Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Jillie-Bean: A Little Cowdog with a Great Big Heart- Part 5

A New Start...A New Dog
Our first day didn't turn out as expected.  We needed a plan.  Luckily Sharon had room to take Jill in for training. I left Jill with Sharon that day.  My goal was for Jill and I to compete in stock dog trials and while there was no guarantee, I knew Jill had a lot of try and perhaps some of my mistakes with her as a pup could be corrected.  I wasn't ready to give up just yet! After all...look at that face!
Sharon did quite a lot of experimenting to determine how much "fixing" Jill could take.  When Sharon tried to slightly move Jill to the calves, she would leave the arena.  Sharon would bring her back and start again. Sharon practiced with Jill using a rope so she couldn't leave.  She figured if she could keep her on her feet, she could condition Jill to take direction without leaving.  At about the 3rd or 4th week, Jill was getting past some of her inhibitions.  Sharon could see Jill wanted to work and once Jill understood that she was supposed to stay in the arena and work the calves, Sharon started to see progress.  Jill was on her way.


Several months later and a good deal of Sharon's effort, Jill did change. She was a happy, more relaxed dog, playful and ready to work. That translated into how she worked the calves and how confident and decisive she was. Jill was a different dog.


For as sensitive as Jill was, Sharon's direction was black and white. As she explained to me, there was no grey. Sharon made it clear to the dog what was expected and she was consistent.  Sharon directed Jill and when Jill balked, Sharon asked more of her.  She pushed her to succeed. She didn't baby Jill or let Jill quit, just the opposite.  Sharon put the needed pressure on Jill to make the effort to try and succeed.

Today, I use Jill to gather in the hills and in the pastures. While I am still learning and have not yet made it to a Dog Trial (it's on my list), Jill is now a confident, capable, hard biting, and loyal working dog.
She is... a little Cowdog with a great big heart!

To learn more about Sharon Edsall's Stock Dogs. (clinics, lessons, pups and sale dogs) email her
Never watched a cowdog in action? Attend a Stock Dog Trial.  They have them in many states.  Here are two of my favorites:


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