Monday, January 4, 2016
Spot is not for sale again
Spot and I have had three good work sessions in a row in the past week. That is the first time I can say that, since October. We/I really needed a confidence-builder, which thankfully we got with a great practice, on New Year's Day. I was just about up to my eyeballs in being frustrated, at times. He would do some good stuff, and then he would blow up again. It sure doesn't do any good to be frustrated, which I know, but I couldn't help myself. I am grateful for the change I saw over this past long holiday weekend. For now, we seem to be getting back on track. We had a great practice three days at two different fields, and both were places where he could stretch out a bit (although I am still not pushing the distance too far).
I have figured out (I think) what my plan is. For now, at this age, he seems to be a dog who needs to be worked five or six days a week (which is what I was doing all spring, summer and fall and he was progressing well). When this training program came to a halt with the time change in November, we hung on a little bit, but things gradually started to deteriorate with some ups and downs.
Now I think I have it figured out at least temporarily. I am just in a holding pattern, and not trying to do too much on the two times a week (plus or minus) that we can work. Everything will be dialed back until about mid-February when there will be enough daylight for me to start working him almost daily, again. We'll work when we can for about another six weeks, get lessons when we can, and practice whenever and wherever we can, on the weekends. If he's bad I am not going to stress because I know he can get good again. That should lower the frustration level considerably! :)
When he is good, he is oh so good, and so smooth. It takes your breath away. There is so much there that is good. He has a good outrun, and a good top; beautiful flanks and a good stop; the fetch is lovely and I can rate him on that fetch...we will not have our sheep galloping pell-mell down the fetch which is something I just hate to see. We just don't quite have the driving. He is doing well on the driving, for sure, but is not there yet where I need him to be, in terms of flexibility, pace, and distance.
It's good to have a plan. :)