Got up, fed the cats, did some things around the house, ate some breakfast, folded a load of laundry and went out to milk the goats. Got that done, shuffled livestock, brought trash out to the curb, came back in, got a call from unemployment (my claim is all set, but won’t start paying until the end of November), called on a job opening, set up a fax service, faxed my resume for that job, talked to a friend for a few minutes, then headed down back with the dogs and sheep. Worked all three dogs for about an hour and they all did very, very well.
I put a long line on Cian and started to get him comfortable just following the sheep around. He doesn’t like it, but he’s relaxing about it. I started to put a stop whistle on him. Now that he has brakes, I’m experimenting with not stopping him at the top. If he’s correct, I let him lift the sheep without a stop. I could be wrong, but it looks like if I start to stop him at the top, he’s going to have some trouble lifting heavy sheep.
Fern’s driving is coming nicely; I need to focus on solidifying her flanks (same with Cian, but I think he understands flank commands better than Fern). I am trying not to train my dogs to be mechanical. A lot of people teach flanks by using body pressure with the dog moving off the handler’s pressure. The dog goes clockwise you say come-bye; counter clockwise: away. That works to a point, but I do not think the dog has a solid understanding of flank commands until you start driving. I learned that the hard way with Gel. Most dogs don’t like to take off-balance flanks and you’ll see that in driving as well. A well-bred Border Collie is naturally going to have a good outrun, lift and fetch. Driving doesn’t always come naturally.
Worked Gel both times on fetching through a set of panels, which wasn’t easy given I couldn’t get the sheep set in the correct place. He had to adjust his line each time to put them through the panels. Remember, earlier on, this was a dog who would not call off a fetch line. The first time I worked him, he did better than the second. The second time, he was blowing off my whistles. Selective hearing I guess. That’s okay, he straightened out when I growled at him a bit and I ended on a good note with him.
I didn’t take any pictures because it’s quite overcast here today. In fact, I really didn’t want to go out to work the dogs because it’s chilly and damp here, but I’m glad I did because I feel much better now. I know the dogs are happy.
Now here it is only 10:30 and I have the rest of the day to do other things.