Today we worked on refining what we learned yesterday.
Pat worked well for me. He was pretty consistent in taking 'lie down'…often right away, but with a correction for sure. Our biggest issue is still timing. Don feels that it is not my timing as much as the lag between my direction to Pat and his taking it. He thinks it will improve for both of us with practice and time together. One thing is certain: Pat works best with a good hump under his pelt, so to speak.
Right before our first time out this morning, Pat sidled up to a young woman and did his lean-into-body-gaze-with-soulful-eyes routine. She fell for it, of course; we all do. And as soon as she reached out, began petting him, telling him what a good and handsome boy he is…Pat latched on and rode her leg for at least 8 seconds.
Then I called him off and we walked with Don out onto the field. The outrun was nice, we made the panels and penned.
Our second time out highlighted the issue with timing. Don had me send Pat on an outrun and bring the sheep around me and then drive off toward the panels. Don reminded me to use the draw to straighten the
drive/fetch. Lie the dog down and let the sheep correct themselves into the draw. The outrun, lift and fetch was great. We did okay getting the sheep around me, but it was clumsy. Pat seemed to fall apart consistently on the away side. I don't know if that is usual for him, or whether it was all about this field and the location of the draw, his response to pressure; but he would cut in and loose his head and then I'd lose mine and yell the wrong command which he'd take. Then we'd lose the sheep. Then I would utter extremely foul language not endorsed by the USBCHA, Don would fumble to turn the mic off on the radio, not in time, women would faint and I,finally, collapsed in tears, and a deep furrow; I cried like a baby, in a heap of my own leavings… and eventually, inevitably, I turned to drugs and prostitution. During rehab I claimed to prefer goats or animals that climb things and don't stick together. I'm more of a cat person. Or dogs that wear jackets.
Not really. This paragraph was starting to bore even me. I'm tired. Does this suck? I'll fix it tomorrow.
So, basically, I have a lot to work on with Pat. Still, we did get our second pen. I have to say, though: It was luck. Really. It wasn't about me or Pat. It was just a little about me and Pat. Mostly, blind dithering luck.
One other thing I learned from this experience:
I love setout. I know most people focus on trialing, and I'd like to trial, no doubt. I could be happy shooting for being a decent setout person, though. I like the task. Pat did a great job. I think the simple, close work made our efforts on the field together much better as well.