Friday, April 8, 2011

Answer To A Question...

I really shouldn't stay in bed for me WAY TO MUCH TIME to think :) And due to completely losing it mentally from being stuck inside all week...I made a small trek outside...laid in the grass, took my camera and took random, weird photos that I shall share with you...why...well...why not?
Based on my videos posted this past week...I have gotten several emails asking me why I chose to teach Lynn the "4 on the floor" stop on her DW instead of the 2 on 2 off that she has on her teeter. And if so, why did I do that over her 2 on 2 off teeter? My answer is, she decided that was what she wanted to do. I am sure I am going to get some people saying that is a bad idea. And I am OK with that. She does the same thing consistently, and it is natural to her. So, I will take my chances with what she chooses to do. Logic is taking me that direction.
Maybe that makes me seem lazy? Not sure. I don't think of it as lazy, I think of it as working with the dog. Must be all that herding training huh? :)
I think as long as you are teaching it, and proofing it, and insisting the dog perform it consistently...what's the big deal? In agility, we as trainers, try to make things as black and white as possible...tell the dog when this happens, do this. But we then put them in all sorts of situations: running in rain, running on rubberized equipment, with frantic handlers, running on grass, running on mats, different see saw tipping points, weave pole spacing etc etc... We throw all these grey areas at them and expect them to just adjust immediately.
And perform PERFECTLY. It's amazing how well they do...I am sure if you put humans in the same situations, we would not fair NEARLY as well :) Think about the tenths of a second these dogs have, going full speed to come out of a tunnel and in 18 feet find a WP entry...just stop and THINK about it...for a minute.........I'll wait.

It's really, REALLY amazing isn't it? Dogs are the masters of reading the "grey areas"...picking up patterns...just amazing really. Someone asked me how my dogs know they are going to work sheep versus just hanging out in the yard. I don't TEACH them this...they figure out...dogs in groups don't work sheep, dogs with me by themselves, as we are walking towards the barn, will be working sheep. Dog with me and I have a toy in my hand equals agility. I go out the same door, but those little things make the difference in the dogs idea of what they are doing.

So that's how I think...all they do out there, all the differences, the grey areas they put up with, adjust, figure out, while going like bats out of hell...ALL THAT. A compromise here and there isn't going to kill us as a team. If Lynn wants to do a down, 4 on the floor as her stop on the DW, I say, you go sista!!! If it makes her happy...if it makes her enjoy agility...I'm all for it :)

Sheep herding has so many grey areas the dogs have to think, adjust, work through things, without you helping...I have never been a more complete team with my dogs than when working stock. You depend on the dogs ability to make decisions, sure they have hundreds of years of instinct bred into them for this task...but it still puts me in awe the abilities these dogs have. And I know that influences my training...I think for the better. I listen to my dogs (so sometimes my dogs have to eventually YELL IT--SLOWLY--USING SMALL WORDS--sorry Lynn), and try to figure out why. Ask why? Not what they are doing...why?

Now I am not saying I don't get irritated with a dog once in awhile...of course I do. But, the more I trial, the more I train, the more I watch videos of a run I THOUGHT the dog made a mistake on...the more I see that video, the training, the trialing show me...there's a good reason why it happened. Just at a recent trial. Klink messed up her weaves...I was a bit irritated with her over it, then I saw the video. She slipped on the Astroturf. Simple. That's it. I trip all the time...I run into things. Sorry Klink. My bad. Luckily a tennis ball is all she needs to love me again. Gotta love dogs!

Lynn did something on her DW, slipped/stepped wrong/who knows...and fell. BAD. She didn't MEAN to do that (I can guarantee that with utmost confidence in fact)...but it happened. A variable that she was not expecting of those damn grey areas...

So there, that's my answer...Short and sweet right? LOL Lynn will do what Lynn wants and is comfortable doing. If it back fires, I'm here to deal with the consequences. Me and only me. She's happy with the performance I am asking of her, and I am happy with what she is giving me.
For us, as a team, it's a Win Win.

WINNING!!!!! ( Charlie Sheen comments..sorry)
TIGERBLOOD...ok....I'm done...
****ADDED: Apparently I am from the UK, as I spell the color as "Grey"....where according to the dictionary, people in the US spell it "Gray"...craziness...I am maybe it fits :)****


Mariah said...

I'm on a drug; it's called Loretta Mueller's blog.

DoggieDojo said...

Love it! I agree totally. We ask our dogs SO much, and they are not robots, but way better than we would ever be. You are so right! Rock on!

Debra Kay said...

It scares me to say this-but Lynn's four on the floor makes sense to me. As a border collie a down when working is used to collect-reconnect with handler/sheep. Solo's down is his default behavior when the world is falling apart he hits a down and looks to me to tell him what to do next. (Ok in a perfect world)

So-coming off the dogwalk-which may be a little scary still for her-she's going to hit that down and ask for direction or maybe just praise the earth she made it across one more time....LOL.

Solo has been doing that off the A frame-which is angled like the dog walk....maybe they just need to kiss the dirt before moving on.

I'm a very slow runner-so what I need from him from the contacts is to hit the yellow and then in some form or fashion wait for me to catch up or call the next task. We don't perform at the level you do (because of me, not him) but what I'm looking for is a stop of some sort.

We'll be the sloppy, but happy competitors (Solo and I).

Shenna Lemche AKA Project Leader said...

Pish Posh to any nay-sayers! I learned through Shiver that you have to pick your battles. It's important to let a dog like Lynn have her say too. It makes them happy and happy dogs don't poo on course (pooing on course being the worst possible thing ever!). If it makes sense to them, they can hit the criteria consistently and have FUN doing it...why would anyone mess with it just for the sake of getting THEIR way? Mucho better for the whole partnership idea, if you ask me. :)

Freya's Studio said...

Right on! I think that's a great way to look at your contact behavior. It amazes me what our dogs can do with only a second worth of direction at full speed. Especially given the trial conditions as you've said.

I myself am trying to decide what I will do for my upcoming BC's contacts, I may just try a few things out to see what comes naturally.

PS: You're in good company I too catch myself using grey not gray.

An English Shepherd said...

Great pics :-)

Loretta Mueller said...

LOL Mariah!! You crack me up! :)

Thanks everyone for the feedback :) I really appreciate it :) And yes Shenna...Lynn does need to have a say in things ;) For sure!

Kathy said...

Interesting, I also spell it grey and I also am Irish. Hmmmm.

manymuddypaws said...

I love Klink. She is so pretty.

And you make awesome points. As long as it works why not?! Dogs are way smarter than we give them credit for!

We had a dog in classes do a four on the floor- he became inconsistent the more he trialed so we ended up having to change to a 2on2off, but if he hadn't started missing contacts he would have had the four on the floor forever I am sure...

Loretta Mueller said...

Amanda--I love her too! :)

Yeah, we shall see how things progress it with...I don't plan on using it all the time, I want the running as much as I can. So...time will tell what happens.

Rocket Roxie said...

Yes. Dogs are FABULOUS I should know being one!
Very true my fellow kennel mates get annoying to but I love them
This is why us dogs are called man's best friend