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Oh dear, oh dear...

Someone could think that we do not do *herding* anymore with Tykki (nor Petsu), but only Tykki is having a hobby and that is agility.

It is time to do justice! We have done herding at this season, not only agility (we have also done once, last Sunday, some searching people, but that is another story). Both Petsu and Tykki have got their time with sheep both at home and at Paimennuskoulu.

Where to start the herding stories of the season... First of all, during the winter season sheep only had small outdoor pen to get some fresh air. Since Petsu is such hot-headed, he rarely got into the sheep shed, but Tykki had the opportunity to visit ladies more often. He is able to pop in and out without loosing his brain and therefore he is allowed to sneak in to say hi to girls. He actually helped us to shear which meant he was holding the sheep in close area and Pertti was able to catch one for "treatment". When Pertti was shearing, Tykki practiced his down-stay which sometimes lasted relatively long. He managed that better than previously, though that was not the worst behaviour we had when we finished last season. But we have not been able to practice herding during winter.

Tykki and I started this year's herding season at Kaisa Hilska's Koirataito at Wappu when she held short course in herding. We were allowed to advanced-course though we spent most of the time cooling Tykki's head. He was relatively hot and barking, but he was not allowed to go close to sheep when misbehaving, on contrary I took him further when barking or leaping. That was well working since we managed to do some flanking exercises as well and extremely nice driving - once he settled down for each his turn.

During the latest about month we have done some "mental exercises" meaning sometimes we just sit and watch (or ignore) sheep, like today I was first grooming Tykki and then having a half-an-hour phone chat with my sister. I was very pleased, since I was able to speak in the phone, and hear ;-)
We have also done walking in long line either controlling the sheep or trying to ignore them. This has been mandatory since his influence to sheep is several tens of meters when he is overly anxious. He is just pushing so hard that sheep fly all over. He really had to loose his grip to be able to heard... For example first time at Paimennuskoulu we spent our training time for control-control-control and I do not mean Tykki controlling the sheep, but me controlling him and situation.
Since then he has been allowed to work and do exercises since he has behaved better and loosened his attention. We have tried to make flanking circles larger (that we need) and practiced stops and lie-downs (we really need those, too) and everything I have tried to demand more distance not to get all sheep running over me.

I think we have made some good progress. Tykki is not only having fun for himself but more getting back his attitude to work together as a team and also stay calm(er). I hope to carry on with this and let's see if I can report something more for you, readers, tomorrow.

P.S. You should have seen Petsu on Sunday: such nice, calm and long distance work. Maybe now when he is ten years old, he is in positive way settling down...