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..To Much Eye..

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Advise please...


I mostly work on my own..bought a trained dog...had dog working GREAT for me months ago..super responsive..soft..liked to work a little tight at places but easlily took a verbal correction..would give to me..problem solved, kept working..


Haven't worked sheep in months due to an injury..first time on sheep again. Dog NOT listening as well..not as responsive..made some verbal corrections, didn't really help. Biggest thing is the dog was working tight pretty much CONSTANTLY..seemed to forget what flanks/stops were..and he showed ALOT of eye...very sticky...on flanks and during driving..very slow...wouldn't release the sheep..


I know what I need to do..just looking for some ideas on how to get it..I need to "soften" him up to me and "free" him up again...he was like this when I got him..so to do it myslef and get there again without screwing him up is my goal ;) I am a relative Novice..never run in anything higher than a novice course..my goal with this dog was to progress and hopefully make me a nice open dog down the road..


One of his strengths was his responisveness to me..another trainer said "you could thread a needle with that dog" in terms of his stylish way of working and turn on the dime stops and turns with lighting-like efficiency..


His weaknesses are..he tends to want to work to tight...and he doesn't have alot of natural "feel"....he is young though...only 3..was a pretty succesful nursery dog..


Am I expecting to much from out first time working sheep in so long?? I am discouraged that I don't have the dog I did months ago...

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Am I expecting to much from out first time working sheep in so long??






We have long winters here in MN. Dogs don't get much in the way of work Dec - April. When I start up in the Spring, I go back to basics, just like training a young dog. Work close at hand, shaping flanks, reminding the dog that he has to do as he's asked and properly. Then some shortish outruns, none further than I can run in short order, to remind them that stop means stop. Driving is done with me some yards behind, or in a square no more than 20 - 30 yards on a side, again so that I can get in the picture and reinforce what I want if necessary.


Once everyone is on the same page, we can pretty quickly ramp up to where we were at the end of the previous season. Remedial work usually only takes three or four sessions.


These are fully trained Open level dogs. So, it might take more than a few sessions to get back with a younger dog.


Same goes for you too. After a lay off, my timing is way off. It takes me a few sessions to start to see the sheep again and anticipate what needs to be done and when. So, you need to take the time to get with your dog and reassure him that you know what you are doing.


I'd stop worrying about things like "eye", "responsiveness", "biddability" or "power". Bottom line is, you need the dog to listen to you and do as you ask. If he's not doing that, you need to shorten everything up so that you are in the picture all the time until he is again.


It's just like an athlete laid up from an injury. You don't get out of bed and try to run a marathon. You start with 3 - 4 km. A golfer who hasn't golfed in six months will take a few buckets of balls to the practice range before signing up for the US Open.

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