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Rebecca, Irena Farm
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Stupid question. You've asked your dog to move the sheep with a walk up. Dog stalls. Sheep come to a halt. Dog is not strong eyed, merely lacking in confidence. You are working on that long term.

 

Short term though. Do you give another command, encourage with some happy noises, or fuss for stopping?

 

I'm pretty sure I don't want to do the last. Oh, this dog is working at Ranch level. And this isn't a frequent problem, just wondering what different ways I might try to handle it when it does come up.

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This is one of Celt's big issues and I have to "lend him a hand" by walking up to give him support. Lack of confidence/power is a huge problem for him. Sometimes I encourage him verbally and sometimes I firmly tell him to "get up", but with mixed results. Someone once told me that even with encouraging verbals, it can be like nagging or putting just too much pressure on a dog that just can't "do it".

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I worked on having Lucy walk up a fair bit. I extended the length so that I would have her walk up the entire field. For some reason that really helped. I also have a command which is "get them up", which means to Lucy, to move them no matter what- and for her, that's a jump at them move, which is nice, because it doesn't involve a grip. Of course, then I had to ensure she kept her sanity after that. But, I would say the best thing was working to push the sheep away from the pressure, have her walk up routinely, and giving her an option if there was a stale mate. So many times we teach our dogs to stay OFF the sheep, I think it needs to become rote that they can come IN when needed.

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I'm having the same issue with Stella right now, but her problem is she's a little sticky, and likes to catch their eye, and we stall out...what I've been doing with her is lots of what my friend calls, Trot trot trot ;-) We drive all over the pasture, along fence lines, up hills, with me either beside her or behind her, I mix it up. I also try to use minimal commands IOW, I don't want to be constantly telling her to walk, I gave her the command she should continue doing it till I tell her otherwise (ideally ;-) ) she also tends to wear behind them (genetic ;-( ) although I don't get on her too hard, I do make her stay in 'a lane' behind them, and give her an ahhht! if she gets too far to either side of the lane. We've been working on this for a couple of weeks now, and just yesterday, I think she's finally getting it, and what you really want, enjoying it. It was really nice to see her just down her head and start actually pushing them.

 

I know someone suggested flanking him to get things moving, Personaly I would not reccommend that, it's just a crutch, and doesn't fix the problem. I know this from having an older, super sticky dog (I got her already trained) and at trials I am often forced to flank her to get things moving. Stella's always had super flanks, and when first learning to drive I fell into that trap for a bit with her, so don't make the same mistake I did; just teach him to drive correctly from the start. And be warned it could take a while, and you have to have lots o' patience ;-) and you might have to do a lot 'o walkin ;-) but eventually you'll have a day like I did yesterday ;-) when the lightbulb goes on, and that makes it all worth it ;-) Hope that helps some.

 

Betty

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I totally understand the difference between a fix and a band aid (like flanking). So e band aid ideas were what I was looking for but I really see a lot of similarities in what he's doing and what you describe with Stella. I have been seeing some signs that although he doesn't have a lot of eye, he's been experimenting with his eye if that makes sense. My sheep don't take kindly to eye plus uncertainty so he's been getting himself in some pickles he doesn't know how to fix.

 

The long term solution is indeed as you say, lots of work where he knows he's in control and can figure out what he needs to do to make the good stuff happen fir him. I don't have the space to trot trot trot but I've been making a point to drive the sheep in controlled situations where he can take charge.

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Well with Stella its rather odd, in that for the most part she's a rather upright., plain mover, so you really don't connect that with having a lot of eye (at least I don't) but by the same token, she's always been very, well I use the word contemplative I guess you would call it. You can tell she's always considering what the sheep are going to do, and she's always been very sensible in that regard (it kind of scared me when she was a pup ;-) ) but as I've watched her, I've noticed she really does like to catch their eye, and delights in just having a stare down with them ;-( Consequently I try to never let her just stare, or even hold them for me when I feed, she just digs it too much ;-) and while I'm not mean to her, I do gently admonish her when I catch her locking up, and try and keep her moving as much as possible. I'm trying to get into her noggin, that it's just as much fun, maybe more ;-) to get on their hip and push them around and keep them going forward, and I think she's finally seeing that. Good luck with your dog, I'm sure it'll all work out, just takes time...

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Stupid question. You've asked your dog to move the sheep with a walk up. Dog stalls. Sheep come to a halt. Dog is not strong eyed, merely lacking in confidence. You are working on that long term.

 

Short term though. Do you give another command, encourage with some happy noises, or fuss for stopping?

 

I'm pretty sure I don't want to do the last. Oh, this dog is working at Ranch level. And this isn't a frequent problem, just wondering what different ways I might try to handle it when it does come up.

Hi Rebecca,

For clarity here, are you driving or fetching in this scenario?

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Driving always. Imagine lots of small paddocks and multiple gates, buidings and clumps of woods to go around, wooded trails and dams and ridges. Rarely any open fields, long straight paths to drive, and the sheep are savvy old commercial ewes and replacement lambs.

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