I had to take a rescue dog to calgary this morning so stopped on my way for a lesson with Louanne. Her place is where the actual trial will be so I knew it would help me to really "see" what the set up will be.
The lesson went really well- and Brit continues to amaze me. We worked on the pen for a little bit- putting them in, and taking them out. Louanne showed me what will be expected of me at the trial for the take pen, and the re-pen. -Where she has to hold them, where I need to be, when I can leave, etc. Brit did really well. I need to shut up and let her work though. She can read the sheep better than me. lol.
Once out of the pen I got them to the settle spot- and it was way easier than at Jenny's. lol. Not sure why. From the settle pylon I had to send my dog to fetch them to me- in a straight line. The first time I missed the point of the exercise and my dog over flanked. The second time was better- a straight line even!
And then we went to the L, which proved difficult. The sheep were flighty and really didn't want to go in. For the first time I wondered if Brit might grip. She never has- but really had to stand her ground to get them to even turn their heads. After the stand off we gave her a break and Louanne worked the sheep through the panels with her dog. They didn't mess with him. lol.
After Mack worked the sheep we got the L just fine, again she really had to work them to get them to turn in, but we had success. The Y chute was similar. We only did that once before we stopped and worked on her outruns a bit. She is still cutting in at the top, and/or over flanking. (not stopping on balance). So if I am late with a lie down she has often turned the sheep the wrong way. So we worked on that a little bit. After a bit of reminding with pressure she was much better.
We ended with another re-pen and then Louanne gave me some tips on how to work on teaching her "there" - this means for her to stop and walk in on the sheep. We haven't really worked on this, but I can see that I will be needing it soon.
I was really impressed with her today- she was definitely more excited than she is at our normal training- I think that fast sheep amped her up a bit. But she still worked really well- her stops were decent, and she mostly took the flanks I asked.
The most interesting part was when she was working on her own to get the sheep in the pen, and the chutes. It was really neat to watch her. I have never seen such a serious expression before. It was very cool.
I also came away with a better idea about the trial- which is still a few months away, but I still worry that I won't know what I'm doing. Good thing my dog does!