This is terribly late because I have about 40 minutes of video to edit, and that is a daunting task. In trying to keep this current though, i think it is important to put it down with or without video. I’ll post later with the video and make a bigger deal about the details then.
Since we’re going 3 working sessions back, lets start with the earlier session then move forward.
The earliest session was quite good. I used google map to figure out that we’re doing assisted drives of the following approximate lengths:
Generally, we can do some combination of the two (for instance 400×200) with a corner. I’ve found that it is best if i’m about 50-75ft away. Anything more than that and I get uncomfortable. Any less and she gets confused. I think i’m finally getting a good handle on the tenor of my voice. It’s been a tough slog, but i sound much less like a Drill Sargent, which is good for everyone.
The middle session was generally good. After so much success in the smaller space, we moved out to the larger space (1000ft x 600ft) with a high plateau, 2 small meadow type areas, a ditch and large area with not awesome drainage, which slows down sheep and dog. She did a good job with smaller unassisted drives. I’m getting better at catching her before she slides along the side of the bubble to fetch. She’s pretty solid on the bye side inside flank, but not the stopping part. After working her a while it became obvious that when I indicated a wayside flank, i might as well have been sending commands in French. We worked on that a bit. Near the end of the work session, she got a little frustrated and blew up her sheep. Part of this field is also the sorting and feeding areas, so blowing up her sheep really was just loosing the cover and off they went. My first instinct was to scream, but i kept it undercover when i saw her pitching out wide to collect everyone. Until i realized she was missing one and she was in a corner, out of my direct view. She stayed, looked back (Molly, what did you forget?) and as soon as she looked i went her around to the single. AI have to make a decision as i couldn’t see her or the single; walk up there or wait? I chose to wait because she went out and around him in a quiet way. Generally fetching a single is a bad idea, but loosing the group back there would have been a bigger PITA and they were distracted at the grain dispensers. I’m told the single bobbled a little, but she was patient and let him see his friends and thus the direction to go. Super proud of me for not interrupting her, and of her for keeping her head.
The most recent session had good points and bad. The wayside flank is coming along. YAY However, when we were bringing out sheep from the sorting area to the field, we lost them near the LGDs pen and they went nuts. Molly balked – she’s scared of them. Instead of helping her, i let Erin send her dog in and pull them out for us. In retrospect, this was a bad move as two sheep spent the entire rest of the working time turning on her. To the point where her confidence was so buggered that i put her on leash and had her drive that way just to keep her on track as she would turn her head and defer to the sheep.
While completely demoralizing, but somehow i get how she feels. I left her out there unsupported and pushed without offering any assistance. I know how that goes.