Monday, July 10, 2006

Covering despite a strong draw

I just had a great session with Nancy at her place. We’re really concentrating on teaching Taz to balance to me no matter where the draw is. He must still compensate for the draw, of course, but the final objective of a fetch is to bring the sheep to me, no matter where he needs to be to counter the draw. I can't let him get away with guarding the draw at the expense of bringing the sheep to me. So I send him and let him cover. If he wants to turn back rather than go all the way around the sheep, that’s okay as long as he’s covering (but try to stop him at the top when he’s on balance, just for a split second because it is kind of a punishment to down). Otherwise, encourage him if necessary to cover, moving so it is easier for him but do not balance to him—he must do the work to balance to me.

PS This is an old post I just found, but I remember that day and I think it's an important piece of what Taz naturally wants to do (he still tends toward covering the draw rather than fetching to the handler under extreme conditions). So I'm glad to be able to include it in his training chronicle.