I took Reese out to Don's to work sheep in a bigger, more open area. It's a little intimidating since the pasture we were working in is long and narrow with a real strong draw to the far side. Don used Tig to bring the sheep up for us. Tig is a dog that's in for training, and holy cow she's come a long way in a very short time. Don has done an excellent job of training her. She was pretty timid the last time I saw her, and he's done her confidence a world of good and she is quite responsive. It's funny seeing mister rough and tough cowboy turn into a bit of a mush when he's talking to her. Shhh. Don't tell him I said that! LOL!
Anyway, I laid Reese down, and got between her and the sheep and sent her on a short outrun. She came up short and split the sheep, gathered them back together and brought them to me ... and that was the last time she did that! Once she had a chance to read the sheep and get a feel for the draw, she worked beautifully! We did a few very nice short outruns, and fetched and steadied up and flanked nice and squarely, and she stops on a dime. I love her down and hope it never changes. I've never had a dog who was sole purpose in life was to make me happy, but I truly think that's what hers is. And she's goofy as all getout.
One thing I noticed about her the other day is her getting wingy and wangy by my feet when I call her to my feet when we're working. And I figured out why she does that. When I am walking to a field or a pasture, I have her off leash, and I want her to stay behind me. If she tries to get ahead, I use my stock wand (flip it on the ground) to stop her from getting ahead of me, and she's real good about staying behind, although will flip from one side to the other. Could be annoying, but doesn't bother me. I'm used to it. But that is the exact same behavior she exhibits when she's working and I call her to my feet, so she's not real willing to drive sheep away from me because she doesn't think she's allowed to. Well, while I was at Don's, I used the draw to my advantage, and got her to get ahead of me and praised her like crazy and she picked it up real quick. I don't really want to start driving with her yet, but I will soon enough, and when we do, I would like her walking past me pretty freely. And I think now she will.
I couldn't be more pleased with how she worked today, and I told her I was proud of her and all of the "big girl things" she's starting to do. Besides the way she's working, she ran with a whole unfamiliar pack of dogs and barely gave any one of them the time of day. She stayed out of the horses, called off the ram pen, didn't hit the hot fence, and basically hung out like ... a regular dog. I know this isn't any big deal for most handlers/dogs, but I haven't had her out and about much, and she hasn't gone anywhere all summer. It was great fun!
I started my new lanyard for my new whistle. As soon a I am done with it, I'll post photos. I like it so far.
Please continue to keep my brother in your thoughts. He's up against a mountain.