We struggle with ambiguity. That's the royal 'we'…. I think Jai just wants things to be quieter. 

It seems that even though I KNOW different things change any given situation with dogs and sheep and handler and there are no hard and fast instructions that work in every situation. ( I know this because Dianne has told me, I've heard P*trick say it, I've read it, I've discussed it drunk and sober with people who care and people who don't….and now I will RHYME IT FOR YOU to prove that I know it:

Different dog, Different Sheep

Flat terrain or very steep

Hot day, cold day, windy day, fair

wool sheep, range ewes, those turds with hair

Bad mood, happiness, stoic, in a snit

there is no recipe; from great to it goes striaght to shit)

(I didn't say it was a GOOD RHYME).

Anyway.  It seems like we get guidelines.  We need to work with guidelines.  We can do this.  Sometimes, though, we wonder why it's okay for our dog to NOT take a flank because she was RIGHT and ….sometimes…though it turned out okay, it's NOT alright because she didn't take her FLANK.  I know that getting THIS and learning to WORK WITH THIS and RESPOND CORRECTLY TO THIS… is all experience. It's about give and take.  Partnership.  I understand this, but don't feel like I'm competent enough to judge it.  I do love partnership. If anything, I tend to want to give my dogs MORE control.

When my children were small…really small….still in diapers, maybe, even, my mother used to get on me about my way of dealing with them,

"WHY do you ARGUE with [her/him]?" she'd ask. "Why are you holding a DEBATE with someone who can't form a SENTENCE?"

"Cienna," I'd say, "I don't know about having another juice box.  You're pissing yourself.  Really.  There is a cousin on your father's side who pissed herself through her teens, right up into adulthood, and eventually married someone who cleans the traps at fish hatcheries.  FOR FREE!! Though I can't remember apple juice being involved, what I'm seeing regularly in your pants is really reminiscent.  I want more for you."

"I want JUICE!! "

"Yes, I see that…and hydration is important…and this is organic apple juice, so there is a part of me that thinks it's okay….but….frankly, this is your third in a small space of time…and here's something I didn't tell you before. That cousin: I think her name wash Rowshell, yeah…spelled weird…and I don't think she was the ONLY ONE PISSING HER PARTICULAR PANTS."


"Hmmmm… yes. No, I think not this time. Try me again in an hour when you haven't pissed yourself. I'll put you in a little dress. We'll both feel better!"

I have matured and this dog business is teaching me to be MORE of a leader than motherhood did…but, still, I tend to negotiate with my dogs.

When I ask Jai to go Come by, but she seems to prefer an away….or straight up the middle….I don't know…perhaps I should cuss? Ask her again? I will ASK HER AGAIN, then throw in some foul language for emphasis,


But if she persists, I start wondering,

"Hmmm…I wonder what she sees or feels that I do not?"


Which seems really decisive, but not very democratic.  Still, she is the one winning these things.