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Sue Whiteman

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I have a 10 month old bitch sired by my dog. She is learning to understand balance behind sheep and is doing well...and then suddenly takes off to the left for no apparent reason at all. Her pa did it too.

I am not asking how to correct it...I sorted it out with my dog but I would like to know WHY they do it...are they seeing something I am not (probably!) or is is just stress behind the sheep building until she has to run out to try to head them? Or is it just a family trait?

BTW it doesn't matter how far back behind the sheep she is...she still runs quite widely off to the left.




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Guest C Denise Wall

I've had dogs that do this. I think they do it when they're starting to feel like the sheep are going too fast or getting away or that they're not controlling the sheep to their liking and just want to catch the eye of the lead sheep.


I've had dogs that would shoot off only in one direction and also ones that would shoot horizontally back and forth once each way without affecting the line the sheep are taking. Usually this occurs soon after the lift when the sheep turn and start the fetch.


When wolves hunt, several members of the pack sometimes surround the game and drive them to other pack members or some sort of trap for the kill. I've heard a Border Collie will try to fool the sheep into thinking there's more than one dog by flanking quickly from one side to the other and catching the sheep's eye on each side as though there are two or more dogs behind them.


Another idea is that flanking off and catching the lead sheep's eye will convince the sheep that even though the dog is behind them, the dog will cover and stop them should they try to get away.


I've seen running sheep almost come to a halt from this type of flanking maneuver but usually it's not that dramatic. My guess is most of the time it's something the dog does because it feels insecure about the sheep getting away even though they aren't. I'd rather a dog be over-reactive about sheep getting away than not caring.



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If her pa did it,may be the line or I would look into and reevaluate the pressure to the left.

If sheep escaped to the left once or twice,then sheep may think about breaking out again and dogs are right to cover.



Inci Willard






It's better to be silent and thought the fool,than to speak and remove all doubt.

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