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Training help for the lift

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Hello Vergil,


I was setting sheep for a few runs at a local trial and really enjoyed watching the young open dogs (3-4 year olds) lift sheep. The sheep were being spotted on alfalfa about 500 yards from the post on a cold clear day. The dogs my question is about all had good outruns and approaches. Some of them however had difficulty lifting the sheep.


Now I know that some of these sheep are easier to lift than others. Several dogs, young or not had some trouble lifting. But one particular young dog tried and tried. I was close enough to watch him try to manuever and vary the pressure on the stubborn sheep with no good result. You could tell that he heard the handler and wanted to solve the problem.


This is not a fearful dog. Shortly afterwards I saw the same young dog calmly, on command go into a packed trailer of sheep multiple times and get them out in good order.


MY QUESTION: (I have referred to my dog bible - your book - without satisfactory suggestions.) What can we do in training to overcome this type of block for a dog? Most references in training books is on how to slow down the lift. What can you do to help a talented but sensitive dog on the top end with hard to lift sheep?


Thanks very much,

Bill Orr

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Thanks for the question - sorry for the delay in response.


In short, train the bite out of a dog, don't take the bite out of the dog. T


hat being said, quite often dogs that are in their training have been slowed up so much/made careful on the lift, they don't know how how walk up and push off on the lift. I suspect the dog in question either stood back off the sheep or did all lateral movement.


Young dogs as a general rule should be allowed to push off the sheep fairly hard for some time and then start to slow them up gradually so that they don't lose their ablitiy to move forward.


Contrary to popular opinion, it is much more difficult for any dog to lift off feed and makes the playing field more uneven.



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