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Hi Amanda,


I'm not sure if this topic has been covered but can you give insight as to how you handle your dogs differently on the course with different breeds of sheep? Do you have a different plan or way of managing sheep when working fine wools vs. Katadhins vs Coops vs ...? Do you flank differently, push differently, lift differently,etc?




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Through all phases of training, I am expecting my young prospect to adjust to, and manage sheep--of any type. It is the western range ewes that can undo the young dogs the most. They surprise them every time. That may be because mine are so unaccustomed to them, training at home on North Country Cheviots as I do.


I never particularly tell my dogs how to lift, except to give them hell for causing commotion. I want them to figure it out. They should know the job. They have run out there to bring the sheep in, and they better do it in a civilized fashion, whether they are katahdins, coops, or range finewools. The more experience they get of course, the better they become at that, and the higher my expectations of them are. I do not suppose Dorey could have won the National Nursery Finals without having been to North Dakota for Slash J and the Big One. She had invaluable experience running on western sheep, over big distances. Any uncertainty she may have entertained about the western finewools, dissipated. She lifted with confidence at Carbondale as a result.


From a handling standpoint, Katahdins and coops, require you to gear down. Both those breeds are tolerant of flanks. Western finewools, on the other hand, dislike a dog that flanks excessively. A pro at moving them around a course, would be Bill Berhow, with any dog. He succeeds in keeping his dog just in behind in a sweet spot, that keeps a confrontation from developing. I would be trying to do what he does with western finewools.


Training dogs to spot sheep can be a big help out west. You direct them and ask them to look. The appearance of sheep on the brown grass slopes of the west, is markedly different to here: they blend in and look like they are in camo in the brown grass. First timers in that setting are at a distinct disadvantage


I do find it hard for my dogs to adjust to running on eastern sheep directly after they come back from the west. I might be true that i must run them with a tad more intervention than before I went out west--cool things down.


Different sheep and their behaviours make a compelling study. Go to the big trials everywhere and watch them. You can learn from them.

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