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Guarding the draw

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Hi Carol,


Puppy is now 9.5 months old and making great progress. She is now on whistles, shows great natural balance. Will wear the sheep in a straight line to me showing very nice pace.. Does nice short outruns etc. Has even done short drives.


The issue we are having is that she wants to be between the sheep and the draw (natural yes..but can't always be) I can stop her in her tracks unless she is oposite the draw in which case she franticly casts all the way around to the other side then stops. I can get her to change flanks but not down. If I try to enforce the down she only gets more frantic racing to the other side to protect that draw. Might add the sheep are not trying to make a break for it..they are staying by me.


What I've been doing is having her walk the sheep to me in a nice slow line, she will stop and let me continue with sheep and waits for me to give walk up command. Then when I have her flank around (towards the draw) I quickly start turning back into her..another words if she's flanking come bye I'll flank way...then I'll keep repeating this in that way she's forced to stay behind them. I hope you can picture this..I'll try for a few steps of a walk up, then when I see her about to short circuit I'll flank her around.


My questions: This is keeping her facing the draw..BUT she is very much wobbling back and forth as she brings the sheep to me, If I try to down her she panics and races back to the draw side. I don't want this to come back and bite me in the butt. I don't like her not walking in straight. However at this point in time I have come up with no other way to help her stay on that side.


Also I have had her wear sheep in straight line parallel to the draw..no problems.


Any suggestions will be appreciated thanks

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Guest carol campion



I know exactly what you have going on because I have one I am training for someone that is doing exactly the same.


Only the one I have, if asked to stay behind sheep when the draw is behind me, will flank all the way behind and then if I ask her to go back to the other side, she gets grippy.


It is too much for her.


I have decided with mine that to force her to be comfortable with something that she just can't do right now, is not helping her. I wonder if you are in the same situation.


If yours doesn't act the same way in a less pressured situation, then keep her out of that situation for a while til she gets more comfortable with sheep altogether—and more comfortable with training and the idea she can't always do it her way.


It is amazing what a month or two in age will do for the ability to deal with different situations.


So my advice is, work on staying behind where it isn't so difficult and gradually reintroduce the tough stuff. Not many dogs her age with any sense of stock will want to stay behind and not cover them.



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  • 2 weeks later...

Thanks for the advice and welcome back.


It's amazing how well you know this puppy and you've never seen her! I realize now that she is not "blowing me off" but afraid of losing control of the sheep.


Will push what comes easy and slowly build her comfort zone on the hard stuff.

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