Following the Heart


A year ago we introduced this guy to our family. You can read about that momentous day here if you missed it the first time around. Gotta admit, it was a bit of a rocky puppyhood for us both. Looking back, I have to take the blame. I wasn’t ready for a pup. Not to say I didn’t love the little bastard straight away. Finn claimed his piece of my heart the moment he climbed into my lap and told me he was mine. I tend not to argue in those cases.

 

Still, bringing him home hadn’t been easy and I probably shouldn’t have done it. I was an emotional trainwreck; still reeling from losing Cian. The Sad my constant companion. I undoubtedly wasn’t in the best frame of mind to raise a pup and I believe there were times when Finn told me as much.


A year later and I have absolutely no regrets. Well… there have been moments… Finn’s nickname is Little Bastard, after all. And he came by that honestly. Then again, if he didn’t have some kind of attitude, he wouldn’t be my dog. And most times, that particular nickname only gets applied when we’re training and he decides to be an asshat, something that’s getting to be less of a problem. Or maybe it’s more of a manageable problem. 😉 In any case, he loves to work and we’re starting to click more often than not.

At least… I think we are.


Dillon loves to work as well. These days, however, I feel we’ve lost our click. I think a huge part of that comes from raising the bar and the fact that I probably tried to raise it too far, too fast. Okay, who am I kidding? No probably about it. We all know I possess quite the talent for trying to go from A to Z without hitting a lot of the letters in between. It’s never worked in the past and it’s definitely not working this time around either.

 


Some dogs are pretty forgiving about that kind of thing. Dillon, however, is not such a dog. He’s very sensitive about corrections. Not in the “I’m going to go sit in the corner and pout” kind of way. He never quits me. He will begin to question everything and stare at me a lot, though. To be honest, half the time I’m still trying to figure him out. Which is okay, because he’s probably trying to figure me out as well. I imagine that’s why he gives me that look. Those of you with working dogs know that look. It’s the one that says…

I guess I have to answer yes to that one. Admitting it, they say, is half the battle.

Raising the bar too far too fast is also a sure way to shed some light on your holes and Dillon and I have quite a few. I’m working on plugging them. At the moment, we’re concentrating on flanks and gathering and learning how to rate. I believe I’ve written more than once over the years regarding how Dillon likes to bring the stock in at a high rate of speed and then proceed to take them past me.
Wrote about it.
Obviously didn’t fix it.
Working on it.

Some of that work has paid off as evidenced by the end of this video clip. That truly made me smile. Actually, as I watched it again, there is a lot about this clip I like. The fact Dillon ignored the sheep in the alleyway. The way he handled this group of challenging young lambs. That inside flank after the redirect, after which he kicked out so far I lost him from the frame. And that little kick out he does when he has the lambs on the far side of the free-standing pen? It may not look like much, but it released just enough pressure to keep the lambs from exiting the arena via the side gate that someone forgot to close prior to our session. *strolls away, whistling innocently*

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