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Hello All,

I recently adopted a youngish female BC started on sheep. I am new to being a shepard and therefore training BC's too.


I had her here about 6 weeks before my three sheep arrived ( not dog broke ) . I waited several days to take her into the pasture with the sheep and during that interval, she cruised the fence perimeter ( electric fence ) and would do her thing, eyeing them, crouching and dropping on her belly.


When we went into the sheep, she commenced to chasing them, not responding to my corrections very well and indeed, nipping and actually biting one on the flank.


With that, I got her to stop and removed her from the pasture.


We haven't been back since, as I am reluctant to do anything that will create a bad habit, and I'm not sure what the next step is.


I thought about going in with her on a lead, but it simply prevents her from doing anything.


Someone suggested putting an electric collar on her which I'm opposed to doing.


I'm open to suggestions,



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Call the person that started her, and get them out to help if possible - and if you can't get them, see if they will recommend someone to come out. 3 unbroken sheep and 2 novice herders are not a good recipe.


The e-collar is a powerful tool that should only be in the hands of someone with experience, in a situation where the dog is clear on exactly what he is being punished for. Even then there can be fall out - fear, redirected aggression (to the handler or the stock). I wouldn't try it if I were you - this is a started dog, a *baby* and if you get it wrong she will be ruined for life.


They did a review of the shock collar with the top sheepdog trainers for Working Border Collie magazine. In 100% of the the responses, the trainers did not believe it was a valid tool for these dogs and usually caused more harm than good.

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This thread/question would be more appropriate (and maybe get more help) if posted in the Training Section of the Working Stockdogs section.


As Lenajo pointed out, a novice handler and novice dog need help and need to be learning together with suitable, dog-broke sheep. It is a recipe for disaster to try to train a novice dog, especially while a novice yourself, on unbroke sheep.


Also, do not allow your dog to circle the pen with the sheep. She will just be "working" them herself, in her own way and mind, without direction from you, and from the wrong side of the fence.


I've known a number of dogs that have been trained with e-collars, and I would not recommend it for any Border Collie. Use of the search function at the top of the page would lead you to some threads that explain the philosophy about this in some threads that are quite recent. Try "shock collar" or "electronic collar" for the search criteria.


The best thing you could do for yourself and your dog is to find a good trainer who will work with the two of you, to help you learn and develop a good foundation in your training.


Best wishes!

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Have ya checked out any books or CD's yet? We were just talking about a really good one for the novice on the books section here. Its written by Virgil Holland called Herding Dogs Progressive training. And go ahead and use the lead, but use a 30 foot lite line, and try to get a stop command solid with her before ya go out with her again, it will help so much. Where are you at? Perhaps we could give ya the names of some folks around where you live that could be of some assistance. Some times too, it takes a dog a little time to begin to work with a new handler, some dogs can take 90 days or longer before they will work for some one other than who trained them. It takes trust, and a partnership. She may like you just fine right now, because you are all she has and you feed her and play with her, but developing a working relationship takes a little more time to develope. Good luck, we all know how it is just starting out, we were all there to at one time, and there are those of us, ( that would be me) that have put in many years, and still are just starting out. Training a stock dog takes years and years of dedication and perserverance, and then,..... theres learning the stock too. Stockman ship has a great deal to do with stock dog work too.

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How advanced in training is your new dog?

How old are the sheep and have they ever been worked by dogs?


It could be the dog is in over its head and this could bring out the behavior you saw or the excitement of working undogged sheep meant the dog needed to be controlled which you were not ready to do.


If the sheep are undogged you need to learn how to run your new dog and your new dog needs to learn to listen to you in a more controlled situation (with dogged sheep and with experienced help).



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I emailed you. Sorry it took so long.


All the answers here are good ones. A long line (or short one for that matter) will probably shut her right down. She's very handler sensitive. Her lie down is good. But in the situaltion you describe she's not hearing/listening to you at all. Not cause she's bad or doesn't want to but because she's as upset as you are.

She's trying, neither of you know what you want.

Getting someone there or going to a good trainer is your best bet.

What ever you do....PLEASE DON'T USE A SHOCK COLLAR....Ruby could never handle that.


Call me.


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Thank you every one for you time and responses.


I realize that at this point I'm more of a hinderance than a help to/with the dog. I also hear all of you - I'm gonna need help.

Basically that was what I wanted to know, if this was something I could learn/do on my own or not.


The main problem as I see it is that I really don't have any idea what I want from the dog.


This little forary into the pasture was more to see what she'd do and the sheep would do than anything else.


So now I will search for a good trainer. Fortunately I'm in no hurry and don't mind taking as long as it takes.


I do look forward to the day when I can watch the dog work and fully comprehend the beauty of it.


Mark, Rochester is 130 miles from me, about 2.5 hours.


If anybody knows someone near Cortland NY let me know,



Fossil Creek Farm

South Otselic, NY

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