Decker had an excellent day today.  I left home early so we all could catch a walk around Atascadero Lake Park.  The lake used to be a low spot in the town, where the rain water would collect.  Over the years, Atascadero lake has been developed into a recreation area where many people walk, run or ride bikes around.  That was the sort of area that I would benefit Decker.  He needs people behind him, and coming at him.  This will help in desensitising him toward people and things.  He did real fine, but at the same time I made sure that I had a firm hand on his "head".  That is the key, to have his mind.

 He got to come with us to Sandy's for dog day, and visit with everyone, and get treats from many people.  Pat, my friend was there and Decker was especially glad to see her.  He has bonded with her, it was incredible to see.  

This is how I figured it went.  He is a weak dog, like many dogs are.  He needs a strong leader to follow.  He sucked in to me being a total follower of me and totally respecting me.  Last week when Pat disciplined him, he sucked into that strong leadership.  He seems to love her almost as he loves me. (if dogs love).  He couldn't get enough of her.  

He got to sheepdog herd in the round pen and did fairly well.  I am working on his walk up, and its just starting to take shape.  He does tend to still want to go to head all of the time and I have been stopping that some, as I encourage him to walk up and let him know when he is right.

Sandy gave me a bamboo pole today to use with Decker.  I was complaining that I needed one for him as when he was sheepdog herding at home he has been splitting up the flock.  The use of a long bamboo pole is standard procedure to use with newly started Aussies.  They are dogs which come in straight at the sheep.  That behavior needs to be corrected.  They need to be able to give to the sheep and curve around them in their outrun, not coming in straight which can cause a split up of the flock.

The long pole with encourage him to just that, curve around the sheep and get behind them.  This in-turn will position the dog to be able to fetch the sheep to the handler.  Just what we need.  I will have to give the pole a try in the next few days.

Though the long pole is a mechanical type of training and I usually teach a natural style, the pole will assist me in getting the point across to Decker just what I want, the sheep between him and me.

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