This weekend was the Scott Glen clinic at Fido's Farm in Olympia. Amazingly the weather wasn't too horrible. The clinic was full of information and lots of laughter. Scott is an excellent instructor.
This is going to be a shorter post than I wanted to write. Typing is difficult right now as I am fighting an infection in my hand and I have had a fever all weekend. I feel yucky.
I was able to download over a 1000 pictures and 8 gigs of video I shot. I need to sort through and edit the good stuff. I should have it done in a few days, doG willing, then I can share it here.
I learned several important things about myself and Beth this weekend. The Beth I work in class or clinics - is not the same dog I work in the field alone. She is a little Miss Jekyll & Hyde. *sigh* She is sweet, timid, demure, lopes slowly on every outrun, constantly looking back for direction. Basically she acts like she is completely whooped when I am with an instructor. It was particularly noticable with Scott. There have even been a few times I have been out there with Chris that Beth will quit working and head for the gate. It appears she is shutting down under any pressure from someone she doesn't know. I am not so sure that's what happening...
After watching her do this through three sessions with Scott and listen to Scott tell me that I need to work on building her confidence - I started to doubt myself. Scott assumed I over corrected her 'mistakes' and wasnt allowing her to build enthusiasm. He said I needed to ignite the spark to get the right attitude and let her have fun. To his credit - he is right, from what he saw of Beth. I can understand exactly why he was saying that & I am no one to second guess his assessment. Given what he observed - Scott rightfully felt that I had been over correcting her and created this shy timid scared dog.
Right before lunch on Sunday while other clinic participants were working their dogs I decided to take her out in the field she was familiar with and let her rip. I didnt correct her, I just let her "ingnite her spark". Suffice it to say I had to pull wool out of her teeth a few times & once ran like h*ll across the field when she slammed sheep up against the fence.
When I am in the field with her alone she is a B-R-A-T...She flies around the field like her arse is on fire, cuts in on almost every flank, hits the sheep like a wrecking ball & flosses her teeth. I can get control over her and eventually get some really pretty work but it does take a little bit. I am overwhelmed with controlling her and since I have not gotten any instruction on how to handle her acting like this I am lost most of the time. It is frustrating...
I went to lunch late and brought the tuft of wool to Scott to show him. I explained that Beth has no lack of 'spark' or enthusiasm.
That afternoon Scott had me take Beth out into the field alone while he sat in the tent to observe. Beth showed her true colors - shot across the field like a bullet, cut the top off her flank and scattered the sheep like a cluster bomb & grabbed ahold of one for a little ride. Scott said "That is the attitude I was talking about". Then Scott showed me some drills and exercises I can do to help her. He also told me trying to trial Beth would be a complete disaster. Good thing I didnt intend on trialing her....ever. I am very discouraged.
I am going back to basics with Beth until I get a grip on how to handle the schizophrenic firecracker. We cannot progress until I solve the flanking issue. I think Beth isn't the one who needs to build confidence. It is ME. I need to feel good about what I am doing and what I expect from her. My confidence will build her confidence and then we can get past this passive/agressive attitude of hers and progress.
We are going back to Fido's tomorrow to watch shearing and get some more practice in. I am also going to start seriously training Bonnie this week. My goal is to work the dogs every day for the next seven days - so I can build on the things I learned in the clinic.
While talking to fellow clinic participant (another novice like me) I learned of clinic in Caldwell Idaho organized by Diane Deal with Patrick Shannahan aimed at novice handlers and young dogs/puppies. I called today and signed Bonnie and myself up. It is May 3rd & 4Th.
Next month is the clinic with Karen Child that I have been anxiously waiting for.
Is it possible to attend too many clinics? Sometimes I think all the knowledge is good - but then I wonder if it isn't confusing me on some level? I would love to hear from you if you have taken many different clinics from different instructors. Was it helpful or detrimental?
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