Monday, November 19, 2007

Picking sheep up off a person & other dogs

I worked Taz again for a couple of hours with Bill yesterday. We worked mostly on outruns, and having Taz pick up his sheep when a handler and two dogs are at the top. I've worked on this a little with Taz, and he has trouble with it. Bill was purposely yelling commands to his dogs when Taz got to the top and moving around a bit. It was tough! Bill was mimicking what we would be likely to see in a trial. Taz hesitated a lot but eventually did go around to pick up the sheep, and Bill said his lifts were nice (he was wide and deep at the top). He wants to try having Taz lift next off horses. Taz is definitely more tentative than he used to be these days, but Bill thinks Taz is sort of starting to go to the next level. He kept stressing to me that we put him in a very difficult situation with a lot of pressure and to try not to add to that pressure by coming down on him too much. He also said to make sure I don't let him get away with coming in too shallow or not lying down, and I am finding it difficult to put no pressure on him while not letting him get away with that stuff. I mean, if I enforce the lie down, isn't that putting pressure on him? Bill suggested that when I'm working on my own, I again just walk with Taz driving the sheep to loosen him up, letting him bring the sheep wherever he wanted as long as he wasn't right up their butts (and lie him down if he's picking up too much speed) or going past their shoulders (acht! him to send him back to the rear). Elaine suggested I also work him closer in for the time being. So I think my next time out with him will be a nice, easy-going stress-free session.

Also, in case anyone's wondering, Craig has been a little sick the past few days, so that's why I've been working only Tazzy lately. Craig is NOT enjoying his convalescence, but he should be up and running soon!