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Jan B

Getting a pace on the fetch and drive

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I am currently training a young bitch, Ivy, who will be running in pro-novice come spring of next year. I am having absolutely no luck teaching this little girl that she doesn't need to be pushing on her sheep so hard on the fetch and the drive. Sure, I can repeatedly lie her down as needed but I want her to understand that she needs to stay back off her stock.

Last year when I took a private lesson with Scott Glen to work on Ivy's driving, he advised me to forget about pace at that time as he thought she needed more confidence. I spent the next year doing just that and she is fairly confident in her stock work now.

I recently tried putting her on a long line to try and slow her down but I have to confess that I was all thumbs with the line and it ended up getting wrapped around one of her rear paws.

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

Regards,

Jan

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I am currently training a young bitch, Ivy, who will be running in pro-novice come spring of next year. I am having absolutely no luck teaching this little girl that she doesn't need to be pushing on her sheep so hard on the fetch and the drive. Sure, I can repeatedly lie her down as needed but I want her to understand that she needs to stay back off her stock.

Last year when I took a private lesson with Scott Glen to work on Ivy's driving, he advised me to forget about pace at that time as he thought she needed more confidence. I spent the next year doing just that and she is fairly confident in her stock work now.

I recently tried putting her on a long line to try and slow her down but I have to confess that I was all thumbs with the line and it ended up getting wrapped around one of her rear paws.

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

Regards,

Jan

 

Hi Jan. Pace is something that you develop over a period of time and gradually. Scott told you the right thing when he said not to worry about pace at that time. As you say you can lie her down and stop her as needed but you are not comfortable with that. The thing you need to be doing with her now is teaching her to slow down when asked. Personally I just use a long slow soft lie down or stop whistle to start with and I don't enforce the stop with this slow soft whistle. You can also teach her the "time" command if you want to use that by doing the same thing,; a long slow soft stop command. You don't have to us"time", just anything that means to you for her to slow down and learn to pace, i.e., "easy", "steady" etc. Pick your own words, but get the idea into her head that she has to slow and pace herself so the sheep are moving at an efficient pace. Keep in mind that you are going to have to establish this each time you run her as the sheep will always be different and will need different degrees of push at any given time. You need to use as much firmness as necessary to get the pace out of the sheep that you want. This will also be different as some sheep can move faster or slower that others and still be comfortable. A steady flowing rate is what you are looking for and this will come over a period of time if you just stay focused and determined to move the sheep and handle the dog as needed. Don't be slowing the dog down too much though, only when needed to keep pace. The last thing you want is to have a dog that is reluctant to push because the handler has slowed her so much that she won't put pressure on them any more. Keep in mind that this is a job of work and not just an exercise in keeping straight lines and tight turns. You want the lines and turns but you also want your dog to know she's in charge and in control of the livestock and has the confidence to put them anyplace you want them. Be consistent with your handling and watch your sheep at all times to determine whether they need a little more or a little less push. Learn to read the sheep well so that you can help your dog as much as she is helping you. Learn to read your dog also so you can tell when she is getting stressed or she's over her head in what she's doing. Stress and challenge are really very necessary in bringing a dog to fruition but you can also overdo it so be aware at all times. The dog will learn to read her sheep over time (and this is a fairly long time I'm talking about)and you will find that when she is mature she will rate her sheep pretty well right from the get go. Don't rush it though. You'll get better results just with steady progress. Good luck..........Keep in touch and let me know how it's going......Bob

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Hi Jan. Pace is something that you develop over a period of time and gradually. Scott told you the right thing when he said not to worry about pace at that time. As you say you can lie her down and stop her as needed but you are not comfortable with that. The thing you need to be doing with her now is teaching her to slow down when asked. Personally I just use a long slow soft lie down or stop whistle to start with and I don't enforce the stop with this slow soft whistle. You can also teach her the "time" command if you want to use that by doing the same thing,; a long slow soft stop command. You don't have to us"time", just anything that means to you for her to slow down and learn to pace, i.e., "easy", "steady" etc. Pick your own words, but get the idea into her head that she has to slow and pace herself so the sheep are moving at an efficient pace. Keep in mind that you are going to have to establish this each time you run her as the sheep will always be different and will need different degrees of push at any given time. You need to use as much firmness as necessary to get the pace out of the sheep that you want. This will also be different as some sheep can move faster or slower that others and still be comfortable. A steady flowing rate is what you are looking for and this will come over a period of time if you just stay focused and determined to move the sheep and handle the dog as needed. Don't be slowing the dog down too much though, only when needed to keep pace. The last thing you want is to have a dog that is reluctant to push because the handler has slowed her so much that she won't put pressure on them any more. Keep in mind that this is a job of work and not just an exercise in keeping straight lines and tight turns. You want the lines and turns but you also want your dog to know she's in charge and in control of the livestock and has the confidence to put them anyplace you want them. Be consistent with your handling and watch your sheep at all times to determine whether they need a little more or a little less push. Learn to read the sheep well so that you can help your dog as much as she is helping you. Learn to read your dog also so you can tell when she is getting stressed or she's over her head in what she's doing. Stress and challenge are really very necessary in bringing a dog to fruition but you can also overdo it so be aware at all times. The dog will learn to read her sheep over time (and this is a fairly long time I'm talking about)and you will find that when she is mature she will rate her sheep pretty well right from the get go. Don't rush it though. You'll get better results just with steady progress. Good luck..........Keep in touch and let me know how it's going......Bob

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Hi Jan. Pace is something that you develop over a period of time and gradually. Scott told you the right thing when he said not to worry about pace at that time. As you say you can lie her down and stop her as needed but you are not comfortable with that. The thing you need to be doing with her now is teaching her to slow down when asked. Personally I just use a long slow soft lie down or stop whistle to start with and I don't enforce the stop with this slow soft whistle. You can also teach her the "time" command if you want to use that by doing the same thing,; a long slow soft stop command. You don't have to us"time", just anything that means to you for her to slow down and learn to pace, i.e., "easy", "steady" etc. Pick your own words, but get the idea into her head that she has to slow and pace herself so the sheep are moving at an efficient pace. Keep in mind that you are going to have to establish this each time you run her as the sheep will always be different and will need different degrees of push at any given time. You need to use as much firmness as necessary to get the pace out of the sheep that you want. This will also be different as some sheep can move faster or slower that others and still be comfortable. A steady flowing rate is what you are looking for and this will come over a period of time if you just stay focused and determined to move the sheep and handle the dog as needed. Don't be slowing the dog down too much though, only when needed to keep pace. The last thing you want is to have a dog that is reluctant to push because the handler has slowed her so much that she won't put pressure on them any more. Keep in mind that this is a job of work and not just an exercise in keeping straight lines and tight turns. You want the lines and turns but you also want your dog to know she's in charge and in control of the livestock and has the confidence to put them anyplace you want them. Be consistent with your handling and watch your sheep at all times to determine whether they need a little more or a little less push. Learn to read the sheep well so that you can help your dog as much as she is helping you. Learn to read your dog also so you can tell when she is getting stressed or she's over her head in what she's doing. Stress and challenge are really very necessary in bringing a dog to fruition but you can also overdo it so be aware at all times. The dog will learn to read her sheep over time (and this is a fairly long time I'm talking about)and you will find that when she is mature she will rate her sheep pretty well right from the get go. Don't rush it though. You'll get better results just with steady progress. Good luck..........Keep in touch and let me know how it's going......Bob

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Thank you for your sage advice, Bob. It's good to know that I'm on the right page with her training as I had just started to do pretty much what you have suggested. Right now, regardless of what word (I'm using EASY) or whistle I use to communicate to slow down, Ivy lies down. I immediately get her back up, give her an EASY if she starts pushing too hard and gaining on her sheep, at which point she will lie down on her own again. She will not get up on her own, so I have to tell her to walk on to get her on her feet. The last time that we worked a friend's sheep which are quite light, after about 10 minutes of working on pace on the drive, she finally settled down and started to rate her sheep. I didn't fuss with her about lines but I did occasionally have her fetch the sheep to me as a reward. I've been told that this is a "no-no" when driving, but Ivy truly understands the difference between driving and fetching. She's not a dog that takes pressure well, so I did this in order to keep her motivated to keep at the task.

Unfortunately, we are heading into winter here in New England so our opportunities to work stock will be few and far between for some time. However, I'm in no rush with Ivy and want her to get it right without taking away her desire to work with me.

Thanks again,

Jan

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Thank you for your sage advice, Bob. It's good to know that I'm on the right page with her training as I had just started to do pretty much what you have suggested. Right now, regardless of what word (I'm using EASY) or whistle I use to communicate to slow down, Ivy lies down. I immediately get her back up, give her an EASY if she starts pushing too hard and gaining on her sheep, at which point she will lie down on her own again. She will not get up on her own, so I have to tell her to walk on to get her on her feet. The last time that we worked a friend's sheep which are quite light, after about 10 minutes of working on pace on the drive, she finally settled down and started to rate her sheep. I didn't fuss with her about lines but I did occasionally have her fetch the sheep to me as a reward. I've been told that this is a "no-no" when driving, but Ivy truly understands the difference between driving and fetching. She's not a dog that takes pressure well, so I did this in order to keep her motivated to keep at the task.

Unfortunately, we are heading into winter here in New England so our opportunities to work stock will be few and far between for some time. However, I'm in no rush with Ivy and want her to get it right without taking away her desire to work with me.

Thanks again,

Jan

 

Getting the dog to fetch the sheep to you while driving is ok if the dog knows the difference between driving and fetching and is not actively trying to fetch the sheep to you all the time because he/she either wants to or doesn't understand the concept of driving yet. In your case I'm sure it's allright to have her fetch the sheep to you. As far as her rating the sheep, you need to keep in mind that it is she who sets the pace of the sheep according to their (the sheep's) comfort level. You will let the dog know how fast or slow you want the sheep to move and that is where she will keep them. After she is able to figure out what the best pace for the sheep is without your help, then she will be able to rate them as to where she feels the best pace is but you may not agree with her and then you have to step in and let her know atjust what speed you want them.

Good luck, Bob

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