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Packed pen work


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#1 Marilyn T

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Posted 26 July 2010 - 12:59 PM

Hey Bob... long time no see. What experience have you had using the 'packed pen' for young dogs. I have a year old bitch, that is fast and furious... your kinda pup! Anyway, she is in the round pen still. Stops dead on balance, and wants to control heads, so is constantly flanking to cover the heads.

When I ask her to walk up to the sheep, she rushes in and dives and bites. I think basically it is insecurity of how to handle sheep. I have blocked, and yelled so far... to keep from getting run over first, and to protect the sheep. I also have moved her over a couple of feet, and backed up, and gone through the sequence of 'way to me/ or come bye; lie down; (Me backing up), there now; walk up; DOWN,' and over again. That works for a couple of seconds.

I am thinking the packed pen will help her, but am not 100% sure how to use it. Can you help?
Marilyn Terpstra

#2 workindogs

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Posted 26 July 2010 - 04:02 PM

Hi Bob!

I have a 10 mo pup that sounds similar.....FAST, turns dead on balance, very intense, nice turns but will dive, bite and floss.

I am very interested in hearing your thoughts....packed pen? Or??
Elizabeth
with Ross, Soot, Craig and Hattie
Steadfast Stockdogs
Oregon, USA

#3 RMSBORDERCOLLIES

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Posted 28 July 2010 - 12:35 PM

Hey Bob... long time no see. What experience have you had using the 'packed pen' for young dogs. I have a year old bitch, that is fast and furious... your kinda pup! Anyway, she is in the round pen still. Stops dead on balance, and wants to control heads, so is constantly flanking to cover the heads.

When I ask her to walk up to the sheep, she rushes in and dives and bites. I think basically it is insecurity of how to handle sheep. I have blocked, and yelled so far... to keep from getting run over first, and to protect the sheep. I also have moved her over a couple of feet, and backed up, and gone through the sequence of 'way to me/ or come bye; lie down; (Me backing up), there now; walk up; DOWN,' and over again. That works for a couple of seconds.

I am thinking the packed pen will help her, but am not 100% sure how to use it. Can you help?
Marilyn Terpstra



Hi Marilyn and Elizabeth. Good to hear from you. I hope I can help you with this, however, I never use a round pen when starting or training young dogs. I use a one acre fenced field with corners and pretty well broke sheep. I also insist that my dogs have a good stop when I take them to sheep. I have found that with some dogs (high energy, fast, quick or aggressive dogs) the round pen does not allow them to feel their sheep very well and they can't get where they need to be on them so everything is always high pressure and no settling. When you talk of the packed pen method I take it you would put more sheep in the pen with the intent to settle things down a bit. I don't, in my opinion, think this would work. I think it would create a more intense pressure situation for the dog and set you back somewhat. Putting the dog on the outside of the pen may work better than a packed pen as it would remove some of the anxiety from the dog and allow it to find it's own distance off the sheep. A good stop is absolutely necessary when starting out with these fast and furious types and lots of balance work in the field is also necessary. Sounds like she knows well what balance is but is probably not able to find it in the tight quarters of the round pen. Part of balance is pressure and there is probably way too much pressure in the round pen when she comes to balance and is too close to the sheep which is upsetting the apple cart and creating that intense situation that is causing her to dive in and bite. You are right when you say that this is a form of insecurity which probably stems from lack of experience and time on sheep. Does she move the sheep well from a distance? Does she have the presence to get them moving from a sensible distance away and keep them moving? How big is your round pen? Do you have a small field to work in? One of the things that I do with pretty well all my young dogs is work the corners and the fence to teach them to bring sheep off these tight places quietly and with confidence. Once again, you need a good stop on the dog to do this as you will be stopping the dog behind the sheep on the fence or corner for the first little while. Get between the dog and the sheep on the fence or corner and ssshhh the dog to one side or the other. Block the dog so he goes the way you want him to and make sure you keep the movement under control with your stops so he doesn't have an opportunity to rush in and grab. You are close enough in these instances to control the dog quite well. Stop the dog on the way in behind the sheep and make sure you leave the sheep a place to go so you don't create unecessary pressure for the dog. Let the dog get in behind the sheep all the while keeping things quiet by giving him his stop and ssshhh quietly until he is behind the sheep with him on the fence and the sheep are moving towards you. Once he has started to fetch the sheep to you, do it all over again from the other side. As he progresses just keep moving a little further away from him when you send him in to gather them off the fence but all the time keeping things nice and quiet. I have found this to work well for me and, as you know, I like fast and furious dogs and this is the way I get them gathering. Try this if you like and let me know how it worked for you and get back to me and maybe between the 3 of us we can come up with a good answer. Stay well.......Bob

#4 Marilyn T

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Posted 28 July 2010 - 07:22 PM

My understanding of a packed pen, is to stuff a stall full of sheep, and go in with the young dog. They learn to move near the sheep, weaving their way betweent he sheep and the wall and lose their 'fear' of the sheep. YOu pack it full so the sheep can't back up and ram the pup, and the pup can't get a tornado going inside the small area. I don't know anything more, but have hear that it can really work, if you know what you are doing, or be a disaster if you don't.

I agree that the round pen has been bringing out the wolf in her, and have just yesterday, on advice from another friend that knows the breeding better than me, put her on a larger group of sheep, out in a corner of the field. Since she is trying to head them to try and keep them together, the bigger group is way too much work for her to be silly... and the sheep are teaching her to behave. I want to re-read your post a couple more times, and digest your information. However, I'm going off to Kingston tomorrow, so will have to wait to try anything for a week or so. I will get back to you then. Thanks.. see ya.
Marilyn

#5 RMSBORDERCOLLIES

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Posted 28 July 2010 - 09:30 PM

My understanding of a packed pen, is to stuff a stall full of sheep, and go in with the young dog. They learn to move near the sheep, weaving their way betweent he sheep and the wall and lose their 'fear' of the sheep. YOu pack it full so the sheep can't back up and ram the pup, and the pup can't get a tornado going inside the small area. I don't know anything more, but have hear that it can really work, if you know what you are doing, or be a disaster if you don't.

I agree that the round pen has been bringing out the wolf in her, and have just yesterday, on advice from another friend that knows the breeding better than me, put her on a larger group of sheep, out in a corner of the field. Since she is trying to head them to try and keep them together, the bigger group is way too much work for her to be silly... and the sheep are teaching her to behave. I want to re-read your post a couple more times, and digest your information. However, I'm going off to Kingston tomorrow, so will have to wait to try anything for a week or so. I will get back to you then. Thanks.. see ya.
Marilyn



Hey, hope you have good runs at Kingston and take home a pile of money and points. Say hi to all the good eastern folks for me and tell them that Nancy and I wish we were going to be there. Unfortunately it's not doable this year. This method that I have been using with my dogs, and they are very much like your little one, has worked very well for me as long as the stop is good. Try it when you get back and I think it will help. Good luck and see ya down the road.........Bob and Nancy

#6 workindogs

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Posted 29 July 2010 - 09:38 AM

Hi Bob, Thanks for the ideas. My puppy starting area is 100 x 75 ft which is large enough to do quite a bit...the dog can find balance and not be frantic about it, mini ORs and drives. I also have a 2 ac dogleg field to graduate to. I also use corners the way you do....also reduces the size of the area and helps control the sheep to work near a corner, occasionally going into it to have the youngster gain comfort.
My pup is still way frantic, intense and speeding too fast to get a stop....tho' she will stop when she gets to balance when working a corner and has alot of style and eye walking up. It's been very hard to get her to let me in the picture. I'm told she may be like her dam, a bitch you may have seen....Corey Perry's young Cally (L Froehrich breeding).
I have pretty steady older ewes, but not puppy sheep....I might try making a larger group.
I see you're entered at Meeker...it will be nice to see you there. My best to Nancy.
Elizabeth
with Ross, Soot, Craig and Hattie
Steadfast Stockdogs
Oregon, USA

#7 RMSBORDERCOLLIES

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Posted 29 July 2010 - 12:26 PM

Hi Bob, Thanks for the ideas. My puppy starting area is 100 x 75 ft which is large enough to do quite a bit...the dog can find balance and not be frantic about it, mini ORs and drives. I also have a 2 ac dogleg field to graduate to. I also use corners the way you do....also reduces the size of the area and helps control the sheep to work near a corner, occasionally going into it to have the youngster gain comfort.
My pup is still way frantic, intense and speeding too fast to get a stop....tho' she will stop when she gets to balance when working a corner and has alot of style and eye walking up. It's been very hard to get her to let me in the picture. I'm told she may be like her dam, a bitch you may have seen....Corey Perry's young Cally (L Froehrich breeding).
I have pretty steady older ewes, but not puppy sheep....I might try making a larger group.
I see you're entered at Meeker...it will be nice to see you there. My best to Nancy.


Yes, I know the breeding and he would be distantly related to our Pete and Jenn and Jess out of Peter Gonnet's breeding. Hard, fast dogs but not extremely biddable at the beginning. Absolutely no quit, ever. I have found that using more, rather than less sheep, works quite well with these types of pups in the beginning as they are very eager, powerful and full of themselves and enjoy a challenge. Giving them more to cover will be beneficial for sure so if you could work more sheep now it would prbably make things a little more settled for you and the dog. Good heavy sheep are the best for these types of dogs I have found. They really like a challenge and light sheep just get them all the more excited and things don't progress very well at all. See you at Meeker......Bob and Nancy

#8 Marilyn T

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Posted 11 August 2010 - 10:21 AM

Update: I have had Lola in the big field maybe 4 times and it is much better than the round pen. She is a speed demon to get to balance, but slams to a stop then. Not trying a walk up yet... still trying to get her to relax. Has not busted into sheep (15) out in the field since it is a pain in the A** to her to regather when she wants them grouped. It seems to be the answer. Thanks Bob I'll let you know how she comes along.
Marilyn



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