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Dan and Sue's Excellent Adventure


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#41 Sue R

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Posted 10 February 2011 - 09:13 PM

Thanks for the kind and supportive words, and the personal experiences. I want this "journal" to be honest, and so I'm putting in the good, the bad, and the ugly - in an effort to be honest about what's happening.

Meanwhile, this evening's work was a bit more optimistic. I didn't feel progress but I didn't feel like we were back-sliding. Well, maybe a little progress?
Sue Rayburn - Cleverly disguised as a responsible adult, but not the brightest firefly in the jar.

Celt, Megan, and Dan

"When the chips are down, watch where you step."

"The happiest people don't necessarily have the best of everything. They just make the best of everything." - author unknown

#42 Cody & Duchess

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Posted 10 February 2011 - 09:38 PM

I know a good parent, a good teacher and a good leader leads best when speaking in a calm, confident manner. Yelling never works, tension always increases the problem. Yet, we repeatedly chose this path, it is a constant battle to keep our wits under control. I love your journal, thank you for letting me take a peak into a lifestlye that I am not lucky enough to be involved with. I am always impressed with the life lessons one learns when you interact with your dogs. Good luck tomorrow... and you are doing a great job Dan!

#43 Mark Billadeau

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Posted 11 February 2011 - 06:16 AM

Often we learn faster by finding out what does not work. Would you rather be learning these lessons here on the snow & ice and in the cold wind or there on green grass and in the warm sun?

Keep posting and keep working at it.


Mark

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#44 Sue R

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Posted 11 February 2011 - 11:10 AM

Often we learn faster by finding out what does not work. Would you rather be learning these lessons here on the snow & ice and in the cold wind or there on green grass and in the warm sun?

Keep posting and keep working at it.

Mark

Hmm, let me think on that...
Sue Rayburn - Cleverly disguised as a responsible adult, but not the brightest firefly in the jar.

Celt, Megan, and Dan

"When the chips are down, watch where you step."

"The happiest people don't necessarily have the best of everything. They just make the best of everything." - author unknown

#45 Sue R

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Posted 11 February 2011 - 06:42 PM

Day Four is only partway gone, but it's been eventful. Our first field for the day is this lovely one -

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Anna had a large group of sheep and larger lambs, 30-40 head, separated off into this field. A wash runs through it and that's the "sandy road" that seems to move down the middle length-wise. I was pretty pleased to see that Dan did okay with this larger group (not such a surprise) but one that had younger. less-dogged sheep and lambs. He did some nice work -

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And had some "oh, poop!" moments when I got to see Ms Anna G show her speed -

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Probably my favorite picture from this session -

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Sue Rayburn - Cleverly disguised as a responsible adult, but not the brightest firefly in the jar.

Celt, Megan, and Dan

"When the chips are down, watch where you step."

"The happiest people don't necessarily have the best of everything. They just make the best of everything." - author unknown

#46 Sue R

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Posted 11 February 2011 - 06:42 PM

After working with this group, we took Dan over to work with the four school calves. I think the sky over southern CA got a bit more blue as Anna worked with Dan to get those boys out of the narrow end of the field where they like to lounge. If Dan hadn't been so bound and determined to get to the heads, he might have gotten them out of the corner and up the field a whole lot sooner and easier for all concerned.

As always, when he'd work calmly and feel his stock, things would go quite nicely -

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And, when he got quite tired, he had a nose-to-nose moment with the calves in the corner, and reminded Anna of his mother, Riddle, as he stayed calm and steady in the face of a calf that was trying to decide what the best plan of action was. I was amazed - I'd wondered if he'd gotten kicked in the head or something because for a while there, he was working like a different dog. He was just too tired and was actually using his head instead of his after-burners.

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Sue Rayburn - Cleverly disguised as a responsible adult, but not the brightest firefly in the jar.

Celt, Megan, and Dan

"When the chips are down, watch where you step."

"The happiest people don't necessarily have the best of everything. They just make the best of everything." - author unknown

#47 Sue R

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Posted 11 February 2011 - 06:53 PM

I have been very frustrated but, with Anna watching me work with Dan mid-day, she noted that the problem I was experiencing with him not taking a down and then diving (not often gripping, but occasionally) was - tada! - because I was letting the school sheep get past me. She stopped me and told me about this and I then realized, every single time after, that that's exactly what happened when Dan blew off his down and blasted and dove.

He was doing it because *I* was losing the sheep in his mind. If even one went past me, or if I walked alongside the three rather than in front of or even among them, he would fly up and around. Once he got to the other side (at which point, I'd turned around) and was at balance (Dan, sheep, me), then he'd lie right down.

If I'd wiggled out from among the sheep to get after him (for my own problem, I now know), he move around until he was at the new balance point and lie down readily.

So, I am feeling an enormous sense of relief - realizing that he's being right when I am right, and being "wrong" but only when I am wrong. Now, that's not to say that he doesn't mess up and dive and take a cheap grip sometimes - he's got a long ways to go, but I realize now that what I was thinking was him being a butt-head was him trying to get to the heads of the sheep because I wasn't doing my part - I wasn't keeping him at a good pace/distance; I wasn't moving backwards well enough to let him have a nice, straight, feeling walk-up; I wasn't anticipating in time but rather reacting when it's too late.

I hear Anna telling a friend "He's a piece of cake". I remember JK's comment, "Your dog's biggest problem is you" with regards to Celt. Well, it's the same thing with regards to Dan, but I am feeling much more optimistic.

Poor Dan, he's got to deal with me. But a happier me.
Sue Rayburn - Cleverly disguised as a responsible adult, but not the brightest firefly in the jar.

Celt, Megan, and Dan

"When the chips are down, watch where you step."

"The happiest people don't necessarily have the best of everything. They just make the best of everything." - author unknown

#48 Sue R

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Posted 11 February 2011 - 06:56 PM

Again, Dan is so different from Celt - this is a dog with a great deal of presence, no lack of confidence, and even when he is at a good distance and right, the stock still want to move off him with alacrity. Such a difference, and such an adjustment for me to make.
Sue Rayburn - Cleverly disguised as a responsible adult, but not the brightest firefly in the jar.

Celt, Megan, and Dan

"When the chips are down, watch where you step."

"The happiest people don't necessarily have the best of everything. They just make the best of everything." - author unknown

#49 Sue R

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Posted 11 February 2011 - 08:09 PM

Karma, Anna's young LGD is a gem. She seems so bright and so observant (well, that's her job) that she even appears to be picking up on something that the Border Collies do - she sort of "gathers" her sheep sometimes, like when the sheep are being put up for the night.

Anna got a call, "Lamb out!" from the farm manager, Kathy. So we popped into the truck and around to the other side of the grove where Kathy was waiting and watching. The youngster was by some landscaping, and Karma was right there keeping a close eye on him. Good Karma!

Here she is with "her" little lost lamb -

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And looking very smug and contented once her errant lamb is safely back with it's worried mother -

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Sue Rayburn - Cleverly disguised as a responsible adult, but not the brightest firefly in the jar.

Celt, Megan, and Dan

"When the chips are down, watch where you step."

"The happiest people don't necessarily have the best of everything. They just make the best of everything." - author unknown

#50 Sue R

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Posted 11 February 2011 - 08:09 PM

Later on, Dan's last outing was back to the calves, and he did quite a bit better than this morning, or at least it seemed that way to me. Anna worked him a bit and then let the calves head back to their corner. On the way there, Anna practiced a down whistle with Dan, which he picked up quickly (he's been on a down whistle before). As Anna noted, whistling was a lot easier than yelling!

Here are a couple of shots of Dan with the calves -

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The dog is "dog tired", and ready for dinner and a good night's sleep. I don't know how Anna does it - she makes the Energizer Bunny look like a slacker. A real slacker. And she's got homemade pizza in the oven for our supper. Breakfast was pancakes, eggs, and bacon - with plenty of OJ, oranges picked and squeezed by yours truly.

Life is very good!
Sue Rayburn - Cleverly disguised as a responsible adult, but not the brightest firefly in the jar.

Celt, Megan, and Dan

"When the chips are down, watch where you step."

"The happiest people don't necessarily have the best of everything. They just make the best of everything." - author unknown

#51 emilyfalk

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Posted 11 February 2011 - 08:30 PM

Hi Sue,

Keep up the good work! Thanks for keeping us informed here :) What a great opportunity for you and Dan.
Emily

Rae, Ella, Gabe, Liv, Lena, Rob

#52 ShoresDog

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Posted 11 February 2011 - 09:20 PM

Great postings again, Sue. Hasta manana!

Jan & Daisy & Juno & Star
LJ Shores, San Diego CA

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#53 Lana

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Posted 11 February 2011 - 09:40 PM

Great play by play Sue i felt like i was there!

The Leo dogs are head control freaks so i bet he didnt want to stay when he thought stock was leaving. Sounds like a great ahhh haaaaa moment :)

Love the pics

L

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#54 Sue R

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Posted 11 February 2011 - 10:05 PM

Great play by play Sue i felt like i was there!

The Leo dogs are head control freaks so i bet he didnt want to stay when he thought stock was leaving. Sounds like a great ahhh haaaaa moment :)

Love the pics

L

You have hit the nail right on the head, Lana! Absolutely, and just what Anna has been telling me over and over again.

So it is no surprise that this is something I need to be able to work on. It was a massive ah-ha moment (or would have been if I hadn't been huffing ahd puffing). Once Anna told me about it, I could see how it happened every single time but I wasn't very good at preventing it - I'm so slow!
Sue Rayburn - Cleverly disguised as a responsible adult, but not the brightest firefly in the jar.

Celt, Megan, and Dan

"When the chips are down, watch where you step."

"The happiest people don't necessarily have the best of everything. They just make the best of everything." - author unknown

#55 stockdogranch

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Posted 12 February 2011 - 09:33 AM

Just a quick note before we get out there again today..."head control freaks" is almost an understatement. I've never seen dogs like this (these lines) that are SO worried about controlling those heads. But the other complicating factor is that they also have a TON of power and presence, so that makes the stock want to get away from the dog all the more. So the stock are pretty much always trying to push past the person. It's a challenge, but it should all be worth it in the end...
A
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#56 Lana

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Posted 12 February 2011 - 10:01 AM

Just a quick note before we get out there again today..."head control freaks" is almost an understatement. I've never seen dogs like this (these lines) that are SO worried about controlling those heads. But the other complicating factor is that they also have a TON of power and presence, so that makes the stock want to get away from the dog all the more. So the stock are pretty much always trying to push past the person. It's a challenge, but it should all be worth it in the end...
A

Well put Anna. They are much happier with 500 head than 5, but they can gear down with work. Of course the good news is they never loose their stock and they always know who the lead ewe/cow is....and they don't ever want to quit. Mint really benefited from the 2-3 works a day, and tough stock/long hours. They make you crazy then u think "dang i love that freaking dog" Give Sue and Dan a pat for me :)

Lana Mockler Rowley
 


#57 Cody & Duchess

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Posted 12 February 2011 - 11:02 AM

I love the adventure. Side question - about how much does Karma weight? Thanks

#58 stockdogranch

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Posted 12 February 2011 - 04:37 PM

Just a quick note, as we have company coming here soon for a potluck, to celebrate Sue and Dan being here. Sue and Dan are becoming a TEAM!!! After a pretty really rough morning on the calves (me & Dan) and the whole group of sheep (me & Dan), I sorted a smaller group for Sue, and she and Dan had a super wonderful (and fairly lengthy) session! Dan was staying behind his sheep, Sue's timing was getting really good, and they were working together so nicely! Woohoo!!!!
A
Oh, when Karma got here a month ago, she weighed 75 lbs. at 9 months of age...
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#59 MyTDogs

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Posted 12 February 2011 - 04:44 PM

That is great! It is awesome when you actually see progress. The pix & scenery are beautiful too. What kind of sheep are the GIANTS?
Cindy in FL
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#60 Sue R

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Posted 12 February 2011 - 11:08 PM

Day Five done! First, the scenic of the calf pasture -

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Anna had, shall we say, a very challenging time with Dan on the calves. He appeared to have left his brain at the house, but I got one shot that showed a rare moment of sensible work -

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He lost his privilege of working calves and was "demoted" to working the whole sheep flock, lambs included. He was not much better but, although he was diving, blowing off his downs, and doing some overflanking, he did not try to abuse the sheep or lambs. Good working photos were not easy to come by but here are a couple -

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Sue Rayburn - Cleverly disguised as a responsible adult, but not the brightest firefly in the jar.

Celt, Megan, and Dan

"When the chips are down, watch where you step."

"The happiest people don't necessarily have the best of everything. They just make the best of everything." - author unknown



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