Monday, February 4, 2008

Coal is 17 Months!

Coal turned 17 months on January 29th. He's coming along in his sheepdog training, although we did hit some speed bumps after the first of the year. Mainly, I've had to become more insistent, and that tells the whole story. Still, for his age and level of training, he's doing very well.

For various reasons, downpours and otherwise, I couldn't work him for about 10 days. But with breaks in the weather I've been able to work him every day now for three days' straight; what a difference regular working makes. We're starting to be able to implement some of the main points from our last lesson with the trainer, which seems like forever ago, but was really only about two and a half weeks ago. Here, I've sent Coal to take the sheep off of the fence. This has never been a problem for him, but it's a skill I want to continue to work on and improve, since we need it so much in real work.

We are lucky to be able to train outside nearly year-round. That point was impressed upon me today when I heard from a friend in Minnesota, who said she hadn't worked dogs since late November. Thanks for the reality check!

Coal loves to drive. Here he's doing a bit of driving since we had already performed several nice little gathers, and we needed to take the sheep to the barn, anyway.

Coal continues to impress me with his cool head in tight spaces with the sheep. The past couple of days I have taken him into the barn or a smaller enclosure with the sheep for the first time. He is probably calmer than I am, in those situations. Though he continues to get more and more keen, I can also trust him more and more. What a fun dog to work with!

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