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Speaking of the pen...

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Hamish and I went to our second trial together this week-end.


Yesterday I learned the lesson Laura learned recently with Taz--trying to send the dog in a direction he doesn't want to go can easily lead to the dog going straight up the field and crossing (which is what Hamish did). He did listen and lie down three of the times I tried to redirect him, but the last time was just too much meddling (or something) and off he went. Sigh. Retired on the outrun.


Today, he looked like a useful dog--calm, controlled, kept the girls moving at an easy trot--lines were straight, he did what I asked. Then we got to the pen. He still did what I asked, but I kept asking for the wrong thing (and to be fair, I think he also sliced in on the flanks some). Result was the dreaded ring-around-the rosie until time ran out--and I had over a minute left at the pen, so it was a long game and we never got the pen.


I asked the judge what I should have done and his answer was "Take a penning clinic". Then, he added "your dog was in the wrong place 99% of the time at the pen." Fair enough.


I talked to several Open handlers at the trial about this and got very good advice (as usual--thanks folks)--mostly boiling down to that I was stopping him short and he was probably slicing. I know much of correcting that is more experience reading the sheep, penning, etc..


But, as I gain that experience, does anyone have any good mental tricks/advice for keeping yourself from stopping the poor dog too short. Do you try and count an extra beat or something like that? Is there time for mental tricks?

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does anyone have any good mental tricks/advice for keeping yourself from stopping the poor dog too short.


The likely answer is to watch THE SHEEP, not your dog.


Good luck, and have fun,

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It helps to keep a lot of distance between the dog and the sheep. Young dogs tend to get sucked in too close to the sheep, tending to push them instead of control them, resulting in circling the pen over and over. Practice small flanks without the dog stepping in to the sheep. This exercise will also help the turn at the post, drive panel turns, and shedding.

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