Training Notes

Just got in and I have a good idea of what I need to work on the next time I go out to train.  Train?  What am I doing training?  I guess because I need to bring one (or both) of these young dogs up to speed so I can use them if for whatever reason, Gel is not available.  Also, because for some reason, I seem to be enjoying it.

Gel:  he’s getting the shedding concept and we got a couple of really good sheds.  In fact, for one of them, when I sent him to round up the whole flock again, at first he kept the smaller group separate from the larger group.  Good boy.  What I need to solidify in him is holding an off-balance flank.  I’ve had trouble with that in the past and I saw the holes this morning.  The sheep were being pains about running back to the ElectroNet.  If it was a solid fence, I wouldn’t worry about the pull back because I’d just send the dog to pull them off the fence, but ElectroNet is fragile and sheep running along it or into it can damage it.  When I was finished training, the sheep had drifted to the far side of the fence.  I sent Gel for them and wanted him to stay along the fence line as they approached the gate to keep them off the fence and the charger.  He took the flank whistle, but then snapped back on line.  When I insisted he hold the line, he started to ignore the whistle.  Beast!

Fern:  I tried to work a smaller group, but they kept pulling back to the main flock in the ElectroNet.  The escaped once and slid past the ATV along the alleyway.  I then took out the entire flock and worked her.  She was zippy and took her flank commands pretty well, but not great.  I did a few outruns with her, but she’s prone to crossing over so I have to revert back to putting her in a lie down, standing close to the sheep and sending her.  I don’t know why I have aversion to doing that with her.  Maybe it’s because I used to be able to send her from my feet and she did fine, but I wasn’t insisting on her going one way or the other before.  She does have good outrunning skills and they’ll come back.  We worked a tiny bit on driving as well.

Slip: Zoom, zoom, zoom.  She’s responding well to my body pressure to change direction, but right now it’s just an exercise in zooming around the sheep.  She’s keen, keen, keen.  She is calling off pretty well, but not great.  After a few days, I’m going to insist a bit on pace and try to teach her a standing stop.  I have to remember that she’s still very much a young dog and that this was only her fourth time on sheep.

While I was training, a man had pulled off the road to watch.  He stayed the entire time I was working the dogs.  He said it was very interesting.

Here it is 11:00 and I have all the animals taken care of and three dogs trained.  I put the two young dogs in runs and Gel is in the yard.  I should get some housecleaning done.  Yuck.

Last night, Wally and I watched a really funny movie: Hancock.  I love about anything Will Smith is in.