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Eve gathering pregnant ewes and ewe with newborn twins

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Here Difference of training ideas I was describing a situation showing biddability and a dog working on its own.



Saturday I sent Eve to gather sheep from a field. There was a ewe with newborn twins that were in sight and the others were not. She was sent and started to turn in on the ewe & lambs. She thinks she is correct and if she was not willing to take my "look" she would have left the other 19 ewes that were over the hill. Eve took my redirection to find the unseen ewes. I could not see what Eve was doing over the hill; she had to gather the 19 ewes on her own. Then I needed her to stop, while the other 19 ewes ran ahead, to wait for the ewe with lambs to turn to follow the others drawing her lambs with her. Had she push ahead into the ewe with lambs, the ewe likely would have turned on Eve and stood her ground or charged to protect her lambs.


As it turns out I was recording this situation.


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We had that same scenario here the other day. I didn't lay Dew down when she started to cut in on the first sheep she saw, I gave her a "keep out" command and she bent back out to cover the other field and gathered the rest of the flock.


Dew came way closer to the ewe with the less than day old twins. She didn't upset the Momma but had to push way closer to have her move. Once she got them moving (or moving the Momma) I didn't say a word to her. Didn't need to, she stayed less than 10 ft from behind the ewe the whole time. Lying herself down if the ewe hesitated or lambs stalled. Only getting back up when Momma started moving again. Dew and I haven't trialed in a long time, but we do work everyday.


What Eve did looked great, with you telling her to look for more sheep.

But, the scenario in the other thread I was describing was more like Eve going out right then you deciding you wanted her way wider than that what she'd of picked for distance off her sheep, not a redirect but making the dog wide for the sake of making it wider. Somehow I feel it's on me to set my dog right, not confuse it to go where it wasn't finding or moving sheep.


I think I'm having a hard time grasping the precision we demand of trial dogs compared to what I'm used to. I need a biddable dog but I don't want to bid her into something that doesn't makes sense to her (or me for that matter). If she doesn't know the work at hand, or is different than what she thinks then of course we need obedience to get to the right place but seems cheating to me when in the end what I might ask for never ends in a connection to sheep that makes sense. (sweeping a field that has no sheep)

Another thought I've had might be that had the dog I was describing not been a seasoned dog would the man have been creating a fence runner by pushing it so far off that it was basically off contact the whole time?


Thanks for all the food for thought Mark. I wish I could make the connections in my head easier between our day to day and training to trial.

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What is the difference in a dog's mind between its thinking it is correct when in fact it is correct AND when it's thinking it is correct when in fact it is not correct? In both cases it believes it is correct. In one case you expect it to accept a redirection; which means the dog needs to learn to accept redirection even when it thinks it is correct.



You’re focused on whether or not the dog was correct in its actions; I'm talking about teaching the dog to accept redirection even when it thinks it is correct (regardless of whether or not it is correct).



Here's a hypothetical situation. The dog is fetching ewes and lambs on a straight line to you. The dog believes this is the correct path to bring the sheep. However, between you and the sheep there is wide stream too deep for the lambs. The dog must accept redirection to avoid pushing the lambs into the deep water even though by instinct and training the correct path is through the deep water.


How does one go about training a dog to accept this redirection when in fact the dog thinks it is correctly fetching the sheep?




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I get it Mark, I think what I'm questioning is the part about redirecting the dog when it is correct. Maybe like Donald mentions in the other thread? There are plenty of opportunities to correct/train or redirect when the dog is wrong (more of a general statement than in relation to what we see in Eve's video). Why mess with right? Right as in, what you want the dog to do.


The answer (or what I'm thinking)....because there is no difference to the dog and you're proofing the obedience which is needed for trialing? I expect the dog to take directions either way, that is a given.

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I'm proofing the dog for trialing and to a lesser extent, farm work.


Two real world examples from our farm.


We have access to a hilly "L" shaped field separated from our main field by wire fence (wrapping around our main field). From the gate to this field we can see much of the field by looking across our main field and through the wire fence. If our sheep are "around the corner" and I want to bring them back through the gate I have two choices. Walk up the hill to give my dog a pear shaped outrun and a straight fetch then walk back down to the gate with the sheep and my dog. Or I can send my dog, redirect the outrun at the corner of the field, and then direct my dog to have an "L" shaped fetch. Until my dog has learned to accept redirection for an "L" shaped fetch the sheep end up plastered against the wire fence on a direct line between the lift and where I'm standing at the gate (not very useful).


We have a stream that cuts across one of our fields with only a few locations where the sheep will cross. If I send my dog to gather the sheep from that side of the stream and the fetch line does not happen to fall on one of the stream crossings my dog will need to accept redirection on the fetch to take the sheep to a stream crossing or the sheep will be stuck on the other side of the stream at the top of a steep bank.





Sometimes you do not have access to situations that require a dog-leg fetch or a redirection on an outrun. These are still tools you may need sometime in the future (let say you sheep escape your fields and they are someplace that require these tool). How will you teach these tools unless you teach your dogs to take these redirections even if in that training situation the dog is correct?

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