Remember when I said that if Bu was a person, she would have been a mathematician. She just likes things to be clear and always the same and predictable and precise. And Le would be an actress. And I guess To would have been the best therapist ever - she is just sooo good in both listening and making you feel better with a big hug 🙂 She even successfully tamed my crazy puppy and finally got to adopt her! 🙂
And Bi, well, Bi would be in prison. Actually, she would be a returning prisoner as nothing really can get her off her ways... - rewarding or not rewarding, redoing or giving her a timeout or even ending a session, especially if it means watching other dogs run... - nothing really gets to her as she finds everything really fun. So training her has been pretty tricky, especially as herding quirks really creeped up on us and seem to be her automatic, beyond the brain/training, response to some cues.
She started this season really well - her bar problem got much better + I switched from toys to food and that helped her keep her head together better. But - it didn't last long... Eventually, she realized it's still the same thing even if I use food - and started with her herding behaviors again... - Things like not taking a jump straight ahead, but circling it and stopping on the other side to watch me, not coming to hand when called to right hand (left hand of course is no problem...), but doing a big circle around obstacles first etc. - things we've been dealing with her whole life, but it actually got worse rather as better in last two years. Anything new I try (like new come to hand cue, special threadle cue, food instead of a toy etc.) works magically at first... - and then not at all anymore. And I have to admit that after 9 years of trying, I'm running out of ideas on what else I can try...
So we got to a point when running her is just not fun anymore. She has great skills and can be brilliant on some courses - and on some parts of every course - what only makes it even more frustrating as already on a course seeing, I know which parts we won't be able to do because they will trigger her herding response. And while I normally see any problem as just another challenge and don't get frustrated about problems at all - I am getting frustrated about this particular problem at this point... To the point that trialing her is just not as fun as it should be. So I decided to give her a little break from trialing and only do things that don't make us frustrated. That also means I will give her EO spot to the next one in line and only run with Le and To afterall.
You can see beginnings of our problem at 6:12 of this video. This is her run in finals of EO 2012 - that she would have won easily - but had to do a little circle at one point... She was actually still clean with that circle, but it cost us lots of time obviously, so good old Bu won it instead 🙂
It was still funny at that point - but not so much anymore, so I think we both need a little break to gather enough power to fight with herding demons for next 9 years again then 🙂