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shedding update

Guest elayne

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Guest elayne

Hi Albion,


I wanted to let you know that we have made some progress in our shedding attempts. My dog has finally started coming into a very large hole between the sheep and turning in on them. It has been a long, sometimes very frustrating road, but there are results...which brings me to my next question. How do you get the dog to come in faster? This is where I lost everything the last time. If I give a shush, he takes it as a speed up, but to re-gather the sheep. I don't know if people use a long line to pull the dog thru faster, but my attempts with a long line at anything usually end up in a tangled mess with me in the middle. I was thinking/hoping that as he gained confidence he would get quicker, and it still might happen, but I really think he is very cautious and afraid of losing the sheep. Also, is there a certain point I should wait for before I try to speed him up?

Thank you for helping us. :rolleyes:


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Guest aurdank

Hi Elayne,


Glad to hear that you're making good progress on the shed. When he comes into the hole, do you point to the ones you want him to take and say "these"? If not, you ought to. After a time, when he really gets the idea of the shed, all you'd probably need to say when a hole opens is "these" and point to the ones you want and he'll come in and take them. Once he learns "these", you can follow up with a "sshhh" to speed him up coming in ["come in", "these", sshhh" said in rapid succession]. Alternatively, you can teach him the phrase "watch 'em, watch 'em" said in a rapid clipped way, which ought also to speed him up while focusing on the ones that you want him to take. To give him the idea better, you might take two sheep into a corner or a smallish round pen and have him just cover them while saying "watch 'em, watch 'em". This will keen him up as he tries to cover them while they try to break, and it will teach him also to focus on two sheep (you can try it with one as well). Also, after the shed, judges like to see the dog wear the sheep away, that is, turn their around and move them away a little distance; telling the dog to "watch 'em" after the shed helps him do that in a more sprightly way than just telling him to walk up. Here, though, you might have to be careful, because if the dog gets too keen after the shed, he might then grip; but this doesn't sound like it would yet be a problem for your dog.


You can also try to set up the shed, so that the sheep are lined out, rather than with their faces merely facing you; place the dog at the head of the next to the last sheep (the last two will be the ones to focus on here) and try to let the three in front just leave. The dog on the head of the next to the last sheep should hold the last two back, and then this will make it easier for the dog to come in and make it more obvious to him which ones he needs to take. It's also the preferred method of shedding, actually, especially if one is going to do an international type shed, because handler and dog are really acting as if they are two sides of a chute through which the unwanted sheep are squeezed, the ultimate in team work.


Hope this helps.





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