Nothing like herding to make swearing at your dog seem like a perfectly logical training solution. Haku, for whatever reason, had suddenly decided that 'down' in herding was more of a suggestion then anything else, and that 'stay' was obviously not directed at him at all. This really, really, really doesn't work in herding.
Nagging, reminding, and arguing with him was having no effect, naturally. So today when he started up with the same shit again, I went straight to Swearing Level 10 and startled the bejesus out of him. Then, of course, he was perfect after that. Normally just a disappointed look can crush Haku, but herding is different. Herding teaches you that yelling at your dog is a solid training strategy - because it works. And, in herding, Haku bounces right back like this is a normal way to communicate with your dog. With our down and stay restored, we went back to working on teaching both Haku and me our flanks on verbals. It's a work in progress - mostly because of me.
The big news, Navarre was actually kinda, sorta herding today. In that he actually seems to have started to feel his sheep instead of just running around like he has no clue. He actually had some distance (just a little!)! He almost was thinking of balance occasionally, and just felt so much more relaxed and clear headed. As he was giving and having some distance, I felt so much more relaxed myself, like we were out there together for once. So maybe the start of something good? I have no expectations for him herding other than to have a good time, and he LOVES it. But he had shown no feel for his sheep or any real natural ability (unlike sister Dove, who looks AWESOME!).
So, we shall see, but this was our rainy windy hurrah to herding for a bit. The sheep will be having their lambs soon. But the current theory is to sell them as feeder lambs so we can still do some herding this Spring. We'll see how it goes.
I'll admit, I just find agility way more fun than herding. But, to be fair, I have never gotten really involved in herding, so we'll see how it goes. The goal is to do at least one competition with Haku this year at some point. Maybe Navarre, if he can do some baby baby stuff, but he'll just be along for the ride.