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herding err working livestock part 2

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I really hope this post doesn't take the same turn as the last one. This isn't about what clubs my kids are part of. I just thought it would be fun to share my experience so far.

 

This time we went herding it went more how I was originally expecting.

 

I did kind of think the instructor was more the type of person Cressa does better with but will see how we progress.

 

This time I had both of my furkids and my sister brought her furkids also. So a total of 6 border collies ranging in age from 7 years old to 4months old. My two border collies are 7 years old and 4 years old.

 

Cressa was first in again. She showed WAY more interest but still wasn't connecting with the stock and you could tell the stock kind of made her nervous but we were able to do a little of balancing(sorry if my terms are wrong). She would try to circle us but she was willing to move back to the balancing points where we wanted her. Was told there is potential but we have a LONG way to go to make her useful(i believe that is the term he used). :) and we need more exposure to live stock to help increase her confidence. When we were moving she would stay more focus but if we were staying still she would loose her focus.

 

My sister boy 4 year old was next. I didn't see much since I was holding 3 dogs but I guess he got kicked or bumped and lost all interests. He had started off nice though and showed some interest at the beginning.

 

Then it was my sister pup "turn" she got to go in and watch his dog work. She totally was interested but a little unsure.

 

Next was Troy. Was hoping maybe he would remember sheep from the last time but it was not to be. :( he had no interest. If the livestock ran he would give chase but once the dust settle he had lost interest.

 

After Troy it was my sister oldest turn. Lol he was a little loud and a little scared of the sheep. I didn't see the first part since I was putting some of the dogs away. He totally had Troy interested in what was happening. I did get about 1-2min worth of video. The instrutor and my sister knew he was nervous but couldn't tell if he was interested in the live stock or not. He would leave the stock to for example to drink...

 

after my sister oldest then it was her young'un. He had no interest at all. If anything him and the sheep had an understanding from the get go. You leave me alone and I will leave you alone.

 

Cressa got a second turn. Figure why not since she was really keen on going back in. Whenever the gate would open cress would try to slip in. :) this time she was a little more focus and we worked on balancing the stock. I got a couple of tips on how to get her to get back to her spot. She would try to circle us. She did much better and even at one point at my insistence went between the fence and the livestock. Mainly since I hadn't watch where I was going and led the sheep to close to the fence and was trying to get them away from it. But I was happy that when we stop Cress actually kept engaged to the sheep!!! At one point the sheep had wander away from us when we were talking and Cressa kept with them. :) she wasn't total sure what she was suppose to do but she kept with them. She wasn't chasing them. Actually got her second time on video. Will share when I get it uploaded.

 

 

The instructors biggest suggestion was keep exposing them. Cressa biggest issue was lack of confidence. And maybe if j do more with Cressa and leave Troy watching. Troy will get more into it. :) at least that is what I am hoping for. Have contacted I hope someone next door to me to see if I can use her sheep. She is dog friendly!

 

ETA: I am typing this from my phone so sorry about the wording and lacking of letters. Might fix it tomorrow on my laptop.

 

Ok hope that make more sense!

 

Also I didn't realize hope much backwards walking you did. LOL And I think I kept getting in the way. But overall a learning experience.

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I agree with your trainer that more exposure will help. Troy's seeming lack of interest when the stock aren't moving could simply be a lack of eye--IME dogs with more eye will get sucked in more easily and dogs with little or no eye don't stay as focused if there's no movement to attract them.

 

If I were you, I'd ask the trainer to work them the next few times. Because you are so new to this, you don't have any tools in your own toolbox to help your dogs get started. As a result you may actually be more of a distraction to your dogs than a help. I usually will take newbie dogs and get them circling, balancing, and doing little fetches to me beofre I let their newbie handlers try it with them. That way, the dog gets to understand what feels right when working right and the handler can see what it should look like when things are going the way they should.

 

As for your sister's dogs, the same advice holds: No interest really doesn't mean anything if it's just the first (couple of) exposure(s).

 

J.

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Let the instructor work them:

Troy I would be tempted to do that but I don't think I could even be there. He is super focus on me. I know in agility again if you aren't invested in him 100% he won't run for you. My sister says it better "Troy doesn't accept less then 100% devotion. If you don't give him100% he doesn't want anything to do with you."

 

Cressa... with this person she *might * work for but it would be a slow process. You have to have a relationship with her to work her. Once she is more keen she would probably work for others but I don't think she would right now. ETA... Cressa mom was a one person dog also.

 

ETA... maybe I misinterpreted but I am pretty sure my homework is to get 1. My border collies more keen on sheep, 2. To make sure they KNOW the basic of herding aka balancing.

Then I go back and get new homework once we have proven we have accomplished the first two goals.

 

Btw... if Troy is loose eye how do i get him to work the livestock? Or interest in them?

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I'd be willing to bet that if you took yourself out of sight both dogs would work for a trainer, if they have any interest in working at all. It's not like agility or obedience where the desire to work with the human has paramount importance. With stock, their genes tell them they must work the stock. And more often than not, if the only way to get to the stock is with *someone else* then that's okay by them. Try it. Take yourself out of sight. Let the trainer try to work the dogs. (Caveat: Only if you trust that the trainer knows what she's doing.)

 

If Troy is super focused on YOU then that's part of his problem. If he is focused on you to exclusion focusing on the stock, then your presence, at least at the start, could very well cause him to appear disinterested. FWIW, you keep the stock moving so that he stays interested in them. In time, you would use fewer animals, because fewer animals will "force" the dog to focus more on individuals. But I can't see Troy and am going just by your description. It's entirely possible that eye isn't the issue, especially now that you say he is so totally focused on you. It's just as likely that he can't break his focus on you to pay attention to the stock unless they're doing something that he simply can't ignore.

 

Lots of dogs are one-person dogs in many things, and yet when their instinct kicks in on stock they manage to become the dog for whomever will take them to stock. You as a completely green handler are not going to be able to make anything but slow progress with your dogs either. A skilled trainer could probably move things along more quickly once either dog realized that the other person meant access to working stock.

 

Here's a story for you. My main work dog and best trial dog didn't particularly want to work for anyone but me. I had to go out of town for work and left her and a couple of other dogs with a sheep-owning friend. When I checked in with that friend, she told me Twist seemed depressed. I told my friend to take her out and work her. She did. Although Twist preferred not to work for other people, if doing so meant she could work, then she'd lower her standards. ;) My friend taking her out and working her while I was out of town made all the difference and Twist was no longer mopey with her while I was gone.

 

But I'm not here to argue with you, just giving my opinion. If you are determined to do it yourself, you're going to have to figure out a way to change your dogs' focus from you to the stock. And it might help you to watch some videos of people starting young dogs on stock so you can see what you should be doing to help your dogs get it right. You should also get in the pen yourself and just move sheep around so you can gain an idea of what is needed to move stock. It will also teach you to read stock. The best trainers are those who know and understand stock and can use the stock's natural behavioral inclinations to help train the dog.

 

J.

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I was actually thinking about putting a thunder shirt on Troy and seeing if that helps. And possible finding Cress thunder shirt also. That way if they are stressing it should help them.

 

Troy has two reactions... either he is is totally focus on me or he can't focus and is everywhere. Normally when he is super excited or intense he is uber focus on me and when he stress he is everywhere but near me.

 

Am trying to get a hold of my friend with sheep but now I am torn to see if the instructor would try my kids again without me there. I wasnt planning on going back till we had more drive for the sheep and idea for the job at hand.

 

ETA: if I came across argumentation I didn't mean too!

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Hi,

 

I have to say that Julie has given you *spot on* (at least via the internt without having seen your dogs on stock) advice.

 

And, I don't think she meant that you should drop your dogs off at the trainers and leave them there when she was suggesting you remove yourself from their vision. Just go behind a building or go for a walk.

 

My Daisy, will not work for my trainer if I am standing right outside the field. If I walk away or go work another dog in a different field she works beautifully for my trainer. She'll work for me, too, but she won't work for others while I am in sight.

 

Also, does your trainer have a trained dog that you can work? Getting the feel for what your dog should feel like is eye opening.

 

Good luck!

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Missy was also a one person dog, except with stockwork. The presence of sheep and good trainer overrode her trepidation of working with another person. Also a good trainer knows how to act/move/react to bring out the best in a dog.

 

another thought - with agility you've taught your dogs have been taught to focus, focus, focus on you. Now you're asking them to switch gears in a major way. That training could be overriding some instinct with you in there with them. With you out of sight, they may be less conflicted about focus training vs. instinct.

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Let the instructor work them:

Troy I would be tempted to do that but I don't think I could even be there. He is super focus on me. I know in agility again if you aren't invested in him 100% he won't run for you. My sister says it better "Troy doesn't accept less then 100% devotion. If you don't give him100% he doesn't want anything to do with you."

 

Cressa... with this person she *might * work for but it would be a slow process. You have to have a relationship with her to work her. Once she is more keen she would probably work for others but I don't think she would right now. ETA... Cressa mom was a one person dog also.

 

ETA... maybe I misinterpreted but I am pretty sure my homework is to get 1. My border collies more keen on sheep, 2. To make sure they KNOW the basic of herding aka balancing.

Then I go back and get new homework once we have proven we have accomplished the first two goals.

 

Btw... if Troy is loose eye how do i get him to work the livestock? Or interest in them?

 

 

 

 

 

I would suggest you take Julie's advice in her first answer to your question. Also I found with my pup that she worried about where I was , so we tried me standing next to trainer and also me completely off the premise. Both worked well at different stages of her "hooking up" with sheep. Once hooked it did/does not matter where I am. She works for either of us just fine.

 

Hooking up can be a process so be felxible in your thinking. Timing is, as Julie said, is important , so you may be an obstacle right now, more than a help. Things change daily as you take the dog to stock more, so you must be ready to change your approach.

 

Good luck with your dog (s).

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Sorry thought it would upload... have to wait for it to get uploaded on youtube. :(

 

Thanks for the reassurance. I did email him again and will see what he says back. :) I was just basing my replies off my experience in agility. While Cress will run for anyone she always has to know where I am at or I can NOT be in the picture at all AKA not in the building/ on the site cause if she knows I am there she will look for me. <3 My little girl!

 

I think it will be a bit still till I can go back since he squeeze me into his busy Oct schedule. So Should I NOT bring them to stock while waiting to work livestock with a trainer?

or Should I look for another trainer in between seeing him?

 

Hope this is ok to discuss here?

 

I was watching some of the training videos posted in the video area and Cressa all of a sudden perked up and started to stare at my phone and continue to watch my phone till the video was over. ;) Maybe next time I will let her watch and be like this is what we are working towards.

 

Will attached the videos when they load...

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Not sure if the videos should be posted seperate or not but this was my sister oldest boy... you might want to turn down the sound. The whiner was her young'un. :)

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Could it be those sheep are a bit too dogged? They are so static and clinging to the persons I can imagine an inexperienced dog not having any idea what to do in this situation.

I think I would try to get those sheep moving a bit to raise the dog´s interest to do something.

Disclaimer, I am relatively new to this myself, and i am used to very light flighty Icelanders, quite the opposite from the behavior of those sheep in your vid.

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I agree that the sheep were just static, but I don't understand why the trainer wasn't doing something to move the sheep around to get the dog's interest. You had two people and a bunch of sheep just standing in the center of the round pen while the dog sniffed along the perimeter. Why wasn't one of the humans moving the sheep around to encourage the dog to come in and work? And when the dog did start to circle the sheep, why wasn't the trainer doing something to help him get it right?

 

I don't want sheep that will run for the hills when I bring an inexperienced dog in, and sheep that will move toward the handler are good, but I just couldn't figure out why the trainer wasn't doing more to, forgive the expression, make the right easy and the wrong difficult.

 

Stockdog training is a moving, flowing process. The dog won't learn anything if the sheep and humans stand still in the middle of an arena.

 

Stella, compare your video to the videos in the training section. Notice that the people doing the training are generally moving, encouraging the dog to move and go around the sheep, and helping the dog to figure out how to move the sheep. The dog was barking and snapping at the sheep because he had no idea how to get them to move and no one was helping him. Just my two cents.

 

J.

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The sis video was just a brief glimps at what he was doing I did miss the 1st half of what we was doing...

 

and to the rest of the questions... IDK. 0.o He seem to know what he is doing and his dogs are pretty good. So I did what he told me too.

 

Here is Cressa session... its waay longer and my sister was filming so part of it was wobbly.

 

 

 

please be nice we are still newbies!

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That second video looks much better. The trainer was letting you, the sheep and the dog MOVE. The one thing I would change, if it were me, would be to stop walking backwards! Turn and walk forwards, leading your sheep and let Cressa follow and bring them. She's not running through the sheep or doing one thing bad. I particularly like that, by the 3 minute mark, her tail is starting to drop from the play-flag position it started in. :)

 

Also, when she starts to circle the sheep and come towards you, I would not stop and go try to shush her back. I would about face and walk through the sheep away from her, so that she'll have to gather the sheep to come after me. She's got a nice, soft touch, no bad intentions at all. And stay away from the fence - with heavy sheep like these, that's a pressure point and she'll find it hard to get the sheep away from it.

 

The thing to remember is, the move you move, the more she'll move, and if you stay in front of the sheep and keep walking, she'll get more amped up about bringing them to/with you. :) Watch how the trainer moves at the 6 minute mark, when he comes to help get the sheep off the fence for you. He is in front of the sheep. You are tagging along at the sheep's butts, trying to shush your dog around. ;) But no, you need to be where he is, *ahead* of the sheep, moving.

 

In other words, don't focus so hard on your dog. If she's feeling a little stress, your attention so heavily on her is also stress. Focus on moving the sheep, like this trainer does, and move yourself so that she can more easily move the sheep.

 

Stay at the sheep's heads, don't get sucked back through them towards your dog, because that puts you and the dog are on the same side of the sheep, and that's not how it works. Does that make sense? :)

 

Best of luck! Cressa looks like a nice little dog to start sheepdogging with.

 

~ Gloria

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Yes it makes sense. I kept getting left behind on the walk around.

 

And yup I think that is what Ron was trying to get me to do sort of. Well to stick close to the sheep and change directions when she tried to circle or not let her get access to the sheep when she isn't where she should be.

 

Thanks for the ideas and thanks for the complement.

 

I know with Troy we were moving the sheep around and trying to entice him to discover the sheep but T-boy just wasn't interested unless the wheels were running. I haven't given up on Troy just... Idk...waiting/hoping ?!

 

 

I didn't really get to watch my sisters dog but I would haze to guess they did move the sheep around..

. But like I had already mention I didn't see most of their tries. And the video of her dog was toward the end of their lesson/tries.

 

My DROID isn't to happy spelling sheep so if you see wheels in a odd spot just substitute sheep for wheel. And the sentence would probably make more sense.

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My DROID isn't to happy spelling sheep so if you see wheels in a odd spot just substitute sheep for wheel. And the sentence would probably make more sense.

:P:D:P

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Ron Madison is a great guy and a nice quiet handler with some very good dogs. I am sure if you continue with him, you'll get good mentoring. I only looked at the first minute or so of the second video, and agree that it may be help to put a few faster sheep in the pen (or mix one or two faster sheep in with the others), but I trust that Ron is making a good judgement based on what he sees in the dogs.

 

 

I wasnt planning on going back till we had more drive for the sheep and idea for the job at hand.

 

So Should I NOT bring them to stock while waiting to work livestock with a trainer?

 

I don't understand what you mean in the above quotes. Regarding your first comment: How would the dog have more drive for the sheep and idea for the job at hand if you don't go back? Regarding your question: What do you mean as far as bringing "them to stock while waiting to work livestock with a trainer?" Are you asking whether or not they should watch someone else's dogs work while waiting for your turn? Or are you talking about bringing them somewhere to watch stock even if you don't have lesson that day?

 

Thanks,

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Megan,

Stella has a friend with sheep. She was referring to going to that friend's place and working her dogs--that is, going and seeing if she can get them a bit keener to work before going back to the trainer.

 

J.

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Sigh. I keep reading your posts, and I truly hope things work out for you. Actually, just to share, you are lucky that your dogs NEED confidence building. Really lucky. I tried herding one summer, back when Mer was about a year and a half. We actually lived on 2 sheep farms when I was in vet school; I did chores, and didn't pay rent :-)

 

Anyways, I am still a dyed-in-the-wool agility addict, and will probably never go back to herding. Mer was all raw power and instinct...but it was way too much for a novice handler. She balanced almost automatically, she fetched, never got to driving, but her favorite thing was to pen. But the problem was that she is a very, very hard dog, who ignores corrections and even come-to-Jesus meetings. The only way I could get her to come off the stock was to reel her in on a line (which I didn't want to do too much, with her ortho issues) or have her pen them before calling her off. She had so much eye that the sheep would all flock together as soon as she walked into the round pen. So we will stick to agility, and leave the herding to the pros, and the folks with softer dogs :-) Some days though, I kind of wish we had been able to keep with it.

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Megan,

Stella has a friend with sheep. She was referring to going to that friend's place and working her dogs--that is, going and seeing if she can get them a bit keener to work before going back to the trainer.

 

J.

 

Thanks, I missed that bit of info!

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Mer was all raw power and instinct...but it was way too much for a novice handler. She balanced almost automatically, she fetched, never got to driving, but her favorite thing was to pen. But the problem was that she is a very, very hard dog, who ignores corrections and even come-to-Jesus meetings. The only way I could get her to come off the stock was to reel her in on a line (which I didn't want to do too much, with her ortho issues) or have her pen them before calling her off. She had so much eye that the sheep would all flock together as soon as she walked into the round pen. So we will stick to agility, and leave the herding to the pros, and the folks with softer dogs :-) Some days though, I kind of wish we had been able to keep with it.

 

I wonder if you had had a different trainer if things might have gone vastly different for you.

 

I've got a gung ho dog. With tons of presence - the sheep would flock with him 40 ft away from the round pen. He is not easy to work and keeps me on my toes. In one light it would be easy (and seemingly accurate) to describe him as hard and unfazed by corrections. But in reality he's a lot more sensitive/receptive than one would think by just looking at him.

 

I couldn't correct him out of a situation because it would add way too much pressure he'd just get more wound up. But by setting things up so he could get the feel of what was right he began to make right choices. It's kind of amazing to see my dog that once busted into the sheep now actively try to avoid that sort of situation.

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I wonder if you had had a different trainer if things might have gone vastly different for you.

 

I've got a gung ho dog. With tons of presence - the sheep would flock with him 40 ft away from the round pen. He is not easy to work and keeps me on my toes. In one light it would be easy (and seemingly accurate) to describe him as hard and unfazed by corrections. But in reality he's a lot more sensitive/receptive than one would think by just looking at him.

 

I couldn't correct him out of a situation because it would add way too much pressure he'd just get more wound up. But by setting things up so he could get the feel of what was right he began to make right choices. It's kind of amazing to see my dog that once busted into the sheep now actively try to avoid that sort of situation.

 

Aren't you out here on the east coast somewhere? Who did you go to? Not to hijack this thread, but you are--I think--completely right. Our trainer was alright for folks with soft dogs. But they didn't know how to set me up for success with a dog that wouldn't listen if you corrected it, and might just get anxious and bust the sheep (no gripping, but she'd start getting a little wound up). Actually the only time Mer ever gripped was when the big ram got feisty and knocked me on my bum...she ran right up and bit him on the nose, this itty bitty 30 lb BC :-)

 

Unfortunately, here in SE PA I never could find anyone, by reputation, that seemed like a good fit for us. There was one lady in Oxford that I heard about recently, was toying with contacting her. It's alright, I love agility and so does Mer. But she was such a stylish little dog, that I always wished she could have been trained, not to compete like with agility, but enough to move sheep around a farm.

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Brought my furkids to sheep again. This time with a local person.

 

It is kind of cool seeing the transitions. Monday she had a quick lesson in agility and that is definitely her "JOB". But when you bring her to sheep she... Idk how to describe the difference. Its kind of like herding is a compulsions she can't help but do although its not her work yet.

 

The sheep were st croix. They were definitely more pressure sensitive. But Cressa seem to be getting more confident. She even would self correct when she would get the urge to circle us she would stop and fall behind. At first cress didn't like pressure spots but by the end of our quick lesson Cress actually went next to the fence to keep the sheep moving. :) we ended there to1. keep it positive. 2. She was done.

3. I had to get to my job

 

Troy... Idk. He LOVED to chase them. Kathy think Troy mainly suffers from low confidence as in he doesn't want to be wrong so doesn't try. When we would stop Troy from the chase he would pick the spot that would be balance...? As in he would lay down at 10oclock and keep an eye on his sheep and make sure they weren't moving while keeping an eye on me.

 

There was one sheep that kept challenging the dogs. I never seen Cress give another animal such a stink eye before. It did worry her but she did keep it moving with the group.

 

When the same sheep challenge Troy. Troy turn his attention to chase and nip at that sheep.

 

This time I did let kathy do most of the work since she knew her sheep better then me and the pen wass small. I felt like I kept getting in the way so I stayed on the sideline although Cress wouldn't take any of the high pressure areas unless I was with Kathy.

 

It is kind of hard for me to let Troy do what he does with sheep. Since its none of the behavior I like to see EVER. >.< I am always trying to get Troy to think and be calm. So when everyone is like (except Ron) let him chase to increase his interest I keep cringing and hope everyone knows best.

 

Our lesson was only 30min. Troy came in when Cressa needed a break. And when Cressa was ready again we took Troy out.

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It is kind of hard for me to let Troy do what he does with sheep. Since its none of the behavior I like to see EVER. >.< I am always trying to get Troy to think and be calm. So when everyone is like (except Ron) let him chase to increase his interest I keep cringing and hope everyone knows best.

Maybe you misinterpreted what people are saying? I wouldn't let any dog just randomly chase stock. That's completely unproductive, not to mention unfair to the stock, which is I think why you're leery of doing it (good instinct on your part). That said, if the sheep are moving and Troy is moving, then an experienced trainer should be able to insert him/herself into the picture and get some actual work going, while keeping things moving to keep Troy's interest. But all of that would NOT include continued chasing of the stock.

 

I'm glad you're getting to see what genetics means to the working dog. Cressa's compulsion to work is there because it's in her genes. And it's very cool to see the genetics at work....

 

 

J.

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SS Cressa wrote:

But when you bring her to sheep she... Idk how to describe the difference. Its kind of like herding is a compulsions she can't help but do although its not her work yet.

 

Maybe that is because it is not a job...but a lifestyle! Very cool!

 

Nothing like watching these dogs follow their instincts. My girl enjoys playing agility. We did it for a short while. It was great fun. But it was very clear where her heart was when the very first agility trial I took her to, was held the same place we have a small indoor trial during the hot TX summer days. She could not take her eyes off the place where we had worked the turnout pens before! :unsure: Could not understand why there were no sheep! :blink: She smack dab ran over almost every obstacle since she kept craning her neck around to look back to that area! <_<:lol:

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