Saturday, January 25, 2014

Training Journal - Week 3

January 19: No sheep work today. Went on a walkabout in the trap behind the house. Dogs found a porcupine and the walk was shortened and no sheep work!

January 20: Worked Pete on sheep in afternoon. Good work. My version of "packed pen" with Bess again - she is shaking a lot less! Put her on cattle. She went around real nice, but the cattle wouldn't move away from her - or away from me either. Goats didn't come in so didn't gather with Bess. Both dogs seemed fine from the porcupine encounter, though they didn't eat all their food last night. See how they are in the morning.

January 21: No walk about or free time. Bess penned goats. The pasture sheep were with the goats, but Bess went around very nicely. She did grip a kid that challenged her at the salt block. She was a little difficult to take off the stock in the water lot, but did not bust the herd. I gathered the trap sheep with Pete. When we first struck them and I released Pete, he busted them. But he did "lie down" and I got a correction in. We then went to the sheep again and he went around well and wore the sheep from the water lot to the cow lot. Pleased with both dogs.

January 22: Walk about in the trap behind the house. No Mishaps!!! Pete is such a different dog. We have bonded again, and we are having fun. "Quiet time with Bess in the east holding pen. She did well. Then, we walked around while Mike and Mikkie worked horses. She was very calm, even tied the leash. Mike pushed the sheep out the east holding pen gate for me when I worked Pete. I just walked around in the arena and let Pete wear the sheep to me. Then we penned them back in the holding pen. He did great - no verbal or harsh correction, just corrected him with my body position. Taking the "lie down" command very well!

January 23: Let the dogs play in the garden for a few minutes. Worked Pete on sheep in the arena. Still have the belly rope on, but did not have to take hold. He is wearing sheep well and getting bigger and smoother on his flanks. He is more attentive to me, and is pleased when I praise him. No goats came in, so Bess didn't get to work. Very cold all day.

January 24: Very cold morning, so didn't work until late afternoon. Took Bess out and we gathered goats in the pasture. She had a nice gather. I did put her on the long line to drive them home. They go easy, so it is a good time to work on her rating herself. Worked the sheep in the trap with Pete. He did well, but I'm where I was before we started having trouble. I think I need to stop him and get him out a little by using the rope and to keep him from getting by me. I 'll try it tomorrow.

January 25: I reread chapters 11-15 of Bruce Fogt's book today before I worked Pete. So, I went to the practice field with a definite purpose and plan to teach him to run wider. And it worked!! We had a real good work today. Bess penned goats and did well. We all took a big walk-about in the trap behind the house. Pete went off and left us, so I was a little disappointed, but worked him on sheep after and he did well.

I am highly encouraged, not only about how dog working is going, but also about writing here in this journal every day. It has helped me stay on track, record my progress, problems, and solutions.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Training Journal - Week 2

January 12: Worked dogs in the evening. The sheep seemed fast, and the dogs seemed fast and kinda wanted to cheat me and beat me. Pete went straighter to the sheep. I think my body position affected him. I think I had turned my shoulder a little bit and faced the sheep a little more. Tomorrow, I will be more aware of that. It was extremely windy, so I think that affected the sheep also.

January 13: Worked dogs in the morning. I did short works and only did short outrun/flanks, no driving. Pete did much, much better. Bess did well - she still wanted to dive in one time, but got a good correction. I was very conscientious about my body position and I believe it made a difference. At evening chore time, took the dogs on a walk-about and let them run an play in the feedlot by the tank. I went early enough that they got to play/run around for about 40 minutes. Think it was good for them.

January 14: Fairly cool morning with medium winds. Worked dogs mid morning on sheep in the cow lot. Tried Pete without the belly rope, but had to put it on as he wanted to "cheat me" on the release. One correction was all that was needed, and then he worked well. We rested, and then I put him back on the sheep without the belly rope. He did very well. Bess did good on sheep, too. Only worked her a few outrun/flanks and then drove going both directions around the pen. Then used Bess to pen goats this evening. Mike counted in the gate while I was able to make a correction if needed. She did pretty well. Then, we went on our walk-about to the tank. Seems our "bonds" are becoming stronger.

January 15: Worked dogs on sheep in the morning. Started Pete without belly rope, but he wanted to leave before I released him. Got a good correction, and his flanks were much better. He is more natural to the right, but still just a tad tight on the left. Sheep are settling down and dogs are settling. Bess had a real good work on the sheep. Didn't dive or grip. A little tight on one flank, but got a good correction. She is doing well on driving. I'm really aware of my body position and my voice. I'm now using "HEY YOU" for my correction command. Both dogs seem to listen to it better, maybe because I'm more confident when I give it. Nice run around at tank, though Bess is in season, so will have to start walking them separately for a while.

January 16: Another morning workout. Pete's work was without the belly rope! He really is ready to go to a bigger lot - might venture out in a few days. Still making the foundation sturdy. Bess was a little "high"! She gripped, but the correction seemed to work. She did well on her driving - both ways around the cow pen. Then I sent her on a short outrun - she did well. Only took Pete on walk-about/play time as Bess is in season. He seemed a little lost, but we had some good bond time. I worked on "with me" walking to tank/feedlot.

January 17: Walk about in the trap behind the house before any works. I was adventurous and let Pete go at the gate. He had been running away from me in the past, but didn't today. I let them run about as we walked to the back NW corner. He came back on every call back whistle. Then I leashed them and "with me" walked back to the house. Worked Pete on sheep - put belly rope on and did walk-ups and "lie downs" as a reminder. His flank were great today and he didn't leave early on any release. A little fast fetching to me, but I know that it time to go to a bigger working area. Didn't work Bess on sheep. Prepped her with the belly rope, but she was shaking with anticipation, so we just sat calmly and watched the sheep for about 15 minutes. When she calmed down, we left the pen. I did work goats on her in the evening. Pushed all of them out of the lot and then gathered them and counted them back into the lot. She did very good!

January 18: Another week gone by. All in all, I was very pleased with our progress. Worked Pete on sheep in the afternoon. He worked without the belly rope and over all I think he did well. Bess and I just watched sheep again. She was less "shaky" today, so I think this quiet time is good for her. No walk about today, as we kept Gracen, got firewood, worked cattle and trimmed trees in the holding pens.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Training Journal - December 26, 2013 - January 10, 2014

My Christmas gifts from one of my daughters!!! These, plus a trip to a fellow trialer, has helped me get back on track training Pete and Bess. After I lost Tate in June, I hit a huge slump in my training. Bess had a broken leg, so I began to "push" Pete too fast, and I got in trouble. He started "cheating" me and I didn't know how to correct it. So I got discouraged and basically gave up really training for several months. I puttered at it, but was getting no where. I lost my confidence and my dogs knew it. But after my trip to Kay's in November, I'm back on track! So, I've purposed to keep a journal of my daily training schedule/activities, so I go can go back and see my progress. Hope you, my fellow dog lovers/trainers will feel free to comment and help me with advice and encouragement!

December 26 - 31: Began "walk-abouts" to reestablish obedience for Pete. I continue to use Bess to pen the goats. She is doing well. Have been able to make "good" corrections with her, and she is "diving in" much less.

January 1-2: Continuing walk-abouts and "free play" time in the feedlot. Bess loves to jump on the round hay bales! She is such a happy dog! Both dogs are getting much better on the leash. My consistency is paying off.

January 3: Another day of just walk-about and free time. But we did get the sheep in out of the big pasture, so I will start working the dogs on sheep tomorrow!

January 4: Worked both dogs on sheep in the cow lot. Bess needed quite a few corrections, but seemed to take them well. Pete did okay for not being on stock for almost 50 days. He is listening to me much better and I am reinforcing the "lie down" and "that'll do" commands.

January 5: Worked dogs in the morning. Short works, but pleased with where the dogs are. A little better than yesterday.

January 6: The weather was very cold, but I did do a short work on both dogs. Bess is being a little tough, but Pete is coming around and showing me that we are getting back to where we were 6 months ago.

January 7: Worked both dogs on sheep in evening. Small improvements on both dogs. Highly encouraged!

January 8: Another good day. Didn't get a walk-about in, but both dogs still showing improvement on the sheep. Still working in the cow lot with the belly rope, but not having to use it much at all.

January 9: Moved goats from water lot to working pens with Bess. Sorted off the billies so they could be hauled to a different pasture. Bess was very quiet in the pens - even did a small "shed" with her with one billie. Then moved goats back to water lot. Bess worked a little fast at times, but keeps them bunched and moving fairly well. She did "sell out" when we came back through a little gate to go to the kennels. She thought she was going to get away from me and head the goats. Worked Pete on sheep in the evening. He did well, Had one correction as he wanted to "cheat me and beat me" to the sheep on his left flank from a Lie Down. He was easy to correct and worked correctly on the next release.

January 10: Worked both dogs on sheep in the morning. Very, very good works on both dogs. Pete is really starting to handle his sheep again and watching and listening to me. He's not trying to "cheat me" and "beat me" to the sheep. I'm rewarding him for being a good dog by letting him have his sheep. Bess is doing better - didn't grip once today! A couple small corrections on her flanks and outruns. I am much encouraged.

January 11: Let Bess and Pete have some "run-around" time in the garden before we worked sheep. Worked Pete first. Still using the belly rope, just as a reminder, but no corrections needed . Still working in the cow lot. His flanks were good, wore the sheep without pushing and rated himself well. Did a little driving around the lot. I had to check him a couple of times, but getting the idea.

Bess did very good on her driving around the lot. She is still a little "slicy" on her left flank, but did not dive in at all today. Still using the belly rope, though only had to correct her once on a release for the left flank.