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Thursday, May 15, 2008

A little more specified

Worked Skar and Echo last night.

Echo - before going out there, I decided that lesson was going to be getting her to stay behind her sheep and fetch them to me.

Started out a little rodeo-ish as usual. What didn't help was that I have the sets broken into ewes/lambs so I can dog break the lambs. Anyway, Echo handled it very nicely. When I first started cutting her off from flanking and asking her to stay behind the sheep, I could see the tension building in every step. So I would only ask for a few steps and then let her flank all the way around, and start again. Then I realized it was better if I walked backwards a bit faster. This is no easy feat with the irrigation ruts. LOL. Got kinda dicey a few times, but I managed to stay on my feet. All in all, she did very well, and only got better the second time around when she didn't have as much vim and vigor! :-D

Skar - She's an easy dog to work, for the most part. She's got all that eye, so balance comes very naturally. Typical of a dog with a lot of eye, she is not a gripper, so she's very trustworthy, and I feel ok sending her distances that she's not quite ready for -- knowing no one will get hurt. She may cause a bit of a mess, but quickly figures out how to fix it and brings them all to me. So with her, before I walked out to the pasture, I decided that we are going to start working on her arc on the away side. This is the thing that was giving us the problem initially. She goes straight in on the away side ... or will freeze completely. So I used my riding crop, lied her down, and then asked her for an away flank. She still wants to run straight to them, and then bend off when she gets there. I don't like it. So I am working on getting her to turn her head before she flanks. You can flick a stock wand at her, put all kinds of body pressure on her, nudge her with your foot, and she won't bend off. I have figured out, however, that if I annoy her with the little whip part on my crop, she will sort of turn her head a bit. So I've been rewarding just the slightest give. Then I took her into the round pen and expanded on that a bit. Made a big deal when she gave me even just a little bit of what I was looking for. When we were done, had her help me release the sheep and bring them to the big pature and added them back to the other set.

All in all, I'm very pleased with my girls and am having the time of my life working with them. I can't wait for the PS clinic this weekend, and getting new ideas of stuff to try ... new tricks to add to my bag. :-)

Happy tails!

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