kelpiegirl Posted July 26, 2007 Report Share Posted July 26, 2007 I was very interested in the thread about the dog who may or may not have baggage from an earlier life (is a rescue), and the owner is having a hard time getting what she needs to out of the dog, to progress. Having a down is essential. Having a down is essential. Cannot say that enough. Having a stop at least will work- IF you have a dog who will actually not keep creeping forward. Having a down is essential. Now that that is said: One thing V.E.R.Y. important in stock work is for the dog to respect you (not fear you), and be willing to do what you ask. Working stock, for a keen dog is the easy part- handling corrections and listening while on auto-pilot is not. It can be very telling when you see a dog pulling on leash, or moving ahead of the handler either going to, or in the field. A LOT of what you need to progress in stock work can be achieved before you work stock- relationship-wise. First, work on your dog regarding you as the pack leader. When you walk this dog, do not allow him/her to pull you. When you ask for a down, even in difficult places, require it. It isn't up for debate. You do NOT have to be harsh. Work up slowly to more difficult scenarios. Basically, live with the dog requiring that always in his/her mind, you are pack leader, and when you ask for something, it must be done. And it isn't punitive- just require it be done. You will have a much more grounded dog. Incidentally, this works very well with fearful, or low confidence dogs. Suddenly, they don't have to be pro-active in meeting "scary" people/dogs, they can count on you to handle it. When you and your dog have a good relationship born of the dog allowing you to call the shots, then you can move on to stock work. Of COURSE things can fall apart when the sheep come into view- can you blame them? But, if you have a solid relationship, one which your dog will automatically (for the most part, none are perfect- neither are we) you can start asking for downs while working sheep. There should be no reason to yell or berate your dog when working sheep, if the dog respects you. The reason some dogs will leave, or chose not to work when corrected by someone other than the trainer can be many. First, if the dog doesn't have a relationship with the trainer, they will sometimes chose to avoid the correction- either running from the field, or to the handler. This is where it is very important that the dog not be allowed to run off. It seems counter-intuitive to stop a dog running from it's fear, but if it is not stopped, the dog will have learned that avoiding the correction is his/her choice, and you will have a dog who will not be able to handle any corrections. Corrections can be a voice, or just about anything. Corrections happen in stockwork, with regularity. You need a dog who will be able to handle those corrections. If your dogs is afraid of working with someone, and leaves the field, he/she has learned to avoid the correction, and you will need to work the dog alone, until such time as the dog gets through it, and slowly re-introduce said trainer. BUT, you really need to have the dog listening well to you, and taking your corrections before you can expect the dog to handle corrections from someone else. Of course it all comes down to relationships- you need your dog to have the grit to take fair corrections, and if you have a good relationship, the downs/aah aahs/and get outs will be just like water off a duck's back, and the dog will not be upset, but instead will heed what you are asking for. It is ALL about relationship. My dog has had some of the same issues- not wanting to down- but does this for the trainer. Basically being a numbskull with me, and then with the trainer a star. Then I looked at our relationship- she pulls on the leash, she pushes everywhere (even off sheep), and she doesn't respect me like she should. This is all off sheep. How can it be better ON sheep? No way. So, we spend time now walking with her in the appropriate position- just behind me. Downing anywhere I bloody well ask her to, and basically, not allowing her to run rough shod over me. Now that I have done this, I see a different dog. Imagine my glee when we walked into the field to work sheep, and she did just like all those open Border Collies do- stayed behind, animated, but knew I was the leader. This leads to way way better work in general. So, now that I have tired my fingers out, I hope this insight into relationships can help my fellow "having trouble with downs" folks.... I know it has helped me. Julie Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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