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opinions, please, & solutions maybe?


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I've never seen this particular dog work myself. It is a first BC for this person & a rescue one at that. He is 4 yrs. old.


She's worked with 4-5 sheep at a time, never more than that. What she describes the dog as doing is when he gathers the sheep, if one will break away, he will turn his head and ignore it. He will politely turn his head when a sheep stands up to him, & again ignore it.


The owner of the property has an Aussie that, when this dog is brought in to "settle" the sheep, the BC transforms himself into a gutsy gripper. Once the other dog is taken out, back to the "I'd rather avoid confrontation" behavior.


Based on my descriptions, what are we dealing with here & possible solutions please. Thank you.



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I've seen this behavior in dogs that are burnt out or pups lacking in confidence. What I'd do is lots of upbeat wearing, lots of turns, if you lose one turn around (or go through) and walk back to it. Eventually their gathering instinct turns back on again, usually doesn't take long.


I'm a rank novice but in this case I happen to have seen and worked with this a lot.

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I would try getting the dog on as many more sheep as possible, then scolding when the dog lets one or some drop off. "What are you doing? I need all those sheep." Then I would be positive and congratulatory when the dog starts to get it right.


Your friend might also get out in a field and run with the sheep with dog holding them to her.



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Hard to know what you're dealing with,without actually working the dog.


It sounds as what a young dog would do or the one who's never seen or made to work all.

When a young dog does something like that,I stop all the action and turn him/her to the one left behind. Do it every single time and not letting the dog get away with,they get the idea pretty soon. as for not facing a challenging ewe,again,stop all and concentrate to the one he fails to face until getting some reaction from the dog.

If your friend could take a single sheep to an enclosed small area and put the dog on her and see what happens and report back to you,it would be more helpful.

BTW,mention your friend not to take two dogs to fuel each other,it makes some sheep fight the dog all the more. It sours the sheep,eventually they'll refuse to move from the one who take a cheap shots but they also know the dog cannot face them.

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The responses you've given have basically backed up what I thought & you've also given some suggestions that wouldn't have occurred to me to pass on & thank you for that.


Inci, I agree with not throwing more confusion into the mix by throwing another dog in there. I thought that, but you actually put it into words for me, that I can pass on.


I forgot to add that this person said that her dog will not walk up in a straight line, but flank instead---more nonconfrontational behavior. We don't know what the dog's first 4 years were like, but I believe with proper guidance, this dog might gain some self confidence & turn out to be nice.


What I've told his owner is that she needs to get with BC people that have an eye for BC behaviors, which might not be evident to people who work with other breeds. You can only go so far with a non-BC person. So I've offered to go to clinics with her, where she can get perspectives from the BC world (if you will).


I'll keep passing this info to her.





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Hi Vicki,


This is different from what others have offered but it worked for me. My young dog liked chasing singles when he first started. He liked it a lot. Then after about a year of work, and corrections for chasing off after singles, he began behaving as you described. If a ewe broke off, he simply ignored it.


I was advised to take a single and let him work her. If he wouldn't look at it, (which he didn't), I was to send in my older, trained female. I did as advised, then sent in my older dog (to her delight) and my young dog turned right on to that single. I let him run in and grip all he wanted.


When I next worked him on a group, if one split I just stopped him and would not let him work the group until he figured out on his own that he was to go back and get the single. He figured it out very quickly and now if he splits his sheep,(he's very eager and fast), he covers them himself and also understands LOOK. He'll look back and cover on his own.


I only worked the single once with him. That's all it took to get him to understand. I think he thought singles were simply forbidden under all circumstances.


I will qualify that I was advised by a skilled handler who knows me and my dog. I'm sure this could be exactly the wrong thing to do for some dogs.



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