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Maja

The Darinka story.

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Beautiful story. I can imagine how sweet this is for you right now. It's an amazing feeling when we work so hard for something and it finally starts clicking between us and our dog.

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...I have no doubt she had always wanted to put me in the picture, she just didn't know how.

 

Good job, and inspirational tale/tail. Darinka is on the way.

 

The above sentence struck a chord with me. My Josie has an independent streak in her. She has a very good recall when she feels the sheep are settled. Her idea of settled is often quite apart from mine. If I could read her mind, I think she would tell me that sometimes the sheep will see her as weak if she recalls at the exact moment I wish her to leave them.

 

Somewhat similar problem when I walk about the field as the sheep graze, Josie alongside. She must see something in the flock to trigger the first few steps of outruns. I have had to be very firm with her about staying in my vicinity, to the point of leashing her up. I eventually hit on the solution of leaving her off-leash, and keeping her quite close as we move around -- far more close than on walks we take together. She still needs gentle reminders to stay nearby, but much better.

 

I believe there has been a huge pay-off to calmly staying near me. I found, like you said above, it instilled in Josie that she is working for me. She kind-of forgot that for a while. Staying with me helped her relearn that it's not entirely about how she thinks something should be done in a certain circumstance. Everything improved: recalls, downs/stops, open flanks, you name it. I believe good handlers try to understand their dogs, and ask things of them that make sense, at the moment they are most likely to comply. Now, when I honor my end of the bargain to the best of my ability, Josie holds-up hers.

 

I could see Darinka's tail wag. Great story. -- Best wishes, TEC

 

PS -- The photo of Darinka leaning forward, the thistle over her shoulder, is perfect. Stunning.

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Love the Darinka story, Maja!

 

Maybe she is for you like my Dan is for me, a dog that will teach you things that your previous dog(s) have never taught you - but it won't be easy!

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Great story.. Sounds like you are building a wonderful partnership together based on mutual trust and respect.

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I find that if a dog understands what I want rather than just blindly obeys my commands, we get a much better working partnership.

 

IMO It takes longer for a dog to develop this understanding than just having it 'lie down' or flank to my command.It also requires me to 'give and take' during training. So I use my body language (also often without any stock in my hand) and only start adding softly spoken commands once the dog is using his instinct to move and stop in the place he feels comfortable. He then associates the command with his instinctive movement,

 

It is a much more relaxed way of training than the way I was originally shown, but I get a lot of satisfaction of developing and strengthening the bonds with my dogs by doing this (I think my dogs like this method too)

 

It sounds as if you are using a similar method with Darinka (great name..sounds very appropriate).

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What a lovely, inspiring story Maja. I look forward to hearing of your continued progress. (FWIW, for the first time EVER, I was run over by a flock of sheep. Thanks, Birdie.)

 

J.

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Dear Ms. Maya,

 

You wrote (in part): "when a dog focuses very intently (and Darinka is the type) and she is reasoning about the situation intently in her mind, it is much easier to get a point across also by reasoning than by creating a simple association (as in "that'll do" is fun because we go to the sheep afterward). She was not creating an association, she was searching for cause and effect."

 

Thanks.

 

The down isn't taught by association but we use simple associations to initially explain the meaning of flanks.

 

After the dog knows its flanks (and the down) context and understanding help the dog decide whether he'll take that flank or hold the pressure.

 

"What works" is wonderfully complicated, in the moment, and depends on your dog's abilities and soul, yours and the dog's understanding of yours.

 

Donald McCaig

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Individual handlers obviously need to find an approach that works for them and their dogs.

 

But, surely the reason WHY that particular approach works will always be open to interpretation. This will inevitably have to be speculative because we humans can only really theorise ( I.e guess) as to how a dog's mind really connects a command to an action

 

In addition, isn't it also formally possible that some dog's learn in different ways to others (similar to the way that some humans benefit from differing teaching approaches).

 

Therefore both Maja and My. McCaig can be correct, even if their interpretation of why a training method works is different.

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Absolutely. But I was not arguing with the interpretation. I just pointed out I had not been talking about teaching lie down at all.

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And it is sure nice to able to lie in the grass without being afraid that the sheep will run me over

 

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What about the increased distance do you believe helps prevent some of her sticking? I was told, once Lady is OK to take a couple more instructions (as we are free-flowing atm to build her back up), that making her give the sheep a wider berth would help her stickiness as well. My instructor told me that the sheep are getting wary of having her rather close, so they turn, and this in turn can cause her to stop off-balance because of "confrontation". If she keeps her distance, sheep are happier, less likely to confront, and she is less likely to stick. But I do not know what may be the cause for Darinka, what do you think?

 

Had Darinka been showing signs of dysplasia hence the x-ray? There are a lot of things that can cause a misdiagnosis including coming in to season, and faulty positioning.

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Darinka was X-rayed because I was planning to breed her. She is a very athletic dog, loves to jump and run, and I had thought that the X-ray was a pure formality.

 

Yes, I agree and this is what I meant in my previous post - putting a larger distance between her and the sheep helps her. She does not have so much of a problem in off-balance stickiness. The worst it is when the sheep are content and not moving. That's why distance is good because (1) Darinka wants to move closer to the sheep (2) She has much more push on the sheep at a distance. But most importantly - we are moving forward.

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Thank you :D . Her drive is getting better and we are venturing into introduction to shedding. She has a nice natural pace.

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Thank you :) , as you can hear in the video, throughout I only said the initial "away", nothing else. She self-corrected the outrun in the beginning, and on the outrun closer to the top she also slightly self-corrected, then lift and beginning of fetch - all by herself. I never taught her any of this. Not that I didn't try :ph34r: .

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