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Hi all,

 

We're plugging along and we've been working on inside flanks and I'd like some ideas on how to help Soda understand that they're necessary and make them easier. We've been working on this for awhile.

 

We've made progress and she'll do them when it's obvious to her that they're needed, ie: the sheep are getting away but if it's not so obviously clear to her that it's needed, then she will run all the way back to me to go behind me. This means I have a hard time with finesse and fine-tuning getting the sheep somewhere and sometimes her lack of an inside flank does give the sheep time to break and run.

 

We've done them in a field setting with my back against a fence and the sheep far off, and after a bit she figured out it was just plain easier to not run ALL the way back to me. We've done them in a smaller pen and we've done them in a cross-driving exercise. (we've done them in a house with a mouse)

 

Any other exercises or suggestions? It's all appreciated.

 

PS. I am a "hobby herder" and only have access to sheep once a week. Also, if you'll notice my avatar, my dog is not talented but she's what I got so I gotta work with her. I think if we're using the dartboard analogy I believe she's a "yellow zone" dog. But we've come a LONG way and I feel this is in her grasp.

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I'd tell her to lie down when she's heading back toward you. She should stop and turn back toward the sheep. Then reflank her, and she'll begin to understand that you don't want her to come all the way back to you when you give her an inside flank.

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My old girl was a dog who felt she could not take an inside flank but had to flank behind me regardless of the distance. Because I didn't want to pick at her constantly I went to Bobby Dalziel who use a long line to show the dog how to make correct inside flanks w/o nagging at her constantly. Proud to say she is a terrific driver now.

 

You might try a long line to guide the dog into the correct positions (make sure it is right with the sheep under the dog's control) and then having her take the sheep several hundred yards at a stretch.

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This has happened to me if I practice to long getting the dog to come into pressure (inside flank) and they start by going around you.

 

I've helped the dog "feel" the right way to do an inside flank by backing up to a fence where the dog can't get around me. Then slowly moving off the fence.

 

Worked for me....

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I try to start inside flanks by following directly behind the dog (and 15-20 yds back) as it's driving. I'll mix short outside flanks with short inside flanks. If the dog hesitates on the inside flank I'll help by stepping back toward the center line and extending my stick a little to block it from wanting to go around behind. In time the dog will stop caring so much which side of the line I'm on. Then I'll slowly make the flanks bigger. Pulling the dog off a fetch and all the way around is the last step in this process. I've had to use a fence occasionally but not often.

 

Starting small seems to make it easier. The dog is well aware what side of the center line you are on, so a small flank at first can be a big deal. Have fun.

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