“Let the games begin”.
Maybe, It’s more like … let the “practice” begin. The pups are rapidly becoming dogs. They all think they want to work, but not all are mentally ready. Will be a challenge for me as they are all different. It’s been a long hot summer – hoping for a cool fall and winter so I can decide who to keep and who to sell. Right now it’s a “toss up”.
CORE: Is more than “ready and willing” and almost ready for “real” training. He is calm minded, smooth moving, biddable and loves to work with me. All this makes him very enjoyable to work and sheep seem to like him (always a bonus). I have been taking it slow and easy on actually “training” on him because I know he can be sensitive. My approach is slowly changing as he is maturing. He is still sensitive off stock but getting “firmer” minded on stock. He always seemed to take more “pressure” on sheep, but I would rather be “safe than sorry” knowing his nature.
He has great balance and eye and feel. He can hold “Away” side pressure without over or under flanking. He tends to “fall” in behind on his Come Bye side and I’ve been working on -pushing him to “over flank” past balance – to get him more flexible and bendable on that side. He looks as if he will be easy to teach to drive (especially if I start driving with him on that side – Which I don’t want to do until he’s covering better). He wants to please and keeps me in mind when he’s working. That adds up to a lot in my book – having a dog that enjoys working with you makes all those training hours more enjoyable.
COVE: is as nice but different from her brother. She is very reactionary and tends to be “jerky” in her movements if her minds not settled. So, I’ve been working on her mind through her body. If she reacts I lie her down until she’s settled enough to flank calmly and smoothly. So, for now all work will be up close. Sheep don’t “lean” on her like they do with Core mostly because of her tension. I do think she will have pace when she learns to work calmly. She’s “wired” in regular life also – so can’t change her character but can change how she reacts to sheep.
She is of the nature if you “get on” her she will just go faster (Core tends to back off to much – totally different in that area). She can also tend to grip if the tension gets the best of her – something I don’t want to encourage – so she will be brought on slow and easy. She really thinks fast and furious is so much more enjoyable but since she is so driven to work – she can take training. However, training will be paced so she learns to work sheep with her mind more than her body.
NEX: is way to young to train BUT, don’t tell her that! She is driven to work, but driven doesn’t mean she is ready for actual training. I take her out every once in awhile and let her go both ways around sheep. No training – just exposure with very dog broke sheep.
RIM: is a very old gentle soul. He’s calm, cool and very biddable. He’s also very immature – his instincts are “kicking” in, but he’s not even close to being mentally or physically ready. So, I do the same as I do with Nex – exposure once a week or so. He doesn’t seem to have a lot of eye … but again since I haven’t backed him off (and won’t until I feel he’s ready) … so, can’t really say.
RAIT: Is on “injured reserve”. She keeps getting lame on me – so she’s “laid up” for a month until I can sort it out. Kept thinking it was her pads but don’t want to chance it.