Friday, April 24, 2009

Sheepdog Whistles... not so hellish

Today is my day off.

After eating a bowl of mac and cheese, watching an hour of Home Improvement, and otherwise reveling in the glory of not having to shower and get dressed in work clothes and go into the library, I was actually starting to get pretty bored.

Sooooo.... I decided to drag out my sheepdog whistle and took it and Cedar outside with the intent of playing around with the "lie down" command... since that's the only whistle command that I can get to sound the same somewhat consistently. haha. Cedar has a great "lie down" with a verbal command and I was curious to see if she would be able to pick up the whistle command. She has acted sort of alarmed by the whistle in the past (she doesn't like loud sharp noises) so I wasn't quite sure what she would do. I started by whistling the command and telling her "lie down," and clicking when she did it. I'm sure that purists would think I'm an idiot for using the clicker to teach this, but Cedar responds really well to it.

I was very pleased with how she did. She didn't freak out about the whistle sounds and picked up after a few repetitions that the whistle meant the same as a voice command. By the end of the session, she would lie down to the whistle both next to me and across the yard. I need to practice a few more times before trying to get it out of her on sheep, though. Distractions and all. But I think we're getting there! I am working on learning the flank commands, walk up, and that'll do whistles right now. Hopefully by the time Cedar is ready for those, I'll have them sounding decent and not like an injured cat. I'm also going to start working on getting all the dogs to come to my "that'll do" whistle.

Who would've thought that whistles could actually be fun?

Moss thinks that lounging around sounds much more his speed.


ETA: Moss now also has the beginnings of a "down" whistle... doG I love this puppy!

1 comment:

JoeC said...

very cool Cedar is such a smart little crack head, I want wait to be berated by your whistling over the next few months.