The past month has been pretty hectic but I've managed to get in a few lessons, and a few drop ins. Brit is doing well, although we've had to go back to some basics to fix her outruns.
I had a lesson with Jenny (Altapete) a few weeks ago and she showed Sarah and I how to "hold" sheep for each other. That way when we go out to practice on our own we can work on our outruns, and the holding part is also a good exercise in control. Brit of course didn't do so well at the holding. It took a few times to get the hang of where to stop her in relation to me and the sheep. The idea is to create a path for the other dog to get around. She really needs to steady her pace, and give the sheep more space. I need to start getting after her for that more. It is hard sometimes with the "real farm work" we do when we drop in- it teaches her bad things. lol. Sometimes getting the job done is all that matters. Hopefully this winter will be more structure and we can get those bad habits under control.
Today I had a lesson with Louanne (Phantomridge) and it was great. I think I have a more clear picture in my head of what the outrun SHOULD look like. Louanne had me actually face my dog and put direct pressure on her to get her to square off from the beginning. If/When she cuts in at the top (usually at 11 O'Clock) I am to lie her down and give her a firm "get outta that" in a gruff/scott glen sort of way. lol. I struggle with the accent. Ideally I should stop her at 9 O'Clock so that I am preventing the slice to begin with. But after a few repetitions she is wise to that and doesn't slice in any more so I can let her continue on.
One of the other things we did today was vary the distance, some short, some long, sometimes two short and a long, or whatever. When it is short I have more control and can make her succeed. Also it really sunk in to my head today that I don't always need to reset and start over. If she is past ten feet or so I can give her a lie down and a "get outta that" right there. Work with what she gives so that the lesson is to the point.
I didn't take any photos today, or really anytime related to sheep lately. But my friend Jenilee made me a canvas print of my all time favorite photo. Sarah took the photo so the actual photo credit is hers.
The Canvas is stunning and I love it. I look at it every day. It helps me to stay focused even though it's hard. It feels for every step forward we are taking a step back but I have faith in my dog and in my trainers that we'll get it! Practice, Practice, Practice is the name of the game.