I have been working the young dogs - Sally, Tessa and Pepper. Tessa is really standing out as a very biddable dog lately. She is calm and serious, never quits but is willing to do what I say, stop, walk up, whatever. Sally is still mostly about fetching, but after we had a little discussion about down still being down even with sheep she's doing better on that. Before she would stop and stand but not down. I had to tie her to a gate and have her down far away from me several times with no sheep in the picture because she didn't really get that it was the same command far away from me as it was at my feet. The two pups are very different and my mom and I decided that Sally takes after Smudge more and Tessa takes after Emma- Sally prefers circles and staying out of the pressure, catching the eye to turn them, but then going back out on a circle- where Tessa thrives on hooking up to pressure and taking them somewhere, preferring to walk straight rather than to circle. So to keep each dog balanced up, I work Tessa with a lot of turns and fetching, and I'm working Sally with more driving and trying to straighten her line behind the sheep with more stop/ walk ups than I do with Tessa.
Pepper, after almost 2 weeks off, acted like a wild hooligan the first time back at work, running through the sheep when I tried to have her drive. I must have worked her for 45 minutes to an hour that day and really got on her about ignoring my down commands. Like I told her at the time, she may be a stubborn bitch, but I am even more of one. The next day she was behaving again, and she's been good since then. She really does need consistent work at this point. I worked the ducks with her a bit this week too and she did pretty well. She tends to zip around a little, but is getting steadier.