This past weekend was a busy dog weekend; both S & M had stuff going on. We’re waiting on the videographer for the Molly footage, but i still want to have some notes before i completely forget.
The work with Molly right now is really more about me and less about her. She gets it and is quickly loosing patience that my timing is still not fantastic. She’s not to the point of regularly blowing up her sheep, but she’s getting there fast so i need to catch up. My biggest problem is that we’re reaching the end of my experience. Feel free to read: the end of my comfort zone. We are starting to slowly extend the fetch into a straight up outrun and take those baby steps of driving.
In extended the outrun, i need to continue to support her start by pushing her out at the shoulder… as opposed to pushing her forward at the ass.
Here is Ron and Simon a few years back (look how dark Si’s muzzle is! d’ohhh). Ron is doing a nice job of keeping Simon square at the top of his little fetch by holding the pressure on his shoulder. If Ron held the pressure at his eye-line or his nose, Simon would probably change direction – because at this point in his training he didn’t stop much. 😉 If Ron was late and put the pressure on Simon’s hindquarter or his bum he would see just how fast his sheep could get over that fence. The sheeps little ears tell us that they are not terribly trusting of Simon. Further proving sheep aren’t dumb.
We use this same concept at the top with Molly. However, Molly does a nice job of moving off the pressure at a further distance. She’s getting a little run/trot in before making her turn in at the top. While its not technically square, she floats the bubble nicely most of the time. Putting a little pressure near the top helps remind her to stay out a bit until she gets to the top. Most of the time we’re having to do this when there is less than 15′ or so between the sheep and the fence. We’re pushing her closer to the fence and showing her that she can move into that pressure to stay off her sheep. Prioritizing pressure for lack of a better term.
She’s also starting to do little assisted drives. It’s really more following her sheep to the draw and using her small flanks to change direction ever so slightly. But part of that set up is her taking sheep off of another person in an outrun. Which we have previously not done successfully.
Simon went and did a single rally trial with Cascade ASC. The big thing here is that he went inside a metal building that echo’d and had other dogs and he was really well behaved. I food-tubed him once when we were standing and talking with Lisa and her pup Ally, but that is a little step to get him acclimated. He did a nice job on the exercises .. except the two i messed up, but by the end he was just not going to do the Honor – lie down and stay. I even got low with him and he wouldn’t leave a standing position. He just leaned into me…. his brain was pretty fried. But it was a fun atmosphere with lots of supportive people. Considering he has had zero formal training, he did really good. We’ll try again after we have a chance to proof more.
In a lot of ways, I’m faking it till it all clicks. That’s ok though. My trainer and my friends are keeping me from breaking things and that is really all that matters!