My half flanks are sucking
Posted 01 June 2012 - 08:40 AM
So my last trial I was told by my kind and patient fellow handlers.
'Tea you are over flanking.'
'Tea, you need to work on half flanks.'
So my question is, in theory I understand, but I am having trouble figuring out what my half flank whistles are. Or Sweep the horrible Broom is having trouble figuring out what the heck I am whistling about. So it is half the full flank whistle?
Does your whistling actually take you the rest of your life or I'm I dim? At the rate I'm going I will be dead before I get my whistles under control.
I guess the over flanking is my reluctance or forgetfulness to use the half flanks?
At home I whistle with my fingers. At the trials I whistle with a little plastic whistle or my fingers. But if I am nervous my fingers sometimes don't work and Sweep the Broom doesn't respond to a hissing sound.
Hope my questions make some sense? I am just looking to clarify a bit.
Posted 08 June 2012 - 10:36 AM
I am actually starting to get my half flank whistles and The Broom is doing it.
Hum, maybe I will learn this before I die.
But, I had to compromise my whistles. Sweep doesn't like the plastic Whistle. And my finger whistling is very loud so better in the big fields or on a windy day. BUT If I whistle through my teeth...this he responds better to.
Patrick told me to practice all these ways of whistling.
Posted 11 June 2012 - 12:28 PM
You need to find a way to abbreviate the flanks you are giving. Everyone has to work that out for themselves. Let your whistling become a language. Patrick is right to tell you to practise.
When a young dog is starting to hold sheep to me, I give each turn a word, especially if I can predict which way a smart young one will turn under the circumstances. So if it is logical to "come by", even by a step or two, I say "come", not a full blown "Come by", so that they learn early on, the difference between a big flank and small one. I differentiate with my tone, and the words. They cotton on. The tone and strength of your whistle should similarly dictate the speed and scope you demand at the moment. In your training, you would deliver the whistles, for urgency or steadiness, whichever you want, or importantly, need. The refinements are the hallmarks of the very sophisticated sheepdog, the very polished work, the poetry in motion. The good news is that it sounds like you are ready to do those refinements.
One of the strongest ways to learn the half flanks is to watch one of your favourite top handlers, figure out their whistles and then predict when you would give one, what sort of volume or tone you might give it and see how your commands match up to the handler on the field. That would require you to go to a big sheep dog trial where the sheep are difficult and make your spectating a study. Fun. And it will improve your handling skills when every run is a clinic.
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