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I am trying to train my 1.5 year old female Border Collie to work cattle. I have no prior stockdog training experience. My problem is related to (a lack of) biting. The dog does not bite heels. She doesn't recognize the heel as a target. She only shows interest in light nipping at a calf's head. I purchased 3 gentle 450 lb. Holstein calves for training this dog. My herd cattle are somewhat unfriendly, so I was advised to use comparatively docile milk cows for dog training. The calves were not dog-broke. The calves quickly learned that if they turn their bodies away from the dog, the dog will not bite their rear or heels. When this happens, the dog tries to circle around to the calf's head. This causes the dog to push the calf the wrong direction, or more often, the calf spins away, and the dog chases the head, in a circle. I tried to strongly discourage the dog from running in front of the calf when I want her on the opposite side of the calf. Unfortunately the dog can't do much if she is behind the calf and the calf refuses to walk forward. Even when the dog is face-to-face with a calf, she has trouble forcing the calf to move away. She has a very weak bite, like a kiss, which is really too gentle to motivate the calf to leave. The dog gets nose-to-nose with a calf, but the calf often just stands in place. The calf stares at her, or moves his head away, or butts the dog. If the dog would bite, instead of gnawing at the calf's face, the calf would move. I don't know how to encourage the dog to be more assertive. I try to praise, excite, and encourage her, and she becomes excited, but she doesn't use her teeth to make the cattle move. How can I encourage the dog to bite when appropriate?
I have been taking agility classes for about a year and a half now, we had our first NADAC trial a year ago, and have gone through ups and downs for sure since I began with NO CLUE about what I'm doing. BUT, I am getting a bit hooked on this agility stuff now that my precious Layla is showing actual progress; I finally took her to an AKC agility trail and she did great except for standard (because of the teeter-totter, which she is still leary of off and on). I am feeling good about how she's paying attention to me and returning to me to let me put the leash on her in the end (we had serious problems with that in April). She loves agility, and I can honestly say this is something I never thought I would do until we adopted a border collie mix puppy at the shelter and she grew up to need a JOB! And now I am loving it too, even though I know I probably look kind of silly at 49 chasing a fast little dog like her but the ride is SO FUN! Here's our JWW cue from this past weekend (Qed once in JWW and twice in FAST), now I just can't wait until the NADAC trial on June 22-23.