The Year of Training – Another Piece of the Puzzle

Between the 4th of July falling in the middle of the week, and another blast of heat and humidity, I didn’t get a whole lot of training in since my last post. I got in one very short session with Jig and Dillon on Tuesday evening, but the weather got the better of us. The weather and the damn bugs. They’re the only ones who seem to enjoy these hot, muggy days. I have a tendency to get a bit cranky after too long a stretch, and that’s not very conducive to training, or much of anything else.

One of the things I was watching for when I worked Dill, was whether or not his chiro adjustment affected his Away. It didn’t. Not yet, anyhow. I’m thinking that if he has been physically uncomfortable going in that direction, it has become a habit of necessity to move a certain way. That’s not going to correct itself overnight. I’ve got another series of appointments scheduled for him with Dr. Robin, and I’ve gone back to encouraging him to flex to the left when he comes in for pets and lovin’.

Friday Gail stopped in on her way across the state and we of course went out to work dogs. Heck if I was going to pass up the opportunity to have another set of eyes on me, and I’m so glad I didn’t. I began Dillon’s session on a flank from my side. Gave him a verbal Away to Me and marveled at how quickly and smoothly he went, how wide he was, how he’d actually gone on a Go Bye.


Oops, my bad! Did it again and this time made sure he headed Away. Somewhere along the line, Gail suggested I have Dillon lie down when he started to fall in on that flank, which he does, a lot, then redirect him making sure he gave me a nice roll out first. She pointed out that, particularly on the Away, he was never really getting to head. It was one of those moments where you feel equal parts idiot and encouraged. Here was another little piece that had been missing. I’ve been so focused on the fact Dillon was fighting me on his Aways that I never looked past that and so created another bump in the road.

On Sunday I had quite a few sets of eyes on me as a group of us had our first Working Day. Dillon did really well. He took his verbal flanks (the correct ones), seemed a bit more fluid, and even got to head on more than one occasion without me having to give an extra push.

Now, if you read my last installment, you may remember I talked about getting shoved out of my comfort zone with Jig. Thanks to not having her handy, and having to move a new group of sheep to the round pen, Dillon got the nod. We tried him on lead first, as I wasn’t ready to trust any of our training by having him fetch the sheep to the pen. Needless to say, it didn’t go well. I  was forced to take him off his leash and, I dunno, maybe trust him a bit? Subsequently, I managed to make quite a mess of things. I felt so far out of my comfort zone with him that I turned into a babbling, flailing idiot. Fortunately for Dillon, we had two coaches who managed to calm me down until my brain re-engaged and I remembered that I had words I could use. Not just any words. Words that were directions that Dillon understands. And viola! we got the job done.

Methinks it will benefit us both to start throwing some little tasks into his training as well.

And, because I don’t have any training pictures to share this week, here’s one of Cian, mom Tam, and brother Taps. Tam looks about as thrilled as Jig whenever I turn the camera on her, and Taps isn’t much better.

I doubt I’ll have an update next week. I have a busy schedule and will be out of town over the weekend.


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