Posted 02 December 2003 - 05:38 PM
Yes, when she slices the flank as you turn, she is doing so because she feels the pressure of the sheep "leaving" her, is afraid, in other words, that she'll lose them. There are a couple of remedies that come to mind. The first is that when you're doing balance work, don't just move in a figure eight, which describes a serpentine "S" pattern, but do so in square turns, that is, as you move back, make a sharp right or left turn, with military style precision (sharp, ninety-degree angles). As you do that the sheep will turn to you and the dog will flank parallel to you and the sheep; you can flick your buggy whip (I wouldn't use a crook here) as you turn to help her square up. If she still remains unresponsive, make her stand as you turn, stop yourself and flick the whip and say "keep" or "out" ("Keep" is softer). This teaches her the command for widening off the stock and also involves a little more pressure. If she doesn't respond to the whip, walk into her and say "keep". But you really want to get her to square up on the fly as she turns. All of this should be in a round pen at this stage, and if done here, she'll not be able to fly far off the stock after taking a buzz and you'll be able to enforce your wishes better. Another method is to stand in front of a fence with the sheep before you and the dog on the other side and make her flank (she should know her flank commands for this exercise). The fence allows you to enforce her flanking in a parallel way; it is easy to see when she hooks in, and you can step forward and/or flick the whip and say "keep" fairly effectively. You can reinforce square flanks on the drive, too, but that comes later.