My training plan for Spot has benefitted from having some time off of work for the holiday weekend. Yesterday I was really low on energy after working in the yard and doing house chores all day. So I chose something from his training list that did not require a huge effort on my part. :) I picked the exercise of having him stay still while I move around the sheep (such as in a shedding setup scenario) and vice versa, he moves around (on my command) while I stay still. And so on, repeated back and forth. He gets it pretty quickly. I practiced rolling the sheep into position as I have been taught. (Ryme had set up three ewes for us to practice with.) I tried to pretend I wanted a certain ewe and got her into position, meanwhile Spot had to lie down and stay. He was pretty good. I was so enthused by all this that I decided to try to get a single. We had a hard time getting that. I finally decided that he was not nailing his stop quite the way I wanted; I gave him one verbal correction about his stop and he got right back with the program. And then we singled almost immediately. It's amazing how that works. Then he worked that single quite a bit and did not chase her at all! That is huge progress for Spot. My low-energy training session got fairly pumped up after all but I was having such fun with him that it was easy to let it morph. :)
Today we had the opportunity to work at the larger place where we can train and I had planned in advance to take advantage of more acreage, and work Spot on the 'going out the gate' exercise. There is one trial locally where the dogs have to run out thru a gate on their outrun. It is also a good skill to have no matter where you are. I used Coal to push the sheep out as far as possible into the field, opposite of the chosen gates. Spot was watching Coal do this, tied to the fence. I switched Coal and Spot and tied Coal up. Then I set Spot up for a left hand outrun. He did not hesitate and acted like the gate was not even there. Woo hoo! We did a little gather and I flanked Spot around and sent the sheep back up the field.
|Spot runs out to the left, through the gate, for the sheep marked in the photo with a pink star.|
After getting him some water and breathing time, we tried the outrun to the right (out another gate).
|Spot takes off on the away side.|
|Spot has just passed the gate opening in this photo, so he's kind of hard to see; but there he goes...the sheep are to the left and out of the frame of the photo, up the field.|
I hope everyone has had a great Memorial Day weekend!