My border collie is relatively young at about 15 mos old. She has been in training since puppy school through our first handling classes. I've also had someone that worked with her on sheep for a few months this summer.
Recently in handling classes, I've lost her focus which was stellar before. Now though, there are running dogs in several rings nearby. I have worked with my trainers on furthering the engagement and have had some success but I have to really be on top of the situation to keep her with me. I think though that she has learned some of the holes and might be using it as an excuse if she's bored. We are working 3 days a week in 3 different classes - one is a private and there are not too many distractions... yet she took off from me during a sequence. We worked with trainer and once I was able to re-engage her she did better than she's ever done, but its a lot of work (which is ok - its just more than I'm used to - first border collie - previous poodle owner).
At home, she will occasionally blow me off too by not coming in and will run around the yard. Trainers want me to send her to bootcamp and put her on the long line which I've done... when I feel she's earned the right to come off or am trying to work her in the yard on something, I take it off. And then sometimes I take it off to test the waters. If she's good, I've left it off, but after a day or two off, she has blatantly blown me off and runs away. I've gone back in teh house and gotten a lead and then wait it out. Put her on lead and put her in the house or sometimes in her crate in the kitchen.
is there another way to deal with this? She was very good until we upped the handling activity. As a matter of fact, my trainer thought she could be too handler focused at times. So what is happening here that my engagement is not consistent. I have tried different toys, upped the treats... and then taken away everything and totally played hard with her... that helped when working, but not in the yard.
I'm trying to fix this, but right now I'm also dealing with an injury myself so getting up/down the deck stairs to deal with her is painful. I had to let her out with the other dogs last night but after she had been brought in on the line earlier in the day, she was perfect in her listening to me.
Is this enough what I'm doing? Will she figure out that running from me and then getting put on the leash to go inside or in the crate is her punishment? The only way i'm catching her is eventually she will sit or go to a down when I tell her and then she will let me come get her...