Well, on Saturday we went sheep herding. It was a really good day out but it quickly became apparent that this isn't an area in which the Hudsondoglets excel!
First up was Niamh - I had high hopes for my lovely girl. She comes from working stock and her mum is a trained sheepdog. Niamh came into the pen with me and just checked out the area, sniffing and running around. When I encouraged her to look at the sheep she became worried and with Niamh this means her fear aggression comes to the forefront. She barked and growled at the sheep and kept running at them and pinging off back towards me. She looked like a skunk with her tail held as high as it would go and her hackles right up. She was making herself as tall as possible. I tried for about ten minutes but decided to take her out. On reflection I wish I had persevered because when I look back at the video it felt much worse to me than it looked from the outside. OK, it wasn't good but you can see that she most likely could have worked through it. She didn't actually try to grab hold of a sheep, she was just scared. I elected not to take her into her second session as I had lost my nerve. Again, wrong choice but there we go it wasn't to be. Instead I took Poppy in. More of that later!
Next was Kizzy. She wasn't so bad, certainly not scared like Niamh but not really interested. Andy did get her doing a few little bits but she was keener to round up Andy than the sheep! I will put the videos up in due course.
In the second session as said, I decided to take Poppy in. Well, that was a complete waste of time. She did some super heel work and spent a lot of time looking for toys. There were no sheep in that pen with Poppy. She was completely blind to them. At one point I actually managed to get myself the other side of the little flock in an effort to get her circling but instead she just calmly walked between them to find me - she didn't even sniff them on her way through! She was so pleased to find me on the other side and just bounded around a bit more! Bless her little heart; she's been so conditioned over the years on our various holidays to ignore stock and she wasn't going to change at this time in her life!
So, out came Murphy. Sadly he had only five minutes. We wished we'd given him the whole of Niamh's second session rather than Pops. He wasn't brilliant but he showed a good level of interest and definitely would have improved. He was a good boy for the few minutes he had.
Kizzy's second session was similar to the first except she was a little more confident. She did at least push outside the sheep and come round putting herself between the flock and the fence; quite a difficult manoeuvre for a complete novice (so I'm told!)
The other people on the course had varying degrees of success and dare I say failure. However, my dogs took the wooden spoon that's for sure!
The star of the day was Michaela's Jess. Mac was a bit worried about taking Jess in thinking she be a bit over the top. She elected to go in first and set a very high benchmark which nobody could top. She started working the sheep as soon as she entered the pen and the pair of them soon got into a good rythmn. They were even better on the second session. Jess comes from sheep herding lines and it showed. She was a complete natural. Bitch. Only joking!
We all really enjoyed the afternoon and came home very tired.
This afternoon I took Kizzy off to be measured. She took a long time to relax and was up on her toes. The session was held outside and she was very interested in everything around her. It was hard to get her to stand in a relaxed fashion. The measurers were very patient and just waited until they saw her chill out. Then they took the measure and she came in exactly on the mark of small. So now I can do some entries as I'd been holding off until we knew for sure which classes to enter her in. We're really pleased she has measured into the small category.
Al has been here again today doing more stuff. The tiles have gone up in the new utility and Andy's new work surface in the office has been done. This is to take his extra computer and screen so that he can have tutorials open on screen at the same time as practising with his CAD programme. The down side is that the drawing board has to sit in the middle of the window and protrudes into the room more than we'd like but there you go!
Niamh's foot is well on the mend. The sheep herding was restricted to a small area with very soft ground to I elected to have a go with her (waste of time - see above!) Hopefully I can get back to some agility training with her this coming week. We haven't done anything for over a week now but it's been worthwhile in terms of the cut healing properly. Only two weeks to Crufts, I am beginning to feel a bit nervous now. It'll all be over in a flash though, the novice competition that we're in only has one run. But we'll enjoy ourselves for sure and whatever the result of the competition the purse will be out for some serious shopping!