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Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Starting Echo

Well, it didn't take but a couple of working sessions to get Echo kicked out. The first time I brought her over to Janie's, she was very tight, and was splitting sheep all over the place. I got on her, she bent off me, and respected my pressure. I make it sound very simple ... it was. I made myself as clear as possible in what I expected from her, made right easy, and wrong hard, and she picked it up very quicly. Once she kicked herself out, I think she felt more comfortable out there. I was deliberately using existing panels for her to go around to artificially kick her out and it worked perfectly. She's very responsive, afraid of nothing, but oh so willing to please. I don't think I've ever owned a more sensible dog ... and to think she's only 8 months old. She's blowing my socks off.

While I was shopping for sheep tags with Janie, I found a riding crop similar to the one Ted was using when he was here. I thought, "What the heck?" and I bought one. It didn't take long to get the nice "whoosh, snap" sound out of it, and I quickly started using it with Echo. She'd come in tight, and I could snap that in the air, and out she goes, and we continue on. It's also a great tool for "making the ground dangerous." You don't get the same sound by hitting the ground with a stock wand. The "snap" sound is very effective.

I've worked her a couple of times now, and she is really starting to understand that she is to get around all of her stock and bring them to me. She's lying down on balance readily, and is beginning some very nice fetch work. She is seeming to me to be the type of dog that holds a line on their own. She's starting to rate herself already, too. I have a hard time remembering how young she is. Woo hoo!

Happy tails,

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