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walking up problem


bill virginia
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one of my BC when driving or gathering does not like to walk up straight . he will go to either side and cause the sheep to move off course.

 

things i have done:

 

1. used fence to drive and gather

2. kept dog off the sheep and giving them room.

 

these have been reasonably successful, but i have to work on them everyday.

 

question is there a exercise you could suggest that i could use to help correct this problem??

 

 

 

just a thought.

 

if you want to have some fun for you and your BC, get 5 pygmy goats and work them. if you have wooded area available work the goats in there.

 

you will have a great time.

 

bill virginia

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First you have to ask yourself why the dog is not walking straight in. Two thoughts occur to me: Is the dog sliding up a side because it is watching the heads--afraid the sheep will escape? That's one issue. The other possibility is that the dog is flanking off the pressure of the stock. They usually do this because they are not comfortable with the pressure from the stock. Often, people will work on this issue by doing various things where you are close to the dog for moral support, and you have the dog, with your encouragement, walk on into that pressure. Sometimes that is done by having the stock in a corner, and encouraging the dog to walk on into the stock while they are in the corner. Other folks like to put a number of stock in a smallish area, and go in there with the dog, just hanging out to get the dog to relax with their pressure, occasionally having the dog walk up a bit, then just stay there. If you do that, you have to keep things relaxed and calm, and it is best to let the dog stay on its feet--it will feel "braver" standing than if you make it lie down.

 

Not sure if either of these are the case, but they are the first two things that popped into my head. You'll have to watch him and see if you can determine why he is doing this,

A

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First you have to ask yourself why the dog is not walking straight in. Two thoughts occur to me: Is the dog sliding up a side because it is watching the heads--afraid the sheep will escape? That's one issue. The other possibility is that the dog is flanking off the pressure of the stock. They usually do this because they are not comfortable with the pressure from the stock. Often, people will work on this issue by doing various things where you are close to the dog for moral support, and you have the dog, with your encouragement, walk on into that pressure. Sometimes that is done by having the stock in a corner, and encouraging the dog to walk on into the stock while they are in the corner. Other folks like to put a number of stock in a smallish area, and go in there with the dog, just hanging out to get the dog to relax with their pressure, occasionally having the dog walk up a bit, then just stay there. If you do that, you have to keep things relaxed and calm, and it is best to let the dog stay on its feet--it will feel "braver" standing than if you make it lie down.

 

Not sure if either of these are the case, but they are the first two things that popped into my head. You'll have to watch him and see if you can determine why he is doing this,

A

 

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First you have to ask yourself why the dog is not walking straight in. Two thoughts occur to me: Is the dog sliding up a side because it is watching the heads--afraid the sheep will escape? That's one issue. The other possibility is that the dog is flanking off the pressure of the stock. They usually do this because they are not comfortable with the pressure from the stock. Often, people will work on this issue by doing various things where you are close to the dog for moral support, and you have the dog, with your encouragement, walk on into that pressure. Sometimes that is done by having the stock in a corner, and encouraging the dog to walk on into the stock while they are in the corner. Other folks like to put a number of stock in a smallish area, and go in there with the dog, just hanging out to get the dog to relax with their pressure, occasionally having the dog walk up a bit, then just stay there. If you do that, you have to keep things relaxed and calm, and it is best to let the dog stay on its feet--it will feel "braver" standing than if you make it lie down.

 

Not sure if either of these are the case, but they are the first two things that popped into my head. You'll have to watch him and see if you can determine why he is doing this,

A

 

I have a 3 year old bitch who is almost fully trained for Australian 3-sheep trials. I only bought her a few months ago. She is a weaker dog and I have found she hates walking straight in to the pressure, and she does the whole 'sliding up the side' thing as well.

She was worst at the lift, she would stop at the top and would not walk in onto the sheep, I found it so frustrating!

I have done a lot of reading and pondering on how i could build her confidence and get her to walk in better. I have tried a few different methods and have found that having her in a yard with sheep and just getting her to stand and relax and take the pressure has helped her confidence quite a lot. She still is unsure at times but is much better than she was. :rolleyes:

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bill, One thing that I'll try to keep the dog that's just beginning to drive from sliding up the side and trying to bring them back is to walk with the dog as it's driving, but walk directly behind the dog and maybe ten paces or so back. If, say, the dog tries to work its way up on the left side then I'll stop the dog and move over to that side a little more than the dog has moved. This means that if the dog were to continue trying to work up on that side it would have to do an inside flank to do so. Most dogs that haven't been taught inside flanks yet will balk at that and start going back the other way. When they do then I go back to the center line too. I also find variations of this 'walking behind' useful for teaching inside flanks as well. Just use your body position and don't give a correction so the dog doesn't come to think that flanking is wrong. You may have to move around a bit, but exercise is a good thing, right ?

 

Ray

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Hi Bill. With a dog like you describe, I do a couple of things at the same time. 1. Exercises that increase it's confidence on stock and 2. correct it when it takes that first step off the pressure while driving. The second one assumes the dog has internalized the concept of driving and is comfortable on the same side of the sheep as you. You don't say the age of your dog or how far along in training.

 

I love this one; "put the sheep in a corner and have the dog walk straight into them." Especially if your dog is low on confidence, all you are doing here is teaching it that no matter how hard it tries, it can't move sheep. Bad precedent. I put the sheep against a gate that I've set to open with some pressure from the sheep. So as the dog walks up on the sheep, the gate opens, the sheep go through and the dog feels ten feet tall and bullet proof. If the dog blows through after them and gathers, so much the better in the beginning. To me, that's the dog saying "wheee." If they're happy about their work, they'll work better and next time the gate thing will be a whole more fun. As the dog's confidence increases I make the gate harder and harder to open.

 

At the same time that I'm increasing a dog's confidence, I'm teaching it to drive properly. I think it's pretty safe to say that the reason your dog is flanking off the pressure while driving is either it's afraid of losing them, or uncomfortable with the pressure necessary to move them. Either way, it doesn't matter to me. If it's afraid of losing them, it will learn to trust me over time. If it's uncomfortable with the pressure, the gate trick and time will over come it. So, while the dog is driving sheep, I'm watching for the first step that it takes to flank. When I see it, I give the dog a correction. The dog has to know that it's doing something wrong before it will stop doing it. If you continually allow it to flank off pressure, then simply flank it back on, you are teaching it nothing, except how to flank. Give the correction, then allow it to drive from the point at which it stopped flanking from the correction.

 

Initially you will get a zig zag drive like crazy, but as you become quicker to stop and correct the dog from flanking, and as the dog gains confidence driving, you will eventually have a straight drive. It helps me to remember a couple of things. Keep the correction short and sharp to the extent appropriate for your dog. Too much or too little will cause more problems than it solves. And, release the pressure of the correction the instant the dog complies. The quicker you are to do that, the sooner the dog will learn, because dogs do not learn from correction, they learn from release of it.

 

Cheers all and good luck with your dog, Bill

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