Ginny is 11 months old and a few weeks ago I took her for “instinct testing” at Herding-4-Ewe, a training facility just a mile from my house.This is a photo that Dona took on that day. Clearly Ginny is interested. Debbie, the owner of Herding-4-Ewe, makes a determination if she thinks a dog is ready to begin training. Ginny had her first lesson last week and today was the second.Here Ginny is waiting outside the arena while Debbie gets the dog-broke sheep out.Pretty soon I’ll be the one in the arena with Ginny and we’ll both be getting a lesson (and I won’t be taking photos), but for now Debbie is the one working with Ginny. Look at how controlled Ginny is. This is the look of a dog that is thinking and can learn something new.
She starts off with her favorite direction, “come-by”, or clockwise. Her tail is down and she is focused. Dogs have a direction that feels better to them (similar to people being right- or left-handed). They avoid going the other way. One goal of training is to eventually get the dog willing and confidant in going in the less comfortable direction. (By the way, Rusty’s best direction is “away”, the opposite of Ginny’s.
In this photo Ginny is heading “away” in the less comfortable (for her) direction. Notice her tail up. That’s a sign of a dog that is not thinking. She’s in “play” or “chase” mode like in the first photo.