I took a couple of days off from training recently and boy did it make a differance. Both dogs, Kate and Wage were kept in there runs except for a morning walk with the rest of the pack. I cut back also on the number of sheep in the training area and it was as if someone held a match to there butts.
Kate has always been strong on stock but weak on handler pressure. She is now hitting hard when she does a lift, something to be corrected later, and balancing like she has been doing it all her life. She is starting to listen to commands and will bring sheep to me no matter where I am. Some more practice on sides then I will introduce her to the whistle then back to cattle where she originally started.
Wage also looks like he finally figured it out and is much stronger. When he lifts the sheep he still wants to come around and head. I stop him with a walk up command and for the most part it works. What I'm seeing is he should be a very good, strong dog by the time he is 1 year old. The next step in his training is sides and working the length of the training area in out runs.
Here in lies a problem with the fetch and lift. In the trial world you are always working towards square flanks. In the real world if your dog is using ssquare flanks he is wasting so much time and energy that chances are the job will not get done or he may miss some of the stock. So how does one solve this problem? I have used 2 word commands in the past: ie Away to me or Go bye. I will explore these 2 word commands in a later post.
Until next time Onward and upward