Monday, November 3, 2008

I love rain!

...but it was nice to not have to work in it today. Dianne was nice enough to let us work in the indoor arena for our lesson today.

First of all, Dianne, you're amazing!

I think this was one of the best lessons we've ever had. At least for me. I learned a TON about how my body pressure affects Cedar, but also how she puts pressure on ME. I never really thought about that relationship before. She can manipulate me and my body position just as easily--if not easier--than I manipulate her. That bitch... :D. But it definitely opened my eyes to a whole new labyrinth of information/problems/issues to sort out.... damn. Just when I thought it was starting to get easier!

We did a lot of what we usually do; short little outruns and fetches. Keeping her slow and calm. However, Cedar was moving off me much better. My corrections are starting to carry more "value" for her I think. I like to shake my stick at her, sometimes involuntarily, but don't always back it up. Dianne likened it to the difference between my mom shaking her finger at me and her actually following through with the punishment. I worked on not using Cedar's name all the time which really helps for the times I NEED to use it. As always, we worked on getting her to stay a good distance off her sheep, but that is coming a lot easier--and quicker--now. And her "lie down" was MUCH better today.

(I wonder, should I start using directional commands? i.e. "Come bye," "Away," etc. Even if she doesn't figure out what they mean, will it help her to hear them? Or will it just help me? :D)

Sorry, no pictures today. The arena was too dark for anything good to come out.

So, I worked Nikki, too. It was... interesting to say the least. I really appreciate Dianne letting me mess around with her, I learn so much working a trained dog (or, at least, a dog further along with Cedar) that I wouldn't learn otherwise. Or, I guess, that I wouldn't learn as quick. Nikki was definitely testing me today. Working in the arena presents a different set of challenges than working in the pasture. Mainly, there is a lot more pressure because of the walls. But everyone reading this already knows that. Out in the pasture, Nikki was able to swing out a lot wider on her outruns. In the arena, she was forced to be closer to the sheep which made it harder for me to kick her out and get the correct flanks. She had a tendency to get a little sticky and not want to move out for me. Plus, I'm still a bumbling idiot (even though Dianne says I can't "break" Nikki, I still feel stupid making all those mistakes...) and don't really know what I'm doing when it comes to driving and stuff. But we got through it after quite a few bumpy patches. I just need "reminding" now and then from Dianne about what the hell I'm supposed to do! :D

But yeah, I'm learning...



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