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2Tails4Ewe

Squaring Up Inside Flanks

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Hello Bob,

 

I've been having some trouble with my dog slicing flanks on the drive. He had a rocky start (improper training and an inexperienced handler -- me); he is my first working dog and is now 5. I've learned so much from him (and still am), and we've gotten much better training done as I've learned, but this slicing of the flanks is a lingering problem. I've tried several different methods (long-line, shortening distances he works from me, pushing him out off his stock, stopping him before he flanks while driving, etc.) to try to help him understand what I am asking. I'm at a loss.

 

He knows “get out/back” and respects it on the fetch and outrun. If I stop him and tell him out, he squares up some (it gets better each time we work) and continues on. He’s always been a sort of “flat” out runner, and I blame the bad start for his lack of feel for his sheep; I've had to “re-teach” him and it has gotten WAY better. However, I feel that when I'm asking him out from his stock, he is translating that to getting out from me. I thought of this the other day while working when I asked him out; he was tight on a flank up until he was opposite the stock from me, where my pressure would push him out, then he moved way off his stock. (I hope that makes sense)

 

So with that... any ideas on how to teach him that -- when I am asking him out (driving/fetching/outrun) -- it means from his stock, not me.

 

 

 

Thanks!

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Hello Bob,

 

I've been having some trouble with my dog slicing flanks on the drive. He had a rocky start (improper training and an inexperienced handler -- me); he is my first working dog and is now 5. I've learned so much from him (and still am), and we've gotten much better training done as I've learned, but this slicing of the flanks is a lingering problem. I've tried several different methods (long-line, shortening distances he works from me, pushing him out off his stock, stopping him before he flanks while driving, etc.) to try to help him understand what I am asking. I'm at a loss.

 

He knows “get out/back” and respects it on the fetch and outrun. If I stop him and tell him out, he squares up some (it gets better each time we work) and continues on. He’s always been a sort of “flat” out runner, and I blame the bad start for his lack of feel for his sheep; I've had to “re-teach” him and it has gotten WAY better. However, I feel that when I'm asking him out from his stock, he is translating that to getting out from me. I thought of this the other day while working when I asked him out; he was tight on a flank up until he was opposite the stock from me, where my pressure would push him out, then he moved way off his stock. (I hope that makes sense)

 

So with that... any ideas on how to teach him that -- when I am asking him out (driving/fetching/outrun) -- it means from his stock, not me.

 

 

 

Thanks!

 

 

Hi there. It appears that you have spent a lot of time pushing this dog out and off his stock with your body position and he is reacting to your out as a command to get away from you. It also appears that most of your problem with the slicing is on the drive when he is taking stock away from you. The use of the long line properly will aid in correcting this but you must be in the right position when you do it. Start the dog driving with a 100 foot long line on him. You don't need to use the whole hundred feet to start but you will eventually get there. Walk the dog up on the sheep and stay to one side or the other. To make things easier for you and the dog drive along a fence where you only have to cover one side for now. Stay off to the side and behind the dog and when you want him to flank, call his name, wait for him to look at you, (to get his head going in the right direction)say "here" and give him the flank. If needed, give a sharp jerk on the line and release. Make sure that you are in a position to get him off the sheep squarely so you are teaching him to flank properly. Once you have the flank good on the line, then start with the line off doing the same thing without the use of the line. Call the dog's name, "here", "away to me" or "come bye". You need to correct him with whatever language or form of correction you use if he starts to slice again. This is a mistake on his part as he knows what a square flank is and must do it. I usually just give a sharp "hey!" or "aagghh!" to let him know he's wrong and I'm disapointed in him. I'm not much of a proponent of the commands "out", "get out" etc. I believe if you teach the dog to flank properly and square to start with you don't need these commands. I suppose it's nice to have a back up but I have found over the years that it is a correction that is needed rather than another command for a flank that is improperly executed. Be very consistent by ensuring that your dog flanks properly at all times and things will go much better for you. Good luck.......Bob

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