This week we are going to work on pressure and release both in class and at home. The video below is mostly Rey. I cut Finn off because it was too much and he was eating snow from stress. At class last night we did this same exercise in alley’s, the stall, and a square pen. I use “get back” to send my dogs away. Then walk up to come in quietly, and stand to stop them. My body pressure should be strong, square and firm to send them away, and soft and relaxed to draw them in. As soon as the dog responds the pressure needs to be released. That is the reward for the dog. If you are using a crook, or noodle then the crook should be held vertical and tight to your body when the dog is correct.
Pressure and release is a very tricky concept in some ways and difficult to get right on the line where the dog is responsive and happy, but not shut down. This next video is of some of the Masters in Sheep Herding penning at some of our top events. You will see a triangle of pressure and release between human, dog and sheep. The third person is Derek Fisher and you can hear him using the traditional “keep” which is derived from “keep out”. His dog is coming in too tight on it’s flanks and when he says “keep” you can see the distance increase between the dog and it’s sheep. Watch for slight leans towards the sheep or dog by the handler, and slight leans away. Notice all the dog’s tail positions: Soft and down.