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Nose grips


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I just changed my training group from very flighty yearlings (that had gone a bit sour suffering my dogs) to two young wethers and two old (wise) sheep.


Trying them out with Dagur the main problem was they refused to move for him (the main culprits being the old ladies).


So the second session I took the dog on a leash, walked up to the non moving sheep, and commanded "take her"(well the icelandic version there of) resulting in Dagur gripping their nose. I hope this results in the sheep getting a bit more respect for the dog, and giving Dagur more self confidence around them.


I don´t accept grips in flanks /hind parts, and will do everything to prevent them , and failing that strong correction will be given.


What do you think of this, is it okay to teach a "permissable grip" like this, and correcting the unwanted kind?


Or would you rather in this pretty early training stage allow more; letting the dog even grip the occasional flank, without correction, to avoid putting the dog off?

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Hi there ~


I'm far from any expert, but I have known trainers who do encourage young dogs to take a nose grip on command. I think it might depend on the dog and the situation, when or how much gripping you permit. I like my dogs to know how to pinch a nose or hock, if required, but I don't ever want him/her to get in the habit of gripping a flank or neck, especially if that's going to be something I'd need to correct the dog on, later.


My Nick has a nice bite, both to the face and the heels, but he never uses it unless thoroughly provoked. Now his little sister, Gael, sometimes flies by and grabs a bit of wool off a sheep's rump, but that's usually lack of confidence. I don't correct the bite so much as I work to correct the shape of her flank so the bite is not available.


I'm unable to say when is a good time to train a bite, or exactly how, since I've only ever worked with my own dogs on this. But given the situation you describe, it sounds like you did the right thing, and you showed your dog an acceptable way to do it. Most sheep I'd think will get the hang of turning away if they know a bite is coming. I know my friend's young Scottish Blackface ewes figured it out in about two tries. ;) And Dagur may draw confidence from learning that he has the power to turn their faces away from him and command their respect.

Cheers ~



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I just changed my training group from very flighty yearlings (that had gone a bit sour suffering my dogs) to two young wethers and two old (wise) sheep.


Give me the flighty ones anytime - they'll soon slow down with use. In what way had they gone 'sour"?

(Wouldn't it have been better to keep the flighty sheep but contain them in a small enclosure until you had taught your dog to control them)?


Now you've swapped your flighty sheep for some that won't move - and you want to teach the dog to bite them because they're stubborn.


YES. I teach my dogs to grip on command. It help's the dog's confidence to know that it can use its teeth when I say so.


I wouldn't expect the sheep to suddenly become free moving just because your dog will bite them if they don't shift. In my experience, they'll "play-up" at every opportunity.


I feel sorry for the two old wise ones.

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Thanks for the advice and criticism, Gloria and lookback. It will be taken in consideration.

Looking at my post this morning, it comes over rather more personally than I intended. I hope I have not caused any offence.


Of course, your old sheep have gone and I suspect you'll have to manage with what you have now. My comments were really intended to help anybody who is struggling with flighty sheep and an inexperienced dog.


In my opinion, it's better to try to contain the flighty sheep in a smaller enclosure for a short time until the dog can be taught to cope with them, rather than to fall into the trap of going for really heavy sheep which will be frustratingly hard to shift.


Your two easily moved sheep, mixed with two stubborn characters, can be even worse, especially if they keep splitting up.


Teaching the dog to grip on command may help to move the heavier ones but it's far better to build your dog's confidence (using lighter sheep) from the beginning. A powerful dog which approaches the sheep brimming with confidence, doesn't need to grip - the sheep just go.

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