Oh, the ups and downs of training a sheepdog. The week started out so well with both Mirk and Star running their best. Star gave me some pause for frustration later on, but it's all good. It was just Star being Star, and we all have our moments, don't we?
This week's lessons:
- Nice, clean grip
- Listening intently
Star man's outwork was perfect in both directions. He even showed more determination on the fetch, and moved the loopy Dorpers with more ease than usual today. I had used him to move sheep up on a hill when I first got to the field, and saw him do something he's never done before, that pleased me mightily. One of the ewes turned back and looked at him as he was driving them away. He simply reached up and took the cleanest nose grip that you could ever ask for. Then he quietly went straight back to work. It occurred to me that I have been wishing this dog would grow into his power and confidence, and that was a great indication that it is happening. Then it occurred to me that Star has overcome many other things that took him longer than I thought they should have, and that consideration gave me more to look forward to.
Once I put him to work, he delivered gorgeous outwork. Solid, confident, and well-shaped outruns followed by stronger fetching, and even more willingness to take my flanks off the fetch. He was solid in both directions today, and gave me some very nice sheds as well. We even practiced singling. He needed some help holding the single, but had no hesitation coming through. During one fetch, he was reluctant to take a come-bye flank, so I moved closer to him, and asked him for repeated come-bye flanks all the way around a couple times. It seemed to break him loose, and he was better for it. After that, I flanked him from side-to-side both fetching and driving just to keep him pliable.