Kilt has this flying pirouette of a look back when the sheep are in the arena. If anything, I have to catch her in mid air and tell her to down and count to 10. My, how she loves to anticipate this command and just fly off without looking for her sheep. Guess she hasn't really had to look, since she learned the command in the arena. Today about 80 or more goats and sheep were out in the big field. The field has ditches and gentle rolling terrain. The flock were scattered just about everywhere. I put on my rattlesnake gaiters and told Kilt to move quickly and stay on her feet to avoid the foxtails :0)
I sent her to gather the herd and she missed some stragglers way off in the distance. I gave her a look back whistle and she half heartily looked back. Kilt was running in a ditch and the stock weren't in her line of sight. I was up on a hill, so I could see them. She then continued on bringing the stock she had gathered. I whistled her down again and she ignored my look back whistle. She was on a mission. She made me walk a mile. She had already crossed over. I got close enough to her to verbally tell her to look back and she did. By this time she was out of the ditch. She noticed the stragglers and went about picking them up. Ahhh...this opens up a whole new training exercise. She doesn't trust me enough to give her a flank and go on a blind run. Interesting.
We spent a few minutes splitting the large flock and moving one group away from the other. I'd give a look back whistle and let her get the other group while in the line of sight. We only did this a few times. The ground is oh so hard on their feet (love Calif. desert foxtails, cactus and sticks and rocks) plus I don't want to drill this exercise.
But, I think I'm on top of it now. We will on occasion put the flock out there and drive a group away from her line of sight. I need to build up her trust in me to guide her to her stock.
P.S. Do NOT think that photo above is from So. Cal. That is from the Pacific Northwest. My dogs think they have died and gone to heaven to be able to run in grass like that!