Getting worse not better
Posted 27 December 2003 - 08:12 PM
I have a 17-month-old bitch that in all honesty is only moderately talented. She has confidence problems and although I'm pretty sure she'll eventually, maybe, be able to run in N/N, that's probably about as far as she'll go. But she clearly loves the work, so we keep trying.
Recently I got my first sheep. They are dog-broke; I bought them from my trainer, so they know the drill.
Up until I got the ewes home, my bitch had been making slow but steady progress with once-a-week lessons.
I thought that having the opportunity to practice four or five times a week for 15 minutes or so would bring improvement - and in my other dog, it has - but the opposite has happened with this girl.
Ever since the sheep came home, she has been a complete fruitcake. She has regressed in her training on several fronts, both when I work her here, and when we go to my trainer's place.
I thought maybe after the sheep had been here awhile she would calm down but it's been a month, and she is still acting like a nut. She's busting up her sheep, she's weaving a lot when she wears, there are other examples - all things that I thought we had fixed months ago.
So yeesh, what the heck should I do now? Should I take her off the sheep for a couple of weeks and give her a chance to think about things? Should I just keep on flailing away and hope things improve? Go back to the round pen? My other dog is improving by leaps and bounds with the additional practice time - I am utterly baffled why my bitch seems to be falling apart.
Posted 27 December 2003 - 09:08 PM
Posted 29 December 2003 - 07:06 PM
Thank you for replying, and thank you for all the good information. I think you may be right about not working her quite so much. She is a very soft dog, very sensitive. I try never to scold her harshly, because it would be fairly easy to turn her off. She can't take much pressure at all, and it may well be that trying to practice even 4-5 days a week is too much for her. I will try working her just 2-3 times a week and see if that helps.
I do have one followup question, though. You said working her in shorter, 8-10 minute periods might be beneficial, but what I have seen is that she is very flaky and not thinking at all for about the first 5 minutes of a practice. After that, she will settle down a little and start thinking about her work. If I restrict her practice to 10 minutes, I'm only going to get around 5 minutes of real thinking out of her. Is that enough?
Once again, thank you so much for your advice. It is so kind of you to share your knowledge and experience with us Little Hats! Actually, I'm such a rank newbie, I don't think I even get a hat at all, even a teeny one. Maybe one day I can aspire to at least a beanie... <g>
Posted 29 December 2003 - 09:17 PM
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