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ragtimedog

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About ragtimedog

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    http://ragtimefarm.com
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  • Location
    Middle Earth, New Hampshire
  1. ragtimedog

    Three-year-old still won't lie down

    Funny. He can drop like a shot if I'm holding a frisbee.
  2. ragtimedog

    Three-year-old still won't lie down

    Ha ha. The chaos is much better these days. I actually did start using the flag (whip+bag) again. It originally was suggested to me as a tool to keep him back off the sheep. All it did there was make him dive in faster and reve him up. (I was told that was my fault. No explanation of what I was doing wrong but it brought me to tears.) Last week I started going out with my arsenal of tools - training stick, throw thingies and flag. He still takes three commands to actually lie down. Yes, I have been expecting a lie down, or at least a stop when I say lie down. When I watch videos though, he doesn't look all that bad. Maybe I am expecting too much from him. But watching other dogs that plop right down with one whistle just makes me envious. I did back off for a while since it seemed that we weren't making any headway. Sometimes he surprises me and does it at a distance. (I do have to use him to move sheep when we are house sitting.) I guess, all and all he is getting better. I just never had a dog take this long to get the basics down. Two years and little to show for it. My former dogs were trial-ready at this age. He can't even do a decent outrun. He does learn routines quickly and loves to have real work to do. He does get the sheep in the pen but it ain't pretty. I generally have to send him back to pick up the ones he scattered. He runs at top speed and goes a bit crazy. I have to stand at the gate to keep the ones already in the pen from leaving. I don't really think he's a hard head or stubborn. He's looking at me as if looking for direction. It's more like he just can't stop himself. I'll let you know how it goes. Thanks.
  3. I've trained a few dogs and trialed a bit but I have NEVER had a dog so hard to train as this one. I read a perfect description of him in a training book, as an overly pressure sensitive dog. It said this dog is usually better on one side, difficult to stop and once stopped often won't stay stopped, over- reacts to every movement of the sheep and/or handler and is super keen to work. That's my boy. My frustration today is the lie down. He DOES know the command. He's perfect if we're away from sheep, but tries to ignore it once he's on sheep. He takes at least 5 steps in unless he's behind a flock where I can't see him. Then he doesn't stop at all. I've tried running at him, throwing things, shake cans, slapping the ground with a whip with a plastic bag tied to it - all work somewhat for a while. But never without them. He's not a hardhead. He loves training and wants to please but this is just one of our problems with sheep. Others are slicing in, fetching too fast and causing a split, not covering the flock, over flanking, and not finding balance. Oh, and if I call him off, he stops immediately and comes happily to me. The book also said this was the hardest type of dog to train. No kiddin'. Any other suggestions on lie down? I don't care if he stands but he doesn't stop. He keeps on comming.
  4. ragtimedog

    tight flanking while driving

    WOW, CAROL!!!! This is fantastic!!!!! This is the step I've been missing. It makes sense to BOTH of us! I never thought of doing it on a cross drive. Doc gave me some funny looks the first time I made him take a square flank but after a couple of times he was doing it on his own! And the sheep tend to curl around but that's ok here since I can then have him drive them the other direction. I don't have to try to keep them going much of anywhere which takes the frustration out of the equation! We had so much fun this morning, we went out this afternoon and tried it again. We're pretty sloppy, but getting it. THANK YOU!!!!!!
  5. ragtimedog

    tight flanking while driving

    I will. I had been, mostly.
  6. ragtimedog

    tight flanking while driving

    You are right about him continuing forward on the drive. (I've just been happy when he moved instead of standing there trying to decide which way to go.) And my little field is too small for me to really walk alongside as many have told me to do. That just ends up with us both frustrated. But he certainly can do a cross drive!!!! I LIKE IT. I'd go right out right now and try it if it wasn't dark and wicked muddy... Thanks so much! I'll let you know what transpires. L
  7. ragtimedog

    tight flanking while driving

    That's ok. I'll just play my bodhran until I hear....
  8. ragtimedog

    tight flanking while driving

    Hope I'm not wearing out my welcome here, but I'm determined to figure this out with this dog. He tries so hard to please and worries about things. The least I can do is try to figure out how to make it understandable for him. I was working along the fence flanking him. Beautiful. We went out to the middle, nice! As soon as he's driving, however, he loses that nice square flank. He slides up, too close. The sheep split and we spend time putting things back together. help. Lana
  9. ragtimedog

    Outsmarted by my dog...

    OK I backed him off. the sheep stayed put and I could really see what was going on. I could see much better what was going on.He'd go almost to the fence and then spin. I had to make him take the flank several times. I think we had a good training session! Thanks so much for the advice. We'll keep trying. L
  10. ragtimedog

    Outsmarted by my dog...

    I wasn't worried. Thought you might be trialling somewhere. But, Carollllll,,, sniff, I've worked so hard to get a few sheep that would MOVE for the dog. Now you want me to "break" them???? WAHHHHH. (sorry...ahem) Actually, I don't think the sheep are flighty at all. He's probably just too close. I can send him out wider pretty easily. In fact, when he gets frustrated, he does that by himself. He also spins and wavers back and forth which tells me he's really unsure about what he's supposed to do. But then at other times he takes the flank beautifully. I'm printing this out and will study it carefully before giving it another try. Thanks. I'll let you know what develops. L
  11. ragtimedog

    Outsmarted by my dog...

    Doc will drive and flank off balance, but slowly. My frustration is, that it takes 3 commands to pull him in and when he finally goes, he goes too far too fast so I have to stop him almost immediately. Now the sheep have drifted too far and I have to try to get him to go back the other way. Another 3 commands and the same thing happens. He's very hesitant and we both end up frustrated. I read the discussion on the two adjacent corrals and thought I had found the ANSWER! First off, though, I realized you didn't mention what the sheep are likely to do while I'm carefully sending the dog on his flanks. By the time Doc comes around to the fence the sheep are long gone. 'Course he thought catching them was the best part! And he's not too bad about being on the fence, but he's NOT good at flanking off balance. So I tried this for a couple of days. I don't work him too long at a time. But today after a little driving work that was pretty bad, we went to the fence. Before I could even begin to send him anywhere, he immediately flanked around - off balance - to the fence! Any ideas for this smarty pants?
  12. ragtimedog

    Driving issues

    You were so right once again. He got a few chances to work lighter sheep and he's now a different dog and working SO much better. I think he was really bored. He still leaves slow sheep behind - yes, he's too close because my sheep barely move unless he grabs a hock - but I can keep him back from lighter sheep. I've worked on letting him hold sheep on the fence and teaching him a real "get back." He's doing great and I no longer think he's a hopeless case.
  13. ragtimedog

    Driving issues

    Thanks for the comments. I was thrilled with him yesterday. Today I came in so discouraged I went to bed...Doc couldn't even fetch all the sheep. He was blowing right by any stragglers. I was thinking I should just give up now. He doesn't have the intensity I like although he's a wonderful farm dog. But you're right. He does surprise me when we're on different sheep in a different field. I ran once years ago at the festival and didn't like it, but it's almost in my back yard. Might as well get my money's worth. Wish I hadn't moved so far away from you! L
  14. ragtimedog

    Driving issues

    Hi, Carol! Great to read your tips! I'm regretting entering Doc, PN in the NH Sheep and Wool Trial. I took him to a work day last fall and he did a beautiful drive right through the gates. This spring, he seemed rusty. No surprise. But he seems to be getting worse! I can't keep him driving straight. He moves fast and over flanks (often the wrong way) and sends the sheep way off line. He also pushes right past stragglers and works the faster sheep. The more we train, the worse it gets, the more frustrated I get and it travels right down to poor Doc. I could see he was losing confidence. I've been backing up and trying to drive along a fence and keep as quiet as possible. But the sheep try to bolt for the gate and I have to flank him to keep them on track and we're back to the problem. I started using more sheep and that helped a lot. I can't do much about the size of my field (small). I know we won't work magic by this weekend. I'll just have to bite the bullet and hope a new field and new sheep will inspire him, (and prepare myself for total, public humiliation...) but I'd like to give him as much confidence as I can. (And maybe a little for me too...) Any suggestions gratefully accepted! LP
  15. ragtimedog

    Help: Breeders to avoid

    Also with "excited pee" try to avoid looming over the pup. Sometimes that will trigger it as a defense mechanism. Lil
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