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