Double Lift Clinic In Ohio
We arrived on Friday April 13th at the McNutt Family Farm in Blue Rock Ohio for a day of lessons. The weather was glorious, warm almost up in the 80s! It was a lovely day with a nice warm breeze which was just right for training dogs. This day was a different variety of dogs from young ones and open dogs. Each handler/dog team floated in and out of their assigned time and it was a nice relaxing 😎 day. It is always a great atmosphere at the McNutt Farm with plenty of banter and lots of fun.
Saturday was the first day of the double lift clinic. With a small number of handlers, we could fit plenty of time in for each working session. The weather was a little cooler in the morning and heavy rain forecast for late afternoon so we made the most of the nice weather with an early start. This clinic was mainly about having control of the dogs and getting them to take your advice to you when they were lost. If you have proper control, you can direct your dog to the unseen sheep. Micheal McNutt has the ideal field as you stood on a rise so the dog could see the first packet of sheep on a right hand outrun. The dog had to run down the hollow losing sight of his sheep as he come up the hill on the other side. It was a tricky right hand as you had to almost direct your dog down the hill before sending or your dog would go too wide and completely miss the sheep. For some dogs, it was confusing to be asked to walk on in front of the handler. It just seemed unnatural for the dogs to do this.
You then had to pull your dog across before sending him right. This clinic was not for the faint hearted as you had to dig deep and really work WITH your dog. No time for mistakes! The dog then had to bring the sheep down into the hollow of the hill and have a blind turn back up the hollow to out of sight sheep. Gordon was on hand to help the less experienced dogs and handlers. But most experienced open dogs had to listen very well and figure it out for themselves. It was tricky: one wrong command and there was trouble ahead.
Handlers had to be quick to command and dogs really had to respond with the same quickness. For me, the most impressive dog of the clinic was Anne Spearman’s Ted. He was the least experienced of all the dogs and tends to worry some if things don’t go to plan. He seemed to be a changed dog. He listened well and took every command that Anne gave him to get him to his sheep. What a star! He never faulted and the more Anne asked of him the better he went. Anne and Ted are becoming a real team.
Sharon Allswede’s Ben was the smoothest dog. Such a quiet way with sheep: his turn backs were with ease. He soon picked up the routine of bringing his first packet and glancing across the field for his second packet. All the while being in full control of his first packet. Amazing little dog.
By the Sunday, Gordon made things a little more challenging with 3 packets of sheep. The weather was wet, very wet. We had no stop heavy rain all day, but it never seemed to deter these handlers. The first packet was 20 yards in front of the dog to the right just down in the hollow dogs really couldn’t miss them. They had to fetch them in front of the handler down the hollow and drop them. Turn back was up the hollow for the second packet. The third packet were in the next field; meaning handlers had to direct their dog through a gate to get to the sheep. Everyone managed to stop their dogs and walk them through the gate where the sheep were right in front of them. This gave the dog a choice of either hand out run. But Gordon said the handler had to direct them right handed. Almost everyone managed, it with little help from Gordon.
This clinic was about getting your dogs to listen and becoming team players. From my view, everyone seemed to really enjoy it. With less dogs, we had plenty of time at lunch with the white board and explaining things. Having this valuable time really helped handlers get the job done once on the field. All handlers and dogs worked as a team. It was a joy to see happy faces and handlers realizing what their dogs where really capable of when questions were asked and dogs delivered. And that’s what it’s all about!
I’m looking forward to these guys running their dogs this Open season and gaining points for finals sometime in the near future.
It is always an enjoyable time at the McNutt Family Farm. We would like to thank Micheal, Phyllis and Patti McNutt for having us . Especially thank you to Phyllis for her delicious cooking. It’s a real treat!
And to Claudia Frank (who couldn’t make it to the clinic) for her loan of the sheep for 3 days. We couldn’t have done it without sheep of course. Sending well wishes to Claudia.
We hope to see you all soon at a clinic, day of lessons or at a trial!
Photos by Sharon Allswede. Check out the gallery here.