Photo credit: Jan Elliott
This week's lessons:
- Hold it!
- Be the dog
Shedding breakthrough today! Yeah! I don't know whether it will persist, but for the first time Star took the initiative and made a strong showing of holding shed off sheep that wanted to break back over him. The first time, he reached up and grabbed a jowl, but lost her. The second time he simply flanked and covered the ewe before she got past him, which is my preference and highly desirable. Both times were unbidden by me, and I was thrilled. We completed a few more sheds and I again ran to the heads of the shed sheep, simply to reinforce his confidence and remove the pressure of him having to do all the work by himself. What a good dog!
It was my intention to load up for the big field, but fatigue got the better of me, and we worked in the small field at home. Small gathers, reverse flanks on the fly, and widening the off-balance flanks on the fetch and drive were what we worked on today. In case you don't know what the hell I'm talking about, reverse flanks on the fly means I give the dog a flank while I am standing with the sheep, then give a flank for the opposite direction while the dog is still moving. Not only should the reversal be immediate, but it should be square, and this is a good chance to make sure a dog is flanking freely and listening. Star was. He is really good at it. To keep him pliable, I also sent him to gather, then stopped him and reversed his direction of travel a few times on the way out. Another great way to make sure he's listening and compliant, and again, he was.