Today Scout and I went out to Dianne's with Ann and Levi. We worked in the big alfalfa field.
Ann has had Levi for just a few weeks, I think, but he wants to be whatever she wants him to be, including but not limited to freshly washed and blow dried. They looked really good working together. He is very responsive to her correction and she seems to only have to tell him one time. They should coordinate an outfit, like her jacket and his collar or something, they are such a good team. I'll suggest it.
Meanwhile, each of us wearing a tiara, Scout and I practiced trying to understand one another's needs and wants. Negotiation?
Dianne has talked about the difficulties in raising a teenage female, be it girl or dog. There are comparisons. I know, I have raised a teenage girl to full blown adulthood and yet, sadly, she is still right most of the time: I do feel better with 2 distinct eyebrows, chartreuse is a color and not breed of cat, and it didn't kill me to eat a fried shrimp head. It was….not bad. (Weekend in Seattle recap: Much eating of strange food. Tweezing.)
Still, I don't think Scout is there, yet. Adolescence. I think Scout is just really working with wanting the sheep only slightly more than she wants to please me. Add too much adrenalin and stir. She listens really well when she understands what I want from her, MOST of the time. I don't feel like she's blowing me off. I've seen the value in whacking her gently with the stock stick. It slows her down and makes her think; appreciate and factor me into the equation. My big frustration today was in trying to communicate the idea of her 'getting back' and 'staying back' off the sheep. I've inadvertently trained her that 'get back' means that she can move back and take a 45 degree angle and immediately have the sheep. I want her to know that she needs to be back and moving in a straight line behind the sheep. So far its me yelling 'get back' and running thru the sheep to try and enforce it while she races around and around and around looking for that perfect 45 degree angle that will let her have the sheep. She's faster than me. She might be smarter. We were both warn out after our 2 sessions today. All that nonproductive circling. I forgot to eat breakfast.
Sometimes I wish I could ride around in a little cart while posturing with Scout for leadership. Or rollerblades. And eat a cookie or something. I was tired on the way home and I still had a run ahead of me.
This evening on my shorter run than intended, while I dreamed of cheese and maybe Christmas cookies, that would bake themselves because I was too tired, I thought about the problem some more and wondered if I try to walk Scout/the sheep along a fence line might I be able to enforce the get back better. She couldn't circle. It would build on the whole backing up against the wall and making Scout get back before giving her the sheep thing, which works but doesn't include a lengthy forward movement. Or maybe I just need to carry snacks and get a longer stick. Either way, I'm excited to try something new.