Saturday, May 2, 2009

Hey, I wanna drive...I'm alright if you're alright

Tori and I had a great lesson out at Val's today. After our performance at the trial, we have taken things back a few steps and are really working on control. I am making Tori listen the first time I say it, and if she doesn't do it the way that I want, I chase her back and make her do it again. It's really hard for me, as an avid positive dog trainer, to be so hard on her. However, I've found that if I really get on to her once for doing something I don't like, but make it very clear what I do like, I don't have to do it again. My constant nagging at her, but not following through with any kind of correction, was what was making her so crazy. Now that the rules are very clear, she is really settling down. Val suggested that I develop what I call the "bad mama" look, which I give her right before I go chase her down. That way, she can correct her own behavior before I have to when I give her the look. This is working pretty well, and I can often just glance back at her and she will slow down.

We worked on driving a bit today toward the end, and it went much better than I would have thought! We are just having her push the sheep past us a short ways, so that she is not tempted to flank around and catch them if they move further away. She is confused, but working with us, and trying to figure out what it is we want.

Val keeps asking me "Are you feeling better about this?", to which my only answer it "Of course, my dog is actually listening to me!"

If you haven't heard Drive by Dispatch (where my title comes from), I'd recommend it. I plan on making a video of Tori driving with that as the background someday...unfortunately YouTube would probably just strip it off.