Friday, May 29, 2015

Out of Sight

As luck would have it, soon after Spot's downfall at Point Pleasant and not finding his sheep again, we were able to have a lesson with our trainer. I asked to work on this very thing: teaching Spot to spot sheep at a distance. I also asked for help on turning the post, which is quite literally probably another post. :) I have always been a dunce at turning the post, even going back to Bid days. Slowly I get better but it has always been a tough part of the run for me.

But back to Spot and spotting sheep, there are several scenarios involved with a dog finding sheep out of sight or just barely visible. There are sheep that are just a very long way away but visible. There are sheep that the dog can't see, either due to terrain, fog, or other conditions. There are other situations that need redirects. I'm sure there is more. Spot is a babe in the woods on all of these scenarios. He is used to places that he knows, and sheep that he can readily see. It is my job now to change all of that up within reason, if we are to become more successful.

We all worked hard on Spot finding his sheep during the lesson. The sheep were hidden from view in various places behind the little hills. Spot had never done this before. Some of his work (and mine) was not pretty and some of it was very pretty and some was just acceptable. It is all a work in progress.  I'm also still battling to get him to stop at a certain distance (no surprise there but it did catch me by surprise me at first). I'm not sure why I thought our good stop from "home" at a hundred yards or a hundred and fifty, would carry over to away from home and three or four times that distance. Duh. It sometimes does but it also sometimes doesn't. I want that stop though. It's important.

Overall, Spot did some big-boy stuff. It was a huge step forward in his work. I think he was starting to get it on finding his sheep. People keep telling me that he is not too far off the mark, for his age. But I keep feeling like it is taking a long time. I'm trying not to compare him to other dogs of his same age group. We will hang in there, and be grateful for lessons as they happen.

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