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Training the look back command


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I'm still in the novice class, however, feel that I am improving greatly.

Would like to know from the group how to teach the look back

command.

 

Your input is greatly appreciated.

 

 

There was some recent discussion in this thread:

http://www.bordercollie.org/boards/index.p...&pid=295364

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I'm still in the novice class, however, feel that I am improving greatly.

Would like to know from the group how to teach the look back

command.

For me, training the "Look Back" is easiest when the dog is a complete novice. At this stage, it's very likely to go out on an outrun and miss a few sheep. I take this as a golden opportunity to start teaching the dog to look back.

 

Yes, I really start training the "Look Back" almost as soon as I start training the dog. Think about it. The time that the dog is most likely to leave sheep behind is when it starts its training and at this stage, we must impress upon the dog that it has to bring ALL the sheep.

 

So as soon as the novice dog leaves one or more sheep behind, I immediately forget what I was trying to teach the dog at the time and walk towards the "missing" sheep, giving the "Look Back" command. I keep my attention on the sheep but watch the dog (through the corner of my eye) carefully, as I repeat the command over and over.

 

At this stage, the dog is quite bewildered and eventually, it will turn its head to see what the heck's bugging me. The instant I think the dog can now see the missing sheep, I give the appropriate command to send the dog back on another gather.

 

I appreciate your dog is at a more advanced stage than this, and so you will need to engineer a situation where one (or preferably more) sheep will get left behind (or shoved into view by a friend). This will give you the perfect opportunity to do what I have described above.

 

I cannot stress how useful I have found this technique. Once the dog has "sussed" it, it's a complete synch to elaborate and perfect the technique. It even makes turning the dog back through open gateways into a second field very simple.

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The suggestion is a good way to introduce the look back as a concept. I use it myself, cautiously. Here are a couple of additional thoughts. First, make sure that the dog gathers all the sheep sent for without the necessity of a look back, so use a mild correction in practice more often than a look back. I say something like, "Hey, I need all the sheep" in a tone more bewildered than angry to get the point across. Unless the situation is perfect, for example, the second packet was out of sight initially, or unless I just can't help myself, I try to wait on the look back until the dog understands that gathering a group includes bringing them all. When sheep drop off at the sides because a dog is too focused on the center or when some are plain reluctant, the dog needs to comprehend all should be fetched without a look back. Second, when teaching a look back, I try to remember that the second flank should be the opposite of the first and a third, if available, the opposite of the first.

 

I've never owned a dog I started myself that didn't enjoy look backs. Don't overdo, particularly before a trial that doesn't have a final. The temptation can be overwhelming at first because the dogs get to love going back and anticipate like kids wanting a second helping of dessert, thus temporarily spoiling ordinary fetches if you have to whistle anywhere within a hundred yards of a fetch panel. Single lifts are far more common than double lifts both in gathering a field at home and at trials. Floating near fetch panels could happen as easily in novice levels as in open.

 

Penny

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