Wednesday, 29 April 2015

Being a Better Musher Through .....SHEEP!!!

Bet and I were out for another herding lesson at Landing Trail Stock Dogs today. As with her previous lessons, she had a blast and is now napping away the afternoon on her Clouch.

I LOVE seeing her have such a good time!!!

But there is an added benefit - I TOTALLY believe it is making me a better musher!!!!

How does this.....

make me better at this.... you ask???

Well I've heard it said over the years that dogs don't generalize well - meaning that if you teach a dog to sit outside on the front lawn, they may have trouble sorting out what the same cues mean in the house. The bigger the variety of situations you can work with them in, the better they will eventually UNDERSTAND the concept of 'sit'.

I think humans are much the same.

Today Lisa was getting after me for the tone of voice I was using with Bet. My 'away to me' and 'come bys' were too up beat, encouraging Bet to CHARGE after the sheep like a sled dog leaving the starting chute - and my 'LIE DOWN' was more question than command.

I KNOW this stuff like the back of my hand when it comes to a dog team. I preach constantly about tone of voice and body language when working with sled dogs - however take me outside of my comfort zone and watch all that knowledge take off like a dog team without a musher!!!!

Being reminded of the effects of pressure, voice tones/inflection, body language and the likes is a FANTASTIC refresher - and I can't help but think that, like the dog learning to sit in a million different places, it is helping me understand what I'm doing and asking out of my dogs better.

That'll do, Curly Tails....That'll do!


Blk Lab Guy said...

That was from the heart, I can tell.
I train police dogs for a living and I always tell our fosters to expose that 8 week old puppy to as many different things as you can. It makes a better socialized and confident adult dog. It only makes sense that would work for humans to. Thank you for reminding me of it. :-)

ainnirbard said...

I was finding the same thing the other night. I asked my Sibe to sit instead of telling him. Once I quietly firmed up my voice and didn't ask, he promptly sat.

Good reminders!!