May 27, 2006

"Get out" command

Over the last few days we have been working on a cue for Dusty (and Thommo) to move away from me. We'll use it in herding to give a soft start, and in agility for distance work.

First step. I set up two short fences using garden mesh, with a gap between them so that I could go straight ahead. I put a target out in front of the gap, blocked the gap with my body and sent Dusty to the left. I stepped through the gap, to reward her at the target. Repeated left and right. I'm using a movement of my arm away from my side as a signal. No verbal cue as yet, but will just use a "Sssht" when we are with the sheep.

Second step. Duz likes to herd the yard broom, so I've been sending her around the end of the fence while I sweep straight up the middle.

Third step. For the two of them I put a jump at the end of the fence sending them out to do the jump while I run through the gap and up the middle. I'll add more obstacles to the line as they get the idea. Thommo is pretty good at this and we have a few Gambler's titles, but I don't think it hurts for him to go back to babysteps with Dusty. The arm movement is the only signal as yet for Dusty, for Thommo I use "out" as well.

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