This weekend I worked Jai on Steady. Moving slow-slower-slowest down the field and across with sheep not running, but sort of sauntering… to and fro. We made obstacles! When we didn't, it was so much more relaxed for everyone.
We started out on Saturday working on me being an absolute Harpy and a nag, with two commands and host of whistles that all meant, basically, "WHY ARE YOU DOING THIS TO ME?!"
I think our BIG break-through came because Kelsey video'd us and I played it back Saturday night. WHO was this screeching harbanger of disappointment?
"JAI!?! J! AI!…?"
There I stood, late on my commands/whistles, letting Jai go at her hurried little pace, TRYING TRYING TRYING…me attempting to work the dog, the sheep, the course like a 70's pin ball machine…. JAI TRYING TRYING TRYING and then back to me full of admonishment and surprise when she couldn't flank our way to Panel Greatness.
"You have to slow your dog down."
"You have to stop your dog."
"I like to pay attention to the comfort of the livestock…"
I wonder how many ways P*trick and DD have told me to SLOW MY FUCKING DOG DOWN IF I WANT TO ACTUALLY RUN THE COURSE and not just THE SHEEP? I wonder what their conversations are like,
DD: "Well, I told her she needs to back her dog off the stock! To lie her down…to take her time and go slowly…I even SPEAK SLOWLY TO HER when I'm telling her these things so maybe that will help…."
P*trick: "Maybe words mean something else in her culture…like 'I'm Hungry!' or 'Nice Pants!'…was she humming? I don't think language cues are working…Try showing her with puppets!'
P*trick: "I don't know what else to do. I think we might have to stop giving her real sheep to work on…something out there should be enjoying itself. Maybe toys for the dog! Or..scatter treats in a TRIAL COURSE-LIKE PATTERN…"
DD: "Could we just use straw bales? Covered with old blankets? Interspersed with some of those YOGA BALLS, so there is SOME movement!! She probably won't notice. I think her dog could be trained to push one of those around a course…while it leaks treats every so often…we'll call it the NoMo' class. New!…give her a sandwich to eat at the post and a ribbon for after…."
But no. Not so fast! DO NOT UNBLANKET YOUR WINDOWS on MY ACCOUNT, MS. DEAL: We, Jai and I, have worked for MOMENTS at a TIME now, more than one day in a ROW, almost…on steady. We are planning on EMPLOYING this next weekend for the El Presidente Trial. We don't want to be in NOVICE class for another trial. We don't want to be in No Mo' Class, either….although I am NOT opposed to a sandwich at the post.