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Gripping sheep


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I went to a trial this weekend (my first trial!) and Istarted pretty well, however, I was

disqualified by the Judge because my dog decided of all the days to take a lesson is gripping

at the sheep on the trial field of all places. I try to practice at home on my sheep, however,

when you try to everything by yourself the best laid out plans to dont always work. My

question is does anyone have any ideas on how to get my dog from doing this again?

He is about 3 years old and on my practice field and the place where I go to train he doesn't



Your help would be greatly appreciated.

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As with any behavior you don't like, set up the situation so that the dog does it so you can correct it. Take the dog other places to see if it happens there if it never happens at home.


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Another possibility is you are creating more stress in your dog which leads to it gripping. You're more relaxed at home or on your practice field, but not so at a trial (especially your first). Your dog is in tune to you and your state of mind and it could simply be reacting to you. As you get more nervous/excited so can your dog.



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I echo what's been said so far- and one thing I can add, is that many dogs respond to not being in control with wanting to stop the sheep anyway they can- so, if you send the dog, and the sheep hold nicely before the dog can lift, and then the dog lifts gently, thus the sheep won't be busting out all over, then you have a better chance of the dog remaining calm. If you see that your sheep are planning to high tail it, (you should watch lots of runs before yours so you get an idea of how the sheep are- you, not the dog- the dog should only watch one or two), then you need to be prepared to ask for a lay down at the lift. And, then, once the sheep are out of the flight zone of the sheep (as long as they are fetching toward you), then release the dog, and lay down as you need it. All of this seems pretty simple, but it is hard in young dogs. Lay down, well, it is Cardinal Rule #1. Sometimes dogs may appear to be gripping, but their teeth never touch the sheep, and this is a dog trying to stop that sheep from splitting off (usually). Cardinal Rule #1 applies here.


Lots of time on different sheep, and staying calm when you get to the field and Cardinal Rule #1, and you will be fine :rolleyes:

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