Friday, March 4, 2011

More Herding and HRD

Blaze (Ilya)
Today, I went herding with Jubilee, and Macha, and Hunter--Jubilee continues to show that she knows what she's doing better than I. And she's going to make me be right so she can be right so the sheep can be right. IOW, don't get in front of her shoulder dummy, and let her balance. The first session she was very good--got out, balanced, downed when asked. Second session, she was a bit wound up and when she sped up instead of downing immediately, I thought maybe I should break and do a bit of "play my way or don't play at all" obedience, but T. said to set her up again and give it a go. So I did.

And Jubilee went hahahaha ..|. and proceeded to blow me off. *Then* we did some HI LOOK I DO EXIST obedience (which is just asking for her to focus on me around the sheep, down, here, no you don't get to try to run forward and grab a sheep tail when I call you away) and sent her around again--and she was beautiful and lay down when asked, and we quit there.

She needs me to have a zero tolerance policy--when I say down, that means RIGHT THEN. Not down in another 20 strides or after you speed up and try to slip by me then grab a tail and try to take down dinner. It's a good reminder--dogs do best with really clear criteria. Not gray lines, not criteria that change depending on the time of day, the mood you're in, or whether you're paying attention.

One day, I will have pictures of my dogs herding again.
Until then, you get pictures of  Blaze playing ball!
Macha was loverly. She needs a "stop" -- that is, I have to teach her a sit and down that isn't just me standing in front of her with cookies. More sits for a ball, with me beside her behind her in front, and more lie downs, same thing, and more stand stays. More stays in general so I can leave her in a stay and move toward the sheep so she can start doing some mini-gathers.

Hunter ... well I saw some things I really liked and I'm figuring out our communication issues. If I say sit, she downs, and if I say down, she has a micro-panic. So, I'll be using a "whoa" command that just means "stop there". But I got some lovely come-by gathers with good attitude and a nice, calm space. She likes the come-by (clockwise) work--so we'll be doing a bit more of that direction as she and I continue to build our communication bridge.

After morning herding (we started early!), I audited a search training seminar by Jonni Joyce--learned a lot just from listening. Learned that any discussion of cadaver dog training can be subpoena'd if your dog ever has to go to court about a find. So, it's generally inadvisable to talk much about cadaver dog training specifics other than your training logs.

At some point during the early afternoon, L. and I snuck off to take a few pictures of Blaze in his vest, doing his favorite thing EVER--playing ball. That was a lot of fun--Blaze reminds me a lot of his grandmother Frost. :). Also, I get awful bossy when you put a camera in my hands--Go over there. No, there. Back up. Further. Do that again. Stand still. Throw it again. Not at my head!!!!  Other side of the road. No, the other other side!

 And then I got to see Nora for the first time in months and months! She GREW!!!!

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