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Dog running through splitting sheep


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Hi Shaun welcome to the boards. Sadly stockwork discussion has been on the decline here last couple of years, so for lack of better handlers I'll give it a shot, ;)

I am going to assume your dog is bred from working dog stock, and therefor with the right kind of instincts in place. But at the moment he doesn't work, and obviously his current behavior has to stop. He is young, excitable, loves to chase, and has got some woolly victims to play with...

I am also going to assume you are familiar with the basics of stockwork training.

So how to fix this? I think a good place to start would be the "shark cage" method. Sounds more terrifying than it is. You put the sheep in a smallish round pen ( maybe 6 meter across or so) with the dog on the outside of the pen. You can be in the pen with the sheep. Now you can get the dog to head, and circle the sheep without being able to get at them.

This should waken the heading instincts in your dog and the basics of flanking, downing on the balance point under controlled circumstances. That way you should be able to get a handle on your dog, and get his excitement down because he starts to realize how it works, and what is expected  of him. You should ideally be able to move on to the open ( or a bigger round pen where the dog can be in with the sheep) pretty quickly.

Because you   have  to get your dog to go around the sheep instead of through, and you have to get control asap. The longer your dog can get way with the behavior  you describe the more difficult changing that is going to be.

Couple of other factors that might play a role, are your sheep dogged? Especially very flighty sheep would contribute to your problem, with your green dog ( and handler :) )

There is also the possibility your dog is not mature enough for training , though at a year old he should, some dogs are later to "grow up". Putting him up for a while might help in that case.

A bit more info about the dog, sheep, and your training facilities would help. Your description of what the dog actually does is rather short.

Good luck with the training!


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  • 3 weeks later...


Training a young dog is tough if you are trying to do it alone.  There can be lots of reasons the dog is splitting the sheep - concern, not knowing what he should do, no confidence in himself or you, excitement, you are in the wrong place, asking for to much to soon...  I would start with you and him in a round pen or horse stall type area with sheep who are calm and move nicely away from him.

Where are you?  Might be able to point you to someone who can help

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