First things first -- Today is Secret's birthday!! Well, the day I've chosen to celebrate her birthday, at least. I think I'm the only person who changed the birthday of the puppies after going by my vet said was her age, so it looks like we are celebrating alone. :o)
All of the pictures posted today were taken on the trip home from Secret's very first HERDING day yesterday! As you can plainly see, she was exhausted. Secret has decided that riding shotgun is the *only* way to go, despite the fact that it is decidedly uncomfortable and makes it nearly impossible for her to sleep. She gave up a time or two and retreated to the back, but only for a minute or so at a time before she returned.
I figured the whole herding experience would be pretty hit or miss with Secret. I thought she would either be completely out of control chasing after the sheep or completely terrified of them.
As it happens, it was far closer to the latter of the two scenarios, but thankfully she did improve greatly as the day went on. What is interesting to note is that she went absolutely bonkers watching the other dogs work the sheep. She would watch with rapt attention and strain at the end of her leash when the sheep ran past us. And there was barking... Plenty of barking... I have to say, she was by far the most vocal Border Collie there!
It was a bit different when it was her turn, but it didn't help a lick that her sheep were getting a bit bully at that point and she didn't have the nerve to stand up to them. Once they figured they had her number, they took full advantage of it. That session felt like a giant fail to me, but watching it on video showed that it wasn't as bad as I thought at the time.
Blessedly, Kathy (the trainer) suggested that we try Secret again at the end. We switched out the sheep to a "friendlier" trio that would be easier for her to push. This session went SO MUCH BETTER! I'd been letting Secret watch the dogs before her as well as the working dog who moved the sheep into the pen. When we let her go, she was ready!
Hindsight being what it is, I think we should have stopped sooner than we did. It was wickedly hot with a heat index in the 90's and I think Secret was really starting to melt from the heat. She put forth a good effort, though, and I'm very pleased with her. Kathy thinks a lot of her issues are due to her young age and feels that she will likely improve quite a bit as she gets older.
I thought Secret would be completely shot for the rest of the day, but not quite. We ended up going swimming before dinner and then she even had a short frisbee session in the evening. Where does she find the energy!?
Anyhow, I believe our day's adventure can best be described through video! Enjoy! :o)