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TRIALING AND TRAINING
DOG FIRST AID
MADE IN THE USA
SHEEPDOG HERDING LESSONS
This afternoon, we took a trip to the vet's. Chris was starting to swell under her chin. I even started calling her bottle head, like a sheep gets when they are carrying a large parasite load. I checked her over, and found that under the right side of her tongue, the side where the swelling was prominate, looked red and irritated. Her breath was also pretty bad, not like her normal sweet breath. And especially bad when her tongue was lifted.
To be able to get her seen right away, I had to drop her off at the hospital. That way the vet, between appointments, was able to examine her, then treat her, thus helping her quicker with out having an official appointment. Fortunately the vet was very good at calling me, as I shopped at Home Depot, running errands while waiting for Chris' treatment.
He suggested one method of just giving her anitbotics and steriods and see if it comes back, or takes care of the swelling. Another more throrough suggestion was to probe a small hole that he found in that area under her tongue, on the bottom of the inside of her mouth. That would require a light sedation, as she could not tolerate much more than she already had during the exam.
I felt that the second suggestion was probably the way to go, and the vet agreed.
Just about 15 minutes later the vet called me again. He had found a foxtail in that hole in the bottom of her mouth. Yeah! Now I really felt good about the decision on the probe. She was ready to go and for pick up! The sedation that she was given has a reverse shot, so dogs will wake up quickly.
When I came into the office to pick up Chris, I could tell that she was still groggy. Walking her to the pick up, I opened the door for her to jump in, she just stood there. I totally understood, and picked her up and put her inside myself. She slept all of the way home, and is now sleeping beside me on the couch. I expect her to be back to normal by morning, after sleeping it all off.
Chris' herding is going well. One hic-up though, she is not feeling her sheep as she should be. With that said, and after discussing it with my mentor Jack Knox, and my trainer Shelley Parker, I have been too hard on her. She is just slower than Tam or Kate, and different. They both seemed to think that I should not be trying to force these dogs into my molds, but need to wait for the dog to grow up and tell me what she needs.
Too much pressure on my part has caused her to just do. That is not what I want in a herding dog,. i don't want a robot. I want her to feel their sheep and react accordingly. She is just doing what I ask. So now what I am doing is backing off. Jack thinks that she is more of a herding dog than I think she is, as he can see something that I am not skilled enough to see.
So I am back to basically "playing" with her on sheep. Bringing back her zeal for the sheep. Hard for me to do, but I am determined to succeed. I think this dog will be teaching me much more than Bonnie, Kate or Tam ever did. More feathers for my cap!
She is done with Nursery, and I do tell myself and others, "I don't want a good Nursery dog, I am after a good Open dog". Nursery is so fleeting, and for Chris it was just one year, and being so late to mature, there was not really enough time in her training to get her where she needs to be to trial her.
I might enter her in ProNovice at the LaCamas Sheepdog Trial up in Washington in August. The field is good for her level of training, and I should not be so anxious "trying to get her qualified" for anything as PN does not count for anything. That's good for her, and me...
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