Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Fast Forward

I keep thinking of topics to blog about, but there seems to be no time...A topic lately is fast and forward.

Ryme gets a training plan

I asked a friend to watch me working Ryme recently, to see if she could see anything to make a suggestion that might help us to work together better on the sheep. She held sheep for Ryme to gather with her experienced dog. Right away, after just one short gather, she had a suggestion. Train him to get up more slowly from a down; he is getting up really fast which makes his lift too fast and may be part of what leads to him blowing up on the trial field. I have noticed that he gets up often times with a skip of the rear leg. I  believe it is partially due to his chronic tenderness in that leg but it doesn't mean I can't try to train him to get up more slowly. I am working on it and seeing some little progress. The bonus is, that this also works as rehab...the chiropractor says that Ryme's rear leg is really winter-ouchy and he needs some slow exercises from down to sit and sit to stand and so forth. It will be more than worth it to invest some time in working with Ryme to see if he can get up more slowly when he is working sheep. Just no sprinting; now that may be difficult to pull off but I will try!

Spot runs into some progress

Spot and I had a lesson with our trainer last weekend. Everything was fast forward there. We were assigned three much faster, younger sheep than Spot is used to working. That put everything into fast motion! I felt like I was working a totally different dog as Spot did not want to stop at all! Finally with perseverence we got it together but it felt like at least three steps backwards. But it is good to know that Spot is not ready to graduate to big-boy sheep, yet. I am grateful we have the puppy sheep for him to work on at home, and we can get some solid behaviors in place.  For now we can:

  • ·        Work without the longline *new*!
  • ·        Go into the pasture on leash but work off leash for the training session *new*!
  • ·        Go from one setup to the next with "that’ll do", a slap of my leg, and no leash *new*!
  • ·        Do a pretty decent short gather, especially on the bye side *new*!
  • ·        Fetch a few steps with lie downs inbetween

Distance is our best friend! The more distance I can get between Spot and the sheep and me, the better…and the better he looks and behaves. I am saying the flank commands as Spot does the behaviors. I don’t think he knows his sides yet but it should happen soon. It feels like I am now working a dog. Yeah!

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