This is my shot at blogging
I have a young dog named Z (JagXReece) and I have been preparing mightily for our up coming trip to the Bluegrass. We are entered and have 6 runs 4 Nursery runs and 2 Pro Nov / Open Ranch. Ok I'll be honest here, I'm starting to sweat a little bit.
I reflected on my training day yesterday. I see improvement in the out run at the top, the lift and I have good control on the fetch. Thanks Tanya for holding the sheep for me. Z is starting to find his own place back there and walk in with some more authority. My stop has gone to pot a bit, meh for now I guess. The trouble I was having is if I insisted on a stop and a quick one to boot, my pup began hesitating to walk up. Also as I began to insist he work farther behind the sheep and slow down his pace four things happened. First his nice flanks got even nicer, second he began to use his eye more and finally his stops were excellent all good things. The fourth thing that happened is a I lost a lot of forward. He began to question me and worry when I needed him to have a little more push. So now I am back to the other end of the spectrum, I just let him push, push, push. Fortunately, he's got a good steady on him and will flank nicely on the fly. Someday we will find the middle ground and I know I can get him stopped and backed off his sheep if I have to.
I have also been watching closely at the different types of sheep I have been working. I have to say I like my dog best on fast light sheep. He likes them even better if they try to beat him too. He handles these well, keeps himself well back off them and I get the results I was trying to get by insisting he stay back on some of the heavier sheep. Hmmm point to ponder.
Many things are happening at this stage that I would normally not worry at all about if it wasn't for the impending trip to the Bluegrass. I know my dog is good (thanks for the reminder Jeannie) we already have a qualifying Nursery score and have done well in other trials. I think I will stick with less is more for now, try not to break what works. That being said, I have a ton of homework to do after our return from Kentucky.