I wish, as I'm sure others have wished, continue to wish, may still wish for awhile yet (though hopefully less and less) that I could have this concept injected with a large bore needle, weilded by a clown or a Furry, once and for all into my conscious, where it belongs, front and center, next to a love of things that zip, ball-peen hammers, and hunger pangs.
With Jai I have to be FAST. I can't let her lie down. She needs input. She really needs input. She can be fast or she will be frozen, vibrating – winding up like a bad jagged-toothed toy, ready to grip.
When she is fast and thinking/responding to the right things – the sheep,the pressure, the input -correctly – – – she is beautiful and she is confident. She is an impressive dog.
When she is frozen to the ground eye-locked on the ewes, sizing up a leg, licking her lips…really, she is just not feeling good about what she feels I'm prompting her into, with my silence turned to incessant bitch-squealing; she is overwhelmed and then she is under wool.
Timing. Fast, accurate timing.
Some great dog/handler teams can get by with a few quiet whistles and maybe an ocassional soft correction. Not Jai. No. That program isn't working for us, though SMOKING HOT GOD knows that I have tried and been in denial and tried some more. Even though neither my dog(s) nor I have reached the skill/ability level to even attempt this minimalist style, I continued to hope beyond all reason that somehow I could just stand at the post and maybe do some texting or shop for a new whistle while my dog makes us both look good. Just send poor Jai and stand there, all Well You're the Sheepdog…I'm not bred for this! I'm bred to have a freakishly productive liver and a good-to-fair credit rating..I'm bred to Google and blog.
By the Away, I don't even order lamb in restaurants and I find wool to be scratchy. Sweaters are for glands. Or vice versa. If I were going to use a dog in a way that made sense to my life, I'd send Scout to weddings. I'd hire a limo, pull up to churches, let her out of the car, then run and open the church doors just as the organ music starts up…
Or I'd take Scout to conservative fund raisers. Political call centers.
Truly this would really suit both our breeding.
But no. Scout's talents continue to lay mostly dormant and Jai…. her optimism coupled with her love of me (and beds, couches, running on trails) maintains her enthusiasm like I maintain my eyebrows. By tweezing strays.
Poor Jai. She deserves better. (I am considering a new couch).
I'm studying the Milliken. I'm studying that insanely accurate frenetic style that can run a dog like Jai. She bred Jai. Her dogs look like Jai. That woman can get her dogs-like-Jai around a course. Impressive-like!
I've watched Amanda and Roz on my National Finals Video about 12 times now and I've found one youtube video of her and Dorrey. I've seen her run her dogs at Soldier Hollow a few times, but I didn't study it because it wasn't what I wanted or thought I could obtain- it seemed so unlikely that I'd even attempt that level of input because it requires accuracy. It looks like a lot of ENERGY and CONCENTRATION.
I really was hoping to do more texting out there at the post.
But this is our new endeavor. To study and attempt a Milliken.
I have to watch at work, though, because that whistling drives Jai insane.