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Training look backs

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The above is a short video of Yoko looking back for a blind fetch. She has dropped off her first set of sheep and I am asking her to go look for the 2nd set. Kind of a mini nationals :0)

My question is this: Does it matter which way she turns to look back in relation to my position? Can she spin counter clockwise or clockwise regardless of my position? Does that make sense? The dogs at the nationals had to cross over the handler's position to get the away flank. It appeared that the pressure of the 1st group still moving and that most had to cross the handler's position was a pretty difficult task.

I believe you can hear me say on the video, "She turned the wrong way" But, after looking at the video, I'm not sure it mattered which way she turned. It did matter to me that she didn't flank out wider when I stopped her on the slight hill. She gave only a few feet. I was happy that at least she was taking an away flank. I didn't stop her again and ask that she give me more ground, because I knew where the sheep were. I hate to interfere if it looks like they are "getting" it. That's a big trust issue to look for sheep you can't see.

Would you have done anything differently?

P.S. I'm working and filming her at the same time. That's a huge difficulty factor :0)

Always learning...Suzanne

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Hi Suzanne. There's quite a bit I would have done differently but that doesn't mean that you didn't do it right. When training a dog to look back for hidden sheep, or any sheep for that matter, I like to see the dog receive the opposite flank to the way you are going to send him before getting the turn back. In other words, if you are going to send to the away side as the sheep come through the fetch panel, you will flank the dog to the come bye to get him going in the direction you want him to go to get the second group of sheep. You don't want to flank the dog too far around the sheep as he will not be facing in the right direction to give him the turn back if you let him come around to 3 or 4 o'clock. You need to either stop him at 1 or 2 o'clock, give him the turn back and then the flank when his head is looking in the direction you want him to go. I, personally, don't like to stop the dog when turning him back but prefer that the dog take the come bye, the turn back and the away to me all in one flowing motion. To me, it only makes sense that you keep the dog moving when he is moving in the right direction to accomplish a nice away to me outrun to the hidden sheep. If you need to give another flank to get him going right that's fine as long as you keep him going the right way. You are right when you mention the trust issue. This the most important thing there is to the dog when sending him blind. He has to know that there are sheep out there and the only way he will know that is by doing it right all the time and getting him to the sheep all the time. The trust gets established pretty quick when he is winning all the time. As far as whether he is turning properly or not, my liking is that he turns to the outside when receiving the look back, but if he gets the stop first and then the look back, it doesn't much matter which way he turns as long as he starts the flank in the direction he's been given. Looks like "YO" is doing a very nice job for you and he looks pretty happy in the service. Keep up the good work......talk later.....Bob

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