I've been lurking for the last 6 months or so, trying to learn from other discussions. This past weekend I took my 16 month old to her first ever herding clinic. When she did her instinct test last fall, she literally ran away from the sheep and out of the ring before someone took a few extra minutes to engage her. This weekend I had a totally different dog. She was eager and interested, listened fairly well, even though I had no clue what I was doing, she was trying. She and I really enjoyed it.
My question is in training styles. I come from the horse world and there are plenty of different training methods and philosophies there, so please, I'm really asking this in sincerity. This clinician is incredibly knowledgable and has been successful competing as well as having a working farm, so this in no way means I am questioning their ability or knowledge. More, I am wondering about styles and approach. I felt there was a lot of yelling and stick banging and yanking to force the dogs to "give respect" and "change their attitude". Is this the way it is? I really enjoyed watching my dog this weekend and seeing her in her element, but I could tell by yesterday afternoon she was getting stressed - yawning, eating poop, staying on the perimeter and not engaging. While I could see getting involved and, since I already have a small farm, ending up with some sheep or cows, I really love my dogs. Do I have to choose between having a dog I can toss in the car and go hiking for miles and enjoy being with and a dog I demand behavior from? The clinic was not cheap, and it shouldn't be, we certainly got more out of it than we would have from the same number of individual lessons. I'm just wondering if, as in the horse world, there are different styles and how to find someone who fits with me and my dog. Or am I just crazy?
I'm sorry for the long post