Jump to content
BC Boards

Recommended Posts

I was introduced to dog events through obedience competitions. In those events, I can see a clear end to a down. My dog is supposed to lie down when I say and stay there until I give a release cue (in my case "Break") or I cue another behavior (such as "sit" or "come").

Since I have begun working my dog on stock, I am not seeing the same clear distinction telling the dog when it is allowed to get up from the lie down. It seems handler's ask for the dog to lie down, but then the dog gets up on its own at times. I understand that I want the dog to be thinking and reading the stock and making decisions based on those things, but it seems confusing to me (and my dog). When I ask for a lie down, I get it, but quickly my dog is up and moving again. He will get up if the sheep move, I move, I say something, etc.

So what do experienced sheepdog handlers do to make it clear to the dog when they are allowed to move and when they should stay put? Should my dog only be allowed to get up when I ask for a flank or walk up? Or should he be allowed to get up if the sheep start to leave?

Thanks in advance for any advice. We are training for our first trial and I would like to make sure that both my dog and I are clear on the meaning of "lie down" before we get there. :)

Angie and Grit

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...

Best to remember that sheep dog trials are not Obedience competitions. Many new spectators watch trials and complain that "the handler told the dog to lie down and the dog didn't lie down. Does it lose points?" If the dog succeeds in taking pressure off the sheep with or without flat lying down, then don't sweat the small stuff. IF the sheep are good, the management of them was good. and the "lie down" command was successful, whether the dog actually did it or not. You are commanding your dog to manage the sheep properly, not necessarily lie down like in an obedience competition. Nothing is more irritating to see than the sheep breaking away and the dog lying there, obediently, waiting for command, doing nothing about it. Running sheepdogs is more having a conversation with your dog about the sheep management, than you saying lie down, or away, or come by. All these words are only relevant in the context of the sheep and what the sheep are doing in that moment. Obedience has no third party involved. Sheep dog trials of course, do.

Having said that, a hallmark of a new handler is to fall back on stops. Lying down lets the novice regroup mentally and gives time to think, even if the sheep are running off meanwhile. So it is not so bad for that. But purifying your concentration on the sheep and the impact that you and your dog are having upon them, will be much more rewarding in the long hall. If you are asking for a lie down, at a time when it makes no sense to your dog, you will undermine his trust in your judgement. He has to trust you, and you him. If all you can see of him is his not lying down, you might be missing his assets.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


  • Create New...