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Chasing after running sheep


Pippin's person
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As I've posted before, I've been working hard since the beginning of the year at getting my dog Hamish to learn to handle pressure (e.g. small spaces, tight corners, etc.) in order to stop some train wrecks.

 

He's been doing pretty well with that--we've really sharpened up his obedience on the field; he has snappy, square flanks most of the time and I can see and correct when he doesn't. He's really widened out his outrun, usually bends off pressure from me, has pretty good pace, etc.

 

This is all great and gratifying--I've learned an immense amount this summer about handling, for which I'm grateful.

 

However, we have zeroed in on a place where he continues to have evil on his mind--when sheep take off for their draw. When that happens, he takes off after them until they reach a barrier, which inevitably becomes a predictable mess. He goes deaf during these moments.

 

He is currently at remedial school with the person we train with and she's been doing a lot to set these situations up and remind him of better alternatives. I don't doubt she'll figure out how to fix this, so I'm just curious if others of you have had this issue and what you've done about it.

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If his attitude is one of chasing, i'd stop him and redirect. Don't let him go after sheep that are running away when his attitude is the wrong one. If you have to, stop him and call him back and let the sheep go where they're going, and then send him with the proper attitude. I think basically you fix it by not letting it happen.

 

I do teach my dogs how to stop running sheep when they're coming towards me, by getting them up in the eye of the sheep and drawing them to themselves. Then if i'm driving towards a draw, i can put the dog in that spot to keep the sheep from taking off and it feels familiar to us both. It would be pretty hard to explain how to do that in a post, but you can try driving sheep along a fence and experimenting with keeping the sheep moving towards a draw without stopping them but also keeping them from running. It's the same principle more or less.

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I would like to know what your trainer is doing - please... I have the opposite problem. But if you've worked with taking them off the fence, etc. Seems like you could just make the outruns to take off the fence longer and longer from where you have it good. (actually, that's what my trainer is having me do) But I'm a novice. I hate working with sheep who bolt back to the draw but sometimes that's all I've got and it's really caused problems with both my dogs.

 

Nancy

 

He is currently at remedial school with the person we train with and she's been doing a lot to set these situations up and remind him of better alternatives. I don't doubt she'll figure out how to fix this, so I'm just curious if others of you have had this issue and what you've done about it.

I'

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I agree with Robin. Basically the two ways to stop running sheep are to stop your dog or flank your dog (you choose according to the situation). Unfortunately this doesn't include the dog blowing you off while it has fun.

 

And Nancy, if you send your dog in repeatedly to take the sheep off the fence when you get to an open field your outrun will look just like your dog is taking the sheep off a fence (finishing right on their butts without giving the sheep any room behind). The lift will be explosive and the fetch will resemble the Preakness. I would suggest trying something different or waiting until you're somewhere else to do your outruns. Good luck.

 

Ray

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I agree with Robin. Basically the two ways to stop running sheep are to stop your dog or flank your dog (you choose according to the situation). Unfortunately this doesn't include the dog blowing you off while it has fun.

 

And Nancy, if you send your dog in repeatedly to take the sheep off the fence when you get to an open field your outrun will look just like your dog is taking the sheep off a fence (finishing right on their butts without giving the sheep any room behind). The lift will be explosive and the fetch will resemble the Preakness. I would suggest trying something different or waiting until you're somewhere else to do your outruns. Good luck.

 

Ray

 

The reason I'm doing that exercise is for the same reason Robin might use it - the sheep are bolting off for the draw. creating a sucking vacuum for a dog who wants to chase/follow. She said she's been having good luck taking them off the fence, so if the fence stops/ends the draw, the dog will flank around and not go straight in. Then the distance can be lengthened.

 

My dog is a rather wild character, but he does soften and give when covering at the fence top. Like I say, I'm a novice, but Ive been given good instruction for the same problem (or at least similar) and it's enabling me to give the dog some success. p.s. this is an open field, but the nasty antelope book for the fence even when the dog is waaaaay off. I wish we had a way to put in drawings here....

 

My other rather sticky dog goes straight at the sheep (not really chasing, just refusing to cover) for the same but opposite reason in the opposite direction (from the pressure of the draw). If he covers, the sheep aren't controlled but are booking for the fence. I think they think they are barbaros, not barbados!

 

Nancy

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