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Guest kimkathan

"hitting"/purposful gripping

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Guest kimkathan

I have tried putting a sheep in the corner and tapping it on the nose to get this willful, keen young dog to get to know that gripping is OK sometimes when necessary. This hasn't worked at all for her. She has ben working 2 sheep instead of 3 or more and has been working well with them, until one stands off and either stomps and stands off or will actually try to push her. She then will NOT grip that sheep but will take off after the one that's behaving and grip it, after standing off with the difficult one. I've tried taking the difficult on in the corner and holding it, but she still won't do anything with it. It's not that the sheep is difficult any time, just that they know that they can push her around, it usually works out working different sheep at different times that there is always one that does this.

She doesn't have any of this trouble doing this with cattle, just sheep. I guess what I'm trying to get to after all of this is what can I do to get her to stick with the one causing the troubles?

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Guest aurdank

Hi Kim,

 

It is a little dispiriting. The sheep may be turning on her because, she's harassing them and there will always be one in the group that will take objection. Then when confronted, the dog chooses instead the weaker opponent. This may tell you that the dog isn't brave and is gripping out of weakness or fear. Sometimes though sheep will turn on a dog for no other reason than they feel its eye, if the eye is a bit strong, and this of course is no fault of the dog's. Or sometimes they simply feel ordinary pressure and one decides to test the dog.

 

I would recommend two things. First, make sure that when she's working the sheep, fetching or driving or whatever, that she doesn't harass them. If she grips and nips while doing this, correct her immediately. Stop the action, go out to her and firmly say "Nooo" or whatever you use as a correction term. You might even hold her firmly by the ruff under her neck, pulling it up a little bit, while you say this. This makes the dog feel a little vulnerable and may make her respect the correction better. Don't shake her though or otherwise administer a rough correction, because this would go over the line and probably hurt her underlying confidence, about which she seems to have an issue. She has to learn though in the context of work not to harass the sheep in any way. You have to be consistent here.

 

Secondly, when you take say two or three sheep into a corner, carry a thin crook or one of the famous "Alasdaire sticks". Have her cover as they try to break, and if one begins stomping and lowering its head, tap it on the nose and say "hit". Since there will be motion here, the dog will be more inclined to respond, and the tap on the nose is the cue of where to bite. If she goes for the other sheep, say "Noo, here, here" and bring her to the one you want. You might also just have her work the problem sheep, alone in the corner, so she'll have no alternative but to confront it. Again, if she goes for the wrong part of the sheep, say "NOOO, here, here" and tap the nose again etc.

 

This might ake a long time, and you might never really get her to do it right, because the ultimate source of her gripping may be lack of bravery. You may have to decide down the road, if it is perhaps best simply to make sure she doesn't grip inappropriately, or otherwise harass the sheep, and if she can't grip properly when she needs to, then the run is over. In other words, just try to minimize the chances that sheep will challenge her and if they do nonethetheless, and she can't respond properly, then retire. In most trial situations, unfornately, if the dog has to grip, then the penalty is usually so high that if you're not DQ'd, the chances of placing are ruined. In the end, you have to work with the dog you have. But I wouldn't give up just yet.

 

Albion

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Guest aurdank

PS I should have emphasized that when you take the problem sheep into the corner, don't hold it, because only motion while get the dog to react, it seems. Instead, just use your own body pressure to prevent the sheep from escaping as the dog reacts to it. Perhaps if she succeeds in gripping when the sheep moves, then eventually, she'll be able to grip when the sheep stands still.

 

albion

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Guest kimkathan

Thanks for all the help and advice you've been providing. When you're in the midst of things all you see is the problem, but the way you've been able to put thing, allows to see possibly why the problem is occuring.

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