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juliepoudrier

Managing the clappy dog

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Thank you Carol!!!! This is exactly what I'm experiencing with my young dog and we had the same situation at a trial this weekend (he preferred to bring the sheep along the trucks and spectators [would not take a little 'come by' flank] rather than down the center of the field where they felt the draw more - it was the end of the day and we poor novices had desperate, tired and hungry sheep). But, when he got them down nearer the draw he brought them - pushing them correctly right to the gates. I'm going to concentrate on stopping obedience on the flanks - I've let the stopping obedience slide because he always seems to want to down so I've tried to keep him moving. Wish I had a better area to drive. (I'm the person with the small double corral to work)

 

This will definitely be more fun than trying to stop my keen dog instead of pushing sheep into my lap! ;-)

Nancy

 

Hi Julie,

My take on this is different. I didn't see your dog run but I was at the trial and know the draw. I don't think your problem is that the dog is clappy, but that she isn't driving the sheep—isn't trying to make them go. She is worried about the pressure and is trying to make them stop. I imagine if the pressure is directly behind you, this is not a problem. She would probably drive til the cows came home. She needs to learn to hold the weight of the sheep as a method of controlling them when the draw is to the side. She needs to learn that when she is on the proper pressure point, those sheep will move forward as readily as when the draw is behind. And she needs to be obedient when you ask her NOT to overflank to that point where she stops the sheep. She needs to be 100% in taking that release flank to allow the sheep to go when she is asked. If you can get this in place, and it is a lot of trust and obedience on her part, it will open up worlds of handling for her.

 

I just described an exercise to Diane in "Experts" that you could use. I would work on her parallel driving with the draw behind you so she gets used to being on the side of the sheep holding the weight of them. In that position, it will be easy for you to see when she is going wrong and also clear to her that all that is being asked is to drive. Also, that spot that hits the correct pressure point makes the sheep pick up speed and go. She will like that.

 

Separately, I would work her flanks with her so she is obedient to stop where asked and will take a flanks to release the sheep and stay put when and where you stop her so exactly that can happen—the sheep will be released. Then you will be able to flank her to the pressure point that you determine and she will hold the weight from there. It will give her that same sense that she gets when the draw is directly behind. That's what she is looking for—that feeling. This can help her create it anywhere.

 

In addition to the above exercise, do a series of drives with the angle changing slightly each time. Start with the draw directly behind you. She will have no reason but to be directly behind them. Then start the drive again. This time drive angle it a slight bit across that draw. She will need to be up a bit on their hips to be right. Keep repeating this changing the angle slowly getting to the point where she has to be up along side the sheep. Your job is to handle her to find that spot that keeps the sheep moving and doesn't allow her to stop them.

 

This pressure on her will be the same as it is in the parallel drive exercise. Keep in mind that a "walk up" should be that—not a flank. And a flank should be a flank. She is not going to like it at first. But if you show her how to hold the weight with the parallel drive exercise first, she will feel the power that gives her and eventually apply it to a drive like last weekend. On your part when handling her, don't flank/stop/flank/stop. The sheep don't respect a dog that works that way. Flank her onto the pressure point of your choosing and then ask for walk ups using a there or stop to keep her from over-flanking and invite her coming forward. Unless you ask for one, if she choses a flank, let her know she is wrong.

 

Another dog with a similar problem is the one on the expert thread asking about over running to pressure and clapping on the top. It is the same thing there but showing up on the top of the outrun and fetch. Some of those ideas might help too.

 

Good luck.

 

This kind of problem is fun to solve!

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Have you taught her to drive sheep towards pressure? I usually start driving with the dog between pressure and the sheep. Then I do like Carol says, drive across pressure. But don't forget to drive sheep towards pressure too. Lots of dogs panic when they are 'following' running sheep. It is a skill that also needs to be taught. At my place (it is long and narrow) I drive the sheep to the back of the field, flank the dog around and leave the way back to the barn free. I can always count on some of the old ewes to run off towards the barn. I simply keep the young dog behind them at that point, but try and keep within reasonable contact.( I have an ATV that I am on so I can keep up ;>). ) A clappy dog will have a really hard time with it, but they learn it is okay to not always be on pressure. Once they lose their panic, they usually relax and free up. Also, Like somebody said, (Lana I think) the dog needs to be a bit more worred about you than the pressure of the sheep. My old dog used to clap up on cats. I used that to break his concentration. He would clap on a cat, and I would says something to him. No response. I would then take a baseball hat and smack him on the butt, and say the equivelent of 'Hey buddy... I'm speaking to YOU' Amazingly, his 'hearing' improved greatly and he could be broken from the stare much easier. Carried over to sheep. Good luck. Larkie is a fine little girl. Shame to let this mess her up. Marilyn

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I'm trying to imagine how you do this and can't quite get it. I have a field with this kind of situation (and this is the situation that I think got my dog booking back to pressure so far!) How do you keep a dog from trying to flank around sheep who are booking back? I might get a down, but that would just lose contact entirely.

 

Nancy

 

Have you taught her to drive sheep towards pressure? I usually start driving with the dog between pressure and the sheep. Then I do like Carol says, drive across pressure. But don't forget to drive sheep towards pressure too. Lots of dogs panic when they are 'following' running sheep. It is a skill that also needs to be taught. At my place (it is long and narrow) I drive the sheep to the back of the field, flank the dog around and leave the way back to the barn free. I can always count on some of the old ewes to run off towards the barn. I simply keep the young dog behind them at that point, but try and keep within reasonable contact.( I have an ATV that I am on so I can keep up ;>). ) A clappy dog will have a really hard time with it, but they learn it is okay to not always be on pressure. Once they lose their panic, they usually relax and free up. Also, Like somebody said, (Lana I think) the dog needs to be a bit more worred about you than the pressure of the sheep. My old dog used to clap up on cats. I used that to break his concentration. He would clap on a cat, and I would says something to him. No response. I would then take a baseball hat and smack him on the butt, and say the equivelent of 'Hey buddy... I'm speaking to YOU' Amazingly, his 'hearing' improved greatly and he could be broken from the stare much easier. Carried over to sheep. Good luck. Larkie is a fine little girl. Shame to let this mess her up. Marilyn

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Nancy, it took me until today to get comfortable enough with the process to go out and give it a whirl, I set up my first drive as a cross drive with me between the sheep and the place they wanted to go, at first Jake just followed in, so I called him out to the side, he tried to track in again, which allowed the sheep to curl around me, I then called him back along the side, pretty soon he was staying to the side holding the sheep, on line from the side, I was not concerned at that point about speed just that he held them, they were not interested in going anywhere but curling around me so there were no escape attempts. After he started to get the concept of that I changed the angle of drive eventually the drive was going toward the draw where the sheep would normally take off to, but they didn't he had them, he was not as far to the side as I would have expected either.

 

I did switch sheep, the first set were calm old timers, I used them while he was getting the concept of holding the weight then I switched to the second set which were real light and challange him to hold the weight and control their speed, there were a couple of tense moments, he escaped one time on me and stopped them, then there was an attempt that ended in a grip when he came up short and dove in, I attributed it to tension and just ignored it and brought him back and set it up again.

 

The other thing I did was to set it up in an area that had a moderate draw, rather then one of the places I have where the sheep would just haul butt, I was thinking that I was better off setting the bar a little low and have success then to go for too much and get nothing but more of what he usually gives me. Typically with Jake I can get him stopped and flanked off of pressure when things aren't to crazy, but when the sheep really want to try hard or on new sheep I have a tougher go of it.

 

I don't know if that helps you or not.

 

Deb

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Guest carol campion
I did switch sheep, the first set were calm old timers, I used them while he was getting the concept of holding the weight then I switched to the second set which were real light and challange him to hold the weight and control their speed, there were a couple of tense moments, he escaped one time on me and stopped them, then there was an attempt that ended in a grip when he came up short and dove in, I attributed it to tension and just ignored it and brought him back and set it up again.

 

The other thing I did was to set it up in an area that had a moderate draw, rather then one of the places I have where the sheep would just haul butt, I was thinking that I was better off setting the bar a little low and have success then to go for too much and get nothing but more of what he usually gives me. Typically with Jake I can get him stopped and flanked off of pressure when things aren't to crazy, but when the sheep really want to try hard or on new sheep I have a tougher go of it.

 

I don't know if that helps you or not.

 

Deb

 

Hi Deb

 

Use whatever sheep will bring out the best work from him and then graduate to the difficult ones. I try to use sheep that will respect the dog and move off of him but not so light they cause the dog to panic. Then the dog can get the feel for where to be. You can ask a fully trained dog that already knows how to drive to stay behind sheep that are booking hard to a draw. But at this point, inexperienced dogs may feel they are losing their sheep and you might take something away from them.

 

This is not to contradict Marilyn. She is offering wise advice to ask them to follow sheep into a draw, but be careful in the very early stages of a dogs driving, especially when its problem is it wants to flip back and bring sheep back on a drive. Gauge what you ask for by what the dog is able to master and slowly up the ante.

 

Carol

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