We have been up to the usual stuff around here. Trying to keep dry already, yuck.
I've been taking the dogs out to Fido's and up to Whidbey Is. to work. Z has been doing really well. We have been focusing on the same stuff for a while. Mostly working on our outwork, getting really exact. I can now get him to do many things in his out work. Starting with the outrun, I can stop him anywhere and pull him, cross him over multiple times or push him out. At the top I can stop him short, flank him over, stop him on balance, or just blow a steady on the lift. I can also swing him around at any point on the fetch and cross drive the sheep. He will also gather them silently for the most part, usually needs a steady or 2 on the fetch. This tells me I can put him anywhere I want or he can find his way if I cannot help him. Pretty much perfect, he knows his job and is willing to listen. This has transfered over to our driving really well. I don't have the pace I want yet on the drive, but I am opting to leave it be for now. I can slow him down or speed him up, but the steady push isn't there yet, like it is on the fetch. I see him changing a lot and growing up almost every time I work him.
I've been really mindful of the gems I held onto from me most recent work with Scott Glen. I have him stopping really well, now I barely have to stop him at all. He's taking his steady fairly consistently and if that fails he will stop. I'm really, really working on not letting the sheep stop him. This is a bit troublesome on our fetch because he really feels my bubble at the end of it. Otherwise it pops up on the drive occasionally and I do my best to give him something to do besides stop as long as it makes sense. So many things to think about. I also have been working really hard to not push him on his sheep, Scott got after me a bit for this. So I have let him pick the pace, especially on heavier sheep. I know he can move though sheep and he doesn't give ground, so I'll just let him go slow in training . I also know at a trial I can speed him up on the heavier sheep if I need to, cross my fingers he doesn't grip ;) He's still a bit sticky if I stop him so I have been ultra aware of giving him something to do right away to get him moving again. I have implement a stay command to make the difference clear of when staying put is or isn't required. Interestingly enough he's beginning to drop to his belly if I tell him to stay, like when holding sheep. Normally he stops on his feet while working. Hoping this will become more and more clear to him. Honestly I probably hold sheep too much with him and this is not helping some of this sticky stop issue.
Guess that is all for now. Off to Vashon Is on Sunday for 1 Open run. Then we make a training trip to SD and have an AHBA trial at the end of the month. Oh and up to Arlington the first weekend of Nov. We will be busy!
Ruminating on Letting Go
1 week ago