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Kathy H.

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Hi all,

I've been here before, got all confused with my user name (thanks to Eileen for fixing that) and here I am again. I know some of you in person, lots of you via reading your posts.


Anyway, two recent topics (the wearing one and the night work one) plus a recent experience with Tess encouraged me to experiment with trying the "less is more" idea. The recent experience was succeeding a difficult free standing pen with sheep with Tess about 150 feet out (as far as she could get because of a fence line that was there.


Tess is a very quiet worker who does have power. I find myself constantly thinking she is too far out when she actually isn't. She is fine close up and does pen work great. Definitely likes to surf the bubble so to speak.


So today I got out the ducks and tried working them without trying to place the dog but rather give commands (requests) only via watching the ducks. Now this is an acre or more area with lots of trees, brush piles and hills so for a dog that stays off, you usually cannot see the dog anyway which led me to try this.


I consciously kept myself in one place and told Tess what I needed only by looking at the ducks (duck heads make this easier). This was not easy to do in the sense of it made me very uneasy not to see the dog at least now and then. In fact I had to force myself not to look for the dog and just concentrate on the ducks.


This had two effects. First, it kept me very calm and zen like and concentrated. Second, it worked as well if not better than me trying to "place the dog/work the dogs" vis a vis the ducks. Maybe because I was allowing Tess to feel the pressure and work it as she needed? Maybe because I was only having to concentrate on the ducks and my reading/requests were more timely? (These are fast, reactive ducks who are as worried about people as they are dogs; there are 16 of them and you have to be on your game with them).


Anyway, it was a good exercise for both of us I think.


I think I'll try more of this with sheep and with other dogs. Mileage will vary obviously and there are some dogs and stock this might not be a good idea to try with :rolleyes:


Nice to be back!



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We are trying that too with our Aussie on the sheep. She rounds them up and puts them away after we work the other dogs so when she is out of sight we need to trust her. Know what you mean about being less nervous not seeing what is actually happening and not yelling out commands that may or may not be right. Narita

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