|Ganesh, opener of ways|
|Sprite and Hank, competitors|
|Luke and Pepper, visitors|
On sheep, Hank would not drive to the panels, and I was very frustrated with him just standing there holding the sheep. But I did get some very helpful advice from Shannon Wolfe on how to work on that, so I'm trying it. I went by there for a lesson later on.
First of all, Hank is slipping side to side because I have not taught him to hold a line, so he's following the sheep; he tends to miss the panels because he's not on a line (not a rope, but a straight line with the sheep), and then when I get excited and give a bunch of commands he gets worried and looks back to me. Then, he doesn't want to push into them because of the worry so he stands and holds them. Also, he needs work on taking the inside flank.
So, the first thing to work on is how I start the drive. Instead of just saying "walk up" and letting the dog take it from there, I am now giving a couple of flanks to get the sheep headed the right direction, and then saying "there, walk up". This shows the dog where the line will be and lets them learn to hold it. I wasn't expecting instant results with this, but it seemed to really help him out right away.
The second thing was to brush up on the inside flanks, which we did by flanking him from the balance point around 360 degrees several times. Then to be next to him while driving and emphasize "HERE, away" or "HERE, go bye".
The third thing was to have him drive them into a corner and then keep driving them until they scatter and he has to come out and cover. It's very important to stay calm and let him know it's fine if he makes a mess, he knows how to fix it again. This should get to his reluctance to push in. The first few times I tried it he was really slipping side to side and letting them go around the corner, but then he figured out what I wanted and was actually driving them straight into the corner.
It's really helpful to have a good trainer take a look at your dog and figure out what you need to do to improve.
All these things are working with the younger dogs too so I can hopefully head any problems off before they start.
|Shannon's dog Miska working in the pens|
Aside from a flood in the RV and some rainy weather some of the days, Nationals was really good for me this year and I had a great time seeing everyone there. I can't wait for the next one!