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    Green Valley, CA.

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  1. Amanda, I have a just two year old pup that is still having difficulty with his driving. It's probably a combination of me and him :0) He is fairly confident on his cross drive, but lacks confidence on his drive away. If he has a good pace going, he slides to the right every chance he gets. If he is unsure he will look back or if he is stopped, he may need encouragement to get his walk back on. I will continue to work shorter drive distances in hopes of giving him more confidence. But, what can I do to stop his sliding on the drive to the right? Thanks, Suzanne
  2. 3 yr. old loose eyed BC, more of a follower than a driver (pusher) on stock. Natural big outrunner, nice feel on her fetch. Feels the pressure well on the fetch. This is my 3rd dog. I own the parents. Both are well bred and open dogs. Here's the problem: She tends to follow behind the stock. Driving stock on a fence line in an arena she won't hold the pressure and keep the stock on the rail. I will give her a there and she starts holding them on the rail by being out just a little off the rail with herself in a position to keep their forward movement and them on the rail. BUT, she always slips back around behind them and loses the pressure point. I'm sure she is tired of me nagging at her. She tries very hard to do right. She just doesn't seem to understand where she should be. I bring her dad out and ask the same of him and he makes it look like he could do this all day with nary a word from me. If she has such nice balance and feel on the fetch why can't she figure this out when driving? If you tell me it's because of those dogged dorpers I work her on, I'm gonna shoot myself. Just kidding Suzanne
  3. Wish I did have 500 Border Cheviots! LOL...No, you are right on target. She is probably bored to death. She is working a dogged ranch flock of Dorper crosses.
  4. I'm not sure who the expert is now, but I'll take any replies :0) 3 yr. old BC, listens well, little eye, little presence. Her sire has great presence and intensity in the shed ring. He comes in like a bullet. Now, his daughter understands her job (shedding) but is too slow coming through for my liking. I have tried shedding the first part of our work session when she is fresh. I've tried revving her up, "Watch them, Watch them." She stiil comes through very lackadaisical for lack of a better word. Looking for suggestions/training exercises to get her more powered up and focused? Suzanne
  5. "Slow her down and speed her up so that she gets the idea that she is in charge. Sometimes we work so much at controlling the speed of the sheep when we trial that we take a certain amount of confidence out of the dog by making them work at controlled slow speeds all the time. Let her razz them a bit and get a little full of herself at times" Thank-you Bob...great advice for both of my girls. This last weekend at a small trial, Kilt got her first open win and Yoko was in the money in both pro-novice classes. Yoko still gets a bit nervous going to the post. I try laughing, yawning...anything to get her to relax more. She whines as soon as I stand to walk to the gate. I notice she runs through my whistles a bit at the trials. At home, she works quite crisply, but at the trial, her brain is working overtime. I have to go to voice on occasion just to check in with her. She is the type of dog that tries very hard. I'm guessing she just needs lots more trialing experience. I have been letting her push larger flocks and put her back on Boer goats to rock n'roll a bit. I love the slow/fast suggestion. I have to quick with both of the girls when I give a fast walk-up, because if I'm not on my toes they will bust them up. :0) Suzanne
  6. Back to Yoko....Almost 3 yrs. old,lacking forward drive, a bit loose eyed and upright, but loves working stock. I haven't been messing with her wide outruns. Since she isn't 3 yet, I hate to interfere. She is working it out herself. Last few trials her outruns have been spot on. Last year she couldn't move range sheep. Last week she had another chance with range lambs. She didn't have a problem with the lifts. The first lift she had to blast them (jump into them to get them moving)and the judge must have felt she bit them. I don't think so. She did what she felt she needed to do to move them. The next days lift was soft and nice on the same lambs. I try to let her decide what she needs to do. She KNOWS she is to bring the sheep to me. She is also holding ground when confronted this year. All good. I think I have made lots of progress with a little dog that I wasn't too sure about how talented she would be on stock. :0) Our biggest problem now is "holding pressure." Sheep lean on Yoko. Yoko doesn't lean on sheep. I do a lot of shedding two from five and have her work the two out in the pasture through obstacles, etc. This keeps her on her toes or she will lose them. What other exercises can you suggest to me to use with her to get her to lean into her sheep versus the other way around? Happy New Year!
  7. First of all, Anna, congratulations on your book. I have put it on my Christmas list. For over a month now all I have doing with my pushy bitch is walking her behind her stock. It would be impossible to take the push out of her. She just turned 6 yrs. of age and she is just starting to walk. LOL I didn't have enough tools in my toolbox to be able to get her to walk before this. Now, I know that walking sounds easy, but when you have a dog that pushes and shoves it's dang tiring. At first, she thought I'd gone nuts and kept looking at me. Are you sure you want this? She tried walking as fast as she could, she tried a bouncy sort of walk, etc. By the 3rd time or so, she didn't bother looking at me. Instead, she finally decided to try to rate herself. Yea! And, when she got too close, if she couldn't slow herself down, she laid down. By jove, we finally are getting there. At our last trial on a large mountainous terrain with delightful sheep she walked her sheep taking nice little quarter flanks. I could have cried. She still takes the reins away from me on tough sheep such as range ewes. We are a work in progress. I highly recommend, walking, walking, walking. Now for my 2nd female who is coming 3 yrs. of age and is softer with more finesse than her mother, we are walking, walking, walking, as in also. We are walking to feel comfortable behind her sheep driving. I give her fast and slow whistles and don't get on her case anywhere near the likes of her pushy mother. I don't want to take the push out of the soft dog, but I want her comfortable driving. Anyway, it's keeping me in good shape, too. Merry Christmas and Walk-On. :0)
  8. Yoko is coming 3 yrs. Last year her outruns were beautiful. They were wide with a nice kickout at the 3/4 mark and coming in deep behind her sheep. I remember you at Whidbey asking me, "Does she always run that wide and deep?" My answer was, "Yes." Maybe you knew something I didn't. :0) I only work in the desert during the winter. It has been some 9 mos. since I have hauled the sheep to the desert. Yikes! Yoko is way too wide this year for my liking. Infact, deeper than I want her to be, too. I try NOT to interfere with her, but now I think I need to do something. I tried letting her walk up straight in front of me 8-10 steps before asking her on her outrun. I thought it might narrow her up a bit at the start. Nope. I tried tentatively giving her a few "Here, heres," which made her hesitate a little, and look confused. It truthfully didn't affect her outrun. So, now I am trying to work small outruns at 100 yds. and try to build to longer. This bitch can outrun a mile if you asked her to; she loves to RUN. Thankfully, she's an excellent "spotter." I am traveling a long distance to a well respected judge and trainer tomorrow for a lesson. I'm not afraid to ask for help. But, since I value your input, please give me some hints on how to help her understand, without wrecking what she naturally can do very well.
  9. The above is a short video of Yoko looking back for a blind fetch. She has dropped off her first set of sheep and I am asking her to go look for the 2nd set. Kind of a mini nationals :0) My question is this: Does it matter which way she turns to look back in relation to my position? Can she spin counter clockwise or clockwise regardless of my position? Does that make sense? The dogs at the nationals had to cross over the handler's position to get the away flank. It appeared that the pressure of the 1st group still moving and that most had to cross the handler's position was a pretty difficult task. I believe you can hear me say on the video, "She turned the wrong way" But, after looking at the video, I'm not sure it mattered which way she turned. It did matter to me that she didn't flank out wider when I stopped her on the slight hill. She gave only a few feet. I was happy that at least she was taking an away flank. I didn't stop her again and ask that she give me more ground, because I knew where the sheep were. I hate to interfere if it looks like they are "getting" it. That's a big trust issue to look for sheep you can't see. Would you have done anything differently? P.S. I'm working and filming her at the same time. That's a huge difficulty factor :0) Always learning...Suzanne
  10. About 6 weeks have passed. You're right; the 5 yr. old dog does it "because she can." I have never been tough enough on her. She is just one of those dogs you can't give an inch or she takes a mile. Plus, she bounces back from a correction with a smile on her face. I'm trying to get her to turn away with some remorse when I correct her. Her 2 yr. old daughter lacks forward push. She's way more biddable and sensitive to correction than her mother. She's spayed and I am going to continue trialing with her because we have a good time. If the sheep are moving too slowly she feels the necessity to heel them. When confronted with attitude, she will stand tall like her mother and is now walking step by step until the sheep will turn. I like that. I have a group of yearling rams that have been perfect for her to walk into. She is really learning, two more steps closer, and that sheep will most likely turn. She doesn't have the confidence away from my side to give a needed nose bite. At the last ranch trial, a Dorset decided to try to run her off. Yoko's way of handling her was to bark at her and try jumping at her. Okay, she looked a bit like an Aussie, but she didn't give up and finally was sucessful after I flanked her around the 10 sheep allowing the confronter to get hidden in the middle of the bunch. :0) I think her heel biting comes from frustration and a little of "because I can." It almost seems like she is saying, "I'll get you before you can get me." But, if you need a dog to load a mob, she's your candidate. I really try to work her very quietly and probably the most encouragement I even gave her with the Dorset was "shhh shhh," "That a girl." I'm trying to let her think. I do the same thing in the pens when asking for a nose bite. When I get excited and say "Get em Get em" it seems to discourage her or stress her out. When I give a little "shhh shhh" she sometimes will hit a nose on her own. I'm ignoring any front leg bites if we are in close quarters. If I said "Get em, Get em" to her mother we would probably be having lamb chops for dinner. So this is a real learning curve for me. I'm hoping consistency and experience will help her confidence. She will be 3 yrs. old next January.
  11. #1 Two 1/2 yr. old "heeling" BC (working on a nose bite) still will bite a front leg. I read that cowdogs are allowed to turn a cow with a front leg bite. But, I overheard a cowdog person judging sheep say, "I DQ'ed that dog because he hit the front leg and not the sheep's nose" at a trial. The sheep was standing off the dog. If a dog turned a sheep by a bite on the front leg would you DQ them? Desirable? NOT desireable? Sheep versus cows? My pup will stand tall to sheep confronting her and I am encouraging her to walk forward without thinking about biting. Most of the time the sheep will turn if the dog walks into them (just a few more inches) in my short experience. Should I continue to give her an "Ah Ah" when she hits a front leg in crowded pens? #2 Five year old open dog. When I give her a fast whistle, she is usually quicker than I can think and hits the lead sheep. I would like her to zip up her pace and stay BEHIND the sheep. Why do you think she wants to nail the lead sheep on the nose when I give her a fast walk-up whistle? Suggestions to improve my timing..maybe keep her back further? She's pushy. Suzanne (always learning)
  12. It was great to see you and Nancy at Whidbey this year. I got kick out of watching you shoosh the big strong eyed dog around the PN course. Great job. My two year old Yoko got better and better as the 2 weekends of trialing went on. I overfaced her at Deer Creek with the range ewes, so I wanted as little pressure from me or the sheep for her. Besides qualifying for the nursery finals, she received 6th place out of 56 entries in her first pro-novice class. I held no expectations for her other than to have a "fine" time. And, that she did. Last year at Whidbey I entered Yoko's mother, Kilt in non-comp open. You suggested running her competitively. Kilt is a hard dog for me to run because she has her own ideas and lots of forwardness and presence. But, we actually got our first open points at MacDonald's trial with a 92 out of 110. Bob, thank-you for your support. Sometimes just a word or two of encouragement means the world to many of us. Thank-you for taking the time to give such thoughtful replies and I love your your huge smile. You made me feel so good! Suzanne Anaya (So. Calfornia)
  13. Thank-you Bob for the encouragement. My thinking is "the dog is what he is" and the handler can only hope to enhance the good qualities that particular dog has. I try hard to sort a good set of sheep for Yoko with her mother. But, lots of the ranches here in So. Cal. have sour, dogged sheep that once in awhile will run a dog down. She has taken a few hits in the confidence arena. We will continue on with your instruction. Hope to see you at Whidbey this year. I am making the trek again! Suzanne
  14. "However mine is one of those that runs out turning her head in looking for sheep..she's very good at spotting them. In fact she really only kicks out after she spies them. So you are right I just have to learn to trust her." Gotta love a dog who as soon as they spot their sheep, kick out. Suzanne
  15. Hi Bob, Well, spring is here and Yoko whom I discussed with you in past posts has won a few 2nd places in nursery. Most of our problems just needed time and consistency and allowing her to grow up. She is immature in my eyes when compared to the other 2 yr. olds trialing. Plus, we only get to work sheep a few times a week. No more dessert work due to rattlers until the winter. She has won several ranch trials, because this is where we do most of our work. She is loose eyed and doesn't need the square flank that her stronger eyed mother needs. We are still working on her confidence. She wants to dive in when she is up close as in sorting. Most of her heeling (she is a natural low heeler) isn't needed. I haven't discouraged her (much), and have worked with her saying, "steady, steady." She did get stood off by the notorious Deer Creek range ewes. With encouragement by me she got them lifted, but I believe she bit a front leg and got clocked a good one in the head. She got them to the fetch panels and then I had to go help her. I am putting her in a small pen with a few nice sheep and allowing her to go to head with me in the pen to assist her. If she goes for a front foot, I say Ahhh.."here" and hold a nose for her to go for. I praise her for a nose nip. I'm hoping she will understand with time, consistency and maturity. Am I on the right track? Just an update and thanks for your support in previous posts. Suzanne
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