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Eileen, if this goes in a different heading please change :)

 

some teams in our group are actually moving along nicely in training to the point that we are going to need panels pretty soon!

Since we need to be able to move them for us less advanced :rolleyes: teams, they need to be fairly lightweight and portable.

Please, we need all the suggestion we can get to built them. And we would like them the correct size for Trialing :D

 

Help B)

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We had someone give us some 6 foot tall privacy fence that we totally disassembled and rebuilt into handy waist tall 6 foot long and 8 foot long panels. If you don't mind spending some money the home improvement stores sell fiberglass panels that are used for deck rails, they are light weight and easy to deal wtih.

 

Now that our panels are built they mostly stay leaning against the barn. Much easier to take some orange road cones or some plastic barrels out into the field when someone wants a more visual target. Recently I've been just putting out one object here and there and making my mind up as to where I want the sheep to pass in relation to each object and on what line.

 

Once upon a time we focused more on trying to get the sheep through the panels, since we took our mind off of making the panel and put it onto control, nice lines and turns our work has substantially improved.

 

Deb

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Eileen, if this goes in a different heading please change :)

 

some teams in our group are actually moving along nicely in training to the point that we are going to need panels pretty soon!

 

Why do they need panels?

 

The panels on a trial course are only there for one reason; to show that you have enough control over your dog to have him put the sheep where you want/need them put. You don't need panels to train that, and they'll become more of a hindrance than a help. Once people start using panels, they start setting up "trial courses", leave them in one place, and then they start running their dogs around and around the set course. Bores the dog to tears, trains the sheep to be bad sheep.

 

Unless you are planning to host a trial, don't build panels. Use cones if you want to practice precision or mark points to aim for. They're easier to move. Or, just use a tree or fence post in the distance to mark the line you are trying to hold. Get people to use every corner of the field to mix it up for dogs and sheep.

 

 

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You sound like me when I first started out. I think you are hung up on the task of the sheep going through the obstacle as opposed to how the dog handles the sheep, controls the speed and direction of the sheep that will result in the sheep going through the obstacle.

 

 

eta: this may sound corny but I'm failing come up with a better analogy that would be based on something that we each can relate to.

 

Imagine driving your car out in an open field with two panels out in the middle, the task is to start the car and drive it dead center through the middle of two panels while balancing an egg on the hood. You have to be cautious of speed, direction and how hard you stop or accelerate to maintain the maximum control. As you start up the field do you focus on the panels or do you look ahead to a point that will take dead center through the middle?

 

Basically you already have to know how to drive and control your car in a manner that will not upset the egg, the panels are not really part of the equation except they will allow others to determine how well you stayed on line. Yes the panels do effect the sheep and they can effect the dog, but if the dog understands how to drive and control the sheep under any circumstance he will just make the adjustment so that he can maintain control and move on.

 

I hope I explained that in a way that made sense, it can be a concept that is hard to grasp especially if you are working with people or you yourself have been at venues that reward any type of execution of the obstances as opposed to actually judging the overall quality of work from the moment the dog is sent until the pen gate closes.

 

 

Deb

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Thanks Debbie, it makes more sense that way. We all are from different back ground, mostly Obedience, Rally, Agility. So we are all used to "stuff" to navigate around, but in a completely different way. I guess what you are trying to say is not to even worry about the panels, they are only a visual for the judges.

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When your running agility courses are you running to and around the obstacles or are you finding a path that takes the dog over the obstacle and in doing so you end up going on a path past other obstacles?

 

If you break the course up into little pieces you will find circles and lines, a turn is a small segment of a circle.

 

Early in training you don't want to address a jump, the A-Frame or weave poles when the dog is committed to a circle, you want them running straight and in a line.

 

Deb

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Dear Wouldbe Sheepdoggers,

 

It isn't terribly important whether you use panels, cones or a cedar on the fence line to train straight lines and pace. It is important that you train for straight lines and pace and that more-or-less on line to the cone will mean more-or-less on line at the next trial.

 

Novices should also be aware that training sheep and, in the east, most trial sheep are accustomed to panels and pass through them readily. Range sheep, and farm flock sheep who've never seen panels are likely to view them as threatening ("What's behind that thing, Martha?") and will buck at the last instant and try hard to go past on the open outside.

 

Typically, panels and pens are built to reassure sheep - they can see through them. I sometimes wonder if solid training pens and panels would be better tools.

 

Donald McCaig

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We started out with panels in the field and like Pearse indicated we and the dogs became bored (because it was easy to do the same thing) so we took them out of the field. However, we discovered that the dogs had learned to take sheep to panels which can be a benefit for difficult to see (cross drive) lines at trials. We also found that we were more particular about our lines when using the panels. Now we have panels in our field that we use occasionally. We can run this course both directions; we may use one of the panels and some other object in the field. We can stand in different locations in the field to change the angles (we don't have a post). We found that the sheep like to rub on the panels which mean that when panels are not secured they are often on the ground. We didn't spend a lot of money on our panels; we use 4 pallets. A light weight (and more expensive) alternative are the 8' PVC fence panels cut into 4' sections.

 

In much the same way I like dogs learning that when at the mouth of a pen their job is to put the sheep in the pen I like them to learn that when put on a line towards panels their job is to drive the sheep to and through the panels.

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If you want to make panels:

 

Cheap moveable panels can be made from the plastic trellis found at Home Depot. I think they are 2ft by 8ft. Cut each one in half to make them 4ft long. Get 1 step in post for each panel. Put the post in the ground and secure the panel to the post with baling twine. You can easily move them or remove them. You can also use 2 step in posts per panel, but I don't usually do that.

 

If left in the field, the sheep will rub on them and can break the step in posts, but those are pretty cheap.

 

As for a pen, I have one, but I never use it, my dogs are taught proper flanks near a fence and it transfers to the pen.

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Here is a picture that I dug of of the panels that I would love to have, they are light weight and handy but can be a bit expensive. But, if you think that your group will ever put on a trial or demonstrations they would be ready to go and look good.

 

IMG_3693.JPG

 

 

The other panel that I am always on the look out for are the aluminum free standing crowd control gates that some the towns and carnivals use. I think having 8 - 12 of them would be handy as all heck not only for obstacles but to throw up quick pens in the barn at lambing time or even as a puppy pen.

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Typically, panels and pens are built to reassure sheep - they can see through them. I sometimes wonder if solid training pens and panels would be better tools

 

Previous years at the Yellow Rose trial over in South Dakota solid panels were used for the Y chute and the pen. The sheep used were not trial sheep or used for dog training. It would take a really strong dog with impecable control to get the sheep to go into either obstacle, the handler was little help as the sheep would blow right through you. I've seen it described as needing a dog with a lot of "Force and Hold", basically the ability to put pressure on while at the same time being able to hold it all together. If I recall correctly, I think that in 2009 that only about a quarter of the dogs entered were even able to get the sheep through the y-chute, with most it was a waiting game, I don't think anyone was able to line it up and walk the sheep right into the y-chute, and even fewer made the pen. I remember working hard at that Y-chute wishing that Jake would just lean into them a bit more but not so much as to turn them or to blow them up.

 

This past year they changed to obstacles that the sheep could see through, it went much better, you could line it up and get the sheep to walk through without them losing much forward motion. The sheep were still tough to pen, but it was more consistent to what we see at other trials.

 

I would suspect that solid sides would give you more challange until the sheep became accustom to them. Once they know where they are going I don't think it will be a benefit but actually increase the tendency of the sheep running to gap without the influence of the dog.

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Here is a picture that I dug of of the panels that I would love to have, they are light weight and handy but can be a bit expensive. But, if you think that your group will ever put on a trial or demonstrations they would be ready to go and look good.

 

IMG_3693.JPG

 

 

The other panel that I am always on the look out for are the aluminum free standing crowd control gates that some the towns and carnivals use. I think having 8 - 12 of them would be handy as all heck not only for obstacles but to throw up quick pens in the barn at lambing time or even as a puppy pen.

 

 

Geeesh, they even have flowerpots on the panels,

my front yard should look this good :blink:

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