to Mom. Eventually Deborah had me come out in the pen with her, so then Tika reverted to moving away with her back to us and sniffing. D. asked me whether I intended to do herding with Tika, and I said not (especially now that I've seen 2 tests with her where she's not evidenced the moves), and she said that's probably good--Tika could probably learn to do herding, but "her heart's not in it," which I'd now agree with. Written evaluation includes "Nice dog but not for herding. Too much fear/prey drive." Here's a short clip of the first 2 minutes of Tika's session.


Boost, once again, did well. Her strong propensity to stay on her right lead (circle clockwise) really shows why she had no trouble making weave entries when bending to the right but always ran past them when bearing left: She really doesn't like being on her left lead! This gives me something to really be on the lookout for in agility--are there other patterns or situations where that weakness becomes apparent and manifests itself? And I could do some exercises with her just circling jumps on her left lead. Intriguing!

Here's about 5 minutes of Boost's session.


After I got home, I was standing in the kitchen telling my renter about the experience, half gazing out the window at the huge expanse of field (surrounded by suburban housing tracts) that will one day be a park, and noticed an odd-looking cat way out in the golden grass. "Is that a big cat," I asked, "or is it a fox?" "It's a fox!" he said, and we both ran for our binoculars.

Sure enough, there seems to be a fox living in those 300 acres. Wonder what'll happen to him (and, presumably, his friends and relatives) when they finally start building the park?

2 comments:

  1. Wow, that is neat to see. What a difference between the two dogs, polar
    opposites almost.

    Lisa

    (sorry for the "lateness" of this comment, but I only just now set up my
    computer to play the videos.)

    ReplyDelete
  2. All I can say is, it's a good thing that Tika likes agility. :-)

    -ellen

    ReplyDelete