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Still pushy.


Smalahundur
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Gláma´s training (and mine) is chugging along. I am quite pleased with our achievements.

Since the end of lambing season have we been working ten of my icelandic yearlings.

She does a nice outrun, though we are struggling a bit with her weak side (away), send her on a too long run with poorly positioned sheep chances are she crosses over.

Beginning to flank on the drive, starts to work.

Been introducing whistles the last two sessions.

 

All fine, there is progression, but (there is always a but isn´t there)

Gláma is way to pushy with the sheep, no matter driving or fetching/wearing, she pushes too hard. When I wear she almost inevitably pushes them by me, a "walk through" I have used to introduce the drive, but I don´t always want that.

Same thing on the drive, pushing too hard.

 

Now of course I try to remedy this with steady commands, and downs when she does not slow down.

Trouble is when I stop Gláma and the sheep drift away from her, according to theory the sheep should slow down. Well the sheep didn´t read the book, it is as though they think "yes, the dog gives up, run for it!".

Causing excitement in Glama, and difficulty to get her to walk in slowly (you know "they are getting away!").

 

This is especially causing trouble in trying to learn to hold a line while driving, and flanking on a drive. Our steering is very sloppy, gross oversteering of the group, half flanks that turn into unwanted fetches if I slip up slightly.

 

I wonder if thare are strategies to fix this trouble, with these sheep. They are pretty green, first worked a couple of weeks ago. I wonder if it might just be a question of sticking to it,and let the training sort the sheep out.

But I do worry I might be in the proces of creating bad habits here...

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I wonder, do the sheep run all the time when you down Glama, or does it happen just when they're being driven in the direction of a strong draw?

 

If it is occurring in the presence of a draw, you could try switching directions to drive them away from it.

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I'll second Jim's question. If they run in *any* direction, that's going to be kind of tough to fix, because sheep that continually escape make it hard for a dog to slow down or relax.

 

But if they only run in certain directions, try what he suggests, and drive or fetch them *away* from the draw, and see if they'll slow down sooner. Do you think that might help?

 

Also, have you tried stopping her sooner, further back, to see if she can release them before she's into their "bubble" and causes them to fly? Though if they are just runners no matter where or how she lets go and stops, again, that can be tough.

 

~ Gloria

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Well, I am afraid they are "just runners" as Gloria puts it. They will run in any direction.

 

I train them at the field where they "live", and there is a (not very strong) draw towards their favorite corner.

I do take this in consideration but it does not really matter as they will try to escape in any direction, well actually not any, straight away from the dog. It is a matter of only trying, because Gláma is very capable in covering them and she never looses them.

 

One would think that those crazy sheep would get the point, make life easier for everyone involved, including themselves, and take it a bit easier....I had hoped that their relatively large number (10) would put them a bit at ease.

 

I think you are on to something Gloria, it might be that their bubble is just very big.

I can move them out to a bigger field, see how that goes. I do think that it would make Gláma pretty anxious being that far away from her sheep.

 

At the moment these are the only ones i have at my disposal, and it´s not all bad, they are free moving, and I feel we learned a lot last couple of weeks. Glama sure is having fun with them!

 

Another positive point is that, well, these are the kind of sheep we will encounter often during the most important work for sheepdogs here, the annual roundup; Crazy flighty non-dogged sheep. Maybe we just better get used to it ;)

 

But on a more serious note I would be nice to take part in a trial at some point, and learning to do a good drive or even a cross drive is, well, quite a challenge at the moment.

 

Among my ewes that are now foraging the surrounding hills with their lambs is a group of six well dogged older ones I used last autumn.

After annual roundup (around the end of august) they will be available for a couple of months before winter hits. I think they will be more sensible.

Also as all the sheep are at home then I have the possibility to work bigger groups, that might help.

 

Hm, I think I should get a video camera, so I wouldn´t have to write these long winded posts to try and describe what is happening, and be able to just show it.

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My sheep weren't the type to just run away, but I often had a problem where lie down just gave the sheep the go ahead to dash away completely. Julie's advice here -Escape on drive- was terrific as long as you can down the dog without her going on balance (when on drive). The trick, which I now call "Julie's flanks", has helped me a great deal in many sticky situations, including a trial. I also found that it calms the dog, because instead of making her lie down when the sheep are escaping you are making her move, which is what she wanted to do in the first place.

 

But the key is first to communicate partial flanks to the dog, then the dog quickly realizes what it's all about that it is about stopping the sheep. I think, it will take a while to get this working because the sheep have already learned to dash about, but for my habitual "off to the barn zoomers" it worked wonders.

 

Maja

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Thanks Maja, for the link to that topic, there is a lot of useful info there.

I agree with your statement "the key is to communicate half flanks to the dog", off course the trouble being how to do that clearly in this situation :D .

At the moment i have turned training intensity somewhat down as Gláma is still in heat, and it seems to bother her in her work. We keep it short, light and easy, avoiding new stuff that would require strong corrections. Shouldn´t last very long, couple of days at the most.

We´ll hang on in there, I am sure that with perseverance we will get it right.

 

@Rudy, I think your question goes rather far beyond the scope of this topic, as you are talking about the winning dog/handler team of the world championship.

Compared to Gláma and me they are on an other planet.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Time for an update, the problem is resolving itself. The sheep are getting the idea that resistance is futile, the dog is gonna get them anyway, they seem to get that running like crazy only makes one tired.

 

We are starting to get a steering wheel on the sheep group, though if it were a car we were driving we would get pulled over by the first cop for a breathalyzer test... :D . In other words not a very straight line we are holding.

 

For the inside flanks I use the "here" command as a bit of a crutch, pulling her to me sounds like this, "here Gláma, come bye, here, comebye, down, walk in" (well, actually apart from the "down" I speak Icelandic with her).

I have the feeling it clicked in Gláma´s head, she understands what I want with this (which says more about her intelligence, than my training talent I am sure).

 

There is a hay bale in the training pasture I steer the sheep around, I found it very helpful to have such a goal, stops you from fooling yourself; either you got the sheep making a right turn around the thing as you intended or you didn´t.

So next on the agenda is putting a few panels in there to make this training more varied.

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Here goes (as you asked):

Down, leggstu (as I said I use down)

Comebye, vinstri (lit. left)

Away to me, hægri (lit. right)

Walk in, nær

Get out, frá

Lookback, aftur

Steady, rolegur

 

And yeah, she doesn´t take an inside flank well without the "here", so whatever works. I think it won´t be long before i can phase it out.

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Your turn, do you speak polish with your dog?

In the Netherlands it seems most people use the traditional english terms.

 

The main reason for me to use Icelandic is that is is practical that the other people that are working the sheep at roundup understand what I am telling my dog to do. Also to me those Icelandic terms are easier to use.

 

I went to see a polish friend of mine yesterday evening, to try Gláma on his training sheep.

He uses a group of four onary elder ewes (a good learning experience for her as she has trouble lifting sheep that are stubborn). I forgot to ask him about it (his dogs also only understand Icelandic).

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I use English terms almost entirely. I was told by my first Polish teacher to use English terms so that if I have a foreign teacher he or she can work with my dog. It turned out she is a sort of dog that does not work with other people :lol: . But off sheep I have a few Polish ones, e.g. leżeć - which is 'lie down' and I want it separate from the herding 'lie down', and also "do domu" which means "go home", or "odejdź" which means quit bothering me, and "chodź" -"come"

 

Maja

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