Sunday, August 11, 2013

Spot Lies Down

See Spot. See Sheep. Run Spot Run. Listen. Listen Spot Listen. Down. Down Spot Down. Good Spot.

A good friend sent me the above text in an email Friday night. I asked her if she had considered writing a children's book? Oh wait...where have we heard that before? :-) 

Spot and I had another sheepdog lesson with our trainer. Our assignment from last week was for Spot to lie down when I ask, when we are working with the sheep. I worked with him three times in between last weekend's lesson and this weekend's lesson. I wasn't too sure how effective my efforts had been, in asking Spot to stop. At our home fields, he was stopping fairly well especially if I asked him in the right place; but, one never knows how their kid will actually perform at the recital. 

But when we started our lesson, Spot stopped! Spot does lie down when asked at the right moment, on balance. He knows it. Now just to fine tune from there. The lie down gives us a lot more freedom to create other situations where Spot can blossom as a sheepdog.

In our first little session, Spot was so good that I wondered where this other dog had come from who had replaced my puppy! Then later he got a bit more excited and I realized it was still my puppy. Whew - no alien invasion! 

We were opening up opportunities for him to cast around the sheep. He did a very baby mini tiny outrun-lift-fetch! Or so I was told. It was very mini and it happened very fast so it's quite possible that I missed it, in my efforts to remain upright. Working a puppy continues to be a very physical experience! Overall I am very pleased in Spot's progress. There is plenty there to work with and as someone else commented, "he's very willing". We'll have another training lesson in two weeks, I hope.

Meanwhile Ryme and I got to help hold sheep for someone else having a lesson. I am beginning to teach Ryme how to set out, and hold sheep for others. We have done it a few times at the home pasture. This was our first attempt at branching out. The first outrun, Ryme blew it and did not stay. But he was not heinous and called off rather quickly. The working/lesson dog seemed not to care one bit about Ryme's indiscretion; whew! The next couple of times, Ryme was fine. Now just to get lots more of these experiences. Then Ryme will really have a job to do, whenever he is needed. 

Ryme waiting to hold another set. Tar weed and stickers - oh my! should have used Show Sheen.
It's pretty relaxing being the sheep holding person for a lesson. There is a lot of time in which the trainer talks to the student, and in which the working dog needs a cool-down or break inbetween exercises. It gave me time to just breathe and appreciate where I was and be grateful after another long and hectic week.

This is my happy place. Blue sky, not too hot; endless fields (or so they seem from this vantage point). With luck Spot and I will be training out here come winter time.


Anonymous said...

Love this... keep it coming!!!

Carolyn West said...

I'm enjoying reading about Spot. I have a littermate named Becca that I'm really excited about.

Billy said...

Hi Carolyn, Thank you for your comment. I just figured out that it was likely you that we tried Spot out on the sheep for, before I even considered buying him. :-) I'm sorta glad you got Becca instead! I'll look forward to hearing about her too. ~Thank you~

Billy said...

Anonymous: thank you also for your comment. :-)