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JW

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Everything posted by JW

  1. Your question is a tough one to answer without seeing the dog. You're probably right that you don't need to be asking for more space on outruns. However clean flanks don't have a lot to do with proper distance on outruns. When I start pups, one of the first things I do as they're learning that I'm the focal point, is to ask for clean flanks. I'm not talking about pushing the dog out, just putting enough pressure on to get square flanks. Every time I block the pup to get it to change direction, I step toward it, or use my hat or my training stick(depending on the dog) to get it to turn from where it is(as opposed to coming in closer to the sheep as it turns). I hope I'm answering what you're asking. Anyway, try working close at hand and asking for square flanks every time she turns. Let me know if this helps and if this is what you wanted to know!?
  2. I hate to be blunt, but who's in charge of who! It's your responsibility to keep your dog, your horses, and your kids safe and out of harms way. Border Collies are working dogs, with very keen instinct to work livestock. If they don't have a job, they'll create one, especially if they are allowed to run free with no guidance. Build a pen, out of site from the horses, and put your dog in it when she isn't with you.
  3. Yes, a short flank command is simply a shorter version of your flank commands, both voice and whistle. I start teaching these pretty early on. It makes for much less confusion, and much smoother flanks when teaching driving and inside flanks. He's telling you that he's not ready for the distance yet. Take your time and very gradually move further away and out of sight. You could be having the problem simply because he can't see you and isn''t ready for that yet. On the outrun depth issue, yes, very often the pressure of you walking toward the sheep will be enough to put the dog out where he needs to be. Be sure to take pressure off by backing up as soon as you see that the dog is responding by going deeper. Very often, once a young dog goes the proper depth, it feels right to them and the problem will be solved. Not always, of course, but often.
  4. Yes, a short flank command is simply a shorter version of your flank commands, both voice and whistle. I start teaching these pretty early on. It makes for much less confusion, and much smoother flanks when teaching driving and inside flanks. He's telling you that he's not ready for the distance yet. Take your time and very gradually move further away and out of sight. You could be having the problem simply because he can't see you and isn''t ready for that yet.
  5. I'm not a big fan of pulling a dog around me to get distance. Try leaving the dog at 100 yds. You walk half way to the sheep. Send the dog and as she's running out, walk directly toward the sheep. If you see that she is going to go deep, immediatly back off. If that doesn't work, let me know and I'll give you something else to try. For the onesidedness, stay close when working on that side, until you have made progress. Continue on with the good side. To square the flanks, try working in a triangle. Sheep and dog make two corners while you walk along between the two, but out quite a distance. As long as your dog can see you, you should be able to get square flanks by showing your stick or your arm and asking her to flank. You shouldn't have to stop her, just ask for a flank. When she has changed the path of the sheep, tell her "there" and turn her in on the sheep. I assume that you are using a short flank command. If not, I highly recommend it. Makes it much easier to get quiet short flanks.
  6. You're right. Attitude and confidence must be preserved. Try to stay positive, and don't throw too much at her at once.
  7. If she's getting confused, try shortening things up a whole bunch. Work on off balance flanking and stopping off balance, mixing it up with letting her go to balance and sometimes stopping and sometimes letting her lift the sheep on her own. Work with quiet sheep, with dog in a circle around you and the sheep. Try to remain positive and don't loose your patience. For you and her, this is almost like learning it for the first time. Don't work on it too long at a time. After, send her on an outrun and let her lift on her own. In other words, try to keep her attitude positive, too.
  8. As long as your dog lifts softly and in your diretion, you should get no points off the lift. A steady whistle should be no pts. off, unless you give it before the outrun is completed. You can give the whistle when the dog turns in at the top, or as she lifts or after she lifts. Just not before. Any commands while the dog is outrunning will be point/s off.
  9. Stopping at the top is not a requirement. A lot of handlers, myself included, prefer to let their dog manage the top. If allowed to, most good dogs are quite proficient at it. To me, there is nothing better than watching a dog find balance, and softly lift in the exact direction of the handler. That being said, in order to be really competative, your dog must be able to take direction at any point. There will be times when your dog must take direction at the top. A good example is this year's national finals, where the fetch in the first go-round was a dog leg. In order to get full points on the lift, the dog needed to stop short and lift the sheep toward the fetch gates. So, to work on getting a stop at the top, shorten up your outruns, so that you are close enough to effectively put pressure on your dog when you ask for a stop and don't get it. Be sure that you allow her to turn in at balance before asking her to stop. Send her fifty yards. When she turns in at balance, ask for the stop, while at the same time, walking or running directly toward her. As soon as she stops, take pressure off, by backing up, or at least stopping your forward motion. Let her fetch the sheep to you. Next time, send her fifty yards again. Stop her in the same way. Now ask her to flank a few yards in either direction. Stop her again and then flank her back to balance. Next time, allow her to lift on her own. If she is lifting too quickly, take a few steps toward her and remind her to steady up. When you get a change of pace, again take the pressure off by backing up. Mix these up during your training sessions. They will help keep her flexible and help you with control. When she is doing well at all three types of lifts, begin to lengthen your outruns. If you start to loose control at any distance, shorten the outrun back up. Let me know how it goes. Jeanne
  10. Don't expect to get everything you want to know about training from one clinic! The best thing you can do is focus on your biggest issue/issues at the time. If you try to spread yourself too thin, you'll end up forgetting everything you learn. Make a list of what you want to work on, so that when you get your turn, you'll be ready and not drawing a blank. Good luck. Jeanne
  11. Glad to hear things are getting better. I would definately not make an issue of this! You might give her a break from training for a while. When you start back, your problem will hopefully be forgotten. Try to never be negative or give corrections when your dog is coming in on a shed. If she's coming in too soon, stay in contact with her, by continuously asking her to lie down or stand until you are ready for her to come in. Be sure that your body language is the same every time you set up a shed. Do something, such as drop your arm and/or say the same words, such as "in here" when you want her to come in. You never want your dog to think you don't want her to shed. When working on squaring flanks, pushing your dog out isn't the best way. You don't want her to go into orbit or loose contact with the sheep. Plus, she won't understand what you want. Try walking with your dog behind the sheep and you out to the side, at a distance, but close enough that you can ask her to flank behind you. Ask for a short flank, while at the same time, using body language to get the flank square(hold out your arm or a training stick). There is no need to be aggressive or angry about it. When she has gone far enough to change the direction of the sheep, turn her in with a "there" or if she won't turn in, stop her and then walk her up again. You can work in this way until she understands that you want her short flanks to be square. Good luck. Jeanne
  12. Hi Melanie, I hope you were able to get lots of blood samples at the finals. I had intended to come back over for blood draws, but totally forgot till it was too late. Sorry. You need to help your dog in every way you can. Get her excited. I mean really excited, and encourage her to push, blast, bite. Anything that will get the sheep to move away from her. Don't worry about where or how she bites or if she blasts through the middle of them. She needs to think that she CAN move them. If she thinks she can, the sheep will think so, too. Don't worry about ruining her. She'll still be the same dog, just more confident. Jeanne
  13. Soldier Hollow and Meeker were great. I especially love Meeker. The trial is awesome and the community is totally behind the trial and the handlers. I saw some great running at both. Tommy Wilson and Sly's winning run at Meeker was a thing of beauty. As you know, the Finals was one of the best yet. I loved Gettysburg and the whole experience (except for my sheep in the second nursery run!!). As to teaching a "come in" command, I begin teaching it by using my recall whistle. This gets their attention and usually causes them to look in. If they are very obedient and come all the way in on a recall(which never happens with my dogs:)), I'll follow with a direction whistle. Hopefully they have seen the sheep and will carry on on the right path. I gradually change the whistle to a variation of the recall whistle. As to when I train it, I generally teach things when the need arrises or the opportunity presents itself. For instance, if a young dog doesn't see all the sheep or leaves some when gathering, I'll take advantage and start teaching a look back. This could happen during the first month of training. If I happen to be training on a specific group of sheep with other sheep across the field, I'll let the dog catch the first group when they're thinking of joining the other sheep. I'll use the command that I'll eventually use while working on an international shed. I personally use "here this" The next time it happens, I might give the dog a long, drawn out flank whistle and let them pick up all the sheep. It's a good way to teach a redirect. Jeanne
  14. It sounds like your young dog needs lots of miles, on lots of different kinds of sheep and of course, different fields. Do not ever hesitate to take steps back in your training. This is something that should immediatly happen whenever you are having problems. If you can't control your dog at 100 yds, then shorten up until you do have control. Don't stretch him out until he is ready and responding to you, then do it gradually. From your comments, it sounds like you know how to fix the tight flanks. You need to do it. Good luck. Jeanne
  15. I am finally home and ready to try answering your questions again. Sorry for the long delay. Jeanne
  16. I am going on the road for a while, and won't be available to respond to questions until after the Natl. finals. Jeanne
  17. Make it easy on yourself and the dog for a while, until the flanks get better. Try to stay away from the draw so the sheep will be easier to manage. Once your dog is feeling confident and flanking better, then try working close to the draw. A really good exercise to develop your dog's lift is to allow the sheep to start to escape toward the draw and let your dog catch them. Make sure you send her in plenty of time to catch them, though. You don't want them to beat her.
  18. Hi Donna, I think you're right on most counts. Your young dog is still on the edge of being out of control. The sheep feel it and it makes them nervous. It sounds like the solution is continued training. Stay close at hand until flanks are clean. Try not to let her slice. If she does, stop her, use some direct pressure until she gives(turns out) and ask for the flank again. If you're consistant with this, you'll soon have better flanks and less nervous sheep. Try to work as far away from the pressure as possible until your dog is flanking better. Try to never let the sheep win and get away from your dog. In other words, don't put him in a position to loose the sheep.She will eventually learn to trust your judgment and start to relax. Good luck, Jeanne
  19. Put your heavy sheep back out. Get on the side with your dog and help turn the sheep, then let her take them away as you walk along side. Don't lie her down when the sheep are looking at her. The sheep are learning that they can buffalo the dog. Every time they turn and look at her, be there to back her up. Pretty soon, she'll be feeling confident that she can move them. The more confident she becomes, the less likely she'll feel the need to run through, split or blast. If she's got what it takes, she'll start feeling where she needs to be in order to move sheep. Don't be in a big hurry to develop pace. You might find that with confidence comes pace. Each dog is different. Try not to compare her to your old dog.
  20. Put your heavy sheep back out. Get on the side with your dog and help turn the sheep, then let her take them away as you walk along side. Don't lie her down when the sheep are looking at her. The sheep are learning that they can buffalo the dog. Every time they turn and look at her, be there to back her up. Pretty soon, she'll be feeling confident that she can move them. The more confident she becomes, the less likely she'll feel the need to run through, split or blast. If she's got what it takes, she'll start feeling where she needs to be in order to move sheep. Don't be in a big hurry to develop pace. You might find that with confidence comes pace. Each dog is different. Try not to compare her to your old dog.
  21. Hi, I too, have a youngster who loves to push. She'll push so hard that she ends up through the middle and on the other side of the sheep, stop and look at me as if to say " how did that happen"? I really like her and know she'll eventually be a great dog. I'm taking my time and letting her learn as she goes. I don't want to spoil her confidence or her pushiness. I do want to teach her to "take time" when I ask for it, just not all the time. I know that there will come a time when that pushiness/forwardness will be much needed. You say your bitch lacks confidence. Do you think she lacks confidence in her ability to move sheep or in you as her coach? I'm a bit confused by your statement that she is weary of walking straight into the pressure. Has she done so in the past? If so, has something happened to make her uncomfortable? If you'll clarify for me, I'll have a better idea of how to answer you on the confidence issue. I'm sure you've heard this before, but I'll say it again. When you ask for a steady/take time and don't get it, lie her down immediately, wait for the sheep to settle, then ask her up very quietly. If you're consistant with this, it will work. Some dogs get it pretty quickly and some take a while. She will learn that if she slows down when asked, she'll get to continue. She'll also hopefully learn rhe amount of pressure certain sheep need to keep moving. Don't forget to let her push sometimes. Jeanne
  22. Hi Annet, This sounds like a training issue. "Yelling loud" shouldn't be necessary if the dog is properly trained. You should always make sure you have a good stop close at hand before asking for it at a distance. Once the stop is good while close, gradually lengthen the distance. If you loose the stop at any point, shorten up the distance and try again. For more on teaching a stop, please refer to some of my other answers.
  23. Hi Michelle, I"m glad you were able to get answers to your question. I hope you don't mind if I respond anyway. Some dogs like to lie down and some naturally want to stop on their feet. Some dogs upset their sheep no matter how they stop and some have a calming effect, again, no matter how they stop. When training, I like to begin with what comes naturally. If the dog prefers to stop on their feet, I'll tell them to stand. If a dog prefers to clap, I'll say lie down. I teach it by getting between the dog and the sheep and staying at the head of the dog(not let him have the sheep) until he stops on his own. If he lies down, I'll say lie down. If he stops on his feet, I'll say stand. I then immediatly let him go back to work. Getting the dog to stop becomes easier as he learns that the sooner he stops, the sooner he gets to go back to work. I do eventually teach both commands, but prefer to choose my battles. Having both commands on a dog really comes in handy at the pen and when shedding.
  24. Well, since you haven't responded to my question, and I really would like to help you out, plus someone else might be interested, I'll go into detail anyway The key to a good stop is consistancy, and getting it right close up before asking for it at a distance. Each dog is different, so you have to get a feel for your dog and how much pressure is needed in order to get the response you want. Begin by working in a circle with you being close to the sheep and the dog flanking around the sheep. Begin by letting the dog go to balance and as you ask for the stop, take a step directly into the dog's face. This will be enough pressure to get an immediate stop from a sensitive dog . Harder dogs and dogs who have been getting away with a sloppy stop or no stop at all might need a bit more convincing, such at popping your training stick on the ground directly at his face or taking a few running steps directly at his face. It's okay if the dog gives ground a bit, but the main thing is to get the dog stopped the instant you ask. Now, this is important, so don't forget this part. As soon as your dog hits the deck, immediately ask him back to work. This is his reward for stopping well. If he refuses to stop immediatly, then once you have him down, make him lay there a while. Count to five or something. Just enough to give him time to think about things and begin to realize that the sooner he stops, the sooner he gets to go back to work. Now start asking for off balance stops. Use the same steps, except instead of letting the dog fetch, ask for another flank after he stops. Once the dog is consistantly stopping well, start doing short outruns. You may need to do it all again. Let him find balance, and as soon as he turns in but before he lifts the sheep, ask for the stop while at the same time moving toward him. Just go through the same steps and gradually get more distance when you feel the dog is ready. If at any point, you start to loose the stop, take a few stepps back in your training. If you have questions about any of this, please feel free to ask.
  25. Hi Liz, I can see the merit in the no toy policy. I don't normally give my dogs toys, so have no experience with this, but some dogs are so keen to DO something from an early age that the toys could become their focus rather than work. If a dog is already introduced to livestock and working regularly, I wouldn't think toys would matter much. My dogs do get bones from puppyhood on, and I haven't raised a sticky dog yet. Don't know if that would count as a toy My Liz was "born with a ball in her mouth". She has always loved to retrieve, and she sure isn't sticky! I don't think it has hurt her in the working dept. either. I guess this would be one of those things that if you see it becoming an issue, you should do something about it. Jeanne
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