The Real Time Canine II

After spending 2 years writing the Real Time Canine, the adventure continues with The Real Time Canine II. Read along as I look for just the right puppy to continue the experience. After false starts with Tim and Jed, I am currently training young Tam, and Spot, which are both off to a strong start. Please visit the RTC II to read about training sessions as they occur.

Thursday, June 4, 2009


At not quite 9 months old, Star has just passed his first 30 days on sheep. Last night, while preparing for the webcast, (thanks to all who attended, it was fun) I was looking through old photographs of him from 10 weeks old through the present, and it reminded me that he is a very precocious pup. I am really impressed with him. After growing through an awkward stage from about 5 months through a couple of weeks ago, he has begun to settle into his work and started to shine. Currently he is runnng out with confidence over 100 yards or so, is becoming solid on whistles and voice commands at hand and has responded well to some recent training pressure to widen his flanks and outruns. I have trained pups that I did not like much at this age or this stage of training. Star is not one of those and has been quite easy so far. He is bold enough on stock and getting stronger each time I work him, but is more than willing to do as he is asked, which is a really nice combination. There is no yelling or harshness necessary in his training. I speak, he listens and comes back from correction with improvement, not caution or uncertainty. I really can't ask for more from him at this point.
I give him a refresher of the basics every time we work as well as introduce something new and he has always been great about quietly waiting his turn while tied out. Star has good manners and there is no barking, jumping up or behavior problems in the kennel. After 30 days, he has learned his flanks and to keep them square, internalized sheepdog 101, which is that fetching all the sheep is his most important job, learned always to cover at the top, a nice down and steady, reliable recall, and that wearing sheep to me can be easy. I have introduced the concept of driving, he loves to load sheep in the trailer and pen them, he can quietly flank around sheep in tight places and tucks in the ends to hold them to me against the fence. His most recent accomplishment is to "get behind" and walk behind or beside me on the way to work. Sooner than later, I'll be training the inside flank, how to flank off the pressure on a fetch and I plan for him to be ready to trial early next year. That's a tall order for one so tender, but with sufficient patience, I think he is up to the task.
Because I have stayed home a lot this year, about the only thing Star is short on is socialization. He has been to 2 dog trials and behaved himself with maturity beyond his age at both. I don't anticipate this will ever be a problem for him, and we will be hitting the road later this year with lots of exposure available. He has learned invaluable lessons from the older dogs that are masters at dog deportment and knows his place in the pack. All-in-all, I am enjoying this youngster immensly. In the past, I have sold some pretty nice prospects, but I think Star has a permanent place in my kennel. With hope, there will be 2 more additions later this year, so he will have to compete for his place, but he sure looks good so far.

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