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TRIALING AND TRAINING
DOG FIRST AID
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SHEEPDOG HERDING LESSONS
The anticipated clinic is now over, and we all had a great time. Unlike the previous two years, with two years being blazing hot in the mid to upper 90s, and last year freezing to death wrapped in blankets, this year was perfect weather for dogs, sheep and humans alike. While it was chilly in the mornings, by late days were turning out to be nice. So nice that some of the dogs, right after working their sheep, didn't even want to go to water. There were a few sun burned faces, but over-all, the weather cooperated with the clinic.
Shelley and Randy Parker hosted the Jack Knox clinic on their ranch, entitled Rim Rock Ranch. I come to the clinic every year, and every year, they do a great job at hosting it. The ranch was spotless, treats and coffee were great, and none of the dogs got in any fights.
The sheep we used were the best home flock sheep that I have seen. Just kidding! They were mine, as Shelley and Randy borrowed them the week before the clinic's start date. Betty, one of my "foundation" sheep got a cut on her hip. I was going to just leave it alone, but Randy thought that we should staple it back together and he said that it would heal better and faster if we did that. She got stapled and by Sunday, the wound looked just fine. It was fairly hard to see the wound, as there was no redness or swelling at all. Randy put her on Penicillin jell and is treating the wound daily.
Shelley had asked to borrow the sheep several weeks prior to the clinic, which I was happy to obolige. She wanted the dog broke ones that I have, as we were expecting several young dogs entered in the clinic that would need to be in the round pen.
Here at home, after sending sheep to Shelley's, I was a little thin on sheep. The only ones that I had left were a couple of ewes that I don't really work and the "dog broke one's" lambs. Lambs!
Lambs that have never been worked are crazy! They don't have a leader, and they panic extremely easily, and run and crash into everything in sight. They react and don't think. Fortunately, I had one lamb left here from last year. She, not being totally dog broke yet, was not so keen on being the leader, when we were out working the sheep. But after several days, she settled in, calmed down, and so did the young lambs (somewhat).
Most of us at the clinic learned a lot. Jack's training method is counter to human instinct, so we need reinforcement. For example, if we walk into our dogs to push them out, it can lead to them being tight, just what we wanted to correct. And us humans always want to make the right. Jack's philosophy is to correct the wrongs and leave the rights alone. That is what we handler's need reinforcement on, only correcting the wrongs and not making the rights.
Shelley had asked me to bring the "store" and set it up. Initially, I wasn't planning on going to all of that trouble of packing all of the stock, and setting up at Shelley's ranch. But I think vendors at events such as these, can really help the event. If a certain tool is needed for training the dog while at the event, they can purchase one. If a handler forgets to pack a certain dog product for their dog, it is available.
One critical tool, that most dog handlers should have, and sold like crazy at this event, is dog id tags. We don't carry regular hanging dog tags for dogs, but we do carry collartags. These particular tags attach around the collar. They don't dangle, so they don't wear. They are guaranteed not to fall off and last for the life of the dog that they were initially purchased for. Any kind of information can be engraved on them, from the dog's microchip number, the numbers of his registration. Some customer's have put their county or city license number on the tags. Then they do away with the government issued ones. The usual information can also be put on the tags such as dog's name, address and phone number. I don't think that many sheepdog people know about these collartags, but hopefully they will see them on a dog here or there and see the advantage they have over the hanging ones.
The girls and I had a great time at the Jack Knox clinic, and now are looking forward to next year's clinic.
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