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Bites....two questions


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#1 gvmama

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Posted 19 July 2010 - 11:38 AM

#1 Two 1/2 yr. old "heeling" BC (working on a nose bite) still will bite a front leg. I read that cowdogs are allowed to turn a cow with a front leg bite. But, I overheard a cowdog person judging sheep say, "I DQ'ed that dog because he hit the front leg and not the sheep's nose" at a trial. The sheep was standing off the dog. If a dog turned a sheep by a bite on the front leg would you DQ them? Desirable? NOT desireable? Sheep versus cows?
My pup will stand tall to sheep confronting her and I am encouraging her to walk forward without thinking about biting. Most of the time the sheep will turn if the dog walks into them (just a few more inches) in my short experience. Should I continue to give her an "Ah Ah" when she hits a front leg in crowded pens?

#2 Five year old open dog. When I give her a fast whistle, she is usually quicker than I can think and hits the lead sheep. I would like her to zip up her pace and stay BEHIND the sheep. Why do you think she wants to nail the lead sheep on the nose when I give her a fast walk-up whistle? Suggestions to improve my timing..maybe keep her back further? She's pushy.

Suzanne (always learning)

#2 RMSBORDERCOLLIES

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Posted 20 July 2010 - 12:43 AM

#1 Two 1/2 yr. old "heeling" BC (working on a nose bite) still will bite a front leg. I read that cowdogs are allowed to turn a cow with a front leg bite. But, I overheard a cowdog person judging sheep say, "I DQ'ed that dog because he hit the front leg and not the sheep's nose" at a trial. The sheep was standing off the dog. If a dog turned a sheep by a bite on the front leg would you DQ them? Desirable? NOT desireable? Sheep versus cows?
My pup will stand tall to sheep confronting her and I am encouraging her to walk forward without thinking about biting. Most of the time the sheep will turn if the dog walks into them (just a few more inches) in my short experience. Should I continue to give her an "Ah Ah" when she hits a front leg in crowded pens?

#2 Five year old open dog. When I give her a fast whistle, she is usually quicker than I can think and hits the lead sheep. I would like her to zip up her pace and stay BEHIND the sheep. Why do you think she wants to nail the lead sheep on the nose when I give her a fast walk-up whistle? Suggestions to improve my timing..maybe keep her back further? She's pushy.

Suzanne (always learning)


Hi Suzanne. I would hesitate to chastise a dog for hitting the front leg in a crowded pen. Usually this is happending because the dog gets excited in close quarters and things aren't under that much control. I would tend to lighten up my voice to send the message to the dog to use it's presence rather than it's teeth to take charge, control, of the sheep. Sometimes when we are trying to train a dog to quietly present itself to the sheep and take a nose if needed, we become a little too aggressive ourselves and pass that message on to the dog. If we want the dog to stay calm and take control we need to do the same. So you go into the pen with your dog and you walk up to the sheep with him/her and quietly but firmly say, "walk up on them" or whatever command you use when trying to teach the dog to move in on the sheep. Try not to let the dog lie down while controlling him as he will be able to take charge much better on his feet than on his belly. The dog can kind of lean into the sheep when he's on his feet but might just scare hell out of them when he gets up from his belly. If the sheep don't start to move back off the dog, encourage him to keep walking in by saying, "that's a girl, or something to that effect". If the sheep still don't want to move take one by the neck with you facing the sheep's head to the dog and say, "get her, get her". Hold the sheep's head down a bit so that she can get the nose and don't let her go low on the leg. What you are doing is aiming the sheep's nose at the dog's mouth so that she gets the idea to take the nose. Hopefully the sheep are broke enough and light enough that you can get this done as it's sure nice to have a dog that will stand to the sheep and back it up if necessary. As far as the judging question goes, I probably wouldn't DQ the person whose dog bit the sheep on the leg when being challenged as the dog has every right to protect itself if being challenged. However, due to the fact that the dog bit the sheep on the leg rather than the nose, I would most definitely take considerable points for that infraction. Your five year old dog is hitting the front sheep as that is the leader and that is the one she feels she must control. You will have to be very fast with your timing to stop this, but stop it you must. You may be letting her get a little too close to the sheep in your intention to get them moving a little faster. Remember that flow is what you are looking for, not go, stop, go, stop. You will have to chastise her for doing this if she continues to do it. There is no reason that a strong dog needs to do this other than because she wants to. Try making your commands to increase her pace and get the sheep moving a little bit softer but with light encouragment. Be a little more patient and teach her to work not necessarily slower but with more calmness and purpose. Get her to flow when she's working and to get that you need to show her and teach her how you want her to work. She's plenty strong so you don't have to worrry about confidence but you don't want to take anything out of her either. When you see her wanting to get too pushy just give her a "hey, hey, steady now" or " take your time" or something that is calming to her. There's nothing nicer than watching a good strong dog push the sheep around a course and make it look like a gently flowing steam. Try this for a while and let me know how it's going....Talk later.....Bob

#3 gvmama

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Posted 26 August 2010 - 05:45 PM

About 6 weeks have passed. You're right; the 5 yr. old dog does it "because she can." I have never been tough enough on her. She is just one of those dogs you can't give an inch or she takes a mile. Plus, she bounces back from a correction with a smile on her face. I'm trying to get her to turn away with some remorse when I correct her.

Her 2 yr. old daughter lacks forward push. She's way more biddable and sensitive to correction than her mother. She's spayed and I am going to continue trialing with her because we have a good time. If the sheep are moving too slowly she feels the necessity to heel them. When confronted with attitude, she will stand tall like her mother and is now walking step by step until the sheep will turn. I like that. I have a group of yearling rams that have been perfect for her to walk into. She is really learning, two more steps closer, and that sheep will most likely turn. She doesn't have the confidence away from my side to give a needed nose bite.

At the last ranch trial, a Dorset decided to try to run her off. Yoko's way of handling her was to bark at her and try jumping at her. Okay, she looked a bit like an Aussie, but she didn't give up and finally was sucessful after I flanked her around the 10 sheep allowing the confronter to get hidden in the middle of the bunch. :0) I think her heel biting comes from frustration and a little of "because I can." It almost seems like she is saying, "I'll get you before you can get me." But, if you need a dog to load a mob, she's your candidate.

I really try to work her very quietly and probably the most encouragement I even gave her with the Dorset was "shhh shhh," "That a girl." I'm trying to let her think. I do the same thing in the pens when asking for a nose bite. When I get excited and say "Get em Get em" it seems to discourage her or stress her out. When I give a little "shhh shhh" she sometimes will hit a nose on her own. I'm ignoring any front leg bites if we are in close quarters. If I said "Get em, Get em" to her mother we would probably be having lamb chops for dinner. So this is a real learning curve for me.

I'm hoping consistency and experience will help her confidence. She will be 3 yrs. old next January.

#4 RMSBORDERCOLLIES

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Posted 02 September 2010 - 10:24 PM

About 6 weeks have passed. You're right; the 5 yr. old dog does it "because she can." I have never been tough enough on her. She is just one of those dogs you can't give an inch or she takes a mile. Plus, she bounces back from a correction with a smile on her face. I'm trying to get her to turn away with some remorse when I correct her.

Her 2 yr. old daughter lacks forward push. She's way more biddable and sensitive to correction than her mother. She's spayed and I am going to continue trialing with her because we have a good time. If the sheep are moving too slowly she feels the necessity to heel them. When confronted with attitude, she will stand tall like her mother and is now walking step by step until the sheep will turn. I like that. I have a group of yearling rams that have been perfect for her to walk into. She is really learning, two more steps closer, and that sheep will most likely turn. She doesn't have the confidence away from my side to give a needed nose bite.

At the last ranch trial, a Dorset decided to try to run her off. Yoko's way of handling her was to bark at her and try jumping at her. Okay, she looked a bit like an Aussie, but she didn't give up and finally was sucessful after I flanked her around the 10 sheep allowing the confronter to get hidden in the middle of the bunch. :0) I think her heel biting comes from frustration and a little of "because I can." It almost seems like she is saying, "I'll get you before you can get me." But, if you need a dog to load a mob, she's your candidate.

I really try to work her very quietly and probably the most encouragement I even gave her with the Dorset was "shhh shhh," "That a girl." I'm trying to let her think. I do the same thing in the pens when asking for a nose bite. When I get excited and say "Get em Get em" it seems to discourage her or stress her out. When I give a little "shhh shhh" she sometimes will hit a nose on her own. I'm ignoring any front leg bites if we are in close quarters. If I said "Get em, Get em" to her mother we would probably be having lamb chops for dinner. So this is a real learning curve for me.

I'm hoping consistency and experience will help her confidence. She will be 3 yrs. old next January.



Just to ensure you Suzanne, you are following the right path with her so just have fun and bring her along at her pace and you'll find that by next spring she will be getting the job done well for you......Bob



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