Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Training solo

Unfortunately Brian is laid up for a little while, having torn his meniscus last week. Hopefully it’s not too serious and he’ll be back out there soon.

On Tuesday this week, I made an appointment to conduct an interview with an executive at the biotech company Allozyne in Seattle, and I had scheduled it for a Tuesday afternoon with the idea that I’d go to our sheepherding lesson, then hop back into the car and drive to Seattle for the appointment.

So in the absence of Brian, I decided to stop in anyway and do some training on our own. I did some driving with Rodeo, and he did well. Not too hesitant. A couple of times he looked back at me and then turned back into the sheep on his own without any encouragement, which I took as a good sign that he is gaining confidence.

Then I wanted to see if we could repeat our success at shedding in the open field. At first his flanks were too tight and the sheep wouldn’t settle. After a few corrections his flanks improved and we had two successful sheds in a row.

During the second, as I was moving one group of sheep away from the others, Dick Wilson pulled up with his dogs Rhett and Raygan. We chatted for awhile and caught up, then decided to do some outrun work while setting sheep for each other. We did outruns of 100 or so yards, and Rodeo came in tight on his come by flank, though he was better on the away. There was a fenceline on the come by side that might have adversely affected him.

Dick pointed it out to me since I didn't have a very good vantage point, and he suggested I walk out to about the mid point of the outrun and send Rodeo again from the original spot. That way I could be close enough to see him cutting him and give him a correction. The next two outruns he required corrections, but after that he did much better. It was very reminiscent of what Patrick Shannahan did when we had a lesson with him.

Dick suggested that we get together again next Tuesday and I readily agreed. I find that I enjoy training with someone else much better than training on my own, so I’m excited to work with him some more.

Afterwards I toweled Rodeo off and put him in the car, and on the way to Seattle I realized that I'd dressed for sheepherding, not a business meeting. The T-shirt I had on wasn't going to do, so I stopped in Marysville to pick up a button down shirt. After wiping away a few flecks of mud that had splashed above my boots and on to my pants, I drove to Lake Union in Seattle for my appointment.

For those who are curious, Allozyne has a technology that improves characteristics of protein drugs, including a version of beta-interferon that could be used as a once-a-month injectable treatment for multiple sclerosis.

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