So yesterday I worked the young dog that is likely to be a new addition to my pack. Amber will be two in August and is a long-short hair mix. So not short haired, but not as much hair as either Scot or Beag. Overall I spent about an hour with her total for the morning. No idea why I didn’t take a photo. Next time I will be sure to do so.
My instructor/breeder didn’t really think she would work for me, so I took her out to the arena and tried to get her to work a largish group of sheep. At first she was more interested in drinking water and every little distraction grabbed her attention, but eventually I was able to garner her attention enough to start flanking the sheep. She wasn’t really taking voice commands, but she would honor the direction I wanted to send by my position. She showed good balance for me and did a great stop when I downed her. I tried whistles to no avail. Talking with Terry later I found out that she hadn’t started Amber on whistles so that made sense.
We did this for about 10-15 minutes just moving around the arena with me helping her flanking around the sheep, stopping and changing direction with a lot of praise whenever she did what I wanted. Extra praise for stops. I really want my next dog to have a good, solid stop since that is one of the frustration areas working with Scot. I love that she goes all the way down when she stops. Scot usually only stops his motion and doesn’t really LIE DOWN.
After resting awhile with me paying a lot of positive attention to her, we worked a smaller group of sheep in the big field. I tried to get her to do about a 50-75 yard outrun, but she was hesitant, but eventually made it above the sheep and brought them to me in a not too bad fetch. Then it was just some more simple flanking with me correcting and praising accordingly. I corrected her, just by stopping and repeating the ‘away’ or ‘come by’ until she took the direction I wanted her to.
Then I just started walking to see what she would do. She handled that great, moving to keep the sheep with me no matter what direction I chose. Flanking a little closer than I would like, but not enough to force the sheep into me as I walked. She was also very diligent about not letting the sheep wander or escaping. Overall very satisfying.
So when I went to report the results, Terry was surprised she paid that much attention and I made a comment saying we’ll see if she did OK at the house this week, she said to wait ’til she trained her up.’ So I have a few weeks to wait to see if she’ll fit in with Scot and Beag.
More to come . . .