I’ve been on vacation for a few days now and avoiding my computer.  I really needed a break from work and from my routine and so on, so I packed up the animals and headed out of town to do a round of visiting.  My first stop was to a friend I hadn’t visited in several years.  Her husband is not big on animals in the house, and I come with many, so she has generally come to visit me.  Well he’s away for work so I thought it was time to repay her many visits!  Fortunately her attitude is “the more the merrier” and doesn’t seem to mind my three dogs and two cats taking over her house.  

Now I am at my parents and plan to stay here for a few days.  I took the dogs for a good hike in the woods nearby.  It is a really great place to run them because there are no roads anywhere nearby and we can walk for hours if we like.  The girls ran so hard, however, they both blew pads.  Hannah blew pads on three feet, and Mira on one.  Ross doesn’t run that hard, so his feet are fine.  This happened the last time I came home as well, so I should have learned to be more careful.  At my place the dogs run almost exclusively on grass, and with all the rain we’ve had this summer, the ground has been very soft.  In the woods here the ground is hard packed with tons of sticks, rocks, and roots.  The girls run like crazed lunatics as hard and fast as they can, and for as long as we are out.  So they are both limping about now.  And of course I left my Hypericum at home (a homeopathic remedy indicated for injuries to regions rich in nerve endings, and which helped Hannah’s last blown pad heal up within 48 hours).  If they’re still sore in the morning I’ll go out and pick some more up.

Prior to this little trip, I spent three days farm sitting where I train.  It’s always good to have such close access to the sheep, and I enjoy living out in the country.  I trained quite a bit while out there and both the dogs and I are making good progress.  I have some videos to post, but of course forgot my cable.  So I will download and post when I get home.  Mira is now gathering well and doing little outruns, and her stop is becoming quite reliable, as long as I ask for it on pressure.  Hannah’s driving is coming along, as is her gathering of the whole flock.

One nice thing about being so close to the sheep is that I can do short training sessions without feeling like I’ve wasted my drive out there.  Really I should only train Mira for 20 minutes or so at a time, but I often catch myself working her for well over 30, sometimes close to 45 minutes.  And I can have Hannah out there for over an hour, especially since I often work her both before and after I train Mira.  That’s ok sometimes, I expect, but really I should be doing shorter sessions.  But I find it tough to train for a total for 45 mintues when the return drive is an hour.  I am going to be farm sitting again in a few days, this time for nearly two weeks.  My plan is to go out twice a day and do short sessions each time.

One thing I have started doing with Hannah is mixing up her training more.  I find I get stuck on doing one thing, over and over, to perfect it.  Lately that’s been driving.  I find driving kind of boring unless there’s a purpose to it.  Square driving is about as exciting as square wearing, although much more difficult.  Both Hannah and I get sick of it pretty quickly.  So now I am mixing driving with doing other things, like gathering the flock, doing sheds, and doing outruns.  Basically I drive the sheep somewhere, call her off, walk down the field, then send her to pick them up.  That’s a good reward for her and hopefully will make driving more enjoyable.  

Now I’m off to dissolve some homeopathic Calendula (which I think I do have with me) to see if that helps with the healing process until I can get some Hypericum.