Finnegan's herding evaluation

Discussion in 'Agility and Dog Sports' started by AllieMackie, Aug 21, 2009.

  1. AllieMackie

    AllieMackie Wookie Collie

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    Okay. So. Herding evaluation.

    Wow.

    First off, no pics this time. I really wanted to focus on what Finn was doing and listen to what Nathalie(my instructor) had to say... however, Nat said next time, she'd be happy to stop instructing for a few minutes here and there to snag some pics of Finn and I making mistakes. :p

    And yes, I said next time. Finn not only passed his evaluation, but Nat said she hasn't seen this much focus, drive and instinct in a ten-month old dog in a long time.

    This is not to say Finn did perfectly. Right off the bat, Nat let 6-7 ram lambs into the pen, and told me to let Finn loose so we could see what happened. Finn got overexcited, flanked harshly, and drove them right through the breakaway gate out of the pen. :p I was mortified at first, but Nat said that's extremely common, and that's why they have a breakaway gate. :p

    So I leashed Finn on the long lead again, and this time Nat brought a group of 12 or so rams, including some adults. This way, she explained, the group is a little more intimidating for Finn and will hopefully make him take pause and watch the sheep's movements and how Tyke, Nat's border collie stockdog, works the sheep. It worked. Finn flanked far, and mostly kept an eye while the sheep moved and Tyke motioned around.

    Nat then started working a little with Finnegan. He naturally took to flanking the sheep, moving in a semicircle behind the sheep to keep them moving in a straight line forward. Nat was extremely impressed by his natural balance with flanking. He gets very defiant when moving to the handler's right, and moves all the way around and behind the handler, which isn't a good habit. He didn't listen well to the handler cane, but Nat said that is extremely common, and that Finn is nowhere near as bad starting out as many dogs she's trained.

    She worked with him some more, telling me what she was doing as she was doing. She then asked me if I wanted to try! I certainly did.

    I sucked royal, but listened carefully to Nat and did my best. Finn listened well except for the aforementioned right rounds. Nat said I was doing well for a beginner. It's definitely tricky to multitask controlling the sheep, controlling the dog's movements, and keeping on track, but that will get better as I practice and as Finn practices and learns commands.

    So overall, Nat loved Finn, thought he has a ton of potential (she even said it was disappointing to hear he can't be bred now, haha) and she's eager for me to start lessons! She's good friends with Mary, Finnegan's breeder, and Nat is excited to be able to train a Mary Thompson dog, since her dogs rarely make it to eastern Ontario. Nat was going to call Mary after I left just to gush at what a great herding dog Finn is going to be. It's going to be a great experience for both of us, I think. :D

    SO yeah. Pretty amazing. Guaranteed photos next time, we're hoping to have our first official lesson beginning of September sometime.

    Now for the adrenaline to wear off. :D :D :D I am SO PROUD of my boy. He did SO well, and I can now feel that I can call him a sheepdog... in training. <3
     
  2. corgipower

    corgipower Tweleve Enthusiest

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    :yikes::nono:

    You didn't suck. I know what it's like to be in a pen with sheep and a dog and everything is moving in circles around you and you're getting dizzy and losing track of who's who. :p Just stepping in there the first time is a huge thing.

    Sounds great!! I want to hear more! :D
     
  3. AllieMackie

    AllieMackie Wookie Collie

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    Thanks CP. :D Even though I sucked, it's all good, I loved it and am eager to learn with Finn.

    And I PROMISE photos next time. Nat said she'd be happy to take some, and that I can take some of her working Finn too.
     
  4. Laurelin

    Laurelin I'm All Ears

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    Congrats to Finn! Sounds like he's a natural for sure. ;)
     
  5. Lizmo

    Lizmo Water Junkie

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    Congrates. You're officially sucked in. :D
     

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