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Guest Bart

what is he thinking?

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Guest Bart

I can understand why my dog would chase, split, come in too tight when he is on an outrun. But why when he crosses over and fetches them neatly dod why we discourage this, is a mystery. He doesn't do it to defy me since he might cross over when I have given him no direction to fetch and sometimes he will cross over when I have sent him on one side or the other but he is doing more out of his own analysis of the situation and not to have more fun.

What is going on here and other than trialing why would we care?

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Guest Amanda

Bart

There is a practical component to a good outrun—all the sheep within the directed cast should be picked up. A crosser would miss all the sheep within that cast. Gathering is the bottom of everything accomplished by a Border Collie. Crossing over is just bad work. Don’t allow it.

If the practical problem a cross presents is insufficient for you, then the stylistic side of it cannot be ignored. A cross is likely the most damning thing we can see in a sheep dog trial, the crosser despicable. The penalty for the cross reflects the seriousness with which one approaches it from a breed standard. The cost is high, loaded heavily in the score, the error grave. Learn to resent a cross as much as your big hat colleagues. A crosser would make it hard to see a nice lift and fetch if such a thing existed. I suppose with doggy sheep, they might be indifferent to a dog’s outrun and hold steady while the dog got to them from the underside. But if I was judging, I wouldn’t hold steady.

In training, there would no reason to see a nice lift or fetch after a dog crossed. If it was my dog, it would never get his sheep.

Amanda

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Guest kimkathan

OK, so while we are resenting a crossover, how would we go about drilling it into a dogs head at home that this is not acceptable? What about (now I know people never believe this...) when the dog has never done it at home and does it at a trial. Would you recommend retiring and walking the dog off the field, or how would you go about getting into the dogs head that this is not to happen again, hopefully. I have a young dog now who will occassionally crossover at home, and I'm getting to where I can stop her and call her back, and resend her, but there are times where she's bound and determined to go her set direction. Should I call her back and send her in her chosen direction, or insist that she go the way I want her to?

 

I also, have another dog that the only time she's crossed over was at a trial, and I haven't been able to set her up to do it again at home. She's done it twice at different trials.

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Guest Amanda

Kim

I’m glad you’re resenting the crossover. So slimey.

Depending on the circumstances, I would recommend walking. Of course I would not, with a dog that was genuinely confused at the National Finals and could not get to his sheep. But with the sheep plain as day and a dog just doing a mindless cross, yes I would walk and take the dog with me.

With the young dog, learn to see where your dog is headed and if it’s looking determined to go left, don’t organize them to cross by sending them right. You have to chose your battles with young ones and enough problems come along without creating them. Try to send your dog on outruns it likes. If you are trying to solve the problem of a very one sided dog, get closer to your sheep and get it going with you at hand before you stretch it out. Stretch them out if you must, on their good side. Then you will not be faced with flat losing, by letting her cross, calling her back and rewarding her by sending her on the side she liked in the first place. That message would be “cross and I’ll get you back to go where you like.”

 

Take your other dog to trial like fields and situations and see if you can’t catch her in an evil cross. If she has only been guilty twice, just like in criminal courts, maybe she won’t re-offend.

Amanda

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Guest urbana

On the note that if a dog does a cross once, you will not worry about it. Can I take that opinion with this:

 

My young dog was sent on a long out run; about 300-400yds (he had gone that far before, but this was a new field and hilly), He left my feet shallow (never done that before) and about 1/4 way I layed him down. I gave him whistles to continue in the chosen direction (a get out too), but since he was in a dip I couldn't tell where he went. Next time I saw him he was up coming up very nicely around the sheep on the wrong side.

 

From the point of laying him down to the sheep it was beautiful. I believe he took the wrong whistle. And maybe he didn't know where the sheep were when I first sent him. He acted like he knew where they were. I was just helping out a friend, and since the job was done, I couldn't say, please let me put your sheep back out and do it again.

 

Since then he has had the problems from my other post and we have not done anything that far in a while. Should I worry about a cross over when we get to lengthen the outrun again?

 

How do I get him to spot his sheep 300 or more yards away?

 

THANKS!

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Guest Amanda

Because its the agent of such distress, everyone should always worry about a cross.

Sounds like your dog got lost and likely never saw the sheep in the first the place. He goes on probation with community service. His family forgives him and supports him.

Teach him to look for his sheep. Send him after sheep blind, where the sheep are hidden from view, and he has to get resourceful and hunt them up, and more particularly to trust that your redirection will pay off with sheep eventually.

Run in different fields, big, small, but develop him to adjust.

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Guest Sue

Now, my dog (my first, raised by me and I am a novice) doesn't cross over on sheep but, at home on cattle, he does sometimes cross over, and particularly in certain circumstances.

 

With the three almost year-old heifers in one location, he often crosses over when they are near the fence (and there's not a lot of room there) or near the feeder (which is near the fence). He will sometimes do the same thing with the in-calf heifers but only when they are near a fence or feeder, as well. When the cattle are out in the field without nearby "pressure points", he doesn't cross over.

 

He also does one other thing that he just doesn't do with sheep. Right after he lifts, as the cattle (especially these younger heifers as they are more rowdy and likely to move off in a "less-organized" fashion) move off (and they very often don't group well but straggle off in a crooked line or a spread-out fashion), he will often come flying around the three in a circle. It's like he's bunching them up. He completes the circle behind them and then moves them on to me.

 

Or, he may only come part way around in a flank, push in the heifer on the one side, and then flank back behind them to the other side, tuck in that heifer, and then bring them on.

 

He's got a bit of a problem with wanting to head the cattle as he moves them - I think he's a bit of a "control freak" and very often seems anxious about losing his stock. We seem to be making some good progress at this, though, as some techniques I learned at a clinic seem to help calm and steady him, my timing is improving for giving corrections and/or anticipating his "move" and pre-correcting him, and he seems to be getting the idea that I want him to stay at the rear and drive, and not head them.

 

On our place, a lot of his work is simply bringing the cattle to the barn or feed bunk so they are going "where they always are taken" so there's no need to worry that they are going to run away. I think he's starting to get this idea.

 

I've heard some folks say that crossing over to "save the cattle" is okay and others say that it's never right. I notice, if I walk out and am closer to him when he tries to pick those heifers off from the fence or feeder, I can with gentle encouragement and commands, get him to go around the outside and not do the crossing over. If I increase my distance away, sometimes he gets it right and sometimes he crosses over again.

 

Should I simply continue working at it when I can be close by, or is this acceptable for cattle work or work along a fence or feeder?

 

I must say that I have been very pleased with his progress lately. He's a bit over three years old but our lessons and clinics have been fairly limited (it's three hours each way to a lesson on sheep, so we only go once every three to four weeks, and clinics are a once or twice a year special event). I recently attended a clinic where I feel I learned some extremely valuable techniques, and I think that's a real reason for his recent improvement (or mine as I believe most of his problems are based in my ignorance or inexperience).

 

<small>[ March 02, 2006, 07:04 AM: Message edited by: Sue Rayburn ]</small>

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Guest Bart

amazing the response on crossing.. Ok I see where it is unacceptable, so you are really saying the dog needs to be taught how to gather the sheep in all circumstances, that we know better than he does and regardless if he were to read the sheep and determine the other side is more efficient from his standpoint then we must tell him not to use his instinct under any circumstances.

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Guest Amanda

Yes to Bart--do not use the misplaced instinct to cross under any circumstances. Yes, we know better than he appears to know.

 

Sue.

1. do not let him cross over when he is near the fence. that usually means they are sesibly nervous of getting between the cattle and fence but they need to splash in. Do as you said you were doing--get closer and with your gentle encouragement, have him do right. I am of the school that a cross is never acceptable--cattle, pigs, sheep, chickens ducks, whatever--the loathesome cross. Working quietly along a fence is a good ideaand get your dog in the place he doen't like, between the cattle an dthe fence, while you are at hand.

2. The "circling" is likewise unacceptable. Get him stopped behind the cattle before that happens. Sharpen your timing to get that accomplished.

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Guest Sue

Thank you. I see where my position and timing make a great deal of difference, in order to avoid the situation in the first place (and not let it get ingrained, which it has) or foresee what's coming and prevent it.

 

On the other hand, I think with me trying to work smarter, we are seeing some progress. Sometimes, all it takes is his name mentioned quietly at the right time because he knows what I want, and then he doesn't go wrong.

 

He's a lovely dog but he is my first, and my inexperience surely shows. I appreciate your advice on this (and other) threads on this board.

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