Monday, June 19, 2006

Can Ewe Herd Me Now?

I took Strummer to his first herding lesson, which actually ended up to be more like another instinct test but since it was a new instructor she wanted to evaluate him herself. After Lola's disastrous attempt at herding I'd pretty much given up on the idea but Strummer apparently has all the instinct for it so I guess I've got a new doggie activity to pursue. He was pretty crazy though, running circles around the sheep non-stop and at top speed. The instructor went in the pen without me (phew! My knees were happy for that) and used a long horse whip as an extension of her arm to stop Strum from circling (she never hit him with the whip, just used it to guide him). The idea was to get him to come up behind the sheep nice and easy rather than running around in circles like a crazy man. He has drive and speed through the roof but very little self control at the moment. Typical teenage boy.

His behavior since his lesson yesterday has been awesome, no crazy pacing around the house looking for something to do. He still had plenty of energy but didn't feel the need to expend it at every possible moment. I doubt I'll pursue competition with him because of the time and expense involved but I'm going to keep up with lessons because I think it's a good way to teach him self control and it seems to have a great effect on his mental well being.

The only downside is that he tore one of his pads. The instructor warned me it would likely happen, she's been having the same problem with her own dogs because of the extreme heat and the ground being so hot & dry. Pads usually heal quickly though so for now it's some vet wrap and a sock with some duct tape to keep it clean. Keeping him from tearing around on it is another story.

Apropos of absolutely nothing, there was a pretty cool bull snake tooling around the farm freaking out just about everybody but me. I have a certain respect for bull snakes because they kill rattlesnakes but they're fairly harmless to people.

I also managed for the first time post surgery to make it to the top of Olde Stage, a very steep road that's part of the course of our employee bike race. It took me the longest it's ever taken me (26:40 vs 18-19 minutes at my best) and it was hard but I made it and without any trouble with my knee. My hip was another matter but we'll not dwell on that for now. I think I'll be o.k. to do the race but I certainly won't be competitive. It still beats working.

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