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#141 juliepoudrier

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Posted 22 June 2010 - 09:01 AM

Here is a new vid with Bonnie.

Maja,
Feel free to post my response to this video--I don't have a copy.

J.

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#142 Maja

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Posted 22 June 2010 - 09:12 AM

So here are Julie Poudrier's comments:

Hey Maja,
I would say overall I see a lot of improvement. She's staying behind her sheep and walking at a good pace. When she feels comfortable that things are truly under control, she'll probably start giving more space behind the sheep on her own. The whole busting and splitting thing is something a young dog will do sometimes, as you noted, so no big deal. Probably if you had gotten up while telling her to stay (assuming she would have listened), then that wouldn't have happened.

Since you asked about voice and commands, I did note that at one point you were saying "stop" I think or something that sounded like that, but you were saying it very rapidly and at a higher pitch. Those kind of tones will get you the opposite of what you wanted--rapid-fire delivery of commands tends to speed a dog up, and often tighten it as well. I've been working on this very thing with a student of mine who is taking lessons using one of my open trial dogs. It's hard to remember to do sometimes, but a slow, calm voice will result in a slower, calmer dog.

When working a dog, if you want it to speed up, you usually use a set of quick, repeating whistles, or "hurry, hurry, hurry" or something similar said quickly and with urgency. So when you were saying "stop, stop, stop" (or whatever it was), the way you were saying it was actually having the *opposite* effect on Bonnie than you intended.

The "time" command works because it sounds a lot like the first part of the lie down. But in other situations where you want to slow a dog, try to remember to keep your voice lower and slower, if that makes sense. (Any dog will read you and react to you, and tone of voice and delivery can have a huge effect on how the dog responds.)

The only other thing that really jumped out at me on the video is that you tend to ask her to lie down when she's not on balance and so she ignores your command, unless you get really forceful with her. Try waiting to ask for the lie down until you are sure she's on balance or close to it. Otherwise, by repeating the lie down, you are in effect teaching her that she can ignore the command the first couple of times you say it. While many of us become much more lax with that with our trained dogs--allowing them to interpret what we really want when we say lie down--when it comes to a youngster you're just starting, it's better to not ask for the lie down unless you're sure the dog is in a position where it will be willing to take the command. That way, lying down feels right to the dog and it will comply on your first request. I've seen lots of dogs who have learned that the command for lie down is "lie down, lie down, lie down" and they never actually stop until the handler has said that third lie down....

You can experiment with what works for Bonnie, and certainly during a training session try to do some of your work without giving her any commands, just letting her work and figure out some things for herself. I do this a lot with a young dog and also have students do the same thing. If we've had a short session where we've been demanding obedience (lie down or time, usually), then I give the dog a break from that by just doing some wearing around without saying anything to the dog.

Let me know if I actually answered the question you were asking!

Julie



#143 Maja

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Posted 22 June 2010 - 11:26 AM

Julie,


When it comes to calling Bonnie to lie down off-balance it's just a matter of my bad timing. I do not intend to tell her to lie down off-balance. But timing is hard for me because I actually have to say it before she is on balance so that she plops in the right spot by the time I have finished saying it. I can see very well usually when I said it at the right time, because Bonnie plops immediately. The other problem is that sometimes when I say lie down, the sheep move and the point of balance changes. But I am and will try and pay more attention to it. It’s better to not to ask her at all than to ask her at the wrong time.

I couldn’t agree more with that “stop, stop, stop” particularly that I do it on purpose to call her of the sheep saying very rapidly “hoch-hoch-hoch-hoch” (it means "come-come-come-come" in Polish) to help her follow me away from the sheep quickly, and she reacts to it very well.

Julie and Glenn,

You both suggested letting Bonnie work without me saying anything. Actually, right after the herding that I really messed up, I had a separate session where she was able to do anything at all she wanted. I said completely nothing, did nothing and even turned away, just walked about with the sheep. I wanted her to regain her confidence and, maybe it sounds crazy, to miss working with me a little. If I had, which I hadn’t, any doubts that I indeed had pushed her too much before, the “freedom session” confirmed it perfectly – Bonnie kept decent distance and never hit the sheep.

I try to let her work on her own a lot without telling her too much, because I know I tend to tell her too much. I need to guide her more and command less, I think. Then she responds the best, because she can work with the sheep and with me.

In a moment I will show you something funny with Kelly.

Thank you for your comments. They have been of tremendous help, and I am sure not just for me, but for other people too.

Maja

#144 Maja

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Posted 22 June 2010 - 12:00 PM

So here is the funny story: I have been telling my husband about your help with Bonnie and then he came across the print-out of Julieís instructions. So at breakfast he asked me to ask you about Kellyís tight flank on one of the directions and what to do about it. So I suggested that Iíll make a move of the problem and maybe some good soul will help. So here is the movie:

Can you tell which is the problematic direction? I had to ask. The only reason she doesnít make it broader in both directions is that she is going fence to fence (electric so not very visible on the movie).
http://www.youtube.c...h?v=rKJI_urOCjM

And now an important question. How do you deal with getting your dog used to training with other dogs? Do you train completely alone when the dog is young? Do you get it used to the (excited) presence of other dogs from the beginning? I am asking this because my friend trains on my sheep to, and I think that Bonnie is always more excited and more difficult to manage when her brother is yapping all the time in the background. On the other hand, I don't want her to grow thinking she is the only herding dog in the world and not be able to deal with a situation when she has to train with other dogs. So I thought that everyonce in a while we should train togather one dog watching anohter, but only seldom. what are your opinions on this?

maja

#145 Maja

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Posted 25 June 2010 - 09:38 AM

Here is a short vid with an exercise suggested earlier by a couple of people :D . A couple of my thoughts:
1. I know that most of the time the handler is supposed to face a dog so young in training, rather than turning away but it works this way better sometimes.
2. The fine balance that Julie was talking about is very difficult for me to achieve; in the video, you can see a result of a little too much pressure (swatting my thigh with my hat :rolleyes: ) , which resulted in Bonnie lying down more often.
3. I also did other things with Bonnie in that herding session (practicing lie down on command dead-on balance,widening the circle) but I wanted to show you the figure eight with two places marked, as was suggested. Afterwards I thought it was really silly of me to put the posts where I did, so next time I will put them in a line in front of the camera.

http://www.youtube.c...h?v=AblQPNTFwr8

best wishes,
Maja

#146 hsnrs

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Posted 25 June 2010 - 12:34 PM

Love the fact you have a coat on; it is hot here in AZ,USA. Nice sheep and pasture. You are so lucky to be able to work.

#147 Maja

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Posted 25 June 2010 - 01:06 PM

Love the fact you have a coat on; it is hot here in AZ,USA. Nice sheep and pasture. You are so lucky to be able to work.

:rolleyes: The cold is terrible! it should be very warm in June, but I have to wear my coat. it there is global warming then we got left out somehow :D
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#148 Maja

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Posted 28 June 2010 - 12:48 PM

An interesting thing happened today: Kelly was taking the sheep out, with Daisy BMD accompanying the crowd, when she (Daisy) spotted a pack of dogs in the distance. She took the shortest route, through the sheep scattering them and went on to deal with the dogs (a couple of deep barks sufficed), while Kelly (BC) gathered the scattered flock very close to my husband. The interesting thing is that before we had Daisy, in a situation like this, Kelly positioned herself between the dogs and the sheep defending them, and after the dogs left, she gathered the sheep.

Maja

#149 Maja

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Posted 01 July 2010 - 12:31 PM

I wasn't going to show this movie, because when I saw it 'uncut' I realized that I still put a load of pressure on Bonnie, and I wanted to address the issue first. But then Julie showed Ranger, so I thought maybe mine can be as a "how not to do" contrast :rolleyes: .

Watching myself I saw also what my problem is - I very often do not see while herding that Bonnie is actually reacting to me, so I tend to put more pressure on her. The movie has no original sound, but I do not raise my voice much, as you can see, however, my body language is pretty aggressive, so Bonnie lies down often on her own. I don't think she is a clapper, I think she responds to too much pressure from me that way. I only tell her to lie down before I move through the sheep to send her on balance. I as trying to stop her from making a full circle as usually does, but it wasn't terribly successful.

Bonnie is weaving in a couple of places as a result of too much pressure from me, I think. Towards the end, she want to go to the head of the sheep since we are walking towards the gate.

http://www.youtube.c...h?v=p-_i2lL-2_A

So my task for tomorrow is to tune myself more to Bonnie's reactions to my corrections and to ease off. Plus i will try to show show how she deals with sheep near the the fence - as I mentioned, she is much faster that Ranger.

Maja

#150 juliepoudrier

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Posted 01 July 2010 - 03:39 PM

I'm looking forward to tomorrow's video. FWIW, I didn't see anything particularly awful in the video above. She was showing some nice pace. I'm assuming the fast, tight flanks are in response to your pressure and that's where you're talking about putting too much pressure on her?

J.

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Julie Poudrier
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Willow (6/1997-5/2014, run free, my heart), Boy (3/1995-10/2010, RIP), Jill (8/1996-5/2012, RIP), Farleigh (12/1998-7/2014, RIP), Kat, Twist, Lark, Phoebe, Pipit, and Birdie!
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#151 Maja

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Posted 03 July 2010 - 02:19 AM

Yes, I meant the tight flanks but also the fact that she lies down instead of stopping during wearing.

Here is the video form our fence work yesterday. I am very happy with Bonnie's work. At some point I received a telephone call and told her to lie down, which she did right between the fence and the sheep. In the movie, a couple of times she stops or lies down between the fence and the sheep.

The thing I am very unhappy about is me, because I lost track of time, and extended the session way too long; Bonnie started sort of falling apart, and I started losing patience. When later I was watching the movie from the first 20 minutes or so, I wanted to kick myself in the shin, because then she did very well the in my opinion, and I let it disintegrate like a pastorally challenged person that I am :rolleyes: .

Bonnie's wearing wearing and her weaving now and then: I noticed it during an earlier session that she started weaving again though not in the same manner as in the beginning. In this session, I had planned to correct the situation, but due to the circumstances above, I only made things worse. However, after I the session, I suddenly realized why she is doing it, I think. I think she is doing what she's doing because I managed to communicate to her not that I want her to keep distance, but that I don't like when she is there behind the sheep. So I will try to improve that situation next time. Sunday, we are going to get Bonnie in the larger pasture with Kelly's and my husband's back up.

I'm sorry that in the movie the fence work is a bit far away. I uploaded the movie with a higher resolution to help matters. Unfortunately, gate posts are notoriously poor cameramen :D .

http://www.youtube.c...h?v=QWxewRgPymk

And one more thing: I copied from Julie's video the idea of also waving the stick only rather than hitting the ground with it. Seems like t helped a great deal.

Maja

#152 kelpiegirl

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Posted 03 July 2010 - 06:13 AM

Bonnie is weaving because she is too close to the sheep. She has no where to go, but side to side. Before you disagree with me, please know that this is the same behaviour I saw in my BC pup, at the same age, and once we got him to stay off the sheep, this behaviour stopped.
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#153 Maja

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Posted 03 July 2010 - 06:42 AM

Bonnie is weaving because she is too close to the sheep. She has no where to go, but side to side. Before you disagree with me, please know that this is the same behavior I saw in my BC pup, at the same age, and once we got him to stay off the sheep, this behaviour stopped.

I agree that it is definitely possible, and indeed it was the reason earlier, but later she stopped weaving and now she started again. It's still holds true about the distance in some cases, but not all in my opinion and that's why I wrote about it to see your opinions and see what I should try out. The reason why I think distance is not the reason now is because (1) she can walk perfectly straight at a smaller distance, (2) increasing distance does not seem help the weaving (3) increasing pressure from me seems to increase the weaving. That's what I think. I think that as soon as she gets to walk straight I have been trying to force her to increase the distance, so she rarely gets the chance to walk behind the sheep without pressure from me and hence she concluded that I don't like her there. But maybe I am wrong, so thank you for your input :rolleyes: .

Maja
P.S. It may not be apparent but in many cases Bonnie is actually repositioning herself (in my opinion that is) because of the round fence which is not very visible in the video.
P.P.S. I also had another thought: Once, a couple of sessions back, I got Bonnie to increase the distance for wearing, and you know what happened? The sheep stopped following me, and Bonnie had to decrease the distance in order to move them. So I've been thinking that perhaps because the training area is fairly small, it is more like close work in sheep pens and such where dogs must work in close distance in order to achieve anything. And if Bonnie has good sheep sense, she knows it. Which means that if I take her out on a larger area she should after a while with a little persuasion increase the distance.

#154 Maja

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Posted 07 July 2010 - 01:12 PM

So a little update: Open area herding was a bit too early for Bonnie, the sheep were extremely skittish and Bonnie was very excited by the situation. We didn't accomplish much except that Bonnie got to run a lot. She did fine, all things considered, no major disaster, because she was so anxious to keep the together that I couldn't do much else with her.

So I did a couple of sessions with the assumptions I outlined above, mainly that Bonnie wants to do what I want, and that she thinks I don't want her behind the sheep, and so I had to back up a little what I had spoiled. So I tried to do it the following way:

1. I tried to take as much pressure off her (including looking away) as soon as she would walk behind the sheep, and I'd try not to force her to increase the distance from the sheep for the time being.
2. I tried to block her when she was weaving or wanting to go around but relatively gently.
3. If she was too close to the sheep or circling, I'd stop.

The movie vid starts shortly before she begins to catch on in my opinion. It's not ideal yet, but she is better I think.

One thing that worries me is that I think sometimes I correct her wrong - that she is in a right place and I tell her to change.

http://www.youtube.c...h?v=bvgotPhmp-s

Bonnie is a little over 8 months now.
Maja

#155 kelpiegirl

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Posted 07 July 2010 - 01:57 PM

Fwiw:

You are asking a lot of restraint out of an 8 month pup. You are moving very slowly, and always a straight line. The dog is going to either lose interest, or get sulky if you keep putting this sort of pressure on her. By pressure I mean you don't even have to say anything, just your body presence, your arms out stretched, and basically controlling all movement. When these dogs are young we want to nurture real keen-ness to do the work, and awaken the instincts. Control comes as the dog ages.

I would move faster and change direction a LOT more, thus allowing her to cover her sheep and actually do something. If need be, mark the ground at different intervals and change direction, so the sheep don't see it coming and neither does your dog. She will naturally have to stay further off, and she will be much keener.
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#156 Maja

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Posted 08 July 2010 - 01:38 AM

Thank you, I agree about the walking and some other things :rolleyes: I will try it. Earlier I walked much faster, and it was better, and now I concentrated too much on getting her to do what I want, so i neglected to do what I needed.
Maja

#157 Maja

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Posted 14 July 2010 - 01:17 PM

So I tried a few things, but I am not sure there is an improvement. But I am not sure there isn't, either. This Sunday, I am going to my trainer and we will be in a more open area, so we will see what happens. However, I have an impression that as long as I stay calm, Bonnie likes my guidance and correction, and she is very happy then. Concerning her keenness, her style is a bit loose (for lack for a better word) but she is very, very keen, perhaps it's not apparent in the movies. So I am not sure she is happier now, with a little less control than in the 6July video (the previous one). Obviously, there must be a balance between letting the dog think, and yet not letting the dog do just anything, and it is difficult to achieve.

In the video, I only tell Bonnie to lie down in a clear-cut balance situation. Her lying down off balance is a result, I think, of my bad timing: I don't notice that she is slowing down and keep putting pressure, so in the end she lies down rather than just stops. So where I wanted to achieve a stop a often got a clap. I did get a couple of nice stops though, I think. I know, I use the stick too much. We do also other things, but these are the ones I wanted to show you.

I tried to have Bonnie lie down on balance then move the sheep a little away, then remove myself away from the sheep, so that she would bring the sheep to me, but it didn't work. I tried and tired to intimidate the sheep so that they would not follow me, but they did. I hope I will be able to do that with the trainer's sheep - they are a little more sticky. I also label "away" and "come-by" behavior and praise her as a relaxing exercise - something easy for her to do and get praised for. I don't send her on these commands yet, just stick the word on top of what she is already doing.

http://www.youtube.c...h?v=oVBi_Jj58qA

All constructive criticism will be greatly appreciated, both negative and positive. Just try to remember that I am actually desperately trying to do things right :rolleyes:.

Maja

#158 jdarling

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Posted 14 July 2010 - 09:25 PM

What is the breeding behind this dog?

#159 kelpiegirl

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Posted 15 July 2010 - 05:47 AM

Maja

The dog has matured a bit. I would allow her some fetching. Get a good down on her, walk away with the sheep, send her, and as she comes to balance walk backward while doing figure eights. She at times in the video is going off contact, because well, she needs to be challenged. You must stop looking at her every minute, and move in odd directions more, and perhaps get someone to hold sheep for you so you can do actual outruns. She really needs to start moving to the next level.
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#160 Maja

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Posted 15 July 2010 - 06:17 AM

kelpiegirl,

Thank you for your comments. Today I did one short session with the ornery white ewe in the flock, perhaps you remember her. Bonnie did well, I think; the ewe didnít even try to attack her. Bonnie also went between the sheep and the fence with that ewe in the flock. Bonnie obviously enjoyed it, but she was very fast throughout the session, although she did show some instant lie downs on balance. I didnít want to stomp on her too hard about her running around so much, since I wanted to encourage her to deal with the ewe and force the ewe to keep with the flock. Unfortunately I only have photographs from this session. I donít plan to do that often, only once in a great while, because Showball is a pain in the neck.

As I said, Sunday we are going to our trainerís, and I think it will be a good time to try new things, particularly that his sheep are easy. Then in two weeks we are going to a five day clinic, she will be 9 months old then, so it will be very good for her, I think.


jdarling,
Well, her parents are poor but honest :rolleyes:. Her father is a border collie, and her mother is a border collie. But joking aside I presented Bonnieís parents earlier, I just have to find it this evening.

Maja


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