Young Dog Can't Seem to Find Balance
Posted 14 March 2013 - 08:59 AM
Last fall I started my young bitch who is very keen to work. I am pleased with the progress that she made in the 2 months of training that we got in before winter set in. She outruns in both directions, has a reliable stop and a good pace on her fetch. I've done a tiny bit of driving with her when the opportunity presented itself. My question is about her difficulty in finding balance on her outruns. When I work her close to me, she is better at finding balance but when I send her (in either direction) on a longer outrun, her speed at the top seems to cause her to overflank. I've tried helping her with a quiet "there now" at the top or calling her name quietly as she approaches balance. I hesitate to continually stop her at the top where I think balance is as I would like her to learn to read her sheep and feel the pressure. I try to situate the flock so that the pressure isn't hard to one side or the other. The snow in my area is melting fast and I anticipate that I should be able to resume her training soon and would appreciate your thoughts. When I left off last year, I just decided to not obsess about it and let her grow into her task but I don't want to let this "issue" go on too long and become a habit.
Posted 19 March 2013 - 04:58 PM
I thought that I should update my inquiry about my young dog and balance. I was able to do a bit of training with her this past week as one of my training fields was free of snow and ice. Lo and behold, after her winter "vacation", "T" is finding balance on her outruns more often than not. I managed to get out with her 3 days and the 3rd day of stock work was the best. Not only was she finding balance but she was reading pressure and flanking on the fetch as needed to keep her flock together ;-) I guess she just needed time to mature.
Posted 21 March 2013 - 10:26 AM
Glad to hear that maturity ironed out your balance problem. But I tend to think the silent gather thing is a little overrated. When young dogs pull up at the top, I like to say "lie down" regardless, as an affirmation of the job, as much as a direction. It is natural training opportunity missed, if it is not given a word. Likewise, when they list left, I say "come" just because that is what they should do, Same when they list right, I say "way", because that is what they are likely to do. Words for their natural inclinations.
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