Monday, August 17, 2009

More Herding

Yesterday Bug and I had a herding lesson. It was SOOOO hot and yet my boy kept working.

We worked on flanking, driving, and the doggie two-step. I am definitely becoming more comfortable with the rake and my timing is improving. It is a testament to how much Bug likes the sheep that he puts up with my bad timing and novice handling!

We are also starting to put words to things.

I think I have figured out why his "down" in the pen was suffering. On occasion, when Bug is being a nincompoop and cannot get himself in check I will ask him for a down as a sort of time out. I wonder if I have accidentally made down into a punishment?

Needless to say we will be working on lots of downs with high value rewards (toy/tugging or something he doesn't get often as a treat).

After our lesson Diane told me where there is a lake less than 2 miles from her house. I took Bug for a swim and he actually SWAM. He didn't just wade! I was very excited to see him paddling away. I think he was a bit weirded out by it, to be honest. I need to get him swimming more often.

It was the perfect end to his herding lesson. He stayed cool for the rest of the afternoon.


101mutts said...

I wonder if the down is harder because you ask for it when he's beginning to get more worked up, too. Just a thought. If you play tug with him and added the down into the tug routine, "tug, tug, Bug starts to get more worked up, down, (maybe an occasional food reward) and then tug again" maybe you could get a similar situation.

Ahhh. Dogs and water. So cute that he swam. At an agility trial, Cat once said "Fast dog, just add water!" It's so true. That is a much quoted adage around our house.

Jules said...
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Jules said...

It is absolutely harder for him because of the stimuli. However, he has a very slow down all of the time and I think this is because I accidentally conditioned it to be a negative. :-(

I have been using the tug or a toy almost exactly as you describe to work on his downs. They are definitely faster when there is a toy involved. the good thing is the sheep are so rewarding to him - the sooner he downs the sooner he gets to move to the sheep.

He was super-cute swimming! (I mis-spelled CUTE 1st post.)

101mutts said...

I play a game with Tom calling him (sometimes from a wait) and then throwing in a fast down. He thinks it's fun.

Good luck!

Nancy said...

Yeah for Bug on his herding and his swimming. Stewie loves the water, but he is still just wades. Are you going to any NADAC trials in Wrentham this fall? Maybe we will see you
Nancy and Stewie

Jules said...

We might have to go to CT in September and miss the Addicted trial. Not sure yet - BUT we will definitely be there in October. Hopefully we'll see you there!

Lola said...

Rebel loves herding, but I have to say that I find it very difficult! Agility comes easier to me, especially with Mojo. He makes me look really good ;)

Do you go to Diane Menard for the herding lessons?

Jules said...

I find herding REALLY, REALLY challenging, but that is why I got suckedinto it. Agility does come easier for me, too.

Yes, I train with Diane - she rocks.

Jules said...

I meant to ask if you train with Diane?