Sunday, December 16, 2012

On Building Brave

The other day I blogged about Brit's lack of confidence and courage when it comes to working sheep. She had one bad experience and now she is afraid. I wondered aloud about what the plan would be. How does one go about fixing that? I of course had no idea. lol. Well it's a good thing I happen to know someone who does!

Brit and I had a lesson with Scott Glen (of Altapete fame) yesterday morning. It was fantastic and I left with my head reeling with information, and the thought that my dog can get over this. We did a few various exercises- all with confidence building in mind. Brit had a blast and was running around like a yahoo for the most of it. Scott had lots of good suggestions and thoughts. Like take for example her bad stops- she generally always takes a step or two before lying down. It is likley the pressure of the sheep that actually makes her stop, not me. And that right there could be a pretty big part of our problem. If she is being "stopped" by the sheep all the time it could be wearing her down. Makes total sense. I had never really thought about it like that before.

Some of the close up work was scary for her at first- working in tight quarters with sheep flying every which way was interesting. lol. She got the hang of it though and worked through being uncomfortable. We (well I say we, but Scott did most of the work) managed to get her to bite- twice! And even a few air snaps. Wrinkled lips and everything. I was impressed as I really didn't think we'd be able to get her to. She needs to learn that she has options- and that there are things she can do when she is facing a ewe. Biting is a tool she will need.

Scott has a really cool way of explaining things. I tried to remember all his little sayings but a whole hour of information flooded my brain. Thoughts of "give up control, let her be bad, jazz her up with my voice, faster is better" are floating around in a jumbled mess in my brain. lol. I am going to go back for another lesson with him after Christmas and then work with my other two instructors and see if we can't keep up the confidence stuff until she is ready to be serious again. I have no idea of a timeline at this point. I forgot to ask cause my brain was over filled. 

I have decided though to start doing lessons with Scott every once in a while- maybe once a month or so? Just to help keep things on track. He really is a Wizard when it comes to stockdogs- he certainly has an eye for stuff. He pinpointed all of Brits weaknesses in five minutes....

I'm feeling pretty lucky to have Scott so close!


Thirteen Sheep (Or More) said...

I'm wilting with envy! Lessons with Scott! You are so fortunate.

Dealing with confidence stuff here too. I think Gus is diving in and snapping from insecurity. But only sometimes. Then, if he can, he makes a bee-line for the seat of the A 4-wheeler. Partly age I suppose. He's still young.

It sounds like you're having fun and fun is hugely important!

oddman said...

Yay for Brit! Yay for Scott! you're on your way again, no doubt here.


^..^Corgidogmama said...

You have such great resources and a strong network of dog people. It helps, eh?

Jenny Glen said...

I'm so glad you want to do periodic lessons with Scott. It will help us all keep Brit on track!