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kimkathan

getting a better/more solid down

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I have a 3 y.o female who is a wonderful farm dog, my only complaints with her is that she'll push a down and she's WAY too fast. Now, if I had the first, I could work on correcting the second. She does know what down means, but is either excited or worried that the stock is getting away. I have tried blowing through the sheep, but this just seems to wind her up more. I have also tried putting her on a long line (bad experiences, she ends up hog tying herself every time) I have a smaller training area 100x100 and she is better, but still far from good in it(takes a couple of times then a growl) Out in a field, she's totally off til she gets within 150' or she's driving (things are slower and she can push) She'll drive for miles and down (although be it fast, but I can work on pacing with her downing)

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I have a 3 y.o female who is a wonderful farm dog, my only complaints with her is that she'll push a down and she's WAY too fast. Now, if I had the first, I could work on correcting the second. She does know what down means, but is either excited or worried that the stock is getting away. I have tried blowing through the sheep, but this just seems to wind her up more. I have also tried putting her on a long line (bad experiences, she ends up hog tying herself every time) I have a smaller training area 100x100 and she is better, but still far from good in it(takes a couple of times then a growl) Out in a field, she's totally off til she gets within 150' or she's driving (things are slower and she can push) She'll drive for miles and down (although be it fast, but I can work on pacing with her downing)

 

This sounds like my dog. I'm quite intersted in finding a way to fix this as well.

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I have a 3 y.o female who is a wonderful farm dog, my only complaints with her is that she'll push a down and she's WAY too fast. Now, if I had the first, I could work on correcting the second. She does know what down means, but is either excited or worried that the stock is getting away. I have tried blowing through the sheep, but this just seems to wind her up more. I have also tried putting her on a long line (bad experiences, she ends up hog tying herself every time) I have a smaller training area 100x100 and she is better, but still far from good in it(takes a couple of times then a growl) Out in a field, she's totally off til she gets within 150' or she's driving (things are slower and she can push) She'll drive for miles and down (although be it fast, but I can work on pacing with her downing)

 

It sounds like you need to go back to basics. Work in a circle with the sheep in the middle. Ask for a flank. As she is flanking, ask her to stop. While you are telling her to stop, be moving directly toward her. It should only take a step or two. If she has any respect for you, the pressure of you moving toward her will help to get her stopped. As soon as she stops, take a step back to remove the pressure. Ask for another flank and repeat the above. If you are consistant, you will soon have her stopping well on the circle, especially since she is learning that when she stops, she gets to go right back to work. Now, send her on a short outrun of fifty feet or so. When she turns in at the top, ask her to stop while taking a step toward her. If she doesn't stop, continue walking toward her(notice that I said walk) until she has stopped. Walk her down if you have to. If she does stop, immediatly back up and let her fetch the sheep. This is her reward for stopping. Now, very, very gradually ask her to stop at greater distances. Don't extend the outrun until she is stopping well. If she regresses, shorten the outrun. Let me know how it goes. We'll worry about pace after you have her stopping.

 

Jeanne

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I have a 3 y.o female who is a wonderful farm dog, my only complaints with her is that she'll push a down and she's WAY too fast. Now, if I had the first, I could work on correcting the second. She does know what down means, but is either excited or worried that the stock is getting away. I have tried blowing through the sheep, but this just seems to wind her up more. I have also tried putting her on a long line (bad experiences, she ends up hog tying herself every time) I have a smaller training area 100x100 and she is better, but still far from good in it(takes a couple of times then a growl) Out in a field, she's totally off til she gets within 150' or she's driving (things are slower and she can push) She'll drive for miles and down (although be it fast, but I can work on pacing with her downing)

 

It sounds like you need to go back to basics. Work in a circle with the sheep in the middle. Ask for a flank. As she is flanking, ask her to stop. While you are telling her to stop, be moving directly toward her. It should only take a step or two. If she has any respect for you, the pressure of you moving toward her will help to get her stopped. As soon as she stops, take a step back to remove the pressure. Ask for another flank and repeat the above. If you are consistant, you will soon have her stopping well on the circle, especially since she is learning that when she stops, she gets to go right back to work. Now, send her on a short outrun of fifty feet or so. When she turns in at the top, ask her to stop while taking a step toward her. If she doesn't stop, continue walking toward her(notice that I said walk) until she has stopped. Walk her down if you have to. If she does stop, immediatly back up and let her fetch the sheep. This is her reward for stopping. Now, very, very gradually ask her to stop at greater distances. Don't extend the outrun until she is stopping well. If she regresses, shorten the outrun. Let me know how it goes. We'll worry about pace after you have her stopping.

 

Jeanne

 

I forgot to say that you should be in the middle of the circle with the sheep.

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Thanks for the reply, I'll try working on this and see how it goes. When you send her on a a short out run, should you set it up as an outrun, or set her further back and be part way between her and the sheep, so that you are closer for the "correction"? Would this be counter productive, in getting her to think that so, long as she's within a certain distance is the time she'll be "tracked down"

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Thanks for the reply, I'll try working on this and see how it goes. When you send her on a a short out run, should you set it up as an outrun, or set her further back and be part way between her and the sheep, so that you are closer for the "correction"? Would this be counter productive, in getting her to think that so, long as she's within a certain distance is the time she'll be "tracked down"

 

 

Kim,

 

Getting a consistant stop, before asking at too great a distance is very improtant. You don't want the dog to learn that she can cheat and that is exactly what you're teaching her by asking at a distance before she is responsive close at hand.

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It sounds like you need to go back to basics. Work in a circle with the sheep in the middle. Ask for a flank. As she is flanking, ask her to stop. While you are telling her to stop, be moving directly toward her. It should only take a step or two. If she has any respect for you, the pressure of you moving toward her will help to get her stopped.

Jeanne

 

I have a similar dog, but correcting has become difficult. I've created the problem by working him on too flighty sheep. He will down most of the time, but only for a second. He does not respect me, and is afraid (this is my thought) that I can't hold up my end of the sheep. As soon as I step towards him he takes off like a rocket to cover the other side (which I just left).

 

I'm having better luck just waiting, waiting waiting as he wears the sheep to a standstill and then he will stop on balance, but I'm not sure this isn't just training another bad habit as he isn't looking to stop or pause on balance at the top. He is working waaaaaay to hard for the task.

 

I just had a good session yesterday and I'm such a novice that I finally realized how invaluable circling is for square flanks. So I'm back to square one (how many times have I been there?)

 

Nancy

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OK, we've been working at this now only for a couple of days 2-3 times a day for @15 min. In general things are coming along, however there is usually at least once per session that when I down her, she dosen't stop, I walk towards her, she still won't down, but will back off, but constantly looking at the sheep, then will make eye contact and give. After a couple of growls and another down she may down or try to flank, but will eventually down.

 

My question is this:

Should I "stalk her down" til she gives ground and then will down, or put her back to the place that I downed her in the first place.

 

She is the kind of intense, pushy little dog who when I down her, that's what I want, a down. Not a stand. I have a working stop/stand on her where so long as she stops, she can continue to cover the pressure (ie, pen, gate work) When I down her, I want her to stay til she gets another command.

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He does not respect me, and is afraid (this is my thought) that I can't hold up my end of the sheep.

 

This is precisely how I feel my dog views working with me. As much as he's devoted to me (it seems), and quite respectful (mostly), I just think he doesn't "trust me" to be right (maybe because I've just let him down too often and been wrong too many times). So, this dog of mine, who is a real control freak when it comes to stock, who is not confident at all, goes ballistic, gets anxious, dives (never grips - I don't think he has a grip in him), is frantic about covering, has problems taking a down (and slowing down is wishful thinking on my part), takes little flanks up close but not at a distance where he just tends to rocket around to balance, etc. Meanwhile, I'm so poor at reading the stock, slow at moving and/or responding, somewhat wishful-thinking when it comes to seeing what's about to happen and not being pro-active, etc., that his fears of my inadequacy are well-founded.

 

Plus, I'm no good at knowing when a down should be a down or a stop or a slow down. I may know what I think I want, but I don't communicate it well to my dog.

 

Sorry to hijack the thread but I'm trying hard to do well, to build up my dog's confidence, and improve but I've got a lot of bad mileage with him to overcome, if I can ever hope to do a decent job with him. The problem with the down is just a symptom of our problems.

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OK, we've been working at this now only for a couple of days 2-3 times a day for @15 min. In general things are coming along, however there is usually at least once per session that when I down her, she dosen't stop, I walk towards her, she still won't down, but will back off, but constantly looking at the sheep, then will make eye contact and give. After a couple of growls and another down she may down or try to flank, but will eventually down.

 

My question is this:

Should I "stalk her down" til she gives ground and then will down, or put her back to the place that I downed her in the first place.

 

She is the kind of intense, pushy little dog who when I down her, that's what I want, a down. Not a stand. I have a working stop/stand on her where so long as she stops, she can continue to cover the pressure (ie, pen, gate work) When I down her, I want her to stay til she gets another command.

 

I'm glad to hear you're at least having some success. It sounds like you're doing all the right things. You say that she tests you once a session or so. Is it in the beginning or toward the end? Could it be that it's when you try to stop her away from the pressure? Whatever the reason, hang in there. I would walk her down rather than putting her back. Giving ground is good. It means she has respect for you and is willing to learn.

My personal theory is that I don't want my dogs to continue lying down until the next command. One example is I want them to feel free to cover sheep at the pen from a stop, without my having to tell them. They read sheep better than I do! If I want my dogs to continue lying down, I'll keep telling them, in a calm, quiet voice. You might try this while working on the circle. It might help to relax her and show her that stopping doesn't mean the sheep are gonna get away. Make sure you and the dog are positioned so that they can't !

 

 

Jeanne

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I have a similar dog, but correcting has become difficult. I've created the problem by working him on too flighty sheep. He will down most of the time, but only for a second. He does not respect me, and is afraid (this is my thought) that I can't hold up my end of the sheep. As soon as I step towards him he takes off like a rocket to cover the other side (which I just left).

 

I'm having better luck just waiting, waiting waiting as he wears the sheep to a standstill and then he will stop on balance, but I'm not sure this isn't just training another bad habit as he isn't looking to stop or pause on balance at the top. He is working waaaaaay to hard for the task.

 

I just had a good session yesterday and I'm such a novice that I finally realized how invaluable circling is for square flanks. So I'm back to square one (how many times have I been there?)

 

Nancy

 

It sounds like your dog is training you:) You'll never get him trained until you get his respect. You earn your dog's respect by not asking him to do impossible tasks, like stopping while the sheep run away. At this stage of training, always be sure that the sheep are under control before asking him to stop. Let him wear the sheep into a corner. Get yourself between him and the sheep and ask him to stop. Keep him from getting to the sheep by moving with him, back and forth (using physical pressure) and continuing to ask him to stop. It may take a while the first few times, so don't give up. As soon as he stops for you, let him go back to work. This is important, because he'll soon realize that the sooner he stops the sooner he'll get to work again. Once he's stopping well for you, start asking him to stay stopped for a couple of seconds. If he breaks, go back to using your physical presence until he stops. Make sure that you are always the winner in this struggle. Don't let him beat you.

When I say stop, I mean either stand or lye down. Some dogs are more willing to stop on their feet, while some naturally lye down. I eventually teach both anyway, so I don't care which they learn first.

 

 

Jeanne

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This is precisely how I feel my dog views working with me. As much as he's devoted to me (it seems), and quite respectful (mostly), I just think he doesn't "trust me" to be right (maybe because I've just let him down too often and been wrong too many times). So, this dog of mine, who is a real control freak when it comes to stock, who is not confident at all, goes ballistic, gets anxious, dives (never grips - I don't think he has a grip in him), is frantic about covering, has problems taking a down (and slowing down is wishful thinking on my part), takes little flanks up close but not at a distance where he just tends to rocket around to balance, etc. Meanwhile, I'm so poor at reading the stock, slow at moving and/or responding, somewhat wishful-thinking when it comes to seeing what's about to happen and not being pro-active, etc., that his fears of my inadequacy are well-founded.

 

Plus, I'm no good at knowing when a down should be a down or a stop or a slow down. I may know what I think I want, but I don't communicate it well to my dog.

 

Sorry to hijack the thread but I'm trying hard to do well, to build up my dog's confidence, and improve but I've got a lot of bad mileage with him to overcome, if I can ever hope to do a decent job with him. The problem with the down is just a symptom of our problems.

 

Sue,

 

Have you tried lessons or a good clinic? It sounds like you could use some confidence building yourself. The more confident you become, the more your dog will trust your judgment.

You're absolutely right in that you can't get your dog's respect until you have an idea of what you're trying to accomplish and how to go about it.

Don't ever use your stop command to slow your dog. It's the quickest way to teach your dog that you aren't serious about stopping. Use a different command for slow, but don't worry too much about getting a pace command on him until he will stop well at any distance. Try the exercise I wrote about above and see if that'll help with your stop. It's just the first step in a very long process.

 

Jeanne

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