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ChrisNewhouse

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About ChrisNewhouse

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  1. I'll do my best to make it to that Jack Knox clinic. Its about 4 hours from me, but it sounds well worth the trip. To clear up the confusion from my last post, I removed the aggressive ewe and the ram from the group and took her out with two docile ewes. Its funny: I bought Nina to help me with the sheep, and now I have the desire to buy more sheep to help me with Nina. Everyone seems to be in agreement to hold back and wait until she's older, so that is what I'll do. I'd welcome anyone's thoughts as to what I should be working on away from the sheep. So far she knows how to sit, lie down, come when called, go to her kennel, back away, fetch, track, drop, leave it, and that a verbal correction like "ah ah" means to stop whatever she is doing. I also taught her "get back"--meaning to back away. She's not perfect at these things yet, so we'll keep reinforcing all of them, but she's doing very well in my opinion. I'm trying to figure out how to get pictures from my computer onto my posts, and when I do I'll post a few for those who are interested. Edit: Here's a link to some photos of hertaken a few months ago. Thanks, Chris
  2. Hey thanks Sue! I definitely feel welcome with all the helpful responses I've gotten. I took Nina out again today (I couldn't resisst--I don't think I'll be able to wait until spring) but I took it really easy. I took out one of the ewes that was kind of aggressive to her and a ram that just didn't care. She did great switching directions whenever I did, steadily brought them to me. Of course we both made mistakes, but it was a lot of fun and she seemed really happy to be doing it. No video because its pouring rain here (December rain is about the only weather I have no tolerance for), but it felt like things were going a lot more smoothly. Again, thanks for all the great input. Whenever I post something on forums, I feel fortunate to get a few mediocre replies. This has been much more than I hoped for. Chris
  3. Cool, thanks. I've checked into them before but will spend a little more time doing so now. I;m looking forward to the summer when they'll be active again. Regards, Chris
  4. Thanks so much Julie, I read through your reply twice and I think I do understand what you are saying. I actually feel a little foolish putting these videos out there to people who know what they are doing, because I obviously look quite silly out there awkwardly dancing around in a circle. Regardless, I put them out there because I wanted some honest opinions and advice, and that is exactly what I've gotten. I am slightly anxious to get her out there with the sheep because she has picked up on everything else so fast and wants something to do. (She learned to track across our 18 acre field in about 20 minutes--something I've never been able to teach other dogs to do). If I've learned anything here its to take this training a lot more slowly and carefully. I appreciate the concepts of flow and interconnectedness,and that books with their paragraphs, sections, and chapters are not able to convey this well. Again, thanks to you and everyone else for taking the time to look at these and comment in very gentile and helpful ways. Chris
  5. Thanks Gloria, After reviewing the videos I see what you mean. I tried this circling exercise one time prior to this without a lead, and Nina just would dive right past me and break the sheep apart. Perhaps this is why I was too aggressive at keeping her off them. If I tried to do what was done in those videos of bill (and I did initially) Nina would get too close to the sheep And break them apart without any regard to my position. My hope was that with a few sessions of this circling she would get the idea that she has to keep some distance from them, so when I move to the other side (as is recommended next in the book) she'll have a better idea of what to do. My body language was saying "get back" which is something we work on away from the sheep as well. I can see now that it is way too active, as you say. I guess the intensity came from previous experiences where she seems to want to be super tight on the sheep and Virgil's insistence that she be kept at a distance at first. But perhaps she's too young for any of this (or perhaps I'm too green for it.) That seems to be the developing consensus. I'll for sure ease off her a lot after reading all the comments. I appreciate your time and thoughtfulness. Chris
  6. Great advice. I do worry about bad habits--I'll check out Bruce Fogt's book ASAP. Thanks, Chris
  7. These are great. Thank you for sharing them. Now I have a much better idea of where to go from here. Chris
  8. Thanks, She is a nice pup. I hear you about her age. She's picked up everything else so fast, I thought I'd let her give this a try for a bit. I'll try not to put any real pressure on her though. Chris
  9. Thanks, I'm sure I will find someone to help me. Already the advice I've gotten tonight in this forum has been invaluable, and I'm sure an in person experience could be many times so. Would you recommend stopping all contact with the sheep until I have a trainer, or is it ok to continue along Virgil's path as I look for one in my area? Chris
  10. Interesting, I'll keep my eye out for that from now on. I'm sure she's giving me a multitude of messages that I'm yet unable to read. Chris
  11. Thanks, I treated this as the initial introduction because prior times in the field were just letting her do whatever she wanted. I has no intention to keep up with this circling for several sessions, and as long as it looks ok I'm ready to move on. I appreciate your reply. Chris
  12. Thanks so much for taking the time to look into that Julie. I'll review the sections that you mention, and hopefully get a better idea of what I should be doing. I appreciate your response. Chris
  13. Thanks Jim, I'll review the part of the video you are referring to. Please see my second response to Julie as to why I was doing things this way, but I am very open to the possibility that I am either doing it wrong, or not following the directions in Holland's book correctly. I appreciate your time and response. Regards, Chris
  14. Maybe this is not the best way to start, but he writes: "your major goal will be to try to get the dog to circle the stock. . . . Your job is to block the dog from coming straight in toward the sheep. If your dog wants to come straight in, take your crook or boogie bag and swish it along the ground [etc]. . . .If your dog closes in, try to step toward the dog and push him out." I'm all to happy to change tactics if this is not a good one, and I'm beginning to have my doubts. Maybe I'm reading him wrong, but he sure seems to be insisting that I keep the dog away from the sheep during these initial sessions. I was out with her several times before this, allowing her to go into the sheep. She went strait at them, and my understanding is that this circling exercise is a way to teach her to come at the sheep in an arc. I really do appreciate your input. I'll be more careful from now on to be sure I'm reading what I think I'm reading, since you make some very good points. Chris
  15. Hi Julie, Thanks for your response. I'm following (probably inadequately) what is recommended by Vergil Holland in Herding Dogs: Progressive Training. I don't know if it is the best way, but I've heard the book mentioned in several places as a good place to start. As I understand it, this is just an initial training phase and very soon I'll get on the other side of the sheep and move on from this stage. I hear what you say about pointing, and I'll work on it, although Holland recommends starting inbetween like this at a point of balance between the dog and the sheep and maintaining this position as she runs around. I'm not trying to argue at all here, just explaining why I did what I did. I'm located in Wisconsin. Perhaps this summer I'll find a some classes to take to get some hands on help. Thanks again for your response, Chris
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