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Too forward

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Sorry to change subject but wouldn't want you to feel un-needed LOL. My dog is 2.5 yrs., very very fast, hate the term forward but I guess thats the term everyone is using these days. Not a good stopper in fact when she does stop you can see one hind legout behind with the hips elevated as a competitive tract runner poses just before take off. So her brain is always in forward thought. I have desparately tried not to get hung up on the stop trying to balance the need for her to get reward by feeling/reading sheep and making the appropriate decision. I have even backed way off of insisting a stop because what was developing is she started to just run wide, out of contact as if to avoid stopping. She is lining out real nice while driving. I started shedding because the opportunity came about one day, she flew into the gap as if she had done it for years. Now if I don't watch her every second, she thinks just the slightest movement on my part towards the sheep means to come in and since her stop is so late, she has already turned onto the departing group (does not matter if it is face or rear) and driving them before I get back into the drivers seat. She is not what I consider hard headed just really focused and I have not been able to become her partner as I would like. Yet if she were loose and able to go out to sheep on her own, she will look back over her shoulder to see if I am coming and if she is loose in the yard and I am in the house she never jumps the fence to go to sheep, yet she is able because she would fly over that fence to follow me to sheep. Nothing about sheep work bores her, the only time she has slowed down to a reasonable pace is after 3 works in one day in intolerable heat, now that the weather is cold, there is no slow down. I have worked sheep on a fence and she can turn and cover without coming in on them. She is very smart as she learned the job of driving sheep off of the hay feeder and guarding the hay feeder as I put in the hay without leaving to work sheep so my best guess is that she is smarter than I am and just puts up with my slow brain, still I would like to trial her but am getting hung up on the stop and without breaks, she will take a wrong flank, run past the point of lift, probably try to shed if a gap appears and be very pleased about it, so shall I just keep plugging away or work her more with the possible risk of burn out or running too wide. I could set up a trial course and she is smart enough to learn to take the sheep around the course without my help and she would set a new record in fastest time.

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You are telling me a sea of information upon which I could never connect the dots without watching. The trouble with a forum like this is that I rely on the accuracy of your reporting, or speculate that something else might be at play and then can be all wrong.

Novice handlers often need a strong stop in a dog. If the dog stops and events ease up, a novice hand can have a precious moment to think. A breather. The dog you are describing is not giving you time to think, so while you want the sophistication of a dog pouring onto its work, the pacing is eluding you. Wanting so much may be too much, for where you are with your dog. You have to make her stop, so that you can catch up with the work.

You speak of a reasonable pace. Taking sheep in a quiet controlled fashion is reasonable. Anything unreasonable should not be allowed as you are letting her practise doing wrong. Practice makes perfect for wrong as well as right.

No dog takes sheep around the course without a hand. That is not the way our game is played. Your bitch will have to make adjustments for you and you make some for her.

I suggest you take her to the clear-sighted eyes of a good pro and have them assess your progress and make recommendations about how you should run on. Your bitch sounds clever and she should not be setting an agenda with which you cannot keep up. It doesn't really do to have a dog best you. You make it sound as though she is running around you, instead of for you.

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