Sunday Bug and I had a herding lesson. We worked on off-balance work and our “That’ll do.”
In the off-balance work, the dog is driving the sheep from behind. Last lesson this was VERY difficult for Bug (and me) to understand. This lesson he did so much better. He was actually nipping at hocks (which is a GOOD thing according to Diane)! Ultimately your dog will be ahead of you driving the sheep forward. Right now Bug is more beside me. I am holding the rake over the sheep on its side pointing in the direction I want to go. This gives Bug guidance in regards to what is off limits (i.e. coming up the inside too far or going too far forward on the outside – unless he is pushing sheep back).
Bug thought the off-balance work was much more fun than fetching! I am really pleased with how he started to “get it.” What a HUGE difference from last lesson – he was not constantly trying to get to the heads. WOW.
Then we worked on our “That’ll do” I would send Bug around – back to the corner where he had been – when he settled ask for a wait/stop and then tell him that’ll do. He was definitely better than he has been lately. I did have to throw the rake to interrupt his path of travel a couple of times, but nothing like a few weeks ago.
Diane and I decided to make “wait” my stop word as Bug understands it and is much more responsive to it that asking for a down. With “wait” he gives me my down much more quickly!
Weather permitting we are scheduled for a lesson next weekend and the following weekend. Hopefully Bug will continue to improve. He also did not seem as stiff in the evening. He was still stiff, but not AS stiff. Progress!