Today we worked for a solid hour. We started out like normal with a group of five in the big field. It was a rough go. Blaze was very hyped up (not normal for him) and the sheep were edgy and moving fast. This wasn't working, so we stopped and did some obedience work with Blaze after the sheep were moved to a different field (roughly the same size) further away from the lure of going back to the big group.
He also wasn't staying off his sheep, so we went to a corner and did half flanks and lie downs. Each time he came in, I pushed him off. Work in progress still, but he got the idea I believe. This was a good exercise for him.
After a few minutes of doing this, we switched gears and worked on outruns. We added a good deal of distance on his outrun this session. Probably 50 or so feet. This was a good exercise, too. Now if I could just get my flank signals right, we'd be doing even better. hehe. I did a sheep...me...dog outrun a few times and then he had picked up on what I was doing, so we did flanks with me still standing at the sheep. After this, I would do an outrun, let him get to balance, lie him down, then walk off maybe 20 feet off with sheep. Then I would tell him to walk. So he would walk slowly behind the sheep (and he stayed off of them nicely) for a few feet. Then break off into a flank, lie down, repeat above again.
Overall, after doing some refresher on obedience (lie down means LIE DOWN) he did well. Progress was made, and that is all I could ask for. He's turning into a nice dog. Now, if only I could get sheep and the neighbors not notice. Hmm. ;)