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How do "you" go about teaching a dog when a grip is permissable? Do you let the situation arise on it's own (sooner or later) or do you find time (an exercise) to work with the dog teaching him to grip when asked? Do you allow them to take some cheap shots at a younger age and then start to get on their case as they mature? Or do you discourage cheap shots right from the get-go and only let them heel in the chutes or nose grip when confronted? I work my dogs on goats and sheep. And, especially with the goats, grips are needed.

Suzanne

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How do "you" go about teaching a dog when a grip is permissable? Do you let the situation arise on it's own (sooner or later) or do you find time (an exercise) to work with the dog teaching him to grip when asked? Do you allow them to take some cheap shots at a younger age and then start to get on their case as they mature? Or do you discourage cheap shots right from the get-go and only let them heel in the chutes or nose grip when confronted? I work my dogs on goats and sheep. And, especially with the goats, grips are needed.

Suzanne

 

 

Good old grips eh! Most of my dogs are usually fairly grippy when young and eventually get over it as their confidence grows. I manage the grip by keeping the dogs off and good control. If the dog feels he NEEDS to grip I let him. I do not take the grip out of the dog. I know I will need it at some time down the road. I control it. If a sheep challenges the dog I let him do what he needs to but I control how severe it gets. That requires that the dog listen and do as told. I do not allow cheap shots as they are usually caused by frustration and are not a positive method of control of the sheep. Very seldom will the dog get a chance at a cheap shot if he is worked at the proper distance from the sheep (back of the flight zone). Working goats is almost like working fast cattle and most of the time the grip will be necessary but just be sure that it is a good grip either in the face or the heel. I like my dogs to move their stock without a grip most of the time but times do occur when that little grip may be necessary. Teaching a dog to grip on command is not that hard and there are some out there that have absolutely no grip in them but still are quite strong. Unfortunately, when push comes to shove, there has to be another place for the dog to go when he gets run over a few times and then we must teach that dog to grip. I usually just grab the ewe or ram by the neck and hold and really encourage the dog to come in and move the head low so that he can get at the nose. For those dogs without grip, this will take a while but it will come. For those that try to get to the side or under the head that is the reason to move the head and control the dog so that he is only taking the face. If you are not strong enough to hold the ewe you can either get some help or build a stanchion that you can hold her in and encourage the dog in on her there. I find it's always better to use the ewe that is giving the dog trouble than another that doesn't challenge the dog. BE VERY CAREFUL WHERE YOU HAVE YOUR HANDS WHEN DOING THIS OR YOU MAY BE ON YOUR WAY TO THE HOSPITAL IF THEY ARE IN THE WRONG PLACE!! Take your time and always be very encouraging as you may be asking the dog to feel his fear and do it anyway. Bob

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Thankfully, I have had only one BC that I have had to hold heads and teach a grip to and yes, I still have some scars. The mother/daughter that I own have learned on their own when they need to bite. Daughter Yoko is still in learning mode. They need a grip to get goats off of flatbeds with bales of hay, pack sheep into pens, and on occasion take on a confronting sheep or goat. Kilt has an eye that can tell a line-up of billy goats not to even mess with her. The pup has learned to nip them off the hay, but still will take a cheap shot if she feels pressured. She doesn't grab a side, she dives in to heel them. I think I am too harsh on her and I try to see when she is going to fly in before she does it. I'm better at it, but she still flies in on occasion. Obviously, I don't have her correctly positioned back off her sheep as Bob mentioned.

Thanks for the input. A work in progress.

Suzanne

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Thankfully, I have had only one BC that I have had to hold heads and teach a grip to and yes, I still have some scars. The mother/daughter that I own have learned on their own when they need to bite. Daughter Yoko is still in learning mode. They need a grip to get goats off of flatbeds with bales of hay, pack sheep into pens, and on occasion take on a confronting sheep or goat. Kilt has an eye that can tell a line-up of billy goats not to even mess with her. The pup has learned to nip them off the hay, but still will take a cheap shot if she feels pressured. She doesn't grab a side, she dives in to heel them. I think I am too harsh on her and I try to see when she is going to fly in before she does it. I'm better at it, but she still flies in on occasion. Obviously, I don't have her correctly positioned back off her sheep as Bob mentioned.

Thanks for the input. A work in progress.

Suzanne

 

You're doing a great job Suzanne. The type of work and training you are doing is very conducive to becoming a good handler and trainer. Real work, like you are able to do, will bring you and your dogs along faster and better than just training all the time, although this is also necessary. You are learning to read stock and your dogs which is a must if you wish to be competitive in today's trial scene which is becoming more competitive every day. Talk later.......Bob

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  • 1 month later...
How about when the dog has grip but only wants to grip the head. I have tried holding the head and encouraging the dog to grip at the rear end with a small amount of success. Are there any magic tricks?

 

There is no magic but there is knowledge and hard work. If your dog will take the head but doesn't want to heel that is quite common. We have also the other type that will heel but won't take the head. I would rather have the first but best is both. You can get a dog to heel by using your voice in a very ecstatic encouraging manner giving the dog "getup, get up on 'em" commands when he is driving the flock. Be careful that you don't allow him to go to the head as he will want to when you are encouraging him to grip. If he's a little shy about getting too close to his stock, go with him and keep encouraging him until he grips and then immediately give him his "that'll do" and call him off. You don't want him to harrass the stock, just get them moving a little faster. When you give him his "that'll do" don't be angry at him, just give him the command and walk away, calling him to you. You don't want him to think he's done anything wrong, you want him to think he's right. Don't get the dog to the point that it becomes a habit for him to grip to move his stock. I take it you want some grip when you are moving your goats as they may be a little heavy and not react well to the dog moving them. Make sure you use a different command for the heel thatn you do for the "walk up" so he knows when you want him to grip. I would also suggest that you don't teach this to a dog with very little training on it as you won't be able to control the result and that could be disastrous. Bob

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There is no magic but there is knowledge and hard work. If your dog will take the head but doesn't want to heel that is quite common. We have also the other type that will heel but won't take the head. I would rather have the first but best is both. You can get a dog to heel by using your voice in a very ecstatic encouraging manner giving the dog "getup, get up on 'em" commands when he is driving the flock. Be careful that you don't allow him to go to the head as he will want to when you are encouraging him to grip. If he's a little shy about getting too close to his stock, go with him and keep encouraging him until he grips and then immediately give him his "that'll do" and call him off. You don't want him to harrass the stock, just get them moving a little faster. When you give him his "that'll do" don't be angry at him, just give him the command and walk away, calling him to you. You don't want him to think he's done anything wrong, you want him to think he's right. Don't get the dog to the point that it becomes a habit for him to grip to move his stock. I take it you want some grip when you are moving your goats as they may be a little heavy and not react well to the dog moving them. Make sure you use a different command for the heel thatn you do for the "walk up" so he knows when you want him to grip. I would also suggest that you don't teach this to a dog with very little training on it as you won't be able to control the result and that could be disastrous. Bob

I'm with you on the training. I've had this problem in the past and can see in the distant future it becomming a problem again so I thought I'd ask when I had the opportunity. When he grips call him off and walk away, then can you give him a good boy and pat on the back or just let things be so he doesn't get over excited about griping next time? How do you add the command in there? Just say it just before you think he is going to grip? Then call him off. I do work goats that get stubborn as well as sticky but also cattle and sheep as well. I just think a little grip and possibly a bark would be a good tool in the box if anything wants to lag behind or get sticky?

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I'm with you on the training. I've had this problem in the past and can see in the distant future it becomming a problem again so I thought I'd ask when I had the opportunity. When he grips call him off and walk away, then can you give him a good boy and pat on the back or just let things be so he doesn't get over excited about griping next time? How do you add the command in there? Just say it just before you think he is going to grip? Then call him off. I do work goats that get stubborn as well as sticky but also cattle and sheep as well. I just think a little grip and possibly a bark would be a good tool in the box if anything wants to lag behind or get sticky?

 

Most of us don't like to hear a dog bark when working stock. It is usually a sign that the dog has run out of presence and doesn't have another tool in his box. The grip is fine but not necessary to have the bark. I have seen it work at times but it is usually just a bluff and when it comes down to push or be pushed the barking dog usually doesn't have enough. Your command is going to be what I said to get him to get up on the stock. "Get 'em up" or whatever words you want to use to tell the dog a bite is in order. If you are going to use something different, and lots of folks do, just make sure that it is a suitable expression for the action you want. You don't want something soft and peaceful to teach a dog to grip. Make it something that is sharp and aggressive because that is the type of action you are trying to teach. When he heels you will tell him, "good boy, good boy" and then call him off. "That'll do" Pet him and make a bit of a fuss but don't go overboard with it. Remember, don't get all carried away with the power thing, it'll come back to haunt you if you use it too much. It is a last resort thing if the dog can't move them with it's presence. Most of the time you will want your dog working near the back of the flight zone so that the sheep are comfortable but moving. The only time you will allow your dog to get in closer is if you want them to move a little faster or they have stalled out on you and you need to get the dog closer to get them moving again. Once the dog learns that he can move them with his presence, you will probably hardly ever need a grip. Keep in touch......Bob

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