I mentioned that herding camp stretches me.
When you have someone here who sees a dozen more things going on with you and your dog than you do, or can add a piece that eluded you altogether, it’s a bit of a journey of self discovery. Working with dogs is a more of a feel than a protocol, and some interesting things unfold as I feel my way through how the new (or forgotten) pieces work for me and for the dog in front of me. I grasp for the pieces I am comfortable with so that I can feel like I’m still on solid ground, while I untangle the new or relearned pieces and fit them into my training. Feeling stretched is probably the best way to describe it and it always gives rise to the next steps on the journey.
To offer a some less philosophical nuts and bolts - I worked a two year old kelpie who arrived, a bit unexpectedly, earlier this summer, for some training. Wanting badly to do what he thinks should be done, this guy leans on me pretty hard to have it his way. He’s been a handful and he’s been quite rewarding. Then I worked Gibson today and was encouraged to hear I’m on the right track of rebuilding speed and assurance.
My gang of stock dogs are pretty excited with all the strangeness and the change up in routine (namely the lack of freedom and exercise they are used to having each day). My pack has grown by four this year and I notice the difference in the dynamics of that and staying on top of good and poor behaviour with every dog while there is so much going on all around them.
We've been through two days - a full clinic right there. For day three we'll work dogs in the morning and then give dog, handlers and sheep a break while we watch video of our sessions with input from Dave and Trudy as to what's happening. Day four were back to a full day of dog work.