It took a couple of lessons & some encouragement to get him to associate keeping some distance with being allowed to move sheep, but my instructor is nothing short of amazing. After four 15 minute lessons in the round pen with me (poor dog) over the course of three days, Louanne, my instructor, decided that she would move him into the large arena with the dogs that were going to be competing in Tested and Started in June, and was able to put Hunter through a Herding Tested course with me and Amanda (the wonderful photographer) both in the arena watching. I mean 3 fence line obstacles and a chute and a repen!!! This is incredible to me but Louanne would most likely just laugh and say it was nothing big. She knows exactly where to place herself and the dog so that the sheep just figure it's natural to go where she wants them to go.
Drummer was next and he did very well in his instinct testing, moving off pressure and changing sides easily. But..... as he gained in confidence, so did his sassiness and he began to bite at the stock stick flag and do little growly grunts at me and the sheep when asked to actually move off pressure to the left or right. It was better when he was moving faster, but he still was pretty peeved about me telling him where to go and he told me where to go, too.
Louanne told me that he was a tough little dog and that he must not be allowed to get into chasing and barking. She suggested that if we worked light sheep, he should work them along a fence line or in a corner area.
Yesterday, I went to Twin Butte to work light (not knee hugger) sheep at Lore's place.
Lore watched Drum move the sheep around the round pen (giving them room to move, stopping when I told him) and the sheep went from zoom, zoom to trot and stop, and
change directions. They didn't stomp and get upset with Drum even though they had lambs with them. We were very happy. Drummer was not sure about starting again after he was stopped and the sheep were stopped, but he was able to move them without tearing into them and that gave him some confidence. He seems to have some insight.
Here are a couple of clips of me with Hunter and Louanne with Drummer in the round pen at Phantom ridge. Enjoy.