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Too much prey drive


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I have two rescues. The first (BC/Aussie/GSD - best guess) has all the herding instinct of a Maremma - sniffs the sheep, wanders around, and eats poop. Tried five or so times with no improvement. The second (BC possibly a little aussie) is a lot of dog in a little package. She has been out about three times in the round pen - once on the leash due to her being fairly new to me and very submissive. We were not sure how much correction she could take. She showed a lot of interest, stalk, and eye. The other two times dragging a long line. She repeatedly separated one sheep and grabbed at wool and underneath the sheep. The last time she completedly ignored the stock stick except once it hit the ground right in front of her and she backed off about two feet - then right back in. She was about a year old last time. The plan is to wait about 6 months, work on her commands off sheep, and let her mature a little. Any ideas for when we try her again? Has anyone used a stock stick with a feed bag taped to the end? I am wondering if that is visible enough to get her attention when she gets so fixated. I emptied their food into the storage bin last night and she seems to back away from the empty feed bag in the kitchen. It is still hard for me to believe that she ignored the stick (but I did see it) - when I first got her she would roll over if you looked at her wrong. It is like her eyes glaze over and she morphs into another dog when she sees the sheep.


The white one is the Maremma wannabe and the Red one is the Coyote wannabe.










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Surprised no one has responded to you. Maybe they have privately. Either way, I'll give you my very inexperienced, novice perspective. I'm quickly learning that "too much prey drive" isn't really a problem, the problem is whether or not you've got a good enough trainer to work with to teach you how to properly handle it. I'll give you our story, in case it helps. I started my dog at 5 months (too early for her, and most dogs I'm told) and she was all bite/attack/alligator. I started at a trainer who used PVC pipes to block. I did not know what I was doing at all, btw. Never saw or even heard of herding before. My pup totally ignored the PVC pipes and even angered the trainer by biting at them on occasion. I went 2 or more times a week for 5 months and in that time my pup had PVC pipes broken over her head several times (not by me, but buy the trainer). Okay, I admit I'm stupid, but it took until my dog finally "gave up" and laid down in the middle of the pen before I got that this wasn't working. I then waited until she was over a year, started again (with a different trainer) and have made good progress. Unfortunately I'm still trying to get some of that prey drive BACK. :rolleyes:


What would I do differently?

1 Get a trainer who knows Border Collies and does ISDS style competitions.

2 Use a flag or a stick with a feedback (or a plastic grocery bag works well!) to BLOCK instead of whacking her on the head with a PVC pipe. I've since learned that my dog is REALLY sensitive to the bag/flag bearing sticks waving at her. Blocking isn't easy at first for some of us, so you need a good trainer to help you with timing.

3 IF it isn't working, stop sooner and don't keep at it for 5 months (I'm SO SORRY ALICE!). Sometimes the dog just needs to grow up a bit. Sometimes you need a new/different trainer. Sometimes you need both.

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I would second finding someone that you can work with to get the "sharkiness" under control. it could be because you are not in the right place and it is confusing for the dog. Often when there is a lot of gripping in the beginning is because the dog can't see the flock for the individual sheep (forest for the trees).


A little gripping at the beginning is not something to discourage too much (i'm not saying encourage it...just don't panic about it).


Find a local clinic or some lessons to get you started on the right path

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We also have a Aussie who grips. Got lots of help from different people. Turns out it was me and not him who was the problem. Once the lambs are weaned (we only have 3 ewes and 6 lambs) we will work more on allowing the dog to work and not worrying so much about what he is constantly doing. I know he will be better as he is a great dog. Our trainer was a BC lady and she was great but couldn't devote more time to my dog so we are doing our own at home. Good luck and enjoy the journey. N

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