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Vergil Holland

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  1. Just a quick thanks to everyone for the great questions. I have really enjoyed answering them and hope that it's been helpful! Good luck to all - Vergil
  2. Hey there - not certain what happened to my reply, but here it is again... Have someone send a dog that has picked up off people before and as the dog comes around, ease over to your dog and quietly tell it to lie there; once the dog has picked up, walk away with you dog and tell it that'll do, good dog. Do this several times, each time being a little further from your dog as the lift happens. You will have to have a dog that will stay off the sheep. Use the dog to hold the sheep, not you. If you have to switch sides, do, so that the dog is where it needs to be to hold the sheep. Take a small group of sheep and practice holding them in one place, moving the dog as slowly and quietly as you can to hold them still. Good luck! Vergil
  3. There could be 2 or 3 different reasons that the dog doesn't have push. One possibility is the dog has no push naturally, possibly your dog has had so much flank work that it works laterally instead of forward, or possibly the dog was pushed out to much when it was first started and thinks that it shouldn't come in on the sheep. You want to make sure you are as much help to the dog as you can be. You will want to walk beside the dog to encourage her to walk in to the sheep, flank your dog out and walk in again making a hexagonal shape. Another thing that helps is to back up to a fence - fence, you, sheep, dog, and tell the dog to get em up or hissing her in to encourage the push. THis will teach your dog to come onto the sheep on command or when invited. Then use this same command when she doesn't want to come onto the sheep when you are driving, being careful not to let her slip around. Be careful that she doesn't work laterally instead of forward. Good Luck - this should help - Vergil
  4. Doesn't sound like the dog is ruined, but the "previous life" may be part of the pick up off the fence problem. You were right that she she be on easy sheep - you must be careful not to put her onto sheep that will not turn away from her or that will stand her off for a while. When lifting off the fence you must put yourself in the most advantageous place to make her job as easy as possible. In other words, do not set it up that she pulls directly off the fence, insteed set up to pull off at a 35-45 degree angle, backing away so that the sheep follow. If she will hit like it sounds like she will on the cattle, when working keep backing up and turning so that she has to go to the front to turn them toward you. Give her a lot of encouragement and hissing. Keep it short and fun and don't allow her to get into a stand off situation. If she does, go help her get out of it so she knows its a team effort. Good luck - Vergil
  5. Thank you all for your complements! I am glad to know that my book is so useful to so many. Vergil
  6. Well, it would depend on the type of sheep like you said, so if the handler is working hard not to let them fold, I might not take a point, but if the handler is allowing it to happen, I might take a point. Sheep out of the ring - 1-3 points depending on severity, missed call in 3 points, dog crossing between sheep and handler 1 point, handler making the hole 1-5 points, dog turning on wrong sheep 1-5 points, dog coming in tentatively 1-3 points, handler leaving post before sheep are in the ring 1 point.
  7. Thanks for the question - sorry for the delay in response. In short, train the bite out of a dog, don't take the bite out of the dog. T hat being said, quite often dogs that are in their training have been slowed up so much/made careful on the lift, they don't know how how walk up and push off on the lift. I suspect the dog in question either stood back off the sheep or did all lateral movement. Young dogs as a general rule should be allowed to push off the sheep fairly hard for some time and then start to slow them up gradually so that they don't lose their ablitiy to move forward. Contrary to popular opinion, it is much more difficult for any dog to lift off feed and makes the playing field more uneven. Vergil
  8. There are several books out there that do this. But where you are both so green, your best chance of success is to work with a reputable trainer. Good luck - Vergil
  9. A 10 point shed is this: sheep all facing the same direction in the ring; dog and handler BOTH working to set it up; front sheep move off leaving sheep in the rear; dog comes in with purpose and takes charge of the proper sheep; If possible, the last sheep must not have turned prior to the dog starting in; Once called in, the dog needs not to have glanced at the other sheep, only the one(s) he's called in on; As the hole starts to open, the handler must stand still or step back and not forward at all. Handler cannot make the hole by jumping in. Be careful, points can be lost as you go into the ring and as you are working to set up the shed. See you on the field! Vergil PS - I feel strongly that it should always be the last sheep as it helps handler, judge and dog work and/or judge a proper shed.
  10. Now he must learn his directions to go away from balance when you ask. You can also start to add in the whistles just about any time - Vergil
  11. I use "come out" and "way back" for bigger flanks, such as in a double lift after you give your turn back...mainly I change the whistle for the type of flank I want by using a shorter or longer tone. Vergil
  12. I believe you are referring to flanks which are the clockwise and counterclockwise directions that you dog will go when working sheep. "Way to me" is the counterclockwise command and "comebye" is used for the clockwise direction. You will also eventually teach a whistle for each direction. There are many flanks used - inside and outside, and short and long flanks- depending on what you are trying to accomplish. There is a difference between not putting too much pressure on a dog and not teaching them anything. You can start to teach flanks anytime after you start working the dog. This can be an involved process but basically to get started when you and the dog are going counter clockwise around the sheep, tell him "Way to me" and when going clockwise, tell him "come bye". Vergil
  13. Keep outrun short until you have good control at the top. as soon as you send the dog, go thorugh the sheep to meet him at the top to push him back and/or stop him... Vergil
  14. You can probably adapt the hexagonal driving exercise I described to accomplish this... Vergil
  15. With a dog that age, and showing such a disinterest, I would find something else to do with him...agility, being your pet, whatever you enjoy. A house dog going to a kenneled environment won't necessarily change their personality, but do your homework...reputable trainer, training philosphy matches yours, no use of shock collars ever for stock work(which will change their personality!), a clean comfortable safe kennel and exercise in addition to the training.... That being said...refer to my first sentence!~ Vergil
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