What a weekend! We started out by going to the herding clinic. What a blast! We got to work with goats twice and sheep once, plus I got to work the goats a bit with this cute guy:
All in all, it was a very fun time and I look forward to doing it again.
After we got home Saturday we had about 45 minutes before having to load back up and head to the barn to practice with our drill team. I'm excited to say all of us were there this time and we made some progress. It seems like we've had so many ups and downs that cause choreography changes that we haven't really learned what we've done. But this time around we solidified some things and were able to move through the first half or so of the song. We set our next practice for two weeks and in the meantime each need to come up with some ideas for a few 8-counts. Should be fun to watch other groups online. Thank God for YouTube!
Sunday morning we got up and headed to Champoeg Park to meet Bess and Orra. It was clear and sunny, albeit cold. The park was very soggy and made me really wish my hiking boots were more waterproof. Suffice it to say, my plans to stick around for a hike afterward with the dogs changed quickly when my feet got wet right away.
To begin Beth had me lay a track for Orra so it had some time to age. For her I headed out 50 paces, set a flag, paced five more then hung a right and headed 50 paces, stuck a flag, five paces, then turned left for another 50 paces and dropped her article and goodies. It was really cool watching Orra complete her track later - what a champ she is. She hadn't been out in four months but she nailed that puppy like it was nothing. Very cool!
For Vegas, Beth began by laying a 5-10-15 track. She set a flag, went five paces, set a flag and article, paced ten and set an article and flag, paced 15 and placed the flag and article. Each article had a goodie to reward Vegas. Beth was really awesome giving me pointers and telling me exactly what I should do, when to back up and start her again from the previous flag, reminding me to let her lead out on the line, etc. Vegas wasn't as quick to get it, but she did show progress by the third track.
We repeated the steps above two more times on fresh, double-laid tracks and called it good for the day. It was a lot of fun and a very simple way to get started. We discussed getting together this coming weekend, too, on Sunday and she suggested I try to get Vegas out at least two more times to track.
I'm excited to say we went out again tonight. We used the park down the street from our house. Because of the gear and needing to keep the dogs off the grass area while I was laying track, I went ahead and drove down there. I had a pair of gloves and a sock for articles plus dehydrated beef liver and Fido's Best Elk Jerky. Leaving the dogs in the truck I double-laid the first track, repeating what we'd done Saturday with a 5-10-15 pace track. I got Vegas out, brought her to the track, and hooked up her harness. She was kind of spacey. She found the first article and treat then pretty much wandered or stood aimlessly. I got her on it and into it again and we made the second and third articles quickly. I swapped her out for Leo and let him run her track. He was slower to "get it" and I really had to work back to the article to move ahead each time.
I set a laid a new track again and Vegas picked up on it much quicker this time. Her turn was over way too quick and I re-laid the same track again this time for Leo thinking it would be a bit easier for him. We had the same trouble as the first time. As Beth said, "Our dogs have a hard time working independently." She's right; we don't let them very often. It's a relearning process for specific activities and it'll just take time. Leo's turn over, I moved ahead a bit and laid a third track. This time Vegas did well from the first to the second but the third she really was melting down. Perhaps she just felt the need to get out and romp and was too distracted. I'm not sure if it was that or a lack of understanding but I felt her shutting down a bit.
After we were all done and I had picked up the flags and articles, I let the dogs romp around the park. They were thrilled!