Jump to content
BC Boards

To Roundpen or not to Roundpen


Recommended Posts

Went to a 1/2 day clininc with Cinder Saturday with Dawna Sims!

 

The topic of roundpens came up. Dawna believes if you have true heavy sheep a roundpen really is not needed if you are working in an arena?

 

It did seem okay with Cinder in the arena. What is your thought?

 

Also, Dawna's method is not to be overly loud with the dog - again thoughts?

 

Thank you :rolleyes:

 

It always humbles me to see a professional work one of my doggies

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Went to a 1/2 day clininc with Cinder Saturday with Dawna Sims!

 

The topic of roundpens came up. Dawna believes if you have true heavy sheep a roundpen really is not needed if you are working in an arena?

 

It did seem okay with Cinder in the arena. What is your thought?

 

Also, Dawna's method is not to be overly loud with the dog - again thoughts?

 

Thank you :rolleyes:

 

It always humbles me to see a professional work one of my doggies

 

Hi there. I do not use a round pen to start my dogs or any of the dogs I train for others. I feel they are more detrimental to training a stock dog than they are in assisting the trainer in not having to move too much. They tend to get the whole action of training too excited due to the tightness of everything. I like the dog to find his own space on the sheep and not be confined to whatever the fence of the round pen allows. This way the sheep are comfortable, the dog is sane and comfortable and I am able to control the action of both dog and sheep in a workable manner. That said, to each his own and I know there are lots of top trainers out there who like to use the round pen. All dogs are different but most have the instinctual ability to find their comfort zone with the sheep as long as nothing is confining where they can be. With young dogs, I like to have broke sheep to work that will allow the dog to balance them to me and I do a lot of balance work with the dog gathering the sheep to me in the early stages of training. I find that the circling motion that always arises out of round pen work tends to literally put most dogs into orbit and out of control but when they can find their own place with the sheep in a larger field, they tend to settle a lot quicker and become more comfortable with the whole training idea. An indoor arena is probably about as small as I would ever want to use as I prefer a 1/2 acre or 1 acre field to start young dogs. I like the dogs to have a pretty decent stop on them before I start the training process as most of the dogs I start are quite strong and could even be on the aggressive side. I find that I can keep things under control much better if the dog has a good stop on him. I don't really have a problem with using a loud voice if necessary at times, but I don't agree with yelling constantly at the dog as you are just teaching him to disobey when you don't back up your commands with corrections, whatever they may be. It also tends to excite a dog and make him nervous if you are constantly yelling at him. If you let the dog know that you mean what you say you will be able to be quiet with him down the road fairly soon. I start pretty well all of them with a gather and I will do a lot of fence work to teach them to be quiet when going between sheep and the fence. This also serves to bring their confidence level up fairly quickly. I will start with a short (30 or 40 yard) gather and progress from that to the longer 100 or 200 yard gathers. I like to mix up my training sessions with some driving if the dog tends to like it and if the dog is a natural gatherer I will start mixing some driving in fairly early as the natural gatherers tend to not understand the driving action very readily. I like to give my young dogs, once they have reasonable control and flanks, a lot of real work, moving the sheep around the pastures, from one to the other, holding while feeding and that kind of thing. They tend to come along a little quicker when they know they are doing something useful, rather than just training. Of course, some folks just don't have this opportunity and, for them, they will have to train. Drilling, in my mind, is a fruitless activity. It tends to sour dogs and bore them and it is very possible for us to give our dogs lots of enjoyable things to do to keep them happy in their work and we need to be very creative to keep things on a positive level. I finish every training session with balance work, just walking around the field with the dog bringing the sheep behind me, making lots of turns to be sure he is balancing, walking backwards watching how he works and getting to know his intracacies when he is working. It's all part of the two way communication you have with your dog and that is necessary if you two are going to get the job done well. Bob

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Who Bob, thank you sooooo much :D

 

So my 1/2 acre arena should be just about perfect for starting Dogs and Handler ( :rolleyes: ). My problem then seems to be my sheep! A friend of mine has open dogs (corgis) who love my sheep! She tokld me that they are pretty light.

Since I lambed early (January, that onother story :D ) my lambs are just about weaned and I can trade 5 lambs for 5 younger "kneeknocker" sheep! I think my problem is that the sheep I am trying to use will not stick with me and go in different directions!

 

What do you think?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Who Bob, thank you sooooo much :D

 

So my 1/2 acre arena should be just about perfect for starting Dogs and Handler ( :rolleyes: ). My problem then seems to be my sheep! A friend of mine has open dogs (corgis) who love my sheep! She tokld me that they are pretty light.

Since I lambed early (January, that onother story :D ) my lambs are just about weaned and I can trade 5 lambs for 5 younger "kneeknocker" sheep! I think my problem is that the sheep I am trying to use will not stick with me and go in different directions!

 

What do you think?

 

I think you are probably right about the sheep. When starting young dogs, especially with relatively new handlers, the sheep are very important. Attempting to start a young dog on lambs, in my opinion, is a scenario for failure. And when you add an inexperienced handler to the equation, it doesn't get any better. Get yourself some good dog broke sheep and start training your dog. If you can get to some good ISDS style clinics with recognized handlers that is a good option also and then you will find that your training will start to progress and become more enjoyable. If I knew the area in which you live, I could recommend someone, I'm sure. Good luck.....Bob

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have to say, this thread has alot of good reading and info in it..I enjoyed reading Bob's post about how he starts his dogs sans roundpen. :rolleyes:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Bob I am down in Albuquerque, NM :rolleyes:

 

I don't know NM that well but Geri Abrams puts on the Free to Be SDT in Mountainair, NM a couple of times a year and, although I have never been there, I have been told it is a great trial. I know also that she does clinics and private lessons throughout the year and this is her website: www.freetoberanch.com. If she happens to be close enough to you to be worthwhile I would give her a call and see what you come up with. Bob

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...