Laura asks:

1. What is one lesson you've learned this week?

On Saturday I worked Jai at P*tricks.  The sheep we were working were so new that they still had that new ewe smell (Not really. I never got close enough, but they did not have that world weary attitude that says The Ram Got to Go To The Onions And All I Got Was This Lousy T-Post).

P*trick said these new fresh sheep would be especially prone to flight and that the draw would be very hard to the away side.  He suggested it would be best if we kept our dogs from overflanking and attempting to control the sheep with their physical pressure, which the sheep would continue to fight, and instead we should make them use their eye which the sheep would respect.  We should do this by keeping the dogs more at 10:30 – 11:00, instead of 9. 

I want to just pause here for a moment and say that this analogy will not continue to be relevant in the age of digital clocks.  But for now, seemingly, I understood. I certainly nodded.  

Then I sent Jai, who did a nice outrun, decent lift…then floated erratically between 9 and 2…as if she were a long government lunch.  I kept trying to decide where 10:30 was with a moving clock.  I wished we could use a kitchen timer instead that would make a sound on either side.

I tend to get hung up on technicalities like this.  I wasn't really watching my dog, and certainly not the livestock…I was just sort of sucked into that clock metaphor.

"You need to correct her every time she turns away from the sheep," P*trick told me. 

By concentrating on THE WRONG THING, once again, I was way off.  As soon as I started correcting her for turning away, which made her flank too wide, she was in the right place.  It was that easy.  Pretty much.

The thing I learned isn't new.  I'm sure I should have known that when she was turning away, she was out of contact and that was the moment that was more important than a rough clock reference, but I was focused on the WRONG THING, again.  I wanted it to be a technical solution. Again. A + B = C.  It was more fluid than that and also much easier. 

2. Who or what might you have been in another life? What might you be in a next life?

I was a clock. For sure.  Next life – back to being a clock.  I didn't learn shit the last time around.

3. What unusual things do you like the smell of but don't usually admit?

Really? Hmmmm….dog feet. I can't think of anything else.  I'd admit to almost anything.  Look at me all facing up to being a timepiece last time around when most people think they were Joan of Arc or Cleofuckingpatra.

4. What are your thoughts on continuing on vs. retiring when a trial run is going badly? How do you decide? Where do you draw the line?

I used to freak out with Pat and walk as soon as the he wouldn't take a LIEYOURBLACKASSDOWN!…but that was earlier on when my entire run, each and every run, filled me with panic and the need to pee.   Now I have relaxed some and will only walk if I or my dog can't learn something or get some positive experience out of staying on the field.  I don't know if I can REALLY say that I trust my judgement here…but I'm more likely to error on the side of staying than retiring.  At this point. 

5. This is a call for questions or subjects you'd like to talk about – I'd appreciate suggestions (and please come link up so that I'll be sure to see your post), so here's your chance!

I will work on this one.

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