Monday, February 06, 2012

Speak Softly and Carry a Big Stick- Herding Lesson #

Although I was barely alive this morning after my mega long Saturday. We got up bright and early on Sunday and Brit and I headed to Alta-Pete for a lesson.
I am so glad we did. The weather was perfect. Sun shining, only a slight breeze. Perfect.

And Brit did really great!!!

She was a little fast to start, so we spent some time working on squaring off the start of her flanks. She is generally starting well, but then tightens up at the top. Jenny helped me to work her through that though and she was much better for it. We also worked a bit on the fence exercise- where she has to hold them to me and the fence. Her lie downs SUCKED though so this was hard to start. So we stopped that and just worked on a drill of flanks and stops in the middle of the arena. Around and around we went. And then we took a mental break.

After the break we went back and did another outrun- which was perfect!. And then some more fence stuff which was better, and finished off with the drills in the middle. And she was lovely! Took her flanks nicely and her lie downs were really nice- not instant, but close. I was so happy with her! It's interesting how they process things. Learning sheep really is probably the most difficult thing. The dog has to do lots of thinking for themselves, and don't really get a lot of help from us. I find it quite interesting.

A few things from today

  • When starting my dog have her set a bit aways from me depending on the distance to encourage her to run distance
  • Speak Softly and Carry a Big stick. lol. I tend to get grumpy at her (nothing new. lol), but she really does listen better if I say it nicely. If she doesn't do it after I've asked her twice then I can get grumpy at her. But not before. And I can use the stick (or the pressure of the stick) instead.
  • Does she understand, or is she choosing not to. This is hard for me because I am very new to this and don't really know if she is doing the right thing or the wrong thing, or is blowing me off. For instance if I tell her to lie down and she feels she should move three feet to the left and lie down to have better control of the sheep....
  • With the drill I had her lie down at hard spots, or take difficult flanks, and then rewarded her with 12 O'Clock. Or 9:00. (which was her second favorite spot.)
All in all a pretty great morning!

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