Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Herding, Training, and Frights

I am on a mini vacation this week - I go back to work tomorrow.

Monday I took Bug for a herding lesson. All I have to say is WOW. I repeatedly left the pen with my jaw on the ground. Who is this dog? I love him!

Seriously though, every lesson we have proves to me how much Bug LOVES herding (and he loves it more at each lesson). It is ridiculous.

Monday was sweltering and Diane had set our lesson up so that there was another student there. Bug would work for a bit and then the other student and her dog would work. The other dog was a PWC who doesn't have a lot of drive. I watched Diane have the dog's handler do a lot of the things she had me do with Bug to get her corgi excited. For example, she had her move the sheep from pen to pen - stop the dog before she moved into the second pen and throw a party.

With Bug we worked on flanking and the doggie two-step first. I flailed a lot less with my rake. I *almost* felt comfortable!

Then we spent a lot of time working on fetching. Bug suddenly has a down in the pen. He seemed to get (by osmosis I assume) that he needed to walk the sheep to me versus running at them and when I asked for a down I got it about 85 - 90% of the time. The times I didn't get it I put too much pressure on Bug. Diane said she felt like I was trying to intimidate him into it - so I need to work on that.

I am so happy I have found something that Bug enjoys so much!! I hope he will eventually find the same enthusiasm for agility he has for herding.

Yesterday we did some one-on-one basic training - the stuff I feel like (know) I neglect. We worked on nose-to-hand touch and down. Bug doesn't really know "touch" - how shameful is that! It was part of the curriculum in our Communications class, but we never really worked at it. Last night within less than 5 minutes I was getting a very solid nose-poke. So I will keep working on that. I am hoping I can use that on the start-line since right now I often feel like Bug and I aren't that connected there.

My other goal is to have a snappier down. We worked on it last night with food rewards and then today using a tossed toy as a reward. I am sure you can guess that the down was WAY faster for the toy!

Ike also had a training session last night. I need to do more with Ike. He was frantically offering behaviors he was so excited to play. I will have to look into getting him back into his Rally-O class. He really liked that.

As I was heading to bed last night I remembered I needed to do my entry for the Cumberland, Maine shows (8/28 & 8/29). The cut-off is today (Wed.) at noon. I went to InfoDog and was happily plugging in my info UNTIL it suddenly told me:

We are sorry, but we cannot accept this entry. This is a Non-MB-F show. In order for us to forward your entries to the proper Superintendent or Show Secretary in time, we cannot take entries after 08/11/09 12:00 PM eastern time.

Oh no!! I just about had a heart attack. Fortunately I was able to submit the entry through the Show Superintendent's web site. I guess I shouldn't wait until the last minute to do these - especially if I know I am doing the show!


Sara said...

Your herding lessons sound like so much fun. Glad Bug is having fun!

I'm working on hand/nose touches with Oreo right now too! Misty knows it, but I never really taught it to Oreo. I figure it will come in handy at all sorts of locations, never thought about using it on the startline, but that's a great idea!

Blue said...

That is VERY cool that Bug is having so much fun herding!

101mutts said...

Yay Buggie!

Hand touches are so easy to teach, too. It probably won't be hard to train them. Perhaps we'll end up doing Rally at the same time, if you go back to Seekonk.