Thursday, October 28, 2010

Doubt...

Lynn...I really like Lynn
I am in my element with her in agility, we have things figured out...I am comfortable with where she is at, how she is doing etc. I have been there and done that before in regards to agility...I can train all dogs in agility, I am confident in that (just look at Crackers! For example! LOL)Then you introduce this:
And I am thrown for a loop. Lynn is biddable, will do what is asked of her. I am NOT used to that on stock.I am used to "hold onto your seat belt we are GONE!" types of dogs (insert Klink, Zip and Gator here)...Dogs that are always pushing, easily excited, would rather not bend off pressure...did I mention pushy?? Grippy starting out...chaotic young dogs...that is my comfort zone. I am used to that.
Insert Lynn...bends out when asked, pace (WTF?!?!) and listens. Biddable, lovely. Nice...
NOT what I am comfortable with. So I start doubting myself...is she TOO nice? Why does she have pace? Natural pace? None of my other dogs have ever had that...it had to be developed. What do I do with a dog that actually wants to do as they are asked...
Answer: I really don't know. I thought for awhile, maybe I will send her out to someone to train her up...they won't make mistakes on her. Like I probably will. Can she handle me making mistakes? My other dogs could care less, they didn't care one way or another. Made it easier to try new things...experiment...
But sending her out to get trained won't teach ME anything...I will get her back, trained and I won't know the steps it took to get her there. What if things fall apart, I don't know how to fix them if I didn't train her myself...
I have learned how to work a very particular "kind" of dog...and I can learn a lot from her. I know this. But I doubt my abilities as a trainer to make the best of this dog. I really enjoy working her, it is nice, fun, she is a good girl, good to her stock (most of the time anyway) listens, wants to do the right thing...
Just not sure of myself and my abilities...this is uncharted territory for me...and I don't really have anyone to help me on this. I use Knox's method...and aside from going to clinics, no one anywhere near me uses that method, most are more mechanical in this area (ok so like, the 3 people in the state that run dogs in USBCHA trials)...I want to stick with the method I have learned...so it is frustrating. I feel like I am going to have to figure this out on my own...and I am worried I will ruin my dog in the process.
Sure, I know there is no other person she would rather work with, Lynn is very bonded to me...but I wish there was just someone that could watch and give feedback on things. I feel like I am a bit stuck...not sure how to proceed, scared to go forward...stuck.
She's lovely...I know that...and she has what it takes...
I hate doubting myself, I hate that feeling that you don't know what to do...how much pressure? Move where? Correct there, praise there etc. Makes me almost feel like I have started all over again in herding. Back to where I didn't know how to read sheep, or work Zip...back to the beginning. Yuck...I am mentally questioning every, single move I make while working her...
I hate that...I love working her, but I hate THAT...my mind races a million miles an hour, thinking of her reaction to each movement I make...exhausting.
Yet, every time I am done working her, I am so happy with her, how she is coming into this, how keen she is, now well she is doing already. There is no fighting for control with her, she TRIES so hard...so much heart, so confident...so nice...I will just have to try harder...go to more clinics, learn all I can about dogs like Lynn...
She is definitely worth it...sorry Lulu, you're stuck with me :)
As for Even? She is the kind I am comfortable with...all is good there :)

13 comments:

sheepkelpie said...

My Danny is much the same way now with a dash more tension... But, now he's like, well, easy. What I do, is head up to a friend of mine's place (a professional trainer) and stay overnight, and get two lessons in. That way, she can teach me what I need to teach Danny and how. It's a really great set up. Also, video tape your work. You will find yourself getting calmer and calmer, and you will down shift to the calm as you go. I did. It's a very nice thing.

fulltiltbcs said...

Lynn does have some tension, but I guess all my dogs have had tension...so that doesn't bother me...its just she is very biddable :) I don't know biddable :) Good idea on lessons...I need to do that...really need to! Thanks!

Ricky the Sheltie said...

Gosh, Loretta, you are such an amazing dog trainer - the fact that Lynn is different than the other dogs that you have worked with in herding is a good thing since it will allow you to become an even better trainer!!

livin life said...

Actually, I think you should just send her to me! I'll take easy! Just sayin' Okay...what I meant was....enjoy the ride sista! Can you go somewhere monthly and then get homework? You and Lynn have a beautiful future ahead of you.....NO doubt about it!

Monique said...

Yes to what everyone else said. A lesson once a month with homework should really do it, or weekend lesson trips every couple of months. Write everything down is my best advice about lessons! :)

I understand what you mean about a dog who tries hard to be right. My Lucy is that way, and it is a great strength but can be a fault at times. Trust yourself to be a good partner!

fulltiltbcs said...

I need to find someone to go to monthly...that seems to be the bottom line...now to start searching...any ideas?

Christina--thank you very much, however I feel a bit in over my head :) I am one who is more than willing to admit they need help! :)

Sare said...

If Lynn is "easy" is "biddable" I say go with it. You know more than you give yourself credit for and while I may be a newby I can see the talent you have. You just need to work this kind of dog now. Maybe that is the reason you kept her. She taught you so much about running contacts. Remember when you wanted to give those up. Remember when you questioned her ability to do agility because she shut down so quickly. Well you worked through it and you will this too. You don't give up, and you find your own way of doing things if you need to - that's one of the things that makes you so good. You've had many dogs that weren't so easy come before Lynn, now you get easy - take it. I'm sure she'll develop some kinks in the wheel along the way. They all do, and when that happens maybe something learned from the other dogs will come into use, you might have have to modify it a bit for Lynn...but....enjoy the ride. Besides you've got "not easy" comin' soon enough:))You'll get your fill then.

Hillcrest Border Collies said...

Sounds like you have the makes for a very nice trial! I think you need to move out by Lora and Inso we can all train together.

Debra Kay said...

I really do believe we are presented with the dogs we need at a certain time in our lives-time for you to grow as a trainer.

Remember-at the end of the day it's about reaching your potential as a team...not for the individual.

fulltiltbcs said...

Sarah, thanks :) Just to clarify, I never questioned her ability to be a good agility dog. I questioned her and MY ability to get running contacts trained. I think any dog (barring physical or severe mental issues) can do agility :) Just depends on how much training a person wants to do :) But, I do understand what you are saying. Herding is so much different in regards to teaching and training however...

fulltiltbcs said...

Brittney...I sooo wish I could, trust me! LOL

Carolyn West said...

I used to be able to go for weekly or every other week lessons and since I've moved I haven't been able to. I too have a young dog that's very different than other dogs I've trained...really biddable, talented, etc. I've muddled along most of this year with a lesson here or there or getting advice over the phone. I've now decided that I need a lesson once a month so someone else can look at what I'm doing doing, give me suggestions, tweak my handling. I had the first of my monthly lessons last week and I feel so much better now and feel like I've made some changes in the last week that have made a huge difference. It's not so much that I'm hearing new things or even totally new ways of doing things (though with some stuff this is true) but just someone reminding me of stuff is great.

Regarding the Knox method or whatever other mechanical methods people use...I find it different than in agility how people use various handing systems and the "in this system I can't do xyz" crap. You may have learned from Kathy or Jack Knox but not everything works great for every dog and perhaps expanding your horizons might not be a bad thing. I know that I've learned most of what I know from one person but along the way I've worked with a few other people and I'm able to come away with new ways of training things that help me and my dog. Not in all situations but it some and it's been really helpful.

Too bad you're so far from me!

Donna said...

And this is where the beauty of today's modern world comes in! Try to find a few people who train in that method and form a video critique group. Sure, it's not as good as in in the moment training lesson, but it's something. And trust that you and Lynn will be awesome together. You have fun, she has fun, so just enjoy an easy ride for a change!