Thursday, April 21, 2011

Jan's First Working Lesson

Tuesday saw the start (for us, anyway) of the new training season with stockdog trainer Dave Viklund. He comes down every Tuesday to the Eugene area to train a group of dogs and handlers, then on his way back home every other Tuesday, he stops at the ranch to work with Gem, Sybil and Jan. It was both Jan and Sybil's first actual session with Dave, and Don was really interested to see how Jan would work for Dave. We were mostly testing the two youngsters to see if they were ready to start training yet. The assessment was that Sybil was ready, Jan, not quite yet. She still needs some obedience work so she doesn't think that she doesn't have to listen to her handler, plus her hindquarters are still pretty weak from the accident a few months ago. But Dave feels that absent those two things, Jan is very ready to train, very willing and talented. Don was really happy to pick up some tips from Dave on working with Jan to get her ready, and Jan was happy to be able to work something smaller than Don's cows for a change. Sybil did well also, but she too has some of mom's 'Princess' attitude, as does Jan. Meaning that if she wants to do it HER way and not the handler's way, she pouts when the handler doesn't allow her to do it her way. That's something we'll be working on, you betcha.

Before we could start, someone had to get the sheep out of their comfy pasture and into the working arena, and then sort out new mommas and their babies. I started off with the Old Man, but the long haul from the bottom of the pasture, with cranky mommas and bouncy lambs, was just a bit too much for the old guy. I had to take him back and finish up with Gem the BC. But a nice day for a stroll, eh?

Jan, with Dave at the helm, on her first approach. Dave has a yellow flag to help Jan understand that flossing is NOT part of stock work

Jan does love her heads

That ram is gonna learn a hard lesson if he doesn't give in to Jan. He did, without a fight

Corners and gates are hard for young dogs with little patience, but Jan actually didn't do too bad

Yes, I know - the weird bad poodle haircut looks pretty awful

An example of 'I wanna do it MY way' versus Dave saying 'No, please do it my way, okay?'

Jan is trying to let Dave know that she can get those heads, no problem, just let the damn flag thing go, okay?

A little grumpy, but doing what she was asked. Still showing very strong eye on the young wether with the twitchy ear who's thinking of making a break for it. He changed his mind quickly

Nice job picking up the stragglers

I see flag waving as Jan decides to discipline Ricky Bobby the ram for no good reason other than he looked sideways at her

A bit fast, but nicely done

Using eye and body position, all natural to her, to keep the heads from tipping out on the lead outside wether

Getting a little rowdy in the corner. Remember, this is difficult for young dogs with little or no patience, and she's actually not doing as bad as she could be

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