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Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Shepherding

I'm all unpacked now from our show weekend. All the dogs have been out for a hike and so I turn my attention to the sheep and take them out of their pasture for a little graze--as they have been baaaaing at me all day telling me the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence. I took out Crochet and her daughter Pooka2. Crochet has not been formally trained at all as she does not live with me on a full-time basis. Pooka2 lives here and so has practical working experience. They were both working as a great team. (Last year I sold most of my ewes and lambs and so only have 3 bitchy ewes.) In fact, watching the dogs work if seems they can read my thoughts and really it is my body language that they act on, with very few words required. If one compares this to the "sheep herding training" that we all sign(ed) up for it goes to show us how very, very much we miss out on learning about our dogs and their communication with the livestock. Again, time is our enemy with formal training schools/lessons where we pay huge amounts of money for 1/2 hour lessons with lots of movement and lots of noise quickly taught. If you watch the video you can see that the sheep were heading towards the forest (to the left). I do not allow them into the forest so I may have made a step in that direction. Immediately both dogs understand their services are required and what needs to be accomplished. Very subtly and very quietly they place themselves in a position to block the sheep. I could have called out a "come by" and got everyone moving faster, but to watch how SUBTLE the dogs were being was a joy. An "instructor" may have said the dogs were eating poop or grass or deemed them "off contact". But, they were working and thinking and communicating! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lsGNgwO5oBg&feature=youtube_gdata

2013 Pyrenean Shepherd National Specialty Show

The Specialty show for the Bergers des Pyrenees breed was held in conjunction with the all-breed show in New Castle, Pennsylvania this past weekend. I had 3 dogs entered. Our 12 yr. old girl, Eureka, was entered in the Veteran Classes. Tryst was entered in the Open Classes and our newest member of the family, Gabizos du Picourlet, was only entered one day. The weather was cold, windy and rainy for two days. We were not outfitted for such weather and ended up going into town to purcahse warmer clothes. Thank goodness the trailer we were camping in is well insulated and had a heater. But, to enlighten our sour mood the weather was putting us in my old girl, Eureka, showed like a dream and surprised us all with a Best of Breed win from the Veterans Class. She never put a foot wrong, she moved gracefully and looked stunning. I am so very, very proud of all our dogs but Eureka certainly was outstanding! The day of the Specialty Show our male import, Gabizos du Picourlet, stepped into the ring an AKC showdog virgin and came out as "Winners Dog" then went on to be honoured with the title of "Best of Winners"! This earned him 5 points towards his American Championship title. Our youngest competitor, Chaparral's French Tryst, had her head in the clouds with all her socializing and took 3 days to work herself up from 4th place to 1st place on the last day before our departure. She is so silly and everyone threatened to steal her from me. Other Chaparral competitors were Tango and Liberty and their owners in the agility venue an hour away. They collected more legs towards a variety of agility titles and were also acting ambassadors of the breed at both venues.