Jump to content
BC Boards


Registered Users
  • Content Count

  • Joined

  • Last visited

About Ludi

  • Rank
    Senior Member

Profile Information

  • Gender
  • Location
    Westward, Cumbria
  • Interests
    Shepherding and farming
  1. This may or may not help, since I can't see your situation in person, and my advice may change if you can show some video footage of an average lesson with your dog. I've had the chance to get involved with the training of quite a few young dogs now, ranging from 4 to 18 months, and your case isn't really that shocking or surprising. A cool customer turning into a pushy devil isn't new nor worrying. So fret not! You mentioned that his excitement hits the roof when the car rolls into the farmyard. Is he travelling in a crate in the car, or loose and able to see out of the windows? I assume you're putting him on a lead to go out to the training pen or field. How is his behaviour then? Is he scrabbling and pulling in all directions? If so, I'd work on getting him to snap out of that agitation and to focus back on you, your voice and physical presence. How you achieve that depends on your training philosophy - some people will use a physical aversive (lightly clipping the dog's nose with a stick), and others won't. I don't know your viewpoint on this, so I won't make any recommendations past the general advice of getting the dog to simmer down and walk nicely out to the training area. Tiring the dog out physically isn't what cases like this usually need. It's mental agitation and over-excitement, not physical, so once he's in the right mind frame, he may begin to resemble the dog you had at the beginning. I'd also recommend not getting at him for singling or gripping or chasing. I have seen young dogs feed off the excitement and rising agitation in their handler's voice. Stay in a small, enclosed area where no animal (sheep or dog) can bolt and make a run for it. You, as the handler, must stay with the sheep at all times for now. If you're with the sheep, you're in control of the highest reward and highest stimulus for your dog. Reward calm and methodical behaviour (even if it's there but for a second, like the dog briefly standing still) by letting the dog have the sheep. If he behaves and thinks, he gets the sheep. If he doesn't, you let him know that under no circumstances is he getting to those sheep without going through you. This relies on the right sheep, and the right training area! I do not recommend trying to tackle over-excitement in a young dog with flighty sheep in a massive field!
  2. Thanks guys. I love sharing sheepdog photos. I'm still getting the hang of the camera, and it's not always easy to get these guys and the sheep in the same frame (so I often favour the dog) with the composition still looking "nice"... But I'm trying! The weather has been pretty nice for training, but for the grass and crops it's been fairly bad! Going on two years now of really warm winters and fairly dry weather overall. The soil is incredibly dry and crumbly in a lot of places. Not the best conditions for agriculture sadly!
  3. Haha I thought I was the only one! When I was working in Scotland, I did sometimes scoop up the lovely fat Texel lambs for a quick cuddle. They don't smell terribly sheepy in the beginning, and they are just irresistible!
  4. I'm also fascinated by them! The Ouessant lambs are tiny, like little Yorkshire Terriers!
  5. Our regional club hosts a group training day every month; it's a great way to catch up with everyone and have an excuse for a 3 hour lunch in the sunshine. Friends, dogs, sheep, and big fields - what more could you want for a Sunday afternoon?
  6. Thank you I have a lot of experience with Ouessants by now; they are a popular first choice for smallholders like me just getting into sheep husbandry out here. Small, very rustic, good mothers and there's no chance they'll be ripping up paddocks with their tiny little hooves! People on the Internet say they can be escape artists, but I've found that not to be the case when one has used netting over barbed wire. Ouessants make great training sheep since they remain very light, and can go all day without tiring, which is definitely not the case for the sheep at our agricultural college... I much prefer the furry lawnmowers over the mechanical ones! Our hamlet has rules on when stuff like mowers or saws can be used (noise pollution, I guess) so it's really for the best that I got these 3!
  7. Back in January, my husband and I moved from our apartment flat in the city of Reims, to a house set in 1.5 acres, 30 minutes away, in the countryside. Moving out here has allowed me to rent 2ha of grazing for our future flock of Ouessant and Hebridean sheep. But before those sheep join us, we have quite a lot of cleaning-up needing to be done in our garden! So for that task, we decided to employ two pygmy goat wethers and a Cameroon ewe lamb. They're all fairly easy keepers and steadily making their way through the small area we've fenced off for them. But, bless them, they are all quite little creatures so it looks like we may need to help these "lawnmowers" with a mechanical one! In dog-related photos, here are some of Meg yesterday during a sheepdog training day. I will upload the others on a separate thread. I'm really getting the hang of this camera! My husband can't say the same, unfortunately, so his pictures of me and my dog were quite tiny!
  8. Thank you everyone for your very kind words. And thanks Alchemist, that's a great recommendation. I've seen a couple books on trialling for sale in the ISDS shop so I might give those a look too. I really do not want to let this dog down, she's been amazing, at work, in training, and now in competition. I still can't quite believe she's mine.
  9. Thank you Yes, Lawgirl, I think you may be on to something there. I was fairly at ease for Trial #1 but Trial #2 nearly made me sick with worry! Luckily, my dog is a lot better than I am and was able to compensate for her handler's stress.
  10. Yep, mum24dog, our second one. First one was the New Handler trial at Derek's back in December, which was a great experience. Oddly I wasn't as nervous then as I was for this one! In between those trials we've done a lambing and had a lot of work needing done on the farm here, so we did get some experience. Thanks everyone! The venue was great, beautiful day and in the Lorraine region of France.
  11. Thanks guys!! I am deffo very proud of Meg, and will work on myself for the future.
  12. And thankfully at least Meg's got her head screwed on, because we placed 3rd out of 27 dogs that ran, with a score of 80/100. This was our second-ever trial, and first one in France. I was torturing myself for a good while before the trial. I stress very easily, it's just my personality. I build up a huge sense of dread before I do something that puts me in the spotlight or up for critique. And what is a trial, if not those two things! Anyway, my dog is about a million times more professional about all of this than I ever will be, so she just treated the trial like business as usual. My whistles reflected my anxiety and I saw her taking them with a bit of speed. I have to keep that in mind for next time. I have a feeling Meg and I will be one of those teams where people say "good dog, shame about the handler". She truly did carry me in this trial. If I can keep a handle on my nerves, I may just one day meet her demanding expectations.
  13. Very nice to hear, Alchemist! Glad your lambing is going well. And yes, these Cheviots were like popcorn... what a terrifically descriptive term for them. I'm looking into getting some fairly notorious sheep breeds for myself (Soays and Hebrideans), but after handling these wily SCCs and Scottish Mules, I know Meg should be able to handle just about anything they'll throw at her. And truth be told, I like them light instead of heavy and stodgy!
  14. There are quite a few breeds of sheep that get that sun-bleached brown (Hebrideans and Ouessants spring to mind), perhaps you could get in touch with someone owning those? Although, I'm not sure how popular they are in your part of the world!
  • Create New...