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1sheepdoggal
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I would be interested to hear how others get their dogs to thinking about the work, not just, OMG!!!SHEEP! Before they enter the feild. Id like to help my gal get into a better mind set so that things go smoother and arent all balls to the walls till she gets tired enough to take it down a notch. She is 3yrs old and been to sheep a zillion times, but this is always the way she starts out. Its like having to lunge the horse before you can have a nice ride.

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Darci,

What about taking her to the pasture along with a chair and a good book and just sit there and read while she learns to relax beside you? Wash, rinse, repeat. Eventually she'll get it through her head that walking toward the pasture isn't reason to go out of her mind with "I'm gonna work sheep" excitement. Boring for you, but you may get a good novel read that way!

 

J.

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My dogs were always like that until Jack pointed out that I wasn't able to even have them off leash around sheep, before starting. Basically he wants to be able to get a dog's attention and call them off, walk them around off leash, right through the gate and up to the sheep's rear ends if need be, then turn around and walk away again.

 

But be sure you don't do with that what I did - and that was prevent the dog from running off, instead of encouraging it to develop self-control. Repeating, "That'll Do!" when you see the dog start to go, builds just as much tension as having a leash on. I had to learn, correct, ask, correct, ask - and make sure it's not fun when the dog gets to the sheep.

 

I hope Robin doesn't mind my linking to this again. Please excuse the silly music - I was playing with my new software - I need to post the raw file instead sometime so you can hear Robin clearly.

 

 

I hope Robin will jump in and explain it better than I can.

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Julie, On my home feild, I can walk out onto the feild, and she wont take after the sheep until I send her, she'll stay with me, ( er, go out ten feet, and return, go out 10 feet, return) watching me then the sheep, me then the sheep. I do take her out there with me to just do a sort of walk about. No sheep contact, just clean and re fill waters, mess with the Pyr, check fence., and if I sit down and just watch the sheep for awhile doing their sheepy things, she'll relax to some degree, but when I get up or move, she is back in GOTTA WORK THE SHEEP! mode. She is still always anticapating getting to go to the sheep.

I do however have a new book in mind.

 

Becca, The closer she gets to them, the more tension she builds. Id like to stop the tension before we even go on the feild. Id love to just have her walk out there like it aint no thang, and just simply go to work.Maybe its not her personality type to be expecting that type of behavior from her, but thought it could be helpful.

Im waiting for the link to load, dial up and all.

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Darci,

I think we discussed when you were here last as well. It may be as simple as you demanding she acknowledge/pay attention to you before she's ever allowed to look at or work the sheep, kind of like what I did the first time we walked into the round pen. Before I ever sent her, I had her full attention *on me.* I think it made a huge difference in her mindset when I finally did send her around them.

 

As for the book thing, the idea was that she doesn't get to work sheep at some point. You go in, read, do whatever, go back out. If she doesn't automatically get to work sheep every time, she ought to figure out that it's not a given. That doesn't mean she won't be eager to work, just maybe that she won't anticipate and build up tension so badly. Also maybe insisting that she stay with you instead of running back and forth between you and that point 10 feet out would help her to keep you in the picture more.

 

FWIW, none of my dogs walk out on the field like "it ain't no thang"--they're all ready and anxious to get working. The difference is that they keep me in the picture instead of shutting me out with thoughts of "OMGSheep!SheepOMG!OMG!SheepSheepSheep!"

 

J.

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Also maybe insisting that she stay with you instead of running back and forth between you and that point 10 feet out would help her to keep you in the picture more

 

This I can do. I hadnt ever really worked on that, as she always just came right back, but I can see where that could help. She has a good off lead heel, so definitly will try that.

 

OMGSheep!SheepOMG!OMG!SheepSheepSheep!"

 

Your getting to understand/know Chris's mind set pretty well eh? Describes her to a tee!

I think Im going to the book store.

 

I did start this week,putting a long line back on her when going on the feild, just as a reminder that Im still here, and that seems to have helped to some degree. She just gets so darned tense and wired. But, my long line is hung on the gate to the pasture so she doesnt get it on till we're at the gate. Maybe if I bring the long line up on the porch, and attach it when we come out of the house that will have more bearing on the subject for her?

I'll contiune our walk abouts, in where she just goes about doing little chores with me with no sheep work. She doesnt care for it, but behaves all the same.

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I do pretty much the same as Julie--take them out to the pasture with me a lot, but we just do other stuff out there. We don't always get to work. Do you have other places with stock you could do this, too? I start this with them when they are 7-8 weeks old, so they get very used to being around stock, but the stock are not such a big deal. Sometimes we work; sometimes we don't. That's not to say my 2 year old doesn't always try to sneak out toward the calves, but if she sees I am busy with something else, she'll just find herself a shady spot to lie in and watch the calves, not close enough to harass them. I don't have a problem with that,

 

A

 

ETA: with the really young ones that are here for training, and haven't been on the program from day 1, I keep the long line in the house, so they go into the truck on it.

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Well, I went out tonight, got my long line and attached it before letting her off the porch. Took her straight to the potty place, and then headed for the pasture. As expected, SHEEEEEEP!! I gave her a couple of good tugs on the line, said ahh! And opened the gate. She went in like a flash, which she always does, but waited for me. I threw a bucket in earlier when I went to get the line, (to sit on) and we just wandered around the feild for about 20 minuets. She was excieted just to be in there, but I had her heel, and that worried her. I finally sat down on my bucket in a corner and leaned aginst a post and enjoyed the breeze for a bit, having her in a down stay. She was relaxed and easy, untill I stood up. Then we were back to SHEEP! SHEEP! Are we gonna work the SHEEP NOW!! We didnt. Just a quiet that'll do and off the feild we went. I can see this is going to take some time. No wonder Julie advised me not to get a book, but to get a NOVEL!

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SDG

I have had the same problem- which is why our first run at a trial can sometimes be, shall we say, BAD. I have started taking my dog and tying her up at the fence while I watch others, and she has begun to calm down a bit that way. It's almost like she needs about 5-10 minutes to get over the absolute sheer joy about being around sheep, and then she gets her head about her.

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I try to remember to make other requirements as I'm going to the field, much like I used to do when we showed our horses, stop, turns, half halts, little excersises to make sure the horse, or dogs mind is with me and not way out in the field. If I can't get the dog with me (in his mind) as we are going out to work he's not going to be with me when he sees sheep. Over the last couple of months I found that my dog is working better for me out with the sheep when I got consistent with being sure I was making corrections away from the sheep. I had not thought about it before but why would he want to work for me and do what I ask on sheep when I don't enforce the requirements off the sheep. I guess I was not being fair to him, it makes sense know that he would tell me to take a flying leap when I tried to enforce a command out in the field. I keep reminding myself, if I don't have control without the draw of sheep, I sure as heck am not going to have it when he sees sheep.

 

At a clinic a few weeks back we played "I'm not the dog for the job", the dog was taken into the work area, the requirement was for the dog to stay in a place without volinteering to work, if the dog tried to work on his own he was stopped and corrected, it was ok if he watched, just no engagement of the sheep. This exercise was done on the more expirenced dogs that were blowing off commands, not the young ones, the instructor then brought a second dog in to work, the expectation was that the first dog was ok with whatever the second dog was doing, basically "I'm not the dog for the job" anyway, when the handler finally sent the dog the dog would look at the handler with the "Me, you really want me" then go off very carefully and cautiously on their outrun. The excersise was quite effective and forced the handler to make the proper corrections since not making the corrections meant two dogs working sheep. The dog went from blowing off commands to listening really well.

 

Deb

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I think that's a key point. The attitude you need is "Not my turn" not, "she told me to heel." I had excellent heels on all my dogs, but they were always looking for a time to sneak away, take advantage of a moment's inattention, etc.

 

Robin never tells Ted to heel in the video - she just lets him go and learn it's not fun unless he waits until she asks him to work.

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Robin never tells Ted to heel in the video - she just lets him go and learn it's not fun unless he waits until she asks him to work.

 

I'm glad you mentioned that, with our exercise that I described above, we got to that point, at first it was just a fight getting the dog to quite trying to escape and get to the sheep, once the dog stopped trying to escape he was allowed to make mistakes, if he got up, and keyed in on the sheep we would wait for him to make a decision, if the decision was to go work, we would make that decision hard by blocking him into a corner and not letting him have his sheep, we had to wait until he committed one way or another to what he was going to do before we would correct or accept the response. It only took a couple of corrections but soon when the dog got up he would then decide to lie back down, or sit and just watch.

 

Deb

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