I am having fun learning how to make Yoko a better trial dog. I wasn't even sure if this was "her" sport. She is teaching me more than my other dogs have taught me. If I can take a dog who I thought was less talented and make it a winner, I'd say I have put my learning to a test. It is up to me to bring out the good traits and lay to rest the bad traits to the best of my ability. :0)
3 1/2 appears to be a magic age. I see lots of changes in Yoko at this age....maturing changes. Yoko is still a bit of a baby. She is starting to "trust" me in my decisions. I have noticed she has put aside lots of her jumping into sheep's faces or heeling her sheep. She is becoming more confident....more confident with her stock and more confident in my handling.
When the sheep at the Island Crossing trial put pressure on her to the exhaust at the first leg of the drive, she bit one of them. She got an "Ahhhhh Yoko" from me about that, but after thinking about it, she probably did what she needed to do in that particular scenario. She most definitely would have done it back home on the ranch. Plus, the sheep lined out like troopers for her cross drive and drive to the pen. I think Yoko knew what she was doing. Kudos to her.
Years of mileage have taught me to listen to my dog. Don't be in a hurry to correct her. She may actually know what she is doing. I most certainly know they can read stock way better than I can. I came away from the two Washingon trials with some winter homework. We will concentrate on getting good flanks on the fetch. When Yoko gets control of her sheep at the top, she has decent enough feel to bring them in a fairly straight line to me. But, if I need her to flank, I can't get it. Winter homework. Plus, lots of winter homework shusshing her on to a faster pace. And, we will start anew with our shedding. I'm hoping Scott's method will add some positive reinforcement to her sheds. If I can just "get to my corner' so she has room to do her shed. :0)
My fabulous traveling companions, Yoko and Jet