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I'm a new(er) member of the board and have been sidelined for a week home from work (and training) with bronchitis and laryngitis. Which means for better or worse, I've been reading what I can on pedigrees, herding, etc.

 

I've come across the term clappiness in a few threads and cannot for the life of me, figure out what it is?

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A clappy dog is one that tends to lie down without being told to, rather than staying on its feet when working. It is not a dog that lies down when directed but rather a dog that defaults to lying down rather than slowing or stopping on its feet.

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Makes sense!

 

Figure I will keep picking some minds then...

 

 

 

A sticky dog - -is this one with so much eye that it gets stuck staring at the sheep instead of necessarily moving them?

 

 

 

How about stylish? Is that simply referring to the crouch?

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Next question - reading "Training Tips" by John Harrison in a old The Working Border Collie Nov/Dec 1991 - and he mentions about having a hard/fast dog and making yourself quieter - that meeting a hard/fast dog with hard commands isn't going to work on the trial field.

 

Then he goes to talk about how if you have a dog that refuses to take a flank, that in training he would go and make him flank for 2-3 minutes, and then continue working and then later flank him and make sure he does it quickly/happily.

 

Make flank for 2-3 minutes is just circle in that direction? or change back and forth?

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I find different people view words like hard, soft, handler sensitive, fast, to much eye... to mean different things to them than to me. What is hard or soft to one person may or may bot be to another. Watching dogs work it is easier to agree on the extremes than it is to define smaller differences.

 

I interpret clappy as excessively sticky but I imagine there are some that would not.

 

I would think if he is working with a dog that does not willingly flank then changing the direction and asking for many flanks is what he is talking about. Leaving the dog to go one direction and basically orbit the sheep would not be what I consider helpful. I would want the dog to give some room to the sheep and do small fast flanks.

A dog that has lots of eye and does not move freely I could see keeping it moving one direction for a longer period of time, because it is the free movement it is lacking.

 

I think it is really tough to write about training a working dog because what you do is so very dependent on feel and the dogs attitude. You can not interpret feel accurately without being there and so you do not know how to help the dog with the problem.

 

I think of "hard" as being an attitude problem or one of distrust

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I don't understand flanking to be circling but rather going partway on the arc around the stock, whether on the opposite side of the stock from the handler or on the same side, or even at the sides (think near 3 or 9 o'clock, with the handler being 6 o'clock and the stock being the center of the "clock"). Mostly, I think both directions (flanks) should be equally used but if a dog has a problem in one direction, maybe start out with the "easy" direction for a good start, then work more on the "difficult" direction until there is an improvement, and then maybe back to the "easy" direction for a few, just to finish on a good note.

 

You probably shouldn't listen to much of what I say because I am certainly lacking in a range of experience with different dogs and different stock. Trying to write out my thoughts helps me understand them better, though.

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My trainer had us working on flanking because my dog tends to stop before getting all the way to the 12 o'clock position, but she doesn't consider this to be refusing a flank. Refusing would be not taking a command in one direction or the other. To work on not taking a flank in a particular direction, you would have to have the dog changing directions so it has to change back to the one you are working on.

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I use flanking exercises to help improve my young dogs' stops. I will randomly flank them, asking for (off balance) stops around the circle. They are required to stay on the correct path of the flank, and the second they stop, they're immediately flanked (same or opposite direction). This combines several training items: proofing flanks, making sure they don't spiral in or out on a flank, and crisper stops because they know stop isn't the "end," but often just a prelude to another flank. It can also help with the tendency to clappiness because the dog will anticipate being asked to move again quickly once stopped,

 

J.

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The flanking for a couple of minutes comes in handy when you have a dog that anticipates being stopped and tends to lurch in a bit and also gets hung up on going to the stock instead freely flanking or sticks in draws. When we bought our young dog from Pete out in South Dakota he showed us that little trick, though not for that length of time, said he did it when the dog stopped flanking freely on command. Many of our dogs, descending from his lines, need that, otherwise you find yourself constantly recommanding them as they fight you to stop and take the livestock some place or stick where they feel a draw is. I have dogs from other lines that I need to do the opposite with due to them always thinking flank.

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Dear Doggers,

 

Alas, sheepdog notions are not set in concrete. When I started in the early 80"s clappy dogs were valued more than they are today - at least here in the US. Probably because a dog that goes quickly and easily off its feet is easier for the less skilled handler to control. Nowadays, although you cannot win a major trial with a dog who won't go off its feet at the shed or pen, the upstanding dog who stops and/or pauses while erect is preferred.

 

I remember being amazed at Dorrance Eikamp's Rex - who won the Sheridan National Finals in 1991. Great dog, extremely clappy.

 

Donald McCaig

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