Monday, November 2, 2009

Brynn's Lesson with Scott Glen

Due to my camera at the hands of my husband, the pictures from our Scott Glen lessons are not great.  I am trying to go through them and pick out the best.  I will be posting them slowly. 

John shot a very long video of Brynn's lesson with Scott (Scott gave his permission to film it).  John propped the camera on a post and ate sunflower seeds (which you can hear).  The wind was blowing (you can hear that too) and he forgot to zoom in - so the video is at a long distance.  You can hear Scott occasionally...and often hear my nervous laughter.  Mostly you just get to see Brynn zipping around the sheep.

But what warmed the cockles of my heart?  I thought she was awesome and Scott said she was a "right good pup" or something like that.

In my lesson Scott took me back to basics.  How to use the flag correctly.  Flick it, get the reaction, turn her nose...then put it away.  Don't keep snapping it over and over at her & desensitize her to it.  He showed me how & when to walk into her to get the distance I need off the sheep.  He reminded me "she goes where her nose follows".  Where her nose is pointed - she will go in that direction.  Among other things.

These are things I didn't do correctly with Bonnie and now I am paying the consequences.

We talked a lot about my relationship with my dogs.  It is showing in the instruction process.  I am still trying to wrap my brain around it and hopefully I can explain this correctly.  From what I understood Scott believes the relationship you have with your dog is indicative of how they will work for you. 

I can see where he is coming from.  If they get my love, affection and approval (for lack of any other word) just for breathing it could interfere with their drive to work for me.  Which in turn may contribute to the lack of work ethic.  

One thing that really pleased me in this lesson was Brynn's reaction to Scott.  I finally have a dog that doesn't seem to be fazed by an instructor like Scott.  Bonnie has a history of high tailing it out of the field when she feels pressure from an instructor (Pat Shannahan, Karen Child, Scott Glen).  You name it.  Beth doesn't respond to pressure well either.  Especially with Scott - I have a different dog during the lesson than I have in the field by myself.

Scott gave me some excellent things to think about.  Perhaps I am creating this lack of desire to work under pressure?  What is your opinion?  Do you think if your dogs sleep in your house and/or spend the majority of their days with you - are in all respects pampered - do you think that impacts the quality of their work?  Or drive to please you?  I am still trying to process this in my head...I would love to hear your thoughts.

Brynn made me happy...*insert goofy happy grin here*.  She is wonderful.  I love her oodles.   While the video quality is poor, hopefully you can see that she is keen, comes nicely into balance consistently - she is quick, but she is thoughful.  I could see her brain working - thinking, and processing every step she took.  Mind you, I know she is only 10 months old and not ready for serious training yet.  Anything I do with her over he next few months will be light, fun and easy. 



On the other hand....I am not happy about seeing my fat lardy butt hoofing it around the field.  My weight loss effort has stalled - actually it has come to a grinding halt, and even reversed (I have gained some back).  I hit a plateau & have been going through a very stressful period and gave up.  I need to get back on the wagon and try again.  Dang left over Halloween candy isn't helping...

14 comments:

Lynn said...

Just throw the candy away!! You can do it!!

Lynn said...

Oh, and "Yea, Brynn!! Woo hoo!!"

Jaenne said...

I believe it's different for each dog in their own situation. Take Mo - brought into a home with one other dog that has confidence problems. She had to be confident for the both of them. I "raised" her to be not only a stock dog but an agility dog as well so I did a lot of relationship building. This molded the working relationship that I have with Mo. Even though I have decided not to do agility with her (and not likely with any other dogs I may end up with), the relationship building is something I will do with any pup that I raise. Nothing in life is free...We both have to give to get what we want...whether it's sheep or a squeaky toy.

Amy said...

I do think relationship is key, but I don't think 'depriving' a dog of time with you gives them more of a work ethic. Perhaps you might find this helpful? Or maybe not, I don't know. Just say it posted on facebook today.
http://www.dogstardaily.com/blogs/your-dogs-just-not-you
(Probably not qualified to give an opinion as I have no herding credentials at all.)

Diana said...

I know lot of people believe that concept of "nothting is free" to make a working dog. The dog only comes out to work. I think my dog has a good work ethic. But if I cant have my dog in my house and sleep in or next to my bed then I dont want a dog. I dont know what the right answer is but I guess it depends on how "great" you want to be at sheep herding. Plus arent your dogs resecues that you didnt get as puppies,except Brynn? I feel that adds a whole new set of problems into the mix. So many more issues to over come then just regular training stuff. Well, thats my 2 cents. Diana

sheepkelpie said...

Every dog is so different- my Lucy lays on my bed every night with me, and perhaps that colors how we do in trials (I chalk it up to genetics, and her personality more than anything). At the end of the day, the old saying "I gotta be me" comes into play. You do what you are comfortable with, and to heck with anyone who tries to force otherwise.

fulltiltbcs said...

I ADORE my dogs...love them with all my heart, but they are raised to be respectful and listen. They live in the house...but are raised as working dogs...I do both stockwork and agility and my dogs have never not wanted to work as they are raised in all aspects of it. But I can see a difference in other people's dogs that are given the creature comforts...and not had much asked of them. I think it really depends how they are raised...

sheepkelpie said...

I think you can give "creature comforts" and still have a dang obedient dog. My pup is one. Some dogs lean toward automatic obedience, some not so much, but if you give them structure and rules, you will still have a good dog.

Emma Rose said...

You know, I have seen this subject a couple of times recently. At first it made me very uncomfortable because I do fuss over my dogs. But I realized that what is good for someone else doesn't have to be good for me. Emma is my "heart" dog. She knows it and I know it. We cherish our snuggle time together each day. She LOVES being fussed over and will do anything for that "spoiling" attention. She is my best friend. I have close friends that have an outside dog and I wonder why they even bother having a dog.

Just my opinion :)

The Duchess

Monique said...

I think dogs can be cherished without being spoiled. I try to be consistent with my dogs from day one about what I allow and do not allow. I do try to shape what they enjoy to be the same things I enjoy.

That being said - my dogs are house dogs and pets before anything else. Magick sleeps on the bed and has many high level agility titles. Zora is my papillon princess and is one of the top 10 8" agility dogs nationwide in 4 classes last year. Lucy (though she isn't mine) sleeps in the house, gets treats and gets attention for things not related to work. At the same time I do expect my dogs to operate within a fair degree of structure in the house.

I do NOT believe that being an adored pet and an excellent working dog are mutually exclusive. I think Lucy is a good example of that (perhaps I just have red-dog-colored glasses...). However, I do agree with Scott in one aspect, (based on my own conversation with him - similar topic) which is a dog who does not respect and look to please the handler in the home is even less likely to do so on the field.

I do not believe dogs are born to respect people. However I do believe in teaching then appropriate behaviors are very rewarding (ie lying on your dog bed is awesome and you get attention/petting, lying down at balance is awesome and you get your sheep). I think being fair, particularly in behaviors being consistently rewarded or extinguished is key in building a healthy working relationship with the dog.

wine_goddess said...

Went to see a Sheep Herding Dog Demo in Scotland, outside Inverness (can't remember the guy's name, but he's famous); He said "I have certain dogs that work for Me, and certain dogs that work for Themselves... and then there's this guy (referring to one that just doesn't get it)" Just as not every dog (even if by breed terms you think they should) are good at agility, it seems not every BC is good at, or loves, herding. Some may be perfectly content with you, a field, and a tennis ball. So it's your choice: can you accept that dog for who it is? Or will you make you both crazy trying to cram a square peg into a round hole? Best wishes!

Monique said...

The best piece of advice I've ever heard for any handler, any venue (and more than once!):

"Work the dog you have, not the dog you wish you had."

Pat A said...

Loved seeing Brynn out there.

Doing all you do with the dogs I do not think would cause a problem. What could cause one is if you let them call the shots in some of it. When Trax returns a ball and puts it down 10 feet away I say " I cannot reach it " usually then it is put at my feet but if he tries to just bring it a little closer, I cross my arms and look away from him and then it is right at my feet.
Just set the rules in each thing you do with them and stick to them and the dogs will still love doing them with you.

Having fun with your dogs is the most important thing.

Laura Carson said...

You'll get as many differing opinions as the day is long. Nick and Linc I've both had from puppies - and Nick will turn himself inside OUT to do what I ask of him. He sleeps in my armpit all night long. Linc is in it for himself a bit more than Nick - and he sleeps in a crate at night. *shrug* Dogs are different, and your relationship with each dog is different. You're doing a great job with them IMO!