Today was kind of dreary and windy. Just a drab kind of day, looking like rain but maybe not. I have to work indoors anyhow this morning installing the ceramic tile in my son’s bathroom. Really I kind of enjoyed installing the walls around his tub. I had forgotten how artistic the work I used to do was. I didn’t quite get it finished today. I would have but it would have interfered with practice hehehe.
I arrived at Hope’s in time to watch her working a few young dogs. Hope starts putting her dogs away and I suggested we work the sheep tonight and do some “look back” practice. Last year the boys would not do a complete flank at the fetch obstacle which was also the point where the Judges said to begin the double lift. When they wouldn’t do a wide flank, but instead was right on the stock heels, they were not in the right position to for the command. They were so intense in bringing them to me that I couldn’t set it up properly. This is something that I need to refine in the next few days. This is one of the reasons I have been so insistent on them listening to me. I hope I learned enough from my mistakes in training last year, to help the boys out this year. I hope I can teach myself to set it up right as its happening also. When it’s judged, you can’t just do it just any ole way. There is a zone where all this must happen within, and points are deducted for anything other than perfection. When you have two judges that is 60 points we are talking about. I know I keep saying this but when you are competing with handlers and dogs of this caliber you just can’t leave any points out there. Just about every team there is capable of laying down a perfect run.
Turns out we were sorely in need of this practice. Neither dog took the command the first time. I was really a little surprised at this.. They took the wide flanking command but wouldn’t turn and look back. I think it might be because I have been so demanding on them finishing up their flanks the last few nights. I just kept at it till they caught on and turned and looked over their shoulder, and then I blew the flank I wanted them to take to pick up the new set of stock. By the time the evening was over they were both doing this very well. I think I was very patience tonight not over pressuring them. I still insisted on sharp crisp outruns and lifts. I was still anal about them finishing their flanks correctly. Soon I will be the same way about the “look back”. We might have started out on a sour note tonight but I’m sure happy with the progress we made.
Tigr on the other hand won’t need to do any “look backs”. I’m not exactly sure how they do it if she makes it to the final day. I’m trying hard to leave no stone unturned. Tigr is listening so well that I just can’t picture her not making it to the final day. If she gets decent draws look out! This little red gal has progressed better than I could have hoped for. She might still miss an inside flank now and then but they are fewer and farther between each and every outing. I feel she is going to be competitive with the older dogs there. Heck she has been giving the boys a run for their money every evening now. I wish everyone could see some of the outrun lifts we have been putting these dogs through. The rigorous training has the dogs muscled up and looking good. Their minds are sharp on what they know and the rest they are willing to learn. The change in the fetch is probably the most dramatic change to them. Me not accepting them missing a command or not following any command as asked of them. But they are yielding to me, and accepting that I’m in charge. I see nothing but positives in them. I’m pretty lucky to have such devout dogs. No matter what they are my Champions.