Thursday, August 28, 2008

Maintaining our path on the right track

I've worked Taz twice since the clinic, once in Bill's arena and once at B&I's place, and we have done really, really well. He is continuing to move off me when I send him, and I am able to lie him down and have him kick way out with just a look. Also, I carried an empty water bottle and slapped it against my thigh once each time to remind him to stay behind me as we walked toward the sheep, and he jumped back each time and then didn't need telling again. To be honest, I really wouldn't care so much about him jumping ahead of me, but I think in his case it really does serve as a reminder that he needs to keep me well in the picture while he works. As Scott Glen says, he needs to be a little worried about me, from time to time. I think he is now. Before last weekend, I don't think he was at all, and I kind of liked that, in a "I love my doggy and don't want him to fear me" kind of way. I still don't want him to fear me, of course (and I'm confident he never will truly fear me), but I do need for him to not want to be in trouble with me, so he will override what he wants to do when it conflicts with what I want him to do more consistently. I hope this time, we'll make lasting steps forward. Faansie comes back in a couple of weeks to give lessons, and I hope then we can work on Taz's slicing. He told me how to work on this—pretty much do the same thing I've been doing when he leaves my feet too tight, so lie him down and mean business to get him to give ground, but I'd like to do it a few times with Faansie to sort of set it correctly in my head first. In the meantime, I can work on sending him from my feet and making sure he at least begins his outrun correctly.

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