After almost exactly a year off (I think our last lesson last year was late December - injury occurred in January) Bug and I had a herding lesson.
I felt so much anxiety as I was warming Bug up. I got to D's early so I could walk, jog, and stretch him. I was anxious about how rusty I would be and whether Bug would be stiff after the lesson or not.
We worked on flanking and some small outruns. We had previously done A LOT of fetching and we worked a bit on that today. The sheep were very light and Bug needed to give them more space then he was used to in order for them not to run me over. That didn't go so hot, nor did our driving.
The biggest thing I noticed is that I fell back into my very early habit of watching my dog and not my stock. Oh, bad handler. Given it was a somewhat easy habit to break previously I hope it will be again! Bug was MUCH better about stopping and downing than he was a year ago. We have worked a lot on that and his down has gotten pretty snappy.
He was VERY sensitive to the rake. He has always been sensitive to the rake, but if you didn't know better you would think I have been beating him with it in my spare time. We switched to the stock stick fairly early.
D said a lot has changed in the way she is teaching things and I am really curious how. What I appreciate about D and continue to appreciate is how she adjusts for each dog. She is very cognizant of what they need.
Depending on how Bug feels tonight we will either continue working sheep or switch to ducks. We will likely be working ducks this winter anyway. D has a new indoor arena that she has access to so we can train all winter!! I am so excited because usually our last lesson would be at the end of December and we wouldn't get back on sheep until around early April - depending on the weather, lambing, etc.
The weather was perfect - cold, but sunny. Bug was so happy - you could see it in his carriage. I was rusty, but it went better than I expected. The only downer is the sheep did knock me about a bit so hopefully they didn't knock me out of alignment. One year they knocked me out of alignment every week!
4 days ago