Friday, October 10, 2014

Working Tessa

Friday is one of my dog working days.  I actually thought to time myself today, just out of curiosity for how long I spend on a typical session.

Thirteen minutes.

It was pretty much an average length session too, so I don't actually spend that much time training, which was a little surprising to me.  Whenever I go outside, I always find a zillions little things to do, so it ends up taking way longer than the actual training session.

Well, anyway.

We first worked on a little fetching and she was fast but wide.  I was pleasantly surprised at how wide she was working, without any pressure, and how square her corners were.  I think she was reading the jumpiness of the sheep.  I don't know why they were a bit jumpy, but they were.

I practiced a few off balance flanks, having her come a full circle around the sheep with some encouragement.   

Then we started a little driving.  She was still coming just a bit too far to the head, so I picked up the line she was dragging and guided her into "way to me", "there", "walk up" and so forth, down a fenceline, keeping the sheep at a steady walk.  After we'd gone about 100 feet I dropped the line but kept my body movements and commands the same.  She successfully drove another 100 feet or more, then I re-positioned myself to present a different visual picture to her, and sent her to gather them back.  We worked on some small fetches, then I had her drive them toward the gate.  This is a tricky area, because at first they will try to bolt away from the gate in two possible directions.  Then as they get close to it, they seem to realize the inevitable and RUN toward it as a draw.   Tessa handled it beautifully, taking my direction commands, then driving at a trot until I told her steady, which she did!  Yay Tessa! 

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