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Thank you

Rebecca, Irena Farm

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Two public thank yous:


First, to Robin French and Sam Furman for hooking me up with just the dog I needed, at the time I needed him. I don't believe Lena's on here but I'm grateful to her for passing Cord on to me - the right dog at the right time. It's been a couple months now and I'm still amazed at how well it all worked out.


Here he is: http://www.pbase.com/pastorshill/image/55494183 (I hope Christine doesn't mind my linking to her stunning photo - I haven't gotten anything near that good and probably never will, lol).


Second, to Killer (KarenH) for an eye opener a couple days ago that changed the way I will train from now on, at least I hope so. She showed me how to make sure the dog knows that we ARE doing a job, and what job we are doing. Training is now relaxed and happy, no one is yelling, and I've gotten the guts to try to get in a couple trials this fall if I can find any that are still open. Basically she just stepped me through keeping the lines distinct between tasks - whether we were gathering or driving, letting the dog take charge when it was appropriate but establishing the boundaries of control. It was all focused on "the job" - which is how we define the dogs themselves, isn't it?


It was an elegant and simple exercise we did to work on establishing this mindset with me and Cord both. We simply did a silent gather (we had to work up to the silent part), then a drive with no flank commands, just using position and body language to help Cord "learn" that it was his job to cover the heads. Then I'd use a consistent sequence to alert Cord that the "drive" was over and now his job was to gather again, until the sequence and body language alerted him that his job was to hold a line on the drive again.


Eventually we were "setting a line" and Cord was holding it with no commands. This is wonderful because I am bad to mix up flanks and also allow the dog to overflank on the drive. Even if we did occaisionally use a flank on the drive by the end, we were all so mellow that I could think clearly and get it right, and Cord responded confidently and calmly. This was just one exercise but already I've been able to use this mindset and apply it to other work we have done the last couple of days.


I was even able to show Patrick today well enough that HE made a huge breakthrough with Doug the Dog. It's amazing how you can get in a rut and it may just be one thing that makes all the difference.


I'm sure this seems laughably basic to most of y'all (not to mention tiresomely self-serving) but you have to remember my training has been mostly self-directed with very difficult dogs (well, Rick wasn't too bad, but he was still fast as heck and hard to stop), and with stops and starts of months and years in between, not to mention very little natural feel for this to begin with. Feeling confident, and feeling like I was helping my dog, is a BIG DEAL. I'll be eating crow again another day, but at least I won't feel like it's the staple of my diet. . .Meanwhile I am having this late night urge to share my joy. :rolleyes:


Sam, I am still coming up to pester you when I can clear up my schedule!

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Okay, Becca, I read this earlier (way earlier) and need to reread. Maybe Karen would like to put on a cattledog clinic at her place for the great inept, like myself.


I occasionally have an epiphany but I often can't remember what it was by the next day, or it seems that it "works" one day but not the next. I do admit that a number of things that Jack Knox taught have been a real revelation for me. Those things have been particularly helpful in stock work at home on the cattle, and I'm very grateful.


I'd LOVE to come down and see how Karen uses her dogs on the stock and how she trains. Maybe she'd put something on for us who are interested in cattle particularly, before or after Jack's clinic in January?


More details, if you'd like, please.

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