Sunday, 4 November 2012

Handsome Lad's Magnificent Fetch

It's been a little while since I blogged. It's been even longer since I blogged about sheep work training. 

Training isn't a daily occurrence, no matter how much I'd like it to be. All manner of things get in the way and it's not exactly something you can do anywhere other than in the field with the sheep! But overall, I'm really happy with the progress the dogs are making.

Some of the training I do is a bit of guess work, lessons aren't possible on a regular basis, but I am lucky that when I do need to move on a bit then I have my friend Alan Bradley to go to. He has a very quiet style of training and it's suited Handsome Lad and I very nicely. We went through a difficult patch during the summer. Alan moved us on in our training ... a lot! Gone were the days of Handsome Lad making the decisions as to which direction he was taking (he always made the decisions so well!), now I was the one giving the directions, and they had to be taken. Yikes. That was hard going for a bit. There were times when I didn't seem to do anything other than say 'Oi'. 

It's been a fabulous day in the Lakes today, with a frost overnight and the ground seems to have dried out a little. Time to go to work! 

I'm so pleased with Handsome Lad's outrun, as shown in this short video:

The sheep were at the top of the field, over the brow. He couldn't see them at all but he had confidence they were there. Why wouldn't they be when I asked him to do an 'away' (taking the right hand command). So important in our training that if I ask him to go and fetch sheep that there are always sheep there for him to fetch.

We'd had a couple of false starts on the 'comebye' command (left hand side), so rather than push that with the sheep being out of sight I put him onto his preferred side (for today at any rate!). Also due to the couple of false starts I didn't put a stop on him when he lifted the sheep. It was his free time to do whatever he wanted as a reward for such a brilliant job on his outrun.

I am very proud of him. He's such a very clever lad!

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