a blog about Kilt and her kids plus Trouble our JRT mascot.

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Sequim, Washington, United States

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Whistle a happy tune :0)

The good, the bad, and the ugly….clinics.  No matter how talented you are in the sheepdog world, there are some that can teach and some that cannot.  It takes patience.  I know.  I have taught RN's in clinical.  You can't overwhelm them with information.  You can't be telling them that they did this wrong and did that wrong with every other sentence.  You must know your student and adjust your teaching to that student.  You must know when to say…you might try a different way or method and you must know when to tell them, 'great job.'  It's your job to assist them in bettering themselves.  Some have it, some don't.  I always tell my students, 'You will do better when you know better.'

It was unfortunate for me that I attended my first two clinics with well known people that weren't good teachers in my book.  They both left a very sour taste in my mouth. I didn't want to emulate either of them. They might even have even been responsible for me trying to do things on my own without help.  Same goes for people that teach lessons.  It's not black and white.  I know what I want in a teacher.
They don't have to praise me in every other sentence.  I can take some negative comments, but don't beat me up.  There has to be some light at the end of the tunnel.  We are all different.  Our dogs are all different.  Plus, we are all coming in with different skill sets.  And, we all "learn" differently!

Bonnie and Randy's home.  I think I would like to take their home, barns, garages, and flat land up to Sequim with me.  Absolutely, gorgeous.

Quite the workshop.  My RV is parked on the left.  Hook-ups for all!

This overhang is off the workshop.  Kennels in the back with room for at least three people to camp out of the rain with hook-ups.  To DIE for, eh?

Barn area with overhangs on both sides.

White truck on the right in front of the guest house.  Covered side porch connecting the main house garage with the guest house.

Just a huge, warm, inviting home with covered porches everywhere you look.

Patrick Shannahan's clinic at Bonnie Richardson's was delightful.  The weather was cool with intermittent light rain.  The dogs all told me it was excellent working weather :0)  There were 15 working spots.  We all got to run twice each day.  Bonnie's facilities are excellent.  The sheep were wonderful…a mixture of Rambouillets, Dorsets, a few Cheviots and six Scotties, as close as I could tell.  The round pen was a very large round pen for the pups that were in the clinic.  The field was large and the draws weren't bad at all.  And, everyone who had a working spot improved by leaps and bounds over the two days.  Can't ask for much more than that!  

Yoko came along to watch and modeled her new Hurta rain gear :0)  


Champ looking up field while Patrick and I discuss our plan

Patrick has a quiet, introspective way of communicating.  Plus, he always has a warm smile even in the most trying of circumstances.  It allowed me time to think, to absorb new information, and process my newly gained insight.  We have never worked in person.  I purchased Jet from him and Jet will be 14 this year.  Patrick used to email me lengthy notes trying to help me with Jet's training.  Thankfully, Jet didn't need a whole lot of help.  Me, on the other hand…….

Champ working in the field on his pace.  It is difficult to drive if he has his nose up their hind ends.  Imagine that?  I think I have just come to that realization after 10 years. 

I posted the below on FB.  

  If you are just going through the motions of working your dog just too get him worked, not real beneficial. A much needed correction is a positive thing, because it is going to change the behavior for the good. Working without needed corrections, is not 'learning.' Today we worked on subtle changes. I have been letting Champ push like a train. We have established some pace, but now we are looking at how gets up. He tends to 'pop up' too quickly. He needs to make his transitions gradual.
I was just so damn happy he would go out and get behind his sheep and bring them. LOL Now looking at the subtleties of how his movement is affecting the sheep which honestly was the furthest thing from my mind. Big learning curve here, folks. Loving it.

Okay then...I learned I am a nag. But, I guess my husband could already tell you that Champ worked like an adolescent teenager on the sheep at the clinic. I told Patrick I don't want to keep stopping him over and over again. We did baby outruns making him 'think' about what he was doing. He's not on all cylinders yet. I'm learning how NOT to NAG and make my corrections count! That way Champ has to think and change his methodology. Next time out we will work on his pace while driving. I get Patrick. This is a great clinic for both of us!

My growls when he was too fast turned into nagging by day two.  He looked a lot better, but I knew it wouldn't last.  So I trucked a few more hours in the rain over To Suzy's for a lesson.  She has a totally different teaching style, but once we got on the same page, I picked up what I needed to learn.

First of all, my eye is not keen enough to pick up my dogs flaws.  The little stuff…like he doesn't cover well on one particularside….stuff like that.  And, what to do about it.  She also agreed that I was nagging him AGAIN.  She didn't want him to have to be nagged at.   So we discussed me USING my whistles.  Use a steady whistle…if he doesn't take it, then growl or whatever to get him to listen.  But, at least give him the chance to do it correctly first when he hears the command.  I was using a growl almost like a whistle.  Not very fair to him, plus, certainly, sooner rather than later he would begin to tune me out. 

So, then it came down to my whistling.  I suck.  I know that.  I try hard.  I am willing to try even harder.  Suzy's whistles are new to me.  It's hard to let go of bad whistles and old habits.  How can I run a dog without half flanks?  LOL…I have been doing it for years. :0)  So, I had Suzy once again blow her whistles, so I could record them on my phone.  I have made a few notes, about how I will work Champ when I go to the desert, so I can look at them on my stock trailer door even before I get the dogs out of the truck.  I am trying.

Tents were set up so we could stay dry.  

We started early and would break for lunch after the first 15 dogs worked.  We finished by nightfall. The food was delicious and I enjoyed meeting some people for the very first time.  This was a great group.  No one dominated the group.  Almost everyone's questions were relevant to all of us.  I learn by visual.  So if Patrick told us something that I couldn't grasp, he used people to demonstrate what he was talking about.  That was wonderful for me.  

Champ didn't want to leave Bonnie's farm.  I called him to my RV and he laid down in her driveway letting me know he didn't want to go.  Honest, I could have lived there another month on all of the food that was available to clinic goers.  What a warm, comfortable environment for a clinic.  Absolutely, the BEST!


Karen said...

Sounds like a wonderful learning experience!
Bet you wished you could have sent some of that rain to California. Sure sounds like you need it.

gvmama said...

Northern and central Calif. got some great rain. Southern Calif. got next to nothing :0(