The bad part about three days of working dogs, like all good things, is that we have to stop.
Friday night’s work session was a bit of a disappointment. Shaine didn’t want to work at all, Jig was not her normal Rock Star self, and Quinn was . . . well, okay. It was clear, as far as Quinn was concerned, I’d been lax again.
Saturday and Sunday, however, were much better days. *Whew!*
With Quinn, I intended to work on driving and firming up our inside flanks. Well, we all know the time worn saying about plans. Sometimes, when you want to work on one thing, something else crops up, and you realize that’s your core problem. With Quinn, it goes back to his foundations — or lack thereof. We spent a great deal of our time on sheep working on our flanks. Someone let him get it into his head that Go Bye means move straight into the stock. Hmmm . . . who did that, I wonder? *grrrr* It’s amazing how quickly another set of eyes can pick apart your handling and tell you exactly what’s been going wrong. Seems I would give Quinn his flank, and immediately follow it up with either a correction or a repeat. That caused him to take a step and then turn toward me, waiting for whatever I was going to throw at him next. When I didn’t, he’d just start moving into the stock.
I corrected that, and started showing him exactly what I wanted in that flank. Viola! Better flanks.
The other thing I wanted to work on with Quinn, was ducks — my very least favorite of all livestock (including llamas). I get very tense which, of course, he feels. But Deb really helped me work through it, and I’m glad. Our second time in, his pacing was excellent and I was a lot more relaxed. Oddly enough, when I worked Jig on ducks, I was totally calm and relaxed even though I can’t trust her like I can Quinn. Makes no sense whatsoever.
Between sessions when I was looking through my training journal, I came across an entry where I had written, “PORTION CONTROL!” I couldn’t remember what I meant by that. Well, it came to me Saturday evening. That was my reminder to work on one thing at a time and not try to fix everything at once. Work on one thing, get it right, move on. That was also something I had to be conscious of over the weekend. I get a bit impatient.
Jig did well after her initial lack of interest on Friday night. That was truly odd and very unlike her. She redeemed herself, and I got to up the stakes with her. That, however, resulted in her sassing me. Yeah, when I wouldn’t let her get up whenever she chose and bust in, the kid barked at me. She has never done that. Right from the start she’s been a silent worker. Methinks someone is getting some more confidence.
Shaine . . . continues to be a challenge. By Sunday I had decided on a new tactic with her. Basically, if she decides to drift or ignore me and not work the stock, she gets a big time correction. It seemed to have the desired effect. Time will tell.
Overall, it proved to be an awesome, fun weekend. The best part was spending time with my Sistas. We enjoy each other’s company, commiserate with one another, support each other, provide needed kicks in the butt as well as high fives. We laugh, and cry together about many things, not just working our dogs. Most importantly, even after we head home, we’re there for each other. And that, among all the things my dogs have brought into my life, is one of the best.