Housecleaning and Goals

I elected to stay home this afternoon instead of going to agility practice. I didn’t do any cleaning last weekend and my house is a mess. I’ve worked Gel twice today on the sheep practicing whistles. The first training session started out on a bad note, however.

I wanted to move the ducks down to a different fenced-in area so they could “graze” and planned to use Gel to move them. The sheep were out in the pasture adjacent to my house and Gel knew they were there. We got the ducks out of the pen and of course they were not happy about being moved. I sent Gel on a left flank and he disappeared! It took a few minutes, and then I realized where he went.

I ain’t working no stupid ducks (Gel speaking). He took the left flank and was heading out towards the sheep. I got after him and recalled him back. He worked relatively reluctantly, but we got the ducks down to where I wanted them.

Then we went out to the sheep and he worked okay, but not great. My time spent with Gel is continual relationship building. A few months ago, he may have quit completely, but things are better now. I kept my temper after he went for the sheep instead of the ducks which was, of course, key.

After our sheep work, I brought both dogs back inside and did some housecleaning.

Our second training session started with putting the ducks back into their regular pen. I worked Gel completely on whistles and he did a good job. Granted, the ducks knew they were going back to familiar territory and moved a lot easier.

The sheep were in a different pasture than they were this morning. The session went well. On the Border Collie Boards, the current “Ask the Expert” guest is Beverly Lambert. I greatly respect this woman and wish she were closer as I think she’s an amazing handler and kind to her dogs. A poster asked about training outruns when your training area was limited. My training area is not limited, but Beverly said that instead of training outruns at home, she works on obedience during the outrun. Here is the post.

Beverly said that we usually don’t ask dogs to listen on the outrun; we just let them go and hope for the best. If the dog isn’t making a correct outrun, we start whistling and yelling which only adds confusion.

At home, dogs usually perform good outruns so we do not realize we do not have control over an outrun until we get to a new place, i.e. a trial.

Beverly said that once her dog is running out well, she starts making him stop on the outrun and once he is stopping well, she starts to cross him over to the other side of the field, stop him again and cross back over again.

I decided to try this with Gel. I sent him to the right and when he was at about 3:00, I asked him to stop. He blew me off so I ran out there after him until he lied down. Once he did, I asked him up and continued him out on the outrun. The next time I sent him, I asked for the stop again and I got it, so I crossed him over. He must have thought I lost my mind, but he did it. This was a good exercise for stopping at distance on a whistle command, and taking a whistled flank command that he was not expecting also at distance.

It’s pretty warm here today so he heated up pretty quickly so I ended the session and took both dogs down to the river to cool off. We came back to the field where I left the sheep and I drove to the far end of it and sent Gel on an outrun to the left. At the place where I sent him, the sheep were out of sight, but he took the flank I asked. I watched him running out, saw him looking for the sheep and as soon as he saw them, he widened out his outrun beautifully. We put the sheep up and I gave each dog a bone to chew on outside while I continued cleaning.

Soon I’m going to go over to Wally’s house and work the sheep over there. They are heavier than the group I have here and because of that, they are better for driving practice. While I’m there, I’ll work Fern, Kessie and see if Pyro has any interest in working. I plan to take some photos and videos so check back in later to see what I got.

Until later …