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Breaking Stock

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Thrilled to have you here!


My question is actually for a friend, but I actually could use this advice too as I'm trying to cure some bad habits in my sheep.


If you have large groups of spoiled/bad stock to break, how do you go about doing so while making it fair for the dog?


Specifics about the situation:

  • Stock are mixed goats, sheep, all breeding stock, intact. Mostly kept together but with ability to divide into smaller areas.
  • Dog is quite young, started, not solid on commands, but enthusiastic and with some experience on mixed goats, sheep, and fresh calves.
  • Here, I have a more advanced (PN level) dog to work with, plus two started youngsters
  • In both places stock are much more intimidated by people than dogs, and don't flock naturally well


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I'm a little unclear about what it is you want to do with the stock so I'm not sure I can help.


However, if what you want to do is train your dog and you are wondering how to make this group of animals better for that purpose I would suggest working them in fairly small numbers.


When your goal is to train your dog the stock is there for that purpose and if the whole time your are out there trying to teach the dog something the stock is behaving in such a bizarre way you can't get anything done they are probably doing your efforts more harm then good. I would suggest working the smallest number of the best acting of these beasts that you can (not fewer then 4 or 5 however). This will give you and your dog the best chance to control the situation. As you get a handle on this group you can try adding a few more animals to the mix.


In any flock of any size there are going to be a few individuals who just aren't good for training dogs. They won't hang with the group or they persist in challenging the dog. These kind of animals are fine for teaching particular skills and have a use, but if you are out there trying to teach a ten month old puppy to run around a group of sheep you don't need some explorer wondering off every time you call the dog off. So put the idiots in a pen and work with he "good" stock. Later add the idiots back in and work on other skills with them.



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THanks for your response.



YEs, that's exactly right. These are sheep who have learned they can "beat" the dog, and I'd like to "re-train" them to respect fair treatment from the dog.


Thank you again, that was helpful!

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