04 September 2011
When Drifter was younger, I used to take him to work sheep about once a week, or once every 2 weeks. We made pretty good progress. He has some talent; I'm sure he wasn't anywhere near the next national champion, probably not even a USBCHA Open dog, but he progressed to the point where he could've muddled through a Novice course or a basic AKC course. His only problem was that he hated to lie down. he would pause, he wouldn't break them up, but he refused to just lie down. Which is amusing since when he's around other dogs he lies down quite a lot and even does the border collie creepy walk...
Anyway, I quit when I got super serious about his agility career; couldn't find the time to make the 40minute trek to the instructor's farm every week, while working full time and also training and conditioning for agility. That was probably in 2007 or 2008 that I quit? it was the year before we got serious enough to go to AKC Nationals, Tryouts, and tried out for IFCS team (and made it). Since then it's been all I could do to continue working AND doing agility AND conditioning (which is a lot), but now that i'm not doing the 40hour work week anymore, AND I have what appears to be a dog who can't do a lot of agility on my hands, I'm going to see sheep again.
I am afraid Drifter won't get another chance - with his crooked toes and heart murmur (and planned neuter coming up), I don't want to risk injury or overheating. But Miss Seri will get a chance. When I stopped going, Seri was still in the round pen and JUST getting the idea that she could make the sheep move without literally stepping on their heels. She was never one to grip (bite), so she isn't dangerous, but she had a bit too much enthusiasm. Now she's 5, not 18 months, so we'll see how she does. Since she held up so well with just cutting out contacts/weaves and leaving all the other exercise in, I think she will do OK with herding, as long as we don't go crazy with the amount of it. For now I'm sure she'll be in a round pen again so running will be limited. We shall see. I will probably also give Strafe a shot, just to see what he thinks.
Not sure when - I am teaching in VA tonight and tomorrow, and then I'll have to see when the nearby instructor has some time available to deal with an inexperienced person like me (though I at least have decent stock sense about jumping out of the way, and how to move them here or there).