It was a beautiful weekend - warm, slightly breezy, and just all around nice. Well, maybe it was verging on too hot, but Julie and I managed to get some decent dog working in. We worked the young dogs (Pip, Phoebe, and Nick) on some decent blind outruns - about 225-250 yards, and the lift and part of the fetch were mostly blind to the handler. I was able to see some issues I'd like to address with Nick, and the more I think about it I think we were dealing with two different issues yesterday - inefficient technique in lifting sheep that are glommed on the handler, plus issues with visual barriers.
We were putting Nick in situations he's not had much experience with - blind outruns (although we did do blind outruns last week we switched sides this week), and obstacles near where he'd lift the sheep. It appears that he's struggling to figure out how to lift with obstacles near the set out. He also seems to be becoming slightly too dependent on me to tell him when to turn in on his outrun (possibly a repercussion of my lying him down at top to get his mind right before he lifts) so there's something else there to deal with also.
Another thought is possibly this - we've been working on getting his fetch right, and he's looking really good there. He's more willing to release the pressure and go around to their heads (which he wasn't before). I wonder sometimes if when one fixes a particular weakness if another shows up? Or maybe when the one that's bugging me most is better the next one moves to the top of the list? I dunno.
Anyway, not major deals but something to work on - because it's important to me to have a dog that works right regardless of what we're doing or where we are.
I had several very good sessions with Linc over the weekend. We seem to have found our happy zen place together (for the moment at least) and some of the weird issues that had popped up early on have resolved themselves. After watching this video I feel like maybe I spend way too much time telling him to "lie down". Other than that, I'm very pleased with it.
I promise it's worth watching past the uh... opening. We were trying to figure out the video feature on the camera, and well... taking pictures while recording and talking. Funny stuff. So, here's Linc at 16 months: