A little while ago on February 4th, Addie and I got the chance to go to another herding clinic hosted by Red Creek Farm. This time America also attended with us. Right as we arrived at the farm Addie started whining and quivering with anticipation. I was quite surprised since I hadn't realized she had enjoyed herding so much the last time. It had just seemed a bit "meh" to her, like an okay activity but nothing more. Apparently I was wrong.
When we arrived we met Carol Ann again, who unfortunately did not remember us. I can not say I blame her though. She has only met us once and it was 5 months ago. Oh well. She was in charge of the beginner group this time, and I was so grateful. Like her father Hubert, from our previous herding post, Carol Ann was very knowledgeable about herding and teaching different dogs to herd. One thing Carol Ann did that I really liked was that she was so willing to explain things. I got many tips on how my handling skills, or lack there of, affect Addie's responses when she is herding.
Addie and I were the only people there in the beginning who had been to a herding clinic before so Carol Ann had us go first. I was a little nervous at first, but Addie picked it up again immediately and my nerves were completely calmed. While we were practicing America stood at the edge of the fence and she and Carol Ann talked a bit. Carol Ann commented about how perfect Addie's intensity is. When Addie is circling the sheep she's usually chomping her jaws a little. Carol Ann said the way she was doing it was great because she is prepared to use her teeth if she needs them, but because she doesn't need them with the calmer, dog broke sheep she doesn't go out of her way to use them. As we were leaving the ring the first time, Carol Ann also commented on how Addie was an easy dog to work with. I felt so proud when Addie got these compliments.
Unfortunately as the day progressed Addie got tired quickly and would start refusing to work once she was too tired. This was completely my fault. Last time we went to the herding clinic I walked her beforehand and she did well. This time the walk we took was unnecessary and actually hindered the practice sessions.
At this herding clinic, and I would venture so far as to say every herding clinic, Border Collies reign supreme. They are everywhere. The entire time we were there we were surrounded by about 30 or 40 Border Collies and a few other, random herding breeds. As soon as America saw all the Border Collies she immediately started commenting about how Sadie, Addie's best doggy friend and a Lab/Border Collie/other mix, is JUST like these dogs. After a while I kept noticing it as well. Every "weird", I've-never-seen-a-dog-do-that-ever thing Sadie does these full blooded Border Collies were doing too! It such an experience getting to see "Stupid Face" on other dogs, instead of just Sadie. This trip really made me start to see and appreciate the Border Collie traits that Sadie exhibits so strongly.
All in all it was an amazing day, made all the better by America's company. We hope to bring Sadie with us next time. When I first told America about herding she and I both agreed Sadie could NEVER do it. Now, after seeing so many brilliant herding Border Collies who make stupid face,look like total idiots when they aren't working, but still can magically transform into fine-tuned herding machines we've rethought our original assumption. She just MIGHT have herding potential that we just never realized. If you have any herding or confidence boosting stories. Tell us about them. We love to hear from you!
Tessa & Addie
P.S. Sorry for the delay in blogging. I've been super busy with work lately. Also sorry for the lack of pictures. It was drizzling on the herding clinic day. =(