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RoseAmy

Over riding instinct

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Hi Bob,

 

Well my little wild indian has become quite the serious worker. One day it was like someone flipped a switch and we had an outrun. She has always been a natural driver, she can hold a line so well that you can "see" the spot that she is balancing them too. The shed came naturally.

 

She is in fact quite biddable as long as she has trust in me that I won't "screw" her up. (Cause her to lose sheep)

 

Our big issue is something that has been around since day one. She has this big fear of losing sheep..meaning she has a hard time giving up the draw.

 

There lies our problem..if we are driving away from the draw we can drive 200 yds. I can flank her anywhere from 1inch to 6 feet. Change the line etc. Perfect driving. Throw in the draw and it's over..she will start to drop back, get clappy ( I correct her for clappiness). Then she blows..spins around..no stopping her..Of course by the time I run her down correct the stop the sheep leave..At which point my biddable dog has no trust in me and becomes miss hard head.

 

We have the same problem on the outrun if the fetch is heading towards the draw. That's a little easier cause I can run into her and stop her.

 

I've worked her on a line against a fence with real dogged sheep and showed her how to flank slightly out and hold the sheep.

 

I've tried walking right next to her and micro-managing things so she will get the idea. The last two days I've dropped the down (she doesn't hear it anyway when she blows) And instead flank her back the way she came, and give her a hard THERE when she gets right.

 

She has always responded better to there then down..Like I said she is very willing to work with me as long as I don't screw her up.

 

Suggestions??? Your sage advice has gotten me very far with this dog.

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Hi Bob,

 

Well my little wild indian has become quite the serious worker. One day it was like someone flipped a switch and we had an outrun. She has always been a natural driver, she can hold a line so well that you can "see" the spot that she is balancing them too. The shed came naturally.

 

She is in fact quite biddable as long as she has trust in me that I won't "screw" her up. (Cause her to lose sheep)

 

Our big issue is something that has been around since day one. She has this big fear of losing sheep..meaning she has a hard time giving up the draw.

 

There lies our problem..if we are driving away from the draw we can drive 200 yds. I can flank her anywhere from 1inch to 6 feet. Change the line etc. Perfect driving. Throw in the draw and it's over..she will start to drop back, get clappy ( I correct her for clappiness). Then she blows..spins around..no stopping her..Of course by the time I run her down correct the stop the sheep leave..At which point my biddable dog has no trust in me and becomes miss hard head.

 

We have the same problem on the outrun if the fetch is heading towards the draw. That's a little easier cause I can run into her and stop her.

 

I've worked her on a line against a fence with real dogged sheep and showed her how to flank slightly out and hold the sheep.

 

I've tried walking right next to her and micro-managing things so she will get the idea. The last two days I've dropped the down (she doesn't hear it anyway when she blows) And instead flank her back the way she came, and give her a hard THERE when she gets right.

 

She has always responded better to there then down..Like I said she is very willing to work with me as long as I don't screw her up.

 

Suggestions??? Your sage advice has gotten me very far with this dog.

 

 

I am having some difficulty understanding what is happening. Correct me if I'm wrong. I think you are saying that she is reacting negatively to pressure from the draw and that the pressure of the draw is causing her to blow apart or freak out. This would appear to me to have two parts to it. Part one being a lack of confidence in her ability to control the sheep when that draw or pressure is present and part two being very hesitant to do as she is told as she thinks it will cause her to lose her sheep. These are both quite serious problems and need to be dealt with immediately. Deal with the confidence first and try and help her to understand that if she moves when she is told she will not lose her sheep. Some of the things you can do here would be to go out to your field with your sheep and create a draw by working your sheep near a pen that they are fed in or want to go to for whatever reason so that there is a strong draw to that pen. Get your dog to collect the sheep from the pen and fetch them to you without any commands, just shush her and slow her down if she gets too fast in bringing the sheep to you. Don't slow her down too much though as we want her to feel strong when fetching the sheep to you. If the sheep start to get away from her move yourself to a different position so that she has to flank to keep the sheep coming straight to you. Keep her as calm as possible but not at the sake of the push in her. If she needs to get pushier let her do it as it will raise her confidence level greatly to be able to move the sheep away from the draw. We don't need to have any corrections in this case as you will only be giving her shush and slow down or stop if necessary, mostly walk on or up hopefully. Do this without any flank commands for a while and just keep moving yourself to keep her flanking to keep the line of the sheep straight toward you for a while and then you can move to doing some driving past the draw or pressure. There will always be some sort of draw in any field you work in so it will be quite easy to work against the draw pretty well anyplace. Stand behind the sheep and bring your dog to you and start driving your sheep toward the pen gate that they want to go to. Keep the drive nicer and steady by giving her nice quiet commands suggesting to her that you want her to be steady and in control of her stock. When you start getting closer to the stronger draw which will most likely be near the gate to the pen, then start slowing her down a bit and flank her over to control the line of the drive so that the sheep cannot get to the pen gate. Once again, remember that you want to keep this all nice and steady and quiet but still have her in control of the stock. You don't want to lie her down until such time as she has reached the pressure point and is in charge of the sheep and stopping them from breaking off line. This is very important. If you stop her too soon she WILL lose her sheep for sure and she will not be in position to stop them from breaking away and if you let her go too far she will again be out of position. So, as you can see, it is very important that you are able to read where the pressure point is and you allow her to get there before stopping her. I think that possibly this is what has been bothering her and she has now reached the point that she does not have the confidence in you that she needs to have to reach the proper place to stop the sheep from breaking and keep them on line. You need to watch your dog quite a bit now and ALLOW! her to find pressure and then put the sheep back where they belong. Of course once she has that confidence back she will be able to do this on her own, sometimes with your help and, at times, your help won't be necessary. If the dog is always being stopped short or in the wrong place and is always losing her sheep, she will gradually over a very short period of time lose enough confidence that she will even seem weak when she is not. Try and make sure that she is at the pressure point before you stop her from now on and also you can start just walking her into the sheep without a stop when she reaches the pressure point or point of balance. You haven't ruined her as these dogs are quite resilient and can put up quite a lot with our mistakes so just go out and start training her a better way and then go and win some trials. Good luck........Bob ...... Email back if you need more help any time

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Hi Bob,

You pretty much have the right idea. I'm not so sure that it is a confidence issue as much as she just likes to push and boss the sheep and doesn't like the idea of "following" them.

 

Cross drive past the draw is no problem. Only when the sheep head straight for the draw. She will start to get clappy then lie down. Which I correct..however she still doesn't want to walk up..Bob it's almost like she daring the sheep to make a run for it. She starts to lose contact with them..of course by now the sheep have decided that they have enough of a head start to out run her..At this point you can see her butt start coming up she is READY..this is the point where she is going to blow..If I try to give her flank to slow them down she is off like a bat out of hell and by the now the sheep are racing. She always gets to their heads and she always has to really push to get those sheep back. But she does it.

 

This dog is very much like her daddy very strong and pushy..(I was warned that she would be a good one but not an easy one) There is a little voice in my head saying that she is playing a game.

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Hi Bob,

You pretty much have the right idea. I'm not so sure that it is a confidence issue as much as she just likes to push and boss the sheep and doesn't like the idea of "following" them.

 

Cross drive past the draw is no problem. Only when the sheep head straight for the draw. She will start to get clappy then lie down. Which I correct..however she still doesn't want to walk up..Bob it's almost like she daring the sheep to make a run for it. She starts to lose contact with them..of course by now the sheep have decided that they have enough of a head start to out run her..At this point you can see her butt start coming up she is READY..this is the point where she is going to blow..If I try to give her flank to slow them down she is off like a bat out of hell and by the now the sheep are racing. She always gets to their heads and she always has to really push to get those sheep back. But she does it.

 

This dog is very much like her daddy very strong and pushy..(I was warned that she would be a good one but not an easy one) There is a little voice in my head saying that she is playing a game.

 

 

I think maybe your little voice is being quite truthful and she is playing a bit with you. I guess I didn't quite understand what you were saying regarding the draw. If she is getting clappy when the sheep are actually going straight for the draw she is probably wanting to get around and stop them rather than just following along behind and not having to push. THAT'S NO FUN!! Just go up there with her when the sheep are heading for the draw and tell her to walk up and insist that she walk straight into the sheep and follow them like you want her to do. If she stays on her belly get good and mad at her and tell her "WALK UP!!!" and stamp your feet and get her excited and then keep her at a nice pace behind the sheep. Gradually drop back from being with her as she starts to get closer to the sheep and just keep telling here walk up quietly as long as she is doing it. If she gets wants to get clappy again make sure you don't let her lie down and tell her to walk up before she gets a chance to lie down. Don't worry about line or anything other than her following the sheep right to where ever they want to go and then do it a few more times in between doing other things. Call her off when the sheep get to where they were going and give her a nice pat and then go do something else and then back to the driving to draw. She'll get it pretty quick as long as you don't let her lie down when she's following the sheep. Good luck and let me know how it's going. Bob

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