I’ve been training Bond for about 6 months and so far I really like him. You never know as I’ve had some I thought were exceptional workers but never made top trial dogs. You don’t know that until you go to the post … numerous times.
He’s at that “fun” age where he is putting into practice all the things he’s learned and understanding the “how and why”. In other words he’s actually working now … not just being trained. He “gets” the job and puts his mind to how to accomplish it while connecting with me. When I give a wide flank you can see him think … “GOT IT” …if I go wider I can fix the problem.
Anyway, I will report occasionally on his progress. Here is a video of him when he first starting to work which I will also update. –
An issue came up this week that I thought was intriguing:
To teach young dogs how to really drive (not just follow sheep) I use my field’s pressure. I have them take the sheep away from the holding pen where the sheep tend to want to break back. This helps a young dog learn to drive, push, flank and hold all at the same time. He is doing well although does over flank but since he goes right back to pushing (he doesn’t head them or catch their eye) … I let him. Not a trait I want to cultivate but I DO want him to PUSH and drive — I will let him FIRST figure out how to push and THEN later I can put the finesse on. Right now, I simply say “there – there” and let him take them. I will work on lining him out after he understands the actual concept of driving.
A lot of novices try to get to step F before they have step A. First a dog needs to learn HOW to drive before you demand precision.
However, the interesting part came when I decided to have him drive toward the “light” side (which is usually easier). The sheep moved effortlessly off him and he became confused. He was so use to resistance that he didn’t know how to handle the “floating” feeling of sheep just moving away without pressure. So, we worked on letting him “just keep up” with the sheep instead of controlling them. Sometimes I had to flank him as he was so worried they would get away that he wouldn’t just walk on. However, when I flanked him I didn’t let him totally head them – I stopped him when he caught their eye and they slowed to a walk. This allowed him to understand he could still control them at a distance as well as up close.