Monday, May 26, 2014

Training Wheels Are Off

Spot, approximately 21 months

Spot and I have been working the big girls' and boys' sheep for the past couple of weeks. The more docile training sheep (Dorper/Dorset wethers) that we have been using primarly, have moved to another location, for another pup to get started. So Spot and I are using the Scotties and our work became more difficult. I keep reminding myself that we are working the advanced sheep and the reason we have Scotties is because they are that way.

Thanks to my brother for the phrase about the training wheels because that is exactly how it feels. You want to step up and move forward but after you take those wheels off, you feel a lot more wobbly and less certain, on that bicycle. Things can move a lot faster and go in different directions than perhaps what you had planned!

A month or two ago, I put the long line back on Spot when I worked him. I just needed some more leverage on my side of the equation. Mostly the line is just there.  A couple of times, I have caught him with it and it made an impression. Today I worked him without the line but I carried it with me in case I wanted to put it back on. I didn't need it. Too bad it was so hot out today that we had to cut our session pretty short. I think we could have made some more progress.  He's getting better and better, about many things. We can do a short outrun, lift, and fetch. I am having him drive, just a few steps here and there, whenever I can set up the situation. And we are working on stops off balance (that's coming along slowly but surely) and on flanks just with the verbal and less body positioning and language from me (that will take a while).  Spot really wants to please and that's my ace in the hole!

Today is Memorial Day, which means an extra day off of work, some time to rest, and time to remember those who have gone before. In our family it was not just about decorating the graves of fallen soldiers but also decorating graves of our family members who had passed away. It is a day of remembrance and thankfulness.  Going to and from working the dogs, I saw lots of flags displayed. I particularly like seeing flags hung on rural fences, mailboxes, and gates. I know it is extra work for folks to put up flags that are not just at their doorstep, like mine, but I appreciate seeing them!

1 comment:

G. M. Atwater said...

Well done, little brother Spot! I hope we'll continue hearing good progress with the boy. Here's to a long and happy partnership together. :)