Yesterday Bug and I had a herding lesson with Diane. We worked on small outruns, fetching, and some flanking. We also worked on Bug holding his stay.
Diane had me put Bug in a stay and walk up to the sheep - touch them - and return to Bug. Then she has me walk up to the sheep and around them and return to Bug. Unfortunately Bug found me touching and walking around the sheep VERY exciting and broke his stay FREQUENTLY. I got in trouble for relying on my line to stop him instead of blocking him with my rake. I think Diane had to yell at me a couple of times about that before it sunk it. Bug is funny because he knows stay and we now practice stays while dropping toys, etc - but toys do not equal sheep! He finally did a couple of nice stays and we moved on to fetching.
Our second time in the ring Diane had us move the flighty sheep into one pen and move the heavier sheep down from another pen into the control pen. We did this by me opening the gate and placing Bug in a stay right inside the gate. Then moving half-way between him and the sheep and sending him around on a small outrun. Then I stopped him before entering the next pen. It worked quite smoothly.
Next Diane had me place Bug in the far side of the control pen in a down and go over to open the gate and let the sheep into the big field. Bug was able to hold his stay until I jangled the gate trying to open it, then he would break his stay. So, we worked on this for quite some time before I was FINALLY able to get the gate open and let the sheep into the big field.
Then we did a small outrun in the BIG field and fetched the whole bit of it. Wow!! We also changed directions with me walking through the sheep and reversing Bug's direction. I don't think we have ever done that before. Bug was pretty excited before getting into the big field and I wasn't sure if he was going to be a nut with all that space but he worked so well. I am really proud of him.
Something off that was happening yesterday, was that I would put Bug in a down after fetching for a bit and return to him, give him a long stroke and then say "that'll do." Last week he was moving away with the "that'll do" very easily. This week he was trying to charge the sheep each time - as though either I had given him permission or he was just attempting to get in some more sheep time. It was odd. However, Diane said she has a good exercise that will break that habit in a snap.
All in all it was a great lesson. I have a trial next weekend so I plan on trying to get a lesson in this week.
6 days ago