Last weekend we went to a training 'trial' at Fido's Farm in Olympia. A trail field was set up and sheep were held for you. Your runs were timed and you could do anything you wanted in that time. The panels were set up in as an open course.
It was extraordinarily helpful for showing me where our problems are. When Dianne is here next weekend I will have a better idea what we need to work on. I am sure she can get a handle on the issues with Brynn. The issues with me, well that is whole 'nuther problem, which cant be fixed in a weekend of lessons. It might require large doses of ADHD medication and a baseball bat - upside the head.
For example: The other day when I was working Brynn, Cindy brought it to my attention when I called her in for an inside flank I was not actually giving her a flank command. Just saying "here Brynn, that'll do" then nothing after that. Apparently Brynn is supposed to read my mind and know which direction I want her to flank. She is that smart, don't you know.
Not. Apparently, neither is her handler.
I know this a journey of time and miles. I can look back on video's of me working Beth two years ago and really see the difference. (Most obviously in the size of my back side.) Truthfully, I am happy with how Brynn has continued to progress rather than slide back after she came home from Dianne.
While the outrun/lift/fetch has gone to hell in a hand basket her driving is moving along nicely. The stickiness is fading and she is beginning to hold pressure and keep the sheep on line. There is still some over flanking going on, we haven't quite grasped the idea of a small flank yet - but she is getting there. With the progress in driving I have broken her 'lie down'. I am supposed to use "stand" for driving, as opposed to 'lie down'. Since I am handling impaired I continue to use "lie down" to get her to stop...and then when she doesn't I don't say anything. I can't get mad at Brynn for my consistent error in communication - the broken 'down' is on me. *sigh* Even with all that I am still as happy as a pig in slop with her progress.
I was wishy-washy this week about sharing this video - mostly because it isn't that great. I clearly have some handling issues, my commands are late, off time or just plain wrong. I am happiest with how Brynn is listening to me. The flow has improved significantly. She is nicely tucking the trailing sheep in and is starting to hold the pressure nicely. What I am reminded of when I watch this is how very much she wants to please me, she is such an honest little baby dog.
Please forgive the jumpy nature of the video - when it gets really hard to watch, just look away, I promise it does improve.
I love the entire journey I have been on with the dogs. I never imagined myself standing in the middle of a field, with a big smile on my face, tears in my eyes while I watch a little dog move sheep around...experiencing that perfect moment, when I am at one with my dog ...where nothing else outside of the teamwork between myself and Brynn enters my mind. Ahhhhh....perfect.
Footnote Giggle: When previewing this video Brynn came running into the room, whined at me and raced to the back door. I let her out and watched her run like a bat out of hell around the side of the house, and begin to frantically search for something in the back yard. When she didn't find it she came running back into the door and dashed back into my office. I followed her and found her front feet on my computer desk, her head tilted, looking at the speakers....she was trying to figure out where my voice and whistles was coming from - I giggled and giggled.
Do you have any idea how hard it is for me not to keep playing this video over and over again? Oh, so hard indeed.
4 hours ago