Had the dogs all out early this morning. I got a brief chance to work Tessa a little with the two heifers and sheep again. Tessa did pretty well.
The outruns were wide. She worked very calm. I was using a show stick or sorting paddle to help do the work, and was able to put those away. Tessa is responds to quieter commands and hand signals now.
In fact, I encountered a challenge to work on. Usually she moves so quick and excited that livestock move away from her without hesitation. Now that she moves more calmly, she has started to have trouble pushing the really tame cattle. They just stop and stare at her and she paces back and forth.
I know she has the tenacity and drive to push them, but we've worked so much getting her to calm down and work slower, she now has to combine that with boosting up when needed.
I think this is exactly why training and working with herd dogs is such a challenge. You are always teaching opposites. One day you are teaching them to stay wide and keep their distance. The next walking straight into them. You're fetching them towards you and then driving them away....and our recent challenge of working under control, but then being able to regain the speed and tenacity to get the stubborn ones to move.
My wife and I are happy to be a part of the family farm. I've always enjoyed the loyalty and companionship from good dogs and have taken up the training of herding dogs the past few years. I learn so much from the Australian Shepherds I've been with, and hope they enjoy their time with us as much as we love them.