Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Working Sheep....

makes for a tired, content dog!

Reese wiped out. 

Last weekend Reese and I attended a Kathy Knox herding clinic. It was a long drive but we had a great time with the friends we went with. Reese and Spot a dog that we roomed with are now pretty good buddies. The second morning at 5:30am they decided it was time to play... um no, I don't think now is an appropriate time...k  thx.

Reese worked in a round pen and the sheep we used were really nice and perfect for her. They moved off the fence real easily and that is one thing she needs. 

Reese is lacking in confidence when she gets too close to the sheep, she will ignore corrections and will not give to pressure from either the handler or the stock. 

The method used last weekend is to correct the wrong and leave the right alone.  The dog chooses his/her actions and they will get the consequences.  Either she will get her sheep back to work or she won't. I love this way of working the dogs. It is a very natural way of training.

The first time Reese worked she was mess, wouldn't acknowledge the trainer, wouldn't take a correction, and couldn't feel any pressure from the stock or the trainer. the end of the weekend, she was trying so hard to do what was right. She took a correction, she gave to the trainer and stopped trying to beat her and she started to feel the pressure from the trainer. She was by far the most hard headed little thing at the clinic. She is very smart, won't back down and will work every angle to get what she wants - the sheep.

Reese gives the slightest indication of when the pressure should be released off of her. A flick of the ear or tail, a very slight head tilt etc. She also does not like raised voices or yelling, when that happens she immediately shuts you out, and starts working alone and only for herself.

Reese needs to learn to trust the handler that the hander is there to help not there to make it harder for her. It is a partnership this stockwork, the dog can't do it without the handler and the handler needs the dog.

The changes from the first day of the clinic to the last were huge. Watching her work that last run I had tears in my eyes, and I was beaming. She did it!

This weekend we were lucky enough to get into another clinic. This one is with both Kathy and Jack Knox. Reese is right on the cusp of really starting to see the light and get some bad habits and things that were trained into her that shouldn't have been fixed. Hopefully, with the opportunity this weekend presents, she will be well on her way to being a different stock dog by Sunday night. Well on her way to being the stock dog I know she can be!

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