But, not the type of tweaking you're thinking :) I'm tweaking my training practices a bit with Champ. And, tweaking my handling practices, too. Champ responds better to my voice because I usually use my voice in practice with him. Uh duh? I am now trying to get out of him what I want with mostly just whistles. And, trying to lower my whistles. They are too high and don't carry well. That will take some time :0( I kind of lost my 'steady-take time command' somewhere this spring. Probably because I didn't enforce it consistently. He took advantage of me. I really need that 'take time' whistle especially when my 'down' flies out the window at the trials.
But, all in all, for 3 years old, I'm pretty proud of how we are doing together. I have great sheep to work on Patricia's 4 acres. I have a mixture of Cluns, Border Leicesters, Dorper's and a couple of Barbs. The Clun's could go down the road for all I care. I'd rather have Dorpers. I have taken a disliking to HEAVY WOOL sheep and lots of the PNW'ers have them. Pushing sheep is only fun for awhile and my dog and I both think it's a drag. They sour too quickly and sometimes can hurt your dog running over them when they need to hold them. No likey.
There are a couple of red Dorper crosses that Pat has that are teaching Champ a lesson. They work like butter for Yoko. But, they hate Champ. Why? Because he doesn't have enough eye to pace himself off their asses. I call them Little Red and Big Red. One day a month or so ago Big Red chased Champ she was so pissed off at him for being on her butt. (I know, I know...it's my job to keep him off their butts) Anyway, she turned around and gave him a chase. Luckily, Champ is very light hearted and thought it quite funny.
I brought out those 2 Reds for him to work today. I was happy to see that he watched them closely. When Big Red started to glance behind her, Champ put on his brakes and started to pace himself to give her some piece of mind. Growing up, finally! The other thing I liked today is that Champ walked the majority of the flock (17 sheep) backwards out of their night pen. He didn't take a bit of shit off anyone. Yoko's the queen of I'll kill you if you don't do as I say, so it is always nice to see that her half bro carries the same genes.
I really wish I had different whistles on them for brace. It's difficult giving a name first, then command. They get it, but aren't totally happy with it and neither am I. The one thing I am happy with is that they want to work together and afterwards they laugh and play like puppies congratulating each other for their work as a team. It makes me grin like a Cheshire cat. Never did I think I'd see the day when Yoko would work with another dog. These two are as close as I have ever seen in my pack of canines. I have never ever seen a cross word or eye from either of them to each other.
I'm headed for Vashon Island on Thursday. I am working with Maggie McClure. I have been watching her handle her dogs and am duly impressed. I aspire to be as nice a handler as she. Onward and upward :0)
Aw, Keen-Eye Kilt, you will be 11 years old this fall. Hard to believe. You are a most awesome stockdog. I thank you for giving me Yoko and Champ from your only two litters by different sires.
AWESOME kids! Both are pointed for the finals this year. Both were also nursery qualifiers. As little as we train, I am a very proud breeder, owner, handler :0) Sorry, I didn't know enough to be able to handle you like you deserved. But, I was smart enough to recognize your lineage and potential!