URO1 Avonlea Showtime, CD, HSAs, RAE, HTADI-s

June 2009

Again April and May were filled with conflicts, bad weather, and new lambs and kids. Once more Ti didnt get back on stock like I had planned, so we went to the mini-camp at Cappy Pruetts again not knowing what Ti would do. We had 3 days to get him back into working mode before the AHBA trials and then the AKC trials. Although Ti is capable of doing a started class, I decided to drop him back in the trials to the higher tested level courses, partly so he could succeed and partly so he could actually earn a title. The 3 days of camp before the trials showed me that he really isnt forgetting anything. He basically started where wed left off in March. I am still fighting getting him to relax more and give more on his go-by flank. His away to me flank is soft and relaxed. No question that this dog is sided! Ti practiced a lot of short outruns. When he was soft enough, hed get to fetch the sheep or drive a bit.

At the trials, Ti had no trouble earning his JHD and his PT. The stock for the test classes were goats. These goats were very young and didnt have a lot of experience. Jazz and some of the other more experienced dogs spent the 3 days before the trial dog-breaking them. By the trials the goats were willing to walk up to people, but wouldnt stay with them unless the dog made them. During the test, the dogs had trouble getting the goats to go to the outside panel. They would go through the first panel, but then double back through the middle to the gate. Ti had no trouble at all keeping them where they belonged. The only problem he had during the PT was on the return trip through the panels. Hed get them through the first panel and then shut them down, not letting them move. I knew the problem. He knew they would bolt, not walk, if he let them move and he was determined to not let them bolt. I had to explain to him that if he stayed at the right place, theyd walk not bolt, but it was a hard sell. He just was NOT going to let them get away from me! All the judges that tested him over the weekend complimented him on his work, saying what a nice dog he was. He needs to be in control and is still working on staying calm.

The last week in June was the regular 5-day camp at the Cappy Pruett Stock Dog Training facility. By the end of the week, Ti had learned to lie calmly at my feet until it was his turn, even when the other dogs had sheep bouncing off the fences. That was a major accomplishment since starting the week before hed vibrate if he had to lie outside the fence and watch. The calmness was a major accomplishment!

In the arena, Ti is giving more and more and starting to understand what out means. I backed him up so he was almost doing intermediate outruns. His away to me side is still the best, but he was starting to give more on his go by as well. We practiced an exercise where he had to stay on a horizontal line from the sheep. Id flank him and hed have to say on that line, without coming into the sheep. Id stop him and flank him the other way. Again when he was calm and correct, Id ask him in to drive or fetch a bit.

Driving is coming along. He is not 100% confident stopping off balance, but hes getting better. He still feels the need to make sure all the stock are properly grouped, but he is stopping off balance. For short distances he will walk up the sheep, regardless of where I am. If I ask him to drive too long, he gets nervous and starts watching me. By the end of the week, the periods of driving and not watching me were increasing to almost the entire length of the arena, which is about 300. If he got too far ahead of me, hed start pushing hard with, Im sure, the intent of eventually getting around them and bringing them back to me. When we were driving together, with me away from the sheep, but still within his eye (a triangle of the sheep, me and Ti), he was very steady and comfortable pushing the sheep and steering a little. Hes not holding his line as much as Id like, but is getting better. With driving hes finally learning to walk, not trot, and stay in control. Short distances for the most part at this time, with better outruns and calmer stock work, is what hes learning and accomplishing. Now he primarily needs miles and miles of work as he has the basics, just needs those basics to become habit.

March 2009

Ti got out and worked goats a few times during the early fall, but then winter hit. It was a long wet winter so he didnt get back out until the March clinic with Cappy Pruett. This clinic was held in Valparaiso, IN at Doug Lemsters. I expected Ti to have digressed and I guess he did a little. He had forgotten how to slow down when fetching the stock, but other than that he was about the same as hed been in the fall. Cappy decided his need to balance and fetch was really strong and I should really work hard on his driving or I would have trouble later, so Ti spent most of the time driving. We also worked on his outruns, calming him down, making sure he squeezed in between the sheep and the fence rather than zipping on past, and squaring up his flanks. After the clinic and an extra lesson, Ti was much calmer working around behind the sheep. These sheep were light, but they were moving off of Ti calmly, which helped him settle.

October 2008

Ti has been on stock 3 times since the September clinic. The first time he worked with the entire flock of sheep, mostly not dog broke, including the ram. The ram did challenge him a couple of times, mostly because the ram was fat and out of shape so was always at the back of the flock where the dog was. Ti didnt have any problem with him, although the challenges were mild and not with the intent to do anything more than intimidate. I dont think Ti noticed. We worked on driving a bit, but mostly squaring our flanks. Ti likes to go fast. On his away to me side hes a bit calmer and will turn away from the stock to make his flank. On the go by side, Ti wants to charge right at the sheep. We worked on getting him to turn off on that first step and calm down. You do that by pushing on the dog for the first step. If they dont give and go fast, you stop them, put them back and try again. If they stay calm, you let them have their sheep and work a bit. Each time they get their stock, it tells them there is a correct way to do this and to get to work, they must do it the correct way. Unlike obedience, what you work on one time might not have any affect on what the dog does the next time hes on stock. Its a gradual building of skills, shaping the dog to work the way you need them to work by giving them their stock when they are right and stopping them or not letting them continue when they are wrong.

Tis next outing, Oct. 11, we separated out the goats for him to work. He didnt seem to remember how to walk at all, so was always pushing way too hard, both when fetching and when doing a gather. By the time we quit, though, hed calmed down and was being careful when he went around between the fence and the goats (they were standing at the gate). He also was walking again on his fetches and was slowing down and thinking about what he was doing. Each time he works, he might start fast, but hes slowing down much quicker and being more consistent when he does.

Once more, when we went out on 10/17 he seemed to forget everything from the last two times. It was cooler and threatening rain, so maybe that was why the excitement. He just kept pushing and pushing. I kept pushing back. You push back at the dog until they give and, therefore give you what you want, in this case for Ti to walk when fetching the goats. For the Belgians, its not unusual for them to walk but figure if they are walking, they arent working, and theyll continue to walk behind you as the stock wanders off. Once I had Ti remembering how to walk, I would turn into him pushing him out and making him speed up to cover, but then insisting on a slow walk once goats were back in line behind me. Im hoping it will stick this time, because by the time we quit, he would speed up to cover on his own, even without me turning if the goats decided they could just wander off, and then hed settle back into a walk behind us. We walked all over the field, including heading to the gate which tends to make the goats bolt, which he was stopping as well.

So, right now the skills Ti is learning is to walk calmly behind the stock in a fetch mode, not pushing hard and pushing the stock away from me or in front of me. He is also learning to speed up to cover and to drop back into a walk once the stock is where they belong. At the same time, we are continuing to work on his outruns/gathers. He still wants to go straight at the stock if hes too excited, so Im continuing to push him out on that first step, and then covering the back to keep him from coming in too soon. Hes widening out as we do that and Im increasing my distance from him and him from the stock. He still wants to go way too fast, but is at least being wide. If he had to do a 400 yard outrun, his speed would be great. For the little outruns hes doing, a slow trot would suffice. But he is calming down more and more and thinking about what gives him the stock. With every correct gather, turning away from the stock on the first step and staying wide on the top of the stock, gets him his goats to work, so hes figuring it out. Just cant remember from one week to the next, but hes getting quicker about making the adjustments and working correctly once we get started.

September 2008

This was the first time he was on stock since June. Again, he was fast and was moving in too closely, but again, with a little effort he was working much wider. He still wants to cover and keep the stock with me (this time he was working goats), but still starts too fast and doesnt turn away from the stock on the outrun. Still working at getting him to relax a little more and soften his first steps on the outrun. After a couple of days on fairly heavy kids, in a 80 x 100 field, we moved him onto the lighter sheep. These sheep are just learning to come to humans and tend to bolt more than the goats or even dog broke sheep. With these sheep, we ended up working on softening his outrun and lift and started him driving. Now if only we can work more frequently, I think hell start to get it!

June 2008:

Due to circumstances beyond our control, Ti didnt get to see sheep for 7 months. I was expecting a fiasco, but other than wanting to work fast, Ti continued to cover and work. At this time he was taken from the smaller field and put into an AKC regulation A course field so we could back him further off the sheep. He was still responsive to me and to the stock stick and quickly figured out to turn and go wide around the sheep. After working every day for five days, he was beginning to walk behind the stock, speeding up to cover, slowing down and dropping back when we went straight.

January 2007:

Due to 'mom" (that's me) not being able to move around much, Ti didn't get back on sheep again for 6 months. Although he was around them occasionally while I was feeding, he didn't get to work them again until he was10 months old. Once more he went in with Cappy but really wanted me out there to work with. Once I went in the field, Ti settled in and worked nicely, covering and fetching his sheep, even walking quietly behind.

January 2007:

January, 2007 and another Cappy Pruett clinic. This time I could walk a little having had surgery to replace my knee, but was worried about the sheep. Once again we tried to get Ti to work for Cappy, but even more than before, he'd have none of it. Each time, when I started walking with the sheep and working him, Ti settled down and worked. On the second day, when we asked him to sit when he'd get to balance, he started to comply more willingly. As soon as he sat, I got him up again and working. Each stop then became easier as he sat more quickly. Finally on his 4th time in the ring, he went in off lead and I went in with him. This time he started working right off. Although he tends to wear more than need be, he is responsive to the stock stick and eager to do whatever we asked him as long as he could work. At this point Cappy became one of the sheep and Ti was working off me (Cappy was in there to help protect me from the sheep if need be). Several times we asked him to stop and each time he sat quickly or lay down, depending on what he was asked to do. Although he doesn't have a stay command yet, he would stay and wait until he was told what to do next. He's very calm, although trotting rather than walking, and stays off his stock well. A couple of times the opportunity was there for a bit of flossing, but he never attempted to bite. He did some mini-outruns, gathers and fetched the sheep all over the 80-100' field. A very successful training session for this 14 month old puppy. Now to get me able to really get out there and work him!

April 2, 2006:

Ti and 2 of his siblings were introduced to livestock on April 2, 2006 at 18.5 weeks. This will be their story as they grow and learn to herd!

Ti when first exposed to sheep was a little unsure. Cappy Pruett was working with him, but he didn't know Cappy, so wanted to come and visit mom, who was sitting at the side taking pictures. Cheryl came in then, and Ti decided sheep might be interesting. Wait, there are rules? Oh, well, that's ok, let's go! Ti worked in both directions and fetched the sheep nicely to Cheryl, working off of Cheryl's body. At one point Cappy took the long line and started to guide him into slowing down and stopping and being right and thinking. Ti was comfortable with that, too, as long as he could keep working. He called off easily when it was done, liking this new game

Ti Starting His Drive - 28KB
Ti Starting His Drive

Driving-the-Sheep - 20KB

Ti Herding Goats 9-8-08 - 16KB
Driving the Flock

More Driving - 19KB
More Driving

Fetching the Flock - 13KB
Fetching the Flock

Inside Flanks - 17KB
Inside Flanks

Go Bye Ti - 18KB
Go Bye Ti

Drive Past Mom - 21KB
Drive Past Mom

Ti Herding Goats 9-8-08 - 10KB
Ti Herding Goats 9-8-08

Ti Goat Herding 9-8-08 - 10KB
Ti Goat Herding 9-8-08

Ti at 9-8-08 Clinic Herding Goats - 12KB
Ti at 9-8-08 Clinic Herding Goats

Ti Goat Herding 9-8-08 Clinic - 15KB
Ti Goat Herding 9-8-08 Clinic

Ti Herding Clinic, June - 13KB
Ti Herding Clinic, June

Ti Herding Sheep, June - 11KB
Ti Herding Sheep, June

Ti Sheep Herding, June - 10KB
Ti Sheep Herding, June

Sheep Herding Clinic, June - 12KB
Sheep Herding Clinic, June

Ti Sheep Herding, June - 11KB
Ti Sheep Herding, June

Ti at June Herding Clinic - 11KB
Ti at June Herding Clinic

Ti June Herding Clinic - 13KB
Ti June Herding Clinic

Ti Herding Sheep, June Herding Clinic - 11KB
Ti Herding Sheep, June Herding Clinic

Ti Herding at June Herding Clinic - 11KB
Ti Herding at June Herding Clinic

Ti Herding Sheep at June Herding Clinic - 9KB
Ti Herding Sheep at June Herding Clinic

Ti herding at 10 months - 17KB
Ti herding at 10 months

Hmmm, sheep, let's see. I'll go to their heads first! - 16KB
Hmmm, sheep, let's see. I'll go to their heads first! (4/2006)

Let's go wide around the sheep to keep them together! - 14KB
Let's go wide around the sheep to keep them together! (4/2006)

Out of the way Auntie Cheryl, I'm movin' these guys outa here! - 16KB
Out of the way Auntie Cheryl, I'm movin' these guys outa here! (4/2006)

Let's turn the sheep around and go the other way! - 16KB
Let's turn the sheep around and go the other way! (4/2006)

Let's think about this a bit! Tree, sheep, human! Where am I supposed to be? - 17KB
Let's think about this a bit! Tree, sheep, human!
Where am I supposed to be? (4/2006)

Just movin' everyone, including the humans, around - 15KB
Just movin' everyone, including the humans, around (4/2006)

Come on, you big sheep, MOVE! - 15KB
Come on, you big sheep, MOVE! (4/2006)

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