Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Notes from Scott Glen Lesson

Yesterday I had a lesson with Scott at Fido's Farm with Brynn.  It was awesome.  Brynn loved him.  She worked like a dream. He was able to help me fix some 'patterning' I had created with Brynn on her outrun.  I have taken several lessons & clinics with Scott in the past, it was nice to see him again.  

When I have taken lessons with Scott in the past it has been with Beth.  Beth shuts down on the field with him.  Brynn was another story - she loved him.  She even sat next to his feet, wiggled her butt and gazed at him with adoration. 

Over the past 18 months I made a commitment to choose one trainer and stick with it.  My choice was Dianne Deal.  I made that choice because I did not have a deep enough knowledge base to work from.  I was taking lessons from several excellent trainers who had different techniques.  Because I did not have enough experience I became confused and felt that trainers were contradicting each other - which left me confused & frustrated.

Now that I have some time, miles (and additional pounds) under my belt I am able to take suggestions and different training techniques for what they are, information for me to use and build from - using what works for me, and my dogs, without becoming intimidated or break down in tears because I cannot understand why Scott does things differently than Patrick, or Karen says to do this, when Dianne told me that...and if I do that then it will break my dog and it will be all MY FAULT!  Blah blah blah.  

I talked to Dianne about it and she encouraged me to take a lesson with Scott, so I went for it.  I was glad I did.  

Here are some notes  I took right after my lesson.  Be forewarned, they might not make a whole lot of  sense to anyone but me.  

  • When you say the command you need to expect the result - not just suggest it.  For example:  When you say "lie down" EXPECT her to lie down. 
  • Being quiet in your command is a good thing - but command shouldn't sound like suggestions.   Don't ask, tell.   If you say something don't suggest it or ask her to lie down.  TELL HER and EXPECT the result.  Anything else is just noise. 
  • The relief from pressure is not in the command, it is in doing the right thing
  • They are dogs, growling means something.  At the end of the day they are still dogs - talk in their language (preferably with Scottish/Canadian accent). 
  • You can pattern a bad choice if your handling is consistently wrong. To fix that you have to fix yourself, not the dog.
  • Saying her name brings her in to you...her name is not a correction.  On the outrun if you say her name it only works to bring her in to you.  Works against the objective of getting her wider.
  • Saying her name does not provide information.   If you are going to say something, provide information that makes sense.   If you want her further away from you, why would you say something that typically makes her want to come to you? 
  • Inside flanks should be soft, not harsh.
  • With Brynn the outrun goes to hell before 9 or 3.  Send her from my feet, if she is too narrow, lie her down.  Walk up to her, put pressure on her.  She knows what she needs to do. Send her again, if the nose does not bend out, repeat.  ONLY send her from my feet, stop sending her when I am 1/2 way up the field, she is beyond that.  She knows what she needs to do at the top.  If her outrun is correct (wide) she is excellent at the top. 
  • MUST PRACTICE LIFTING OFF STRANGE PEOPLE  (strangers, not weird :)
  • Shut up and let her think - provide information that makes sense. 
  • Anticipate the result of your command - if she is correct leave her alone.
  • A correction does not need to be over the top, just timed right.  
  • She is an honest dog, she tells you her intentions and listens, but she will run over the top of you if you are not going to back it up. 
  • Use stupid sheep to your advantage, make it a training opportunity.
  • Flow can't happen if she fights with the sheep, get her off their butts.   Some dogs see 50 sheep as one, others see a flock of 50 as 50 different sheep.  Brynn sees 50 individual sheep, if she is too close she is overwhelmed and can't see the big picture. 
  • You need to learn how to shed.

Not many things surprise Scott.  However, squealing while landing on your ass in the mud startles him a wee bit.


Monique said...

I want to be Scott when I grow up. Accent inclusive.

PS My verification word was "shedsem" -- get it, sheds 'em ? HAHA

Bordershot said...

Thank you for sharing this!

Greetings from Germany

Hillbilly Betty said...

Great notes! Sounds like a good lesson.

Country Girl said...

Oh - you made me lol. The falling on your butt bit. Isn't it funny how experience can make a world of difference! Glad you're enjoying the journey! And keep telling those wonderful stories. (with pictures please...)

Karen said...

It makes a lot of sense, and a lot of it can be applied to other things besides herding.

Donna said...

Sounds like you got a lot out of the lesson. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I could relate to a lot of it.

Although I have an Aussie and am training for arena trials, I've attended some clinics with BC field trial folks (Patrick Shannahan and Jack Knox) and watched some field trials. You touched on a phenomena that I found interesting--American handlers using some version of a Scottish accent. I'm not sure what the Aussie arena trial handler equilivant to that would be. Maybe cursing in an American Southwest accent : )

Anonymous said...

Sounds like you had a great lesson and I love Scott’ism, thanks for writing it down. I am pretty sure that 90% of his lessons sound something like that. It is interesting how contagious his accent is, you can usually tell when his disciples are running pretty quick.
Many dogs likes him, my guess is because the timing is not all messed up.