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1sheepdoggal

2 part question, circling, and leaning in on a stop

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Hello Bev, This is a two part question. I am starting an 8 month old BC. He has a solid stop, (lie down) is circling nicely, is balancing nicely, and I am instigating his flanks by stepping out in front of him and giving the verbal commands away, and come by. He gets it ( the flanking) about 75 per cent of the time. I started him about 5 weeks ago. Three weeks ago I bunged up my foot and had to lay up for 3 weeks. I just started him back saturday, and worked him again today. He seems to have retained all that he has learned previously despite the lay off. I would like for him to be a lot more understanding about his flank commands an be properly flanking before we move on. Saturday he worked well, but today, I noticed him speeding up, and tring to antisapate my body language, and am thinking that circling is getting a little boring and nerve racking for him, and he needs to move on and stop circling. Are there any other exercises I can do with him that we can work on flanking no further than his training is so far, that dont require that he continue to circle the sheep? Second part of this question may sound strange, but Im going to ask anyway. When I taught him his lie down, I taught it to him off sheep so I didnt notice this at first, but have been seeing it more now that he is on sheep. He is very obedient when asked to lie down, and does it quickly. But he seems to be leaning/ stretching? into the sheep when he does, and it is making the sheep act more flighty/ fidgity. Which in turn makes him think that he may loose the sheep if I dont give him a counter command quick enough. So I ended up today having to give him counter commands quicker than I wanted to, so he wouldnt brake the stop on his own. I would have liked for him to hold the down a bit longer to continue to teach him more patience and learn that he does have to "wait" ( is what Ive been using for him to stay down) till I give the counter command, rather than he catch on that by what he is doing, he can make me give him his sheep quicker. Is there a way to train him to lean back further or not stretch towards the sheep on a down so as to not upset the sheep so much? The sheep are a 50/50 of St. Croix and Katahdin, ( they'll be 2yrs old in March)and relativly dog broke. If handled properly, they are pretty easy and not to light. I hope that last one makes sence to you, as it took me some time to see that that was what was happening. Even though I am seeing it, it still seems strange. Maybe Im wrong, but thats what Im seeing. Thank You, Darci

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Hello Bev, This is a two part question. I am starting an 8 month old BC. He has a solid stop, (lie down) is circling nicely, is balancing nicely, and I am instigating his flanks by stepping out in front of him and giving the verbal commands away, and come by. He gets it ( the flanking) about 75 per cent of the time. I started him about 5 weeks ago. Three weeks ago I bunged up my foot and had to lay up for 3 weeks. I just started him back saturday, and worked him again today. He seems to have retained all that he has learned previously despite the lay off. I would like for him to be a lot more understanding about his flank commands an be properly flanking before we move on. Saturday he worked well, but today, I noticed him speeding up, and tring to antisapate my body language, and am thinking that circling is getting a little boring and nerve racking for him, and he needs to move on and stop circling. Are there any other exercises I can do with him that we can work on flanking no further than his training is so far, that dont require that he continue to circle the sheep? Second part of this question may sound strange, but Im going to ask anyway. When I taught him his lie down, I taught it to him off sheep so I didnt notice this at first, but have been seeing it more now that he is on sheep. He is very obedient when asked to lie down, and does it quickly. But he seems to be leaning/ stretching? into the sheep when he does, and it is making the sheep act more flighty/ fidgity. Which in turn makes him think that he may loose the sheep if I dont give him a counter command quick enough. So I ended up today having to give him counter commands quicker than I wanted to, so he wouldnt brake the stop on his own. I would have liked for him to hold the down a bit longer to continue to teach him more patience and learn that he does have to "wait" ( is what Ive been using for him to stay down) till I give the counter command, rather than he catch on that by what he is doing, he can make me give him his sheep quicker. Is there a way to train him to lean back further or not stretch towards the sheep on a down so as to not upset the sheep so much? The sheep are a 50/50 of St. Croix and Katahdin, ( they'll be 2yrs old in March)and relativly dog broke. If handled properly, they are pretty easy and not to light. I hope that last one makes sence to you, as it took me some time to see that that was what was happening. Even though I am seeing it, it still seems strange. Maybe Im wrong, but thats what Im seeing. Thank You, Darci

 

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I'm not sure if the "leaning into the sheep" on the stop is a physical action or a mental one. But whether he is actually leaning into the sheep with his body or his mind it is his mind you need to work on here.

 

It is not uncommon with young dogs to be able to get them physically stopped before you have them under full mental control. This dog is stopping because he is a good boy and you have told him he must stop when he gets the command. But he has probably not fully bought into the wisdom of the stop. With some of these dogs there is a desperation to get to the sheep that does not end when the dog stops.

 

I believe that the most important thing to teach a young dog is a good/working attitude toward the stock and the handler. The dog must relax and not always be either charging after the sheep or stopped before charging after the sheep.

 

Get your youngster to lie down and relax. When he is relaxed about this you won't feel that you need to release him to go get his sheep.

 

Now having said this it takes time to develop this attitude. How long depends upon the dog and with young fairly desperate dogs I let them do more wearing and fetching and flanking before I ask for the stop/stay. I find these dogs more easily begin to relax when they are in motion and I want a relaxed walk behind the stock before I expect a relax stop.

 

Beverly

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Bev, yes, your right, in that he is not as relaxed as he could be, though I had attributed that to a young pups keeness to want to stay on the sheep, and figured that he would settle down a bit more with time and work. He does have a great working attitude, ( he has a great all around attitude) and I think he will continue to keep that, its just the kinda of dog he is. He is physically leaning into the sheep, but I hadnt thought about his mental state when he does this, at least not in the same light as you have pointed out. I'll start some wearing and flanking with him this week and see if keeping him more in motion will help him to relax a bit more. :rolleyes: Thank you, Darci

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