On Sunday I met Jorgen up on Whidbey Is. His puppy Bender is getting big and oh so cute. Bender seems to me a very mellow independent kind of guy. He came when he was called and wants some pets, but then he was wandering off to explore fairly quickly.
Z and I had an off day, we really didn't feel like we where stringing it all together. I really want to blame the week of sudden and ridiculous heat for wilting our ability to think and act. Yesterday was the first day of "reasonable" weather mid 60's heavy fog/light rain for the first bit of the morning. It was fairly humid too. Alright, enough whining.
First we practiced outruns. Jorgen was nice enough to hold the sheep. We placed them so the draw was directly behind the sheep and they didn't really want to be lifted or fetched easily. I really pushed him to get back and not cut in the little bit that he has been. I made him go around to 1200 every time on both sides. The sheep were cooperative and set pretty darn nicely. Z was starting to get it with less and less help from me. we stretched the distance out and changed the draw. It became very hard from him not to cut in once the draws were off to the side and not behind the sheep, even though the sheep were still setting very nicely. He kept listening and trying to do what I was asking him at the top. It is on its way to smoothing out.
We also worked a bit more on holding the pressure on the come bye side down the fetch. He still wants to give instead of turn their heads. I'v been calling him in, so he is not getting as far out. He's not really turning them until they are nearly to me. Once they are turned we cross drive them for a bit and then finish the fetch. This too is coming together.
On our second session we worked the Maltese cross. I focused on square flanks on both sides and being able to calmly move him one step at a time. He loves this kind of work. It took us forever to put them through the first side, I was really working the training aspect. The second side, we had a bobble at the mouth, but they went more expediently, but with a bit less finesse.
We did some driving which went ok. Z gets to a certain distance and he kind of takes over and stops listening some. We fought a little bit on that front. We worked on some shedding, but he kept getting hung up on the leaving set instead of coming through and holding the set I wanted. We finally muddled through and once he came through he was excited to do it again.
Over all though our work was sloppy. I felt like we weren't very connected to each other. He wasn't snappy about taking his cues nor was he as forward as usual. It seemed like he kept trying to slip into following the sheep rather than working the sheep on some of our driving.
Whiny Dog + Naggy Handler = Poor Work
Poor Work = Naggy Handler = Whiny Dog
Not sure which equation defines the situation yesterday the best. I could put any of these variables in any order her and it would make sense.
Feels very chicken and the egg, which is the really the cause and which is effect?
Ruminating on Letting Go
1 week ago