Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Just Work Him and Have Fun

Don't train on him by rote, just work him and have fun.

That's the latest in Spot's progress. He's progressing so fast and so well that the latest mantra from this week's lesson is to just work him and don't train on him. Don't push him, don't try to fine tune him yet. Let him work, find practical jobs for him to do, or make them up as you go. Get him out and about wherever you can on whatever different sheep you can (yeah, right, that is always the tallest order).

Our lesson this week started out with me showing what Spot and I can do with a small packet of sheep. We gathered, we drove, we fetched. We had a great time ... and then we were challenged to do much more.

We drove the small group of sheep much farther than ever before, up over a hill. I tried to keep up on the hill. A couple of times Spot tried to head the sheep but he stopped when I asked him to, and waited for me. When we reached the top, the sheep drifted to another pen full of sheep while we caught our breath from the hill climb, and Spot got a drink. Then we took all the sheep out of that pen and drove them away, and brought them back and re-penned them.

Then we took them out again, and we got to do long outruns on the hills with all those many sheep. Oh my. It was such a thrill to see Spot doing what he was bred for, working sheep on the hills. I am so grateful, yet I know we have both worked so hard for this connection.  "Hills make a dog." Such a true statement! He learns a lot by doing. We do have some things to work on. :) The stop on the fetch at a distance, for example, and whistles, and more. Can't wait!

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