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Herding brag - and something else...

I wonder if Tykki is maturing, turning to an adult dog (is this possible with male Beardies?). Some people may remember that Tykki was really, really calm when herding when he was younger, though sometimes did it "for himself" how people express it. This means in their vocabulary that the dog is not then responding to the "commands" but does whatever he likes himself best, probable just working with its instincts and not listening that "monkey cousin" inside the ring.

Then those same people (and some others as well) may remember that practically two years ago just before Swedish SM herding competition Tykki started to get really, really excited while herding . With this we have now struggled two years, with better and worse days... I have tried different methods and we have kept holiday from herding and done it daily but it has not seemingly influenced his behaviour.

Now, all of a sudden during the latest month, the wind has changed. We have had nice herding sessions with calmly working Tykki (and Minna :-) ) and yesterday's training session(s) in Piikkiö was really the best since ... I don't know - ages! We normally have two turns each dog and the first one turned out to be excellent. I decided that we would practice outruns, trying to make circles larger and make Tykki to stop at the other side of the sheep. Marika was there to help us, to prevent Tykki to cut in or run across the line (i.e. change the circling direction). Tykki made such nice and large outruns that he has never done before and soooo calmly. I was happy and amazed and Marika asked what have I done with him :-) I couldn't tell...

Then in the second session we were practicing to behave what means we were walking around and every now and then we went to the pen, took out the sheep, walked around a bit, returned the sheep and then left the pen - all in good order. I was equally happy of his performance and I hope he was, too!

What else has happened that I think confirms the maturing is that he is now showing considerably more interest towards working together also in agility. A week ago on Sunday I saw him paying attention to my movement (steering) and reacting towards it meaning we were actually doing a course, not only separate obstacles. This previous Sunday then what happened was that Tykki was actually taking and keeping contact with me during the course and we did 12 obstacle course with only one "drop-put" meaning his concentration was lost due to distractions. I wish this keeps up and we can do more progress before winter and indoor season begins. I try to keep you updated of the possible progress in the near future...