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#1 Maja

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Posted 09 November 2011 - 10:41 AM

Hi! It's me again! :D

So some of you might have read that Bonnie won a trial in class one, which of course makes me very happy. But this raised another question - Bonnie got plenty enough points to be moved to class two, if we want to.

Now to move a dog early to a higher class is usually frowned upon. But I have a few reasons why I would like to move her up, and excessive ambition is not one of them.

1. Reason one. In class, one it often is required that the dog drives away the sheep and then brings them back to the handler. I see this as creating bad habits: It's better if the dog learns that after the drive is a cross-drive, not a fetch. In class two, there is a standard drive and cross drive.

2. Reason two. In class one, the cross drive is always done on balance, so it's wearing really. I'd rather be standing at the post and focusing on the dog and the sheep than traipse cross country afraid that I might fall. In class two, the handler stays at the post until shedding.

3. Reason three. We have a problem with the end of the outrun, but it does not seem related to the distance. At home, she does well even at 200yrds, at new places she might slice in at 100 yards (which is class one). Class two has 160 yards.

Bonnie has just turned two. The next trial won't happen until spring.

I will be grateful for your input.

Maja

#2 juliepoudrier

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Posted 09 November 2011 - 11:29 AM

If you think by spring that Bonnie will be able to do the outrun properly (from the video it looked to me like she sliced in and pushed them off to the side and then pushed too hard on the fetch) and can manage the rest of the test, then I see no reason you shouldn't move her up. I watched the video, but really couldn't understand some of the parts of the test, so it's hard to judge how well she did (regardless of her final placing). The one question I have is whether the sheep were very light? Bonnie seemed to be working way off the sheep, especially when flanking, but not knowing the sheep, it's hard to judge what was going on.

Anyway, the decision ultimately comes down to whether you think she can complete a class 2 course in a reasonable fashion and that you are capable of handling through such a course (I remember your comments about losing your concentration). The one advantage of attending a few more trials at the lower level is that it would allow you to reduce your trialing stress level and also get Bonnie more used to set out people, etc., at a closer distance where you can have greater influence over her. It's always better to fix problems close up vs. hoping they'll just get better when you increase the distances.

WRT the issue of driving the sheep away and then sending the dog on around to their heads to bring them back, I don't think it would become a habit unless you also did it a lot at home. If you spend your time doing real drives and cross drives at home, then doing the drive/fetch thing should be such a big deal at trials.

How's that for an "it depends" sort of answer? ;)

J.

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#3 Maja

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Posted 09 November 2011 - 12:07 PM

really couldn't understand some of the parts of the test, so it's hard to judge how well she did (regardless of her final placing)
It is difficult to understand the video because so many things don't translate well into standard trials.

The sheep were very, very light. Heavy in weight, but light in temperament. I think that perhaps this was one of the reasons the judge seemed to be lenient since it is the lowest trial class. In spite of the large distance Bonnie was in contact, in my opinion, but I don't think she was farther than what I see in the real trials. This was a bit of a surprise that she fell into wide flanks almost from the beginning, and though I had to pull her in a couple of times, her wide flanks helped a lot. I think. I am not sure of course.

I got upset, I didn't lose my concentration :D .

Anyway, the decision ultimately comes down to whether you think she can complete a class 2 course in a reasonable fashion and that you are capable of handling through such a course

I guess, it depends on what one considers, reasonable. My thinking is that even if she does not do very well at first, she would be doing the course that she will continue doing pretty much for the rest of her life. In the lower class on the other hand, she would be learning things like: "After the fetch get the sheep parked by the handler, drive the sheep away to an unspecified location, bring them back, follow the handler while she tries to kill herself walking up and down the hill side. Forget that there is such a thing as a cross drive."

How's that for an "it depends" sort of answer?
Sounds good :). Thank you.

Maja

#4 juliepoudrier

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Posted 09 November 2011 - 12:34 PM

I guess, it depends on what one considers, reasonable. My thinking is that even if she does not do very well at first, she would be doing the course that she will continue doing pretty much for the rest of her life.


Reasonable to me means being able to do most or all of the course properly, with mistakes occurring because of situations beyond your control (sheep, weather, etc.) For example, I personally would not take a dog that's slicing the top of its outrun that badly at 100 yards and expect any better result at 160 yards. In fact, I'd expect things to be worse at a greater distance where you have even less influence. If you spend the winter taking her a buch of different places and have her picking sheep up off a set out person/dog until she's able to do a proper outrun/lift at 160 yards, then that's one thing, but just moving her up because the higher test is the one she'll be doing the rest of her trial career doesn't quite make sense to me, unless the plan is to train for the course instead of training the dog to do practical work that can then translate into success on a trial field. Dogs can become trialwise and they can learn bad habits as easily at a trial as they can at home, and habits learned at a trial can be harder to fix, IME. Whenever there's a problem, you need to move things in closer and fix the issue at hand before expecting it to be sorted out at a distance.

As for the usefulness of class 1, I have some thoughts on that. The ability to "park the sheep near the handler" is quite necessary for setting up a shed. Driving sheep to an unspecified location (i.e., not through a gate) is how I teach driving. I don't have any gates here to practice with. I pick a point on the horizon and drive toward it (the point on the horizon mainly being to enable me to keep a straight line). One time at a novice trial, someone asked judge Kent Kuykendall what the point of wearing was. His response was that the handler's and dog's ability to control sheep *between* them was the start of being able to set up a good shed. Food for thought. Aren't there times at home when you might want to lead the sheep somewhere and have the dog bring them along behind you without running you over? Is testing for that at a trial really impractical? Does wearing actually exclude the ability to cross drive? I don't think so.

Think about the elements of each trial course in terms of how they might translate to work at home. Just this morning I had my dog drive the sheep away to an unspecified location (I didn't even care where, just away). When I was done dumping feed in the feed bunks, I sent the dog around and had her fetch them to the feed. I do that every day when I am feeding sheep either grain or hay. Seems like a very practical task to me. No cross driving needed. And yet, my dog can cross drive and does so in trials. But at home, I don't have a whole lot of need for it, whereas I do have a need for a dog who drives the sheep away and then brings them back when I've cleared myself out of the way.

I'm not trying to convince you one way or the other--it's your choice to do what you think is best. But I also think that the class 1 tasks aren't entirely pointless either and I don't see how they could mess Bonnie up when it comes to practical work. And if trialing is supposed to be a test of elements of practical work, then I don't think the class 1 is going to be the ruination of any dog.

Just my opinion of course.

J.

I know nothing with any certainty, but the sight of stars makes me dream.

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Willow (6/1997-5/2014, run free, my heart), Boy (3/1995-10/2010, RIP), Jill (8/1996-5/2012, RIP), Farleigh (12/1998-7/2014, RIP), Kat, Twist, Lark, Phoebe, Pipit, and Birdie!
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#5 Maja

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Posted 09 November 2011 - 01:29 PM

For example, I personally would not take a dog that's slicing the top of its outrun that badly at 100 yards and expect any better result at 160 yards.
Only I did not say anything like that anywhere. I said we have a problem to solve at 100 yards. And if we solve it at 100 we will solve it at 160. So we have to solve at 100 first. But the direct reason for the bad end of the outrun is not the distance itself.

just moving her up because the higher test is the one she'll be doing the rest of her trial career doesn't quite make sense to me,
I didn't say that anywhere either. But the decision I make this fall will influence what I do and where and how while were are preparing for the next season, which is about six months from now or more.

Aren't there times at home when you might want to lead the sheep somewhere and have the dog bring them along behind you without running you over?
And what makes you think we don't do it at home, and that she runs me over with sheep?

and habits learned at a trial can be harder to fix, IME.
I agree, and that's why I think that going to trials where you drive and end the drive in a fetch instead of a crossdrive is not the most wonderful thing under the sun. It does not ruin a dog - I never ever said anything like that. I was just thinking about how to plan out the future in terms of training, traveling, I wasn't talking about dashing off to a trial tomorrow.
And if I was to train for class one it would be different (logistically for instance) than for class two. So my thinking was why not train for class two - it would be more of a long term goal. Bonnie can do a good drive and decent cross drive (comparatively to other people when I see they start class II), and we have a good beginning of a shed (again comparing with people who start class II).

the class 1 is going to be the ruination of any dog.
Again, I never said anything like that. Please don't twist what I said. Personally, I don't think anything she does at a trial can possibly do anything to her practical work in a negative way. Because at home she has to do everything. She does the pen in a shed without a door, I have one set of gates, she holds the sheep off the grain, she helps loading.

However, I am deliberating now on the best course for her training, and it seems that going to new places and practicing long term things may be more useful in the long run. Drive-fetch we can do at home, balance work, we can do at home, but if I go 200miles to practice on sheep maybe it the time would better invested for practicing things for class two. Maybe it will put her back at first in terms of trialling success, but be beneficial in the long run. Maybe. I am asking. I am not saying a bunch of nonsense about ruining a dog in class one or it being useless. Trialling is useful. Period.

But I have limited resources, and I am trying to plan things out for the best long term outcome. And if I go to a trial where I have to do a shed, I am improving in doing a shed. If I go to trial where there is a shedding race instead, I am not improving in how to do a shed. Of course I will learn lots of other things, only there is a very limited number of trials available, and I have to make some choices. Maybe I didn't form the questions properly and it was not clear I was talking about between-seasons training.

Maja

#6 Maja

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Posted 09 November 2011 - 01:31 PM

P.S. The outrun is a priority regardless of which class it's gonna be. It's got to be fixed first of all.
Maja

#7 juliepoudrier

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Posted 09 November 2011 - 01:56 PM

I wrote:

just moving her up because the higher test is the one she'll be doing the rest of her trial career doesn't quite make sense to me,


To which you replied:

I didn't say that anywhere either. But the decision I make this fall will influence what I do and where and how while were are preparing for the next season, which is about six months from now or more.


Then I guess I completely misinterpreted this comment you made:

My thinking is that even if she does not do very well at first, she would be doing the course that she will continue doing pretty much for the rest of her life.


I don't have the time to go through the rest of what you said point-by-point. My comments were meant to point out that the class 1 test seemed to be a fair enough test of basic practical skills. I even gave examples of how I use those same skills at home on a daily basis. FWIW, you've apparently misunderstood those comments. I was NOT saying that Bonnie couldn't wear the sheep to you or that she let them run over you at home. On the contrary, I was saying that I imagined Bonnie had to wear sheep to you without letting them pass you at home, which is why Class 1 might actually test those things. Clearly we're having a miscommunication issue here.

You asked for opinions. I gave mine. That's all. I was not twisting what you said any more than you've twisted what I said. I have no wish to argue. I was trying to be helpful and I'm sorry if that somehow offended you. You can do what you want. It sounds to me that you want affirmation for a decision you've already made. I'll refrain from offering an opinion in the future.

J.

I know nothing with any certainty, but the sight of stars makes me dream.

~Vincent van Gogh



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Julie Poudrier
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Willow (6/1997-5/2014, run free, my heart), Boy (3/1995-10/2010, RIP), Jill (8/1996-5/2012, RIP), Farleigh (12/1998-7/2014, RIP), Kat, Twist, Lark, Phoebe, Pipit, and Birdie!
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#8 Maja

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Posted 09 November 2011 - 02:17 PM

There is always a problem of balancing between writing a tedious detailed post that nobody will read, because it's just too long, and making simplifications that are in danger of being misunderstood. And in this topic I think, I completely failed to find this balance and present what I was trying to say, and then I misunderstood what you were tying to say to me Julie, I guess.

I have not made made the decision, I was trying to present a line of thinking in terms of long term development and training that is different for the obvious one - hence it required an explanation, and I failed in that explanation. For which I am sorry.

Maja

#9 Maja

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Posted 10 November 2011 - 04:10 AM

Misunderstandings are very unfortunate. I think, Julie, you misunderstood my post, and I read it as responding to what I meant and not to what you understood, and it created an exponential misunderstanding.

I understand that trying to be kind and helpful and being misunderstood is very frustrating and I am sorry I have been a cause of it, so if you could just forget about what was written and start over. I do not expect you, to respond I am just hoping you will read and understand my original intention.

0. I am discussing now the course of training for the next 6 months or so (or more). I am not talking about going to a trial in a higher class next week.

1. Starting in a lower class is obvious and numerous benefits.

2. Bonnie’s end of outrun is bad – regardless of the class, and it has to be fixed before her next trial regardless of the class. For this reason it is irrelevant for the class. Because we have to fix it anyhow before we go back to trailing at all. And I believe that once we fix it, she will do fine at 160 yards too. I may be wrong in this of course. Either way, I do not plan on throwing her into an 160 yard outrun now. I plan to do that after we fix the slicing problem. Because as I said, at home she can do 200 yards well.

3. Everything done in class one is useful, but not everything is useful as preparation for the higher classes. There are elements that are not useful by their absence: the absence of a cross–drive does not help to gain experience in the cross-drive. The absence of the drive – crossdrive sequence is not useful for gaining experience in this sequence. The presence of a drive-fetch sequence does not help to gain experience in the cross drive. The presence of a shedding race instead of regular shed does not help to gain experience in the shed.

4. I have limited resources and the trials are expensive due to large distances. So do not I consider it out of line to go to a higher class trial for the purpose of gaining experience as a try out a couple of times, rather than use the money to go to trials in a lower class, and maybe place well, but miss the experience of doing a real cross drive and a shed. So I’d rather gain experience in those areas than get a placing.

And this is a thing I did not tell you:
5. It is likely that Bonnie would be allowed in the lower class only two more times anyhow. If a dog gets 70% or more tree times, the dog has to move higher. So there is a possibility that in the middle of the next season, after two trials, she would not be able to compete in class one anymore anyhow.

6. What I meant about taking a dog to a higher class even if she does not do so well, was that there would be a considerable drop in points in the higher class, not that I would put a unprepared dog in that class. And getting lower scores at first there would let us sit there for a while.

I do hope this explains things better. Below I list the main elements of the two classes FI.

Class one:
outrun 100 meters
lift
fetch
drive - either through the drive gate, or in a different direction in which case the dog has to fetch the sheep back to the handler.
“drive together” – wearing on balance through two gates
shedding race – a funnel where you put all the sheep.
pen

Class two
outrun 150 meters
lift
fetch
drive
cross-drive
shed - two sheep out of five (all 5 unmarked)
pen.


I apologize for contributing to the presence of a negative atmosphere.
Maja

#10 Smalahundur

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Posted 10 November 2011 - 05:59 AM

Interesting system Maja, I wish we had something like your class 1 here.

Here the lowest class is called "unghundakeppni", young dog class (comparable to nursery?).
You can participate in that when your dog is younger than 3 years old. It is like your class 2, minus the shed. I don´t remember exactly how long the outrun is, something between 100-150 meter I guess. Last time I was present I saw alot of dogs in this class crash on the outrun.
I hope to try out Gláma in this class next fall...

About the decision to move up, is it something you are allowed to try out, and move back down when it doesn´t go well, or are you "stuck with it"?

"Milli manns og hests og hunds hangir leyniþráður"


#11 Maja

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Posted 10 November 2011 - 06:43 AM

Smalahundur,

Unfortunately, once you move up, your're stuck, but as I wrote, I might be trading off only two trials. I will probably wait and see how Bonnie develops. She keeps surprising me, as with the flanks - it was the same problem as with the outrun - at home fine, elsewhere - bad. And suddenly wham! she's got flanks that I had to pull her in a couple of times.

The cross-drive I am looking forward to doing while standing at the post. I was half dead by the time we finished :lol: .

Maja

#12 Smalahundur

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Posted 10 November 2011 - 09:27 AM

Sooo, it´s just laziness that makes you wanna move up :lol:
Just kidding of course.
I thought that might be the case, you are "stuck" with it if you decide to move up (otherwise it wouldn´t be such a difficult decision).
Well if it were me standing for the choice I think I´d say, in case of doubt, don´t move up.

"Milli manns og hests og hunds hangir leyniþráður"


#13 Maja

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Posted 10 November 2011 - 11:00 AM

Sooo, it´s just laziness that makes you wanna move up :lol:

I was afraid somebody would see though my wily scheme :lol:.

Well if it were me standing for the choice I think I´d say, in case of doubt, don´t move up.

You know, there is actually an obvious solution here. I will train her for class two, and if I don't feel we are up to it when the time comes to enter her for trial, I will simply enter her for the lower class.

If I train her for class one, I can't change my mind and go to class two, but if we train for class two I can always change my mind and enter her for class one. If I feel we are not up to par, we enter one. If I feel iffy, we will go once or twice to class one as a warm up and only then to class two. If I feel confident, we go for class two. But training wise we will fix the outrun and train for class two throughout. It's simple. And I am a simpleton. :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: My poor dog has to suffer with me :lol: .

Smalahundur, thank you for helping me solve the training puzzle for the trially-challenged :D . So we are all set for how to train for the next season.

Maja

#14 Smalahundur

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Posted 10 November 2011 - 11:15 AM

Haha, well I must admit I felt a bit like "captain obvious" typing my advice...
Also i am really not qualified at all to be dishing out advice concerning trialing ;)

"Milli manns og hests og hunds hangir leyniþráður"


#15 Maja

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Posted 10 November 2011 - 11:21 AM

Probably that's why Julie got confused about my post: "train for higher - decide later" was just too obvious.
Maja

#16 Tea

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Posted 10 November 2011 - 03:27 PM

I am home, having my lunch. Man it is a beautiful day here! Weird for Nov!



Anyway, thought I'd put in my two cents worth.



I moved up too soon. It taught me a tremdous amount of what I thought I knew but did not know.
In that sense it helped me.
I am not sure what classes you are talking about....but the hard part for me was not the outruns which The Broom can do. But the long drives and crossdrives with weird pressures. Pen and shed was cool too....but the drives...yep I needed to figure that out more. The difference between the distances driving at Pro/nov and open on a BIG course on range sheep was mind boggling. But as I said it taught me what I didn't know and it helped me.

If I could do it over I guess I would take more lessons then trial.



However I love to do the trials because they are so fun.



#17 Maja

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Posted 11 November 2011 - 05:28 AM

I am not sure what classes you are talking about....but the hard part for me was not the outruns which The Broom can do. But the long drives and crossdrives with weird pressures...The difference between the distances driving at Pro/nov and open on a BIG course on range sheep was mind boggling.


Well, the big fields I am not even dreaming about yet, let alone plan anything :). I am talking about classes where the lower class, where we are, has nocross-drive and the higher one has maybe a 50 yard drive, maybe an100 yard cross-drive. It may be less too. In class two, it just has to be there, the distance is not specified in the regulations, so often it depends on the pasture it is done on. So e.g. the one trial I went to class two was done on the same gates as class one, which means the drive was 40 yards, and cross-drive about eighty. So I don't think it is anywhere close to open?

Thank you for your thoughts, Tea. I enjoy trialling an awful lot too. It's the one thing that's surprising for me that my stress is not one of the things I need to worry about. I used to fall to pieces just going to clinics, and now it is completely different. I guess partly, it's because we are so far ahead of our original schedule, so I am relaxed. Also a tremendous factor is that I trust Bonnie. I know she has weak points that need to be fixed, but I trust her. And it makes the whole thing just wonderful. Most people who watch her work can see she works with joy - this is a very important achievement for me.

Maja

#18 Tea

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Posted 11 November 2011 - 07:31 AM

Trusting the dog is important!

And doing your 'homework'

Have fun!


Glad you don't stress!



#19 Maja

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Posted 17 November 2011 - 01:16 PM

For those interested, in the meantime I started planning out the training, trialling, and traveling, leaving the details for long winter evenings when the snow is too high to do anything else. And while doing that I stumbled on another simple solution: I entered Bonnie in a unofficial trial with Kevin Evans as the judge, and in doing that I realized I can run in ISDS trials without it influencing how I run in FCI trials, and I have been wanting to run in ISDS all along anyhow :lol: . So the whole thing turned out a non-issue :huh: .:unsure: Sorry folks. I must be one of the dumbest handlers. I wonder if there is a trophy for that :lol:

Maja



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