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gvmama

Lacking push on the drive

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Hi Bob,

We met on Whidbey island. I had the Keen-Eye dog that I ran in open as non-comp and you asked, "Why aren't you running her in open competitively?" I took that as a compliment. I'm what I still consider a novice handler even though I finally got to some open trials with my almost 9 yr. old BC. I only get to work my dogs 2-3 times a week at neighboring ranches. Slowly but surely. :0) It's a great hobby and I enjoy it immensely.

I have a 17 mo. old pup that I trialed in Ranch in the Pacific Northwest while on vacation. She has a nice outrun on her and the speed to cover just about any type of sheep. She is a bit loose eyed, very biddable, and has a quiet presence on her stock. I know this topic question is asked over and over, so forgive me. But, I'd really like your input.

She is lacking "push" while driving. She wants to slide to one side or the other. She doesn't wear while driving...justs slips to the side. Plus, her pace is slower than I would like. As soon as I give her an "ah-ah" when she starts sliding to the side, I get even a slower pace. Once fall comes, I will be able to trailer sheep to the desert (wide open spaces) to give her more experience. During the summer months I just have arenas and a couple of small fields to work her in. Suggestions?

Thank-you, Suzanne

http://walkupbcs.blogspot.com/

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Hi Bob,

We met on Whidbey island. I had the Keen-Eye dog that I ran in open as non-comp and you asked, "Why aren't you running her in open competitively?" I took that as a compliment. I'm what I still consider a novice handler even though I finally got to some open trials with my almost 9 yr. old BC. I only get to work my dogs 2-3 times a week at neighboring ranches. Slowly but surely. :0) It's a great hobby and I enjoy it immensely.

I have a 17 mo. old pup that I trialed in Ranch in the Pacific Northwest while on vacation. She has a nice outrun on her and the speed to cover just about any type of sheep. She is a bit loose eyed, very biddable, and has a quiet presence on her stock. I know this topic question is asked over and over, so forgive me. But, I'd really like your input.

She is lacking "push" while driving. She wants to slide to one side or the other. She doesn't wear while driving...justs slips to the side. Plus, her pace is slower than I would like. As soon as I give her an "ah-ah" when she starts sliding to the side, I get even a slower pace. Once fall comes, I will be able to trailer sheep to the desert (wide open spaces) to give her more experience. During the summer months I just have arenas and a couple of small fields to work her in. Suggestions?

Thank-you, Suzanne

http://walkupbcs.blogspot.com/

 

Hi Suzanne. Yes, I remember you at Whidbey and the great run you had with your older dog. Good to hear from you. Regarding your young bitch, this is quite typical of a dog that loves to fetch sheep to you in that she will be slow to learn to drive. The sliding off is probably caused by her wanting to go to the head and bring them back all the time as she enjoys her fetching so much. The fact that she is not wearing tells me that she is not understanding what you want when asking her to drive. Consequently back to the basics. Get her to fetch the sheep to you and then move out of the way as she gets them to you and ask her to walk up. As the sheep pass you go with her by her side towards a fence so that you can call her to you if she starts to slide and go to the front. No corrections. The idea here is to get her comfortable with being behind the sheep and liking it and you can't do that if you are corercting her with an "Ah, Ah". That will turn her off. Encouragement is what you need now and lots of patience. This dog does not like the idea of taking sheep away, she wants to bring them. Working on the fence gives you and she the opportunity to only have to cover one side and what you need to do is encourage her to get going a little faster. I find a little "sshhh" gets them going quite well and lots of praise when they do start to push a bit. If she starts to slide and go towards the heads of the sheep just call her name and drop back from her side so she will stop going to the front of the sheep. Don't woprry about lines right now or corrections at all. As long as she is behind the sheep and not bringing them to you that is fine. When she has driven a short way (15 or 20 yards), you walk away and call her to you leaving the sheep where they are. You don't ever want her to fetch the sheep back to you at the end of the drive drive when you are training a dog to drive. She will learn that it is ok to leave the sheep and also to push them away from you over a period of time of doing this. As she progresses with her driving you start to drop back behind her more all the time until you are quite a ways behind and she is driving on her own. When your are training an individual exercise, make sure you don't drill with it. Do it for a short period of time and then mix it up with something else to keep the dog's mind active. Go to shedding or penning or work on flanks and then at the end of your session give her a chance to do a nice outrun, lift and fetch and end on that. Try it and let me know how she's coming later on. Be patient and encouraging right now. Once she gets it you can start putting on a little more pressure to make it better, but not right now. Good luck, sincerely.......Bob

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What a great post Bob! Thank you. I will be able to take a lot from it and apply to other areas of training. Hi Suzanne!

 

Dave

www.leadmeontraining.com

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What a great post Bob! Thank you. I will be able to take a lot from it and apply to other areas of training. Hi Suzanne!

 

Dave

www.leadmeontraining.com

 

Thanks Dave. See you in WA soon, I hope. Bob

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[quote name='RMSBORDERCOLLIES' Working on the fence gives you and she the opportunity to only have to cover one side and what you need to do is encourage her to get going a little faster. I find a little "sshhh" gets them going quite well and lots of praise when they do start to push a bit. If she starts to slide and go towards the heads of the sheep just call her name and drop back from her side so she will stop going to the front of the sheep. Don't woprry about lines right now or corrections at all."

 

I'm going to pick your brain on several things here (probably most will evolve with more work and maturity). I always try to break up my dog's sessions with a little of this and a little of that. I don't like to be drilled and neither do they. Yoko is driving her sheep around the arena on the fence (both directions) with me in the middle or thereabouts. She has a nice way of dropping her head when she starts driving. She just remains "unsure' of what is being asked of her. She is 18 mos. now....works 3 times a week. If she slides off the fence I don't say anything, because most of the time she is correct because the sheep are starting to drift off the fence. If she gets a bit ahead, I flank her. This is where I probably should be calling her name as you have suggested. Because if I flank her she jumps in the middle of them. I can't shhuss her, because she will jump in and mix things up. If the sheep slow, she slows, and if I'm observant I will see her body tense up and with that stillness she is telling the sheep and me that she is going to bust in.

Even though she has this slow relaxed pace, she is faster than I can think when she feels the sheep aren't moving at a pace she would like. I always over react when she jumps into the middle of them. I'm trying to read her signs before she does this. I think I get a bit stressed because I don't want her to get hurt or to hurt the people's sheep I am working. At the same time, I don't want her to lose the desire to do what she thinks she has to do to MOVE her sheep. I guess I could use some lighter sheep. But, mostly I get "dogged' sheep to work. I think I am answering my own questions while writing this, but feel free to suggest! Anyway, that's my update. This winter we will be able to go to the desert and she will have wide open spaces to drive for miles. :0)

Suzanne

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Hi Bob,

 

Reporting back on Yoko who is 20 mos. now. I found an interesting driving exercise just by changing up and thinking of new things for the dogs to do on the ranch where I work them. I have been sorting two sheep out of the arena and letting my dogs individually work the two around the field away from the flock. Of course, the two don't know why they have been singled out and they are eager to find a way to return to the group.

 

This has really "keened" up Yoko's drive. The lightbulb went on! The pressure of the two sheep wanting to get back together with their group put pressure on Yoko. I'm not real savvy when it comes to telling you about pressures and a dog's eye, but I can tell you that she understood she was pushing them away and she was ready to catch a sheep that wanted to split back. She had no inclination to head them.

 

Gosh, it was a good feeling to watch her. One finally got away from her and was at least an acre or two away and I let the pup go on her own. She has learned to flank wide when it is needed with the two sheep exercise, also. She knows now that you can't run behind or off to the side a bit to catch an eye when they are running back to a pen. She now flanks way out in order to turn them. Sure enough, here she comes working this "one" ewe around flatbed trucks with hay, RV's in mid pasture, etc. What a sight to see and all on her own. :0)

 

I can't wait for Oct. when I get my sheep back to start trailering them out to the desert and really do some driving.

Your input has been very helpful. Thank-you.

Suzanne

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