Monday, September 7, 2009
Liz tries a new herding instructor
Well, I have finally got around to posting the herding videos and writing about Liz's herding lesson last Thursday. Let me first say that herding is a very, very tiring sport for dogs, mentally and physically. Herding really wears my dogs out more then anything else we have ever done.
This is a new place for herding lessons for us and a new instructor. The lessons are really far away, it takes me about 2 1/2 hours to get there but I tried the instructor that is a little closer and I just really felt like he was not great for us. I have seen Robin work and I really felt like maybe she would be a better match to help the Lizard learn some herding. The reason we are trying herding is that it is fun, but more then that I feel like it is helping Liz to take some frustration out and helping her to learn to think and handle some situations better. I am really hoping it will help her in agility and it seems to be helping to take a little of the edge off her, where sometimes she just gets so wound up that it can not feel good to be in that state for her, so this seems to help make her a happier girl. So the instructor is Robin, from On the Lamb Herding and the lessons are in Fillmore, CA.
I have to say I really like Robin, she seemed to have a good handle on Liz and recognized right away that this is a soft dog and she really does not need harshness. Liz is used to just circling and that is easier for a dog but not terribly productive, because if the dog just keeps circling the sheep really go nowhere, which might not be good if you were working on the farm. Robin explained that Liz is afraid to directly look at the sheep because she thinks if she does they will all leave and she would hate for that to happen, so you can see she tries to just keep going around the sheep and looking at them from the corner of her eye, LOL, silly girl, but then how does she know any different. Another thing that a young dog like Lizzie does not understand is that the sheep can still see the dog and be moved by the dog when the dog is behind them. Liz thinks she need to go to their heads and be in front of them for them to see her. In this lesson Robin is trying to get Liz to experiment using her power on the sheep and figure out she can move them from behind. Liz does a lot of avoidance behaviors because it is very hard work to sit and think and figure this stuff out and to experiment with trying new ways of moving the sheep around. All in all she did a good job, she was tired and just coming off an injury and some decreased activity so she really looks out of shape, poor girl.
I edited the video to try to just include a lot of the actual instruction, but I got an aweful lot of actual working time, so the video was really long. I posted the full lessons, but in three parts on youtube, but it is a lot to watch, and gosh even the edited version is pretty long ;-).