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Alright...question..

 

When I'm working my dog on driving...he sometimes looks at me...occasionaly he will come off his stock completely and come towards me....he is a trained dog and trialed before succesfuly..so I don't think his previous owners were having this issue...I know I'm a novice and might not be making things clear to him..putting to much pressure on him or rattling off to many commands...

 

It's freaking me out that he is coming off his stock though...big no no..I try to encourage him back on...sometimes it works immedietly...sometimes it doesn't..

 

ADVICE PLEASE!!!!!

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We've had similar problems -- my impression (also speaking as a novice) is that it's not uncommon. I have a tendency to keep giving my dog commands ('walk up! walk up!') rather than corrections or encouragement, and that can make him reliant on me and hence prone to looking back at me and occasionally coming off the stock.

 

So if you are giving too many commands, that could be it.

 

You could try correcting him the moment he starts to even think about coming off the stock, then walking towards him and the sheep to encourage him to move back on to the stock.

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It seems like when I would correct him..it would make it worse...he also didn't seem to like me being closer to him..we were trying some parallel driving and it's almost like he thinks he is doing something wrong if I am putting that extra pressure on him?? Instead of seeing it as support?? Not sure if I am reading that right at all...

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Couple things to consider...

 

It's going to take some time before this dog works for you like it worked for its previous owner. Some people will tell you it takes a year to get with a dog to where you become a team.

 

A trained dog should do what you ask until you tell it to stop (walk-up, flank, etc). You are probably doing something different than what its used to. Did you work the dog with the previous owner at your side telling you what and what not to do ? Giving the same command over and over could easily be confusing the dog. For instance, multiple walk-up commands can easily cause a dog to stop ("so why does she keep asking for something I'm already doing?"), and multiple flanking commands will usually not cause the dog to stop but will cause most dogs to flank wider and wider with each command (a beginner can find this frustrating when all they wanted was a quick flank around and what they wound up with was the dog over on the edge of the field.

 

Are you trying to drive the sheep a fairly long distance away while standing in one spot ? If so then refer to my first statement. In fact when most people I know buy "trained" dogs they still go back to the basics with the new dog for awhile almost as if they are training it (stopping, outside and inside flanking, etc etc). This way you know for a fact that you're both on the same page. And by taking several steps back in the level of expectation you're going to be working a lot with the new dog 'at hand'. And this will help the two of you to build a relationship out in the field and learn to trust each other.

 

Did you call the previous owner and ask their opinion ? Have fun!

 

Ray

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I have a really bad habit of not keeping my mouth shut while working dogs. Just ask my friends. :rolleyes: What has helped me the most for driving was to put the dog on a line to keep it behind the sheep without having to speak at all. We walk behind the sheep for 15 minutes to an hour, just quietly pushing them. With a line I can start out 10 feet behind the dog but end up 100 feet back while still maintaining that silent contact.

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Are you saying the dog's name?

 

My dogs are trained to pull towards me if I say their names. Occasionally Linc will ignore it and if I say his name more emphatically sometimes he'll go off contact instead of pulling gently towards me. I'm wondering if this could be happening.

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One other issue might not be repeated commands or use of corrections, but that some dogs can't take too much "cheerleading". In other words, too much encouragement. For many dogs, what we humans feel is encouragement can seem like more pressure, and simply makes the situation worse. For my one dog where that is an issue, I have to reduce what I say, avoid most encouragement, and give commands in a gentle but firm voice only when really needed.

 

Best wishes!

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I would watch for a couple things. I see many dogs looking at the handlers at different times they are working. Sometimes it is simply a bad habit or bad training sometimes I am sure the dog is looking for 'direction.' Looking for help can be a good thing if say the dog is having trouble hearing or not so good if the dog is always depending on you to tell it every move.

 

I would never call the dog BACK to me from driving. You have two choices - walk to the dog or side of the dog and call it off or do some short flanks and call him off. I see lots of dogs driving and they get so far away and start looking back as if to say hey we are finished right, we usually quit when I get this far. ALso try driving a square with you in the middle so he can see you the entire time. IF he looks at you no commands until he looks at sheep. THis is key. If you speak to him when he looks he is training you to give him what he wants. IF he isn't confident when driving any correction even a lie down as he is coming back to you will not be a positive encouraging thing. Try no command and simply start walking toward the sheep, once he refocuses then you use a ssshhh or walk up. As he is more comfortable then slip in behind a bit, fade back then fade up and let him know yep I am still here keep on keeping on.

 

You can also make it more fun, make it faster let him push and enjoy himself for a bit. Focus more on his attitude and less on lines and perfection. Some dogs seem to enjoy driving more if there is 'destination', take them across the pasture to the corner or pen or ... do something different for a bit then drive somewhere else

 

Those are all things I have done. Hope that helps.

 

Denice

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