Videos of Atlas in training
Posted 13 July 2010 - 10:00 AM
The first time I went the trainer just let him work with his instinct-no orders or anything, except for trying to stop him.
He saw the sheep and immediately his nature kicked in.
The sheep in Iceland are a bit difficult. these ones have been trained with dogs for some years now but they are still grumpy and very "hard", but they are NOTHING compare to the regular / wild/ untrained ones.. so the farmers in Iceland want to see hard dogs, and Atlas don´t hesitate to nip at them when they try to stap (probably not the right word for it) him with their horns.
But now I want to see him not always doing this circle thing and I now this is my fault he is all tuned up, because I usually not excersice him before our lessons because I thought maybe I would tire him out... but noooo, I probably won´t so I will excersice him alot before driving up there tonight.
I want to see more balance, and him being at the right place all the time, and I noticed watching the videos that when I send him from me to go bring, I usually get him excited-like I say got get it, and he just tunes up and nips at the wool..I want to him stop doing that, it irratates me..
But well, the videos are in high definiton, so maybe someone wants to watch it (I hope so) and I take any (good) critiq
Atlas third time
And clips from his 6th and 7th lessons
Dagbjört, Ugla, Bella and Atlas
Our website : http://dabbaorvars.123.is
Posted 13 July 2010 - 03:31 PM
As I am very new to herding I will leave it to others to comment on what you do with Atlas. But he sure looks like a great dog to me!
I can say I would be really happy to have access to sheep like that, you shouldn´t complain about them.
I´m working my dogs on a couple of crazy yearlings, that are very hard to lift of the fence, and bolt way from the group with every chance they get. They are slowly coming around though.
In my eyes those are very docile dogged sheep you got there. Keep it up !
Posted 14 July 2010 - 08:32 AM
I just watched the videos, and one thing I would suggest is that you watch the series that Maja posted not very long ago and read through the responses to her videos. Much of what was said there would help you and Atlas as well.
I know you specifically asked for good critiques and not negative stuff, but I have to make some points about both videos. I hope you'll take my comments in the spirit in which they're intended, which is to help you and Atlas learn to work sheep properly.
First of all, there's way too much circling and virtually no fetching. It appears that you and your trainer are trying to work on that by the second video, but the trainer doesn't seem to be using her lunge whip with the bag attached very effectively. It would be better if she corrected him sooner--before he's already gotten around to their heads or practically behind you. The more he is allowed to circle, the more he will want to do so. It doesn't take many repetitions of a bad behavior for it to become ingrained. Some of this could be helped by you and the trainer moving more. If you would walk or jog backward and the sheep follow you, then when Atlas gets on balance, he will have something to do, which is bring the sheep to you as you continue to move backward. When you just stand there with the sheep at your feet, there's nothing for Atlas to do, and that is no doubt causing him some frustration and certainly causing the circling.
When sending him, I would take much more care in how I send him as well as his attitude. I saw many instances of you stepping into him to send him, flinging him out by his collar, and so on. All of those things are actually *causing* him to rush and dive in at the sheep. If you lie him down and then either walk partway out to the sheep or stay beside him but step away from the direction you want him to go, you might find that he will kick out to go around them instead of just diving in and flashing them. He should never cross in front of you to go get the sheep. He appears to have a good lie down, so perhaps you can lie him down, and then walk about halfway between him and the sheep, step to the side away from the direction you want him to go, and then shush him. As he starts around, you turn to face the sheep and start walking backward so that when he gets behind them, he can bring them forward to you. (You can see me doing some of this in the video I posted in this section of my Ranger at 11 months old if you can't visualize what I'm describing.)
Some of the issues you seem to be having when he does finally get behind them is that you and your trainer aren't moving. So the sheep have nowhere to go, and thus the dog can't move forward to fetch the sheep to you. Instead with the sheep standing still, he gets into their "bubble" where they feel threatened by him, which is why they turn and fight. Sheep have two choices: flight or fight. If you are physically blocking their ability to run away, then their only choice is to turn and fight. On the second video, around 5:32, although I understand that farmers might want dogs who are willing to grip, all I see here is harassment of the sheep. There are proper ways to teach gripping, but in this case it really looks to me like the sheep are turning on the dog because they are tired of the "slash and dash" and just want to dog to quit harassing them. If you and the trainer had continued to back up so that the sheep could follow and then that one turned on Atlas and he bit it and then backed off and gave it a chance to make the decision to follow the rest of the flock, that would have been appropriate. But what he was doing was not appropriate.
I think you would find Atlas' work much improved if you worked on sending him properly, with him having the right frame of mind, and then once he gets behind the sheep, you move backward with a little bit of speed (maybe even jogging, but at least walking quickly) to give Atlas the opportunity to bring the sheep forward to you. As soon as he starts to flank inappropriately, use the whip to block him, while still moving backward so that it will *feel right* for him to be behind the sheep. Once he's reliably trying to fetch the sheep to you, you can work on putting some pace on him.
I don't know anything about the typical sheep in Iceland, but that group appeared very heavy and slow to me. If this were my dog, I'd probably use fewer sheep to lighten them up a bit. More sheep = more pressure on the dog, and so the larger number of sheep could actually be creating some of the tension he's feeling, which is exhibiting itself in the diving and grabbing and his tail coming up on flanks and when you send him after the sheep.
Some of the things you say annoy you are the result of a dog who isn't sure what he's supposed to be doing and so is just trying to make things happen. If you and your trainer are more proactive in helping him to be right, then he will stop being so frenzied about the whole thing and begin to settle his mind and start working with more thought.
He looks like a talented dog, and he's plenty keen; it's up to you to channel that properly.
If you haven't watched the DVDs by Derek Scrimgeour (A Hill Shepherd Trains his Border Collies), it might help to watch it (or even get Derek's or Julie Simpson's books, which have clear explanations and good diagrams) to help you understand what the basic picture should look like when you are training a young dog.
I hope some of these comments help.
I know nothing with any certainty, but the sight of stars makes me dream. ~Vincent van Gogh
Willow, Farleigh, Boy (3/1995-10/2010, RIP), Jill (8/1996-5/2012, RIP), Twist (the troll), Katty Rat, Little Miss Larky Malarky, Phoebe (the rabid possum), Pipit (aka Goober), Ranger Danger, and Kestrel (aka Messy Kessie)
Willow's Rest, Tunis sheep and mule sheep
Willow's Rest Farm blog
Posted 14 July 2010 - 10:23 AM
Celt, Megan, and Dan
"When the chips are down, watch where you step."
"The happiest people don't necessarily have the best of everything. They just make the best of everything." - author unknown
Posted 14 July 2010 - 08:16 PM
The thing I mentioned about only good critiq was ofcourse just a joke
I can handle a critiq, exspecially because this is the first dog I train, and I don´t know anything except what i read online and the teacher tells me what to do.
I know that I tuned him up by sending him like I did and the trainer corrected me.
I have no worries about this being a good sheepdog when well trained, but because this is new to me I have to ask questions and I am so thankful you replied my thread.
I went again this evening and I did excactly what you said i should do (I think, during the heat of the moment) and what a difference.
I just did not have the faith in him knowing what´s right and left, but me being calm, and just trust him to follow me without grabbing his collar made a HUGE difference and I did not use my body language at all and he seems to understand right/left perfectly!
And because I understand this better now I was calmer and that made a huge influence.
I look forward to next time- next friday and than I will probably ask my friend to make a video so I can at least make it public and that´s great if anyone wants to critizise it.. because that´s what we need.
Thank you again, I am so thankful!
Dagbjört, Ugla, Bella and Atlas
Our website : http://dabbaorvars.123.is
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