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Off-balance, off-pressure flank

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It is not really a problem as in "I'm stuck" sort of problem. My 2.6 yo bitch Darine, has a bit of a problem taking the command on with off-balance and off-pressure flanks. She is a dog that wants to keep all her bases covered and used to be very hard to persuade to take flanks that leave e.g. the sheep opened towards a draw.


This is what I have been doing so far:


1. I started teaching her flanks first by naming nice flanks when they happened with the appropriate commands.


2. Then, I added actually giving commands for on-balance and on-pressure flanks (basically when I knew she wanted to do them).


3. Then (very soon after point 2, so that she would not get the idea that a flank command is always where she wants to go anyway), I would set her between 8-11 o'clock and encourage her to come to me with a gesture, and when she moved, I would add away. And the same for 1-4 o'clock and comebye.


4. At some point, the idea is to fade out the gesture and do off-balance, off-pressure flanks on command alone (I have no idea if other people do the same r not). Off-balance flanks are not too bad, but off-pressure flanks are more of a problem (which I understand as releasing the control of the sheep - I hope this is correct?).


So this is what we have been doing and we are not stuck or anything, Darine is progressing, but I thought I'd ask if we can make things better somehow, since the flank commands that are difficult for her to take are often crucial (well, ok, all flanks are important, I hope you know what I mean).


At the very end of this recent video is an example of the problem (soon after 3'19'' ) - excuse the music, the original purpose of the video was not to ask ask a question about flanks. But she takes one come-bye flank, and then she takes 'away; flank, instead of another come bye, I correct her and she goes on come bye.





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  • 2 weeks later...

WEll, I think she looks pretty good, absent a sense of urgency about the direction of the flanks. Quite casual. Maybe you could convey a sense of urgency. What exactly is the question?


Well, the problem originally was that if I asked her to release the control over the sheep she didn't want to do it. So, e.g. if the sheep wanted to go west, and I wanted them to go west, and I gave Darine the flank to let them move west she would not do it.


But, between the one post and the other she improved a great deal, so the problem to a large extent solved itself. In this video the exercise is boring, but I wanted her to get focused on the command, so that she understood it. Earlier, I felt she didn't understand it (or more like she thought there was much more to it than there was). Now she still makes mistakes, but I think we are moving forward. Anyhow, she is not very intent on the work because (1) the sheep are not going anywhere and the exercise is boring, hence her casualness. I don't do such exercises much, but here I felt it that here she needed to focus on the simplicity of the flank commands (combye this way around, away that way around).


Darinka had been very tense and a difficult to train for a very long time, and then one day she woke up and decided: "I am going to be a wonderfully biddable dog from now on." So now I don't always keep up with her changes like with those flanks.

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