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Herding Training - Part 4

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#1 Anda


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Posted 01 December 2007 - 09:22 PM

We've had our 4th lesson yesterday. Unfortunatly the month and a half of hiatus we took - due to the trainer's busy schedule - didn't quite help with our progress and Ouzo regressed in certain aspects.

The glimpse of self control and trainer respect we saw last time was all gone down the drain. He acted like a roudy teenager, blantly ignoring what Cathy was telling him to do. To the point that, when asked to stop circling the sheep at breakneck speed and lay down, he turned around and purpusely looked up to the sky, marked a fence in protest, pooped (!) and went to the other side of the pen pretending to sniff other sheep across a fence. All while glancing to see if the "mean lady" has disapeared now and he can go back to sheep.
"Lay down? Ya talking to me?! Ohh, 'scuse me, thought you're telling that sheep to lay down, it kindda looks tired, poor thing... "

As a consequence, he had a "Come to Jesus" meeting with Cathy (ha, she doesn't know he's a Jewish dog :rolleyes: ) in which things were clarly layed out for him, such as he doesn't get to pull such BS with her, and he gets to listen to her, work for her when she wants him to, and not try to get away on his good looks (all these were actually explained to him by Cathy in a deep voice, all while he was sitting in front of her, looking in her eyes and wagging his tail :D ). After this wake up call he suddently remembered all the commands and was discovering how well he can listen to Cathy. Amazing, isn't it?!

He started with 5 sheep, the most he's had so far, but due to his extreme reactivness to any movement, he got downgraded to two. You HAD to see the look of shock, frustration and humiliation on his face when he saw 3 of his 5 sheep being sent to a diferent pen. "What, I only get 2? And look at them, they're the ugliest of all ! " :D

We're going back next week, when I hope to see some progress.

The good

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The bad

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The ugly

It started calmly ... first time in the pen after 1.5 months. Good boy, lay down, wait, great job.....

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And the very next second:

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We can call this "The Road Runner"

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Hmmm... btw, have there been documented cases of 2 year old dogs mentally maturing over, say, the span of a week?! Coz that's my only hope now!

#2 Laurae


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Posted 01 December 2007 - 10:04 PM

Ah, Anda...as I've been learning in a very painful way myself these past few weeks...
learning to work stock is two steps forward, one step back. It's so not a linear progression for these dogs, unfortunately...ask Cathy about Taz and Zat someday...
Next time, your Jewish dog may surprise you!

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#3 Anda


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Posted 01 December 2007 - 10:14 PM

LOL Laura, thanks for the conforting words :D The good thing is I am not taking this too seriously, it's something for us to do, I don't dream to compete or anything like that. It would be nice, however, for my dog to take it more seriously :rolleyes: I wish I was in the pen giving some commands, but so far I haven't gotten there... I doubt he would blow me off like that, but again, who knows?! :D

Cathy said it best: At this age (2 ), every day, I get to have a new dog. He is different every day. Yesterday it was his "I hate authority, I will spray paint everything in sight, I am young, strong and I know better than anyone " day...

#4 Alaska



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Posted 01 December 2007 - 10:49 PM

Uh Anda, where exactly did you get the impression that this herding training thing was going to be a nice, straighforward process? :rolleyes:

FWIW, my older BC did not turn into an adult until about 3.5 yrs...and now, at 5, she's so serious that I encourage any trace of foolishness in her. On the other hand, my youngster is just 2.5 and I'm quite happy to let him continue to be a goofball as he slowly makes his way towards his adult personality. Knowing (more or less) where we're going makes it much easier to enjoy the ride with him. So yeah, enjoy the "different dog every day" stage, because I suspect it will actually end...though probably not this week.

Also, I expect Ouzo sees sheep as "entertainment" in somewhat the same way you do. If he grew up in a working setting it would probably be different, but he didn't. With time (i.e. once he figures out that he's asked to be serious every time you visit sheep), I would think he'd get it figured out. We're at about the same point in lessons as you are (with our lessons spaced even farther apart in time than you, since we actually have to get in an airplane and fly to get to any sheep), with much the same results to date.

BTW you should consider yourself lucky you haven't been in there with your boy and his sheep! The guy I've been going to gave me one shot working his open dog and then sent me and Biko in together. Ack! I learned at least two things:

1. You're supposed to have the sheep between you and the dog (your photo #2 is what it looked like a lot for me, and that's not what it's supposed to look like).

2. Being able to get your dog to down is highly overrated. I mean, it's useful, but since that's the only thing I knew how to get my dog to do, I ended up trying crazy things like putting the dog in a down and then trying to get on the other side of the sheep myself while the dog just waited...and waited...and waited. "Ahem," said my instructor after a while, "the dog is supposed to be the one working the sheep, and for that she needs to be allowed to move."

Not by accident, there are no photos to illustrate my struggles :D But I wanted to thank you for switching wherever your photos are hosted. For a while I couldn't see any Ouzo photos because they were apparently blocked by a local firewall, but now I can get my Ouzo fix again, hooray.

#5 Anda


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Posted 01 December 2007 - 11:02 PM

Hahaha, Alaska, I never imagined this would be easy, or else there would be as many happy joyous posts about everyone's herding successes as they are about agility :D I've been reading lots and lots of oppinions and struggles (I love Laura's blog :rolleyes: ) and I knew this will not be easy. It took me FOREVER to simply mutter the courage to contact Cathy about "testing" my dog on sheep. I felt so special :D All the consequent steps have been pleasant surprises for me. I guess I'm trying to defend our marginal progression in front of people who're working with good work-bred dogs and who know what they're doing. We don't!

You're right, it's from Cathy he will learn to take this seriously, not from me.

You have to fly to get to sheep? WOW, I'll just shut up about my 1 hr drive that I've been whinning about!

These are sheep that are very dog broke and they're constantly seeking refuge behind the trainer. That's when they're not flying.... Someone else has commented on that photo, a guy who has sheep and BCs in England and you're both right. And these were most of the better pics. I have TONS of shots where the sheep and the dog are well positioned: dog, sheep, trainer. Too bad there's a B&W speeding bullet circling them without a purpose. By the time Cathy slows him down and gets him to lay down, the sheep quickly get behind her.

About the hosting site, these are from flickr, with the exception of the third and second before last. I still put stuff on photobucket, which is what appears to have been acting up for you... sorry :D Glad you can see these!

#6 kelpiegirl


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Posted 02 December 2007 - 07:08 AM

I heard that in Alaska, a plane replaces a car! You basically have to fly everywhere.... That's the price you pay for such an eden to live in.

As for Ouzo- he is still very new at this, and it takes much patience grasshopper. I know that 'cause I just figured it out after a year. Dogs progress at their own time lines. Oh, the pooping thing- Lucy went through that too- instead of down, she would poop. I consider it major progress that she doesn't poop anymore- see? patience....

Clearly, I am no expert in these matters- just been doing this a short time, but at least, I hope I can comment on the elimination thing right?
Never wrestle with pigs, you only get dirty, and they like it.


#7 sandra s.

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Posted 02 December 2007 - 10:29 AM

Somewhere between that behaviour and Kessie's is where you'd find proper "stockwork attitude", I guess...but to my unexperienced self it sounds like he's doing just fine for such a new beginner! And I like your trainer (from what you write of her). Kudos to all three Ouzos (even the ugly one :rolleyes: ).

#8 Allie Oop

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Posted 02 December 2007 - 11:49 AM

Thanks for sharing the pictures and tales of Ouzo's training, Anda. 6 weeks is a long time to have a gap in any training, so I'm impressed that Ouzo got back in the saddle so well. Looking forward to more pictures.
Deb, Allie & Rusty

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#9 PSmitty


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Posted 03 December 2007 - 08:34 AM

Ah, I can so relate, too! Jack needs that "come to Jesus" talk almost every time! :rolleyes: And downing on the sheep? Still not happening. It sounds like Ouzo is doing just fine (very well, in fact!) at this stage.

The pictures are great! Thanks for the updates and keep 'em coming.

(when I get a new camera, I hope I can finally post some shots of our lessons)

Lilly, Jack, Alex , Will & Slider

#10 Samantha J

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Posted 03 December 2007 - 01:02 PM

It may not have gone completely to plan Anda but you got some nice shots of Ouzo, i really this one of him.

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Holly still has her i am going to be a difficult dog today days. She is almost 2yrs old. She can be such a good obedient girl but sometimes can be in her not so good teenage mode!!.

Holly2.gif Holly & ZacZac21.gif

#11 hoku's mum

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Posted 03 December 2007 - 04:05 PM

Anda, thanks for sharing these, boy do we know the different dog a day thing... :rolleyes: Ouzo will figure out that this is serious work one of these days...then, watch out, you may be in AKdogdoc's shoes! It's great that you are doing this with him, enjoy the ride, and keep the pics coming!
Kristin, Hoku and Gussy

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