|Spot's photo from Christmas Day, 2014|
I haven't posted on Spot's progress for a while. It feels like we are in another one of those "plateau" stages again. I have to just be patient and keep working with him, and I am sure we will take another step forward at some point, very soon. We've been through these plateau periods several times in the past year or so. Patience is the key; sigh! Sometimes patience is difficult to muster! :)
Overall, Spot's doing well. He can do a nice short to medium gather without the wheels falling off. But, if I send him too far, those wheels may go flyin'! It's all stuff we have to work through and figure out together.
The driving is coming along, slowly. He is getting it about driving, but the steering part, is coming a little more slowly. He is getting the idea of the inside flanks, if I am super careful about setting them up with relation to the draws, the sheep, and me. I do put a solid stop in between each command...he needs it. The outside small flanks are almost harder to do because he wants to take them as a full flank all the way around to the heads, to gather. I am trying to work on all of this without getting too picky on him and flustering the both of us.
His recall is good. The whistles for stop and steady are in place; the whistles for the flanks are not all there...it depends on the situation.
I use him for whatever small "chores" that we may have...which are not many. So sometimes I make up a chore just to do something different. Recently I was super pleased because I sent him into a smaller paddock for a group of about a dozen half-grown lambs, out a gate, then brought them through another narrow-ish field, and through another gate out into a large pasture. Spot took every stop and flank that I asked him to take, while escorting those lambs out to the field. It felt super to make that happen without any kerfluffles! :) So there IS progress, once I start to add it all up. He is a good boy and tries hard.