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(Jess)

I am meeting a trainer

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Rebecca, okay, I will hold back Though its hard!! I can understand though, letting such a tiny pup with sheep is probably risky. I can imagine if my dog got even her toe stepped on she'd wail like someone cut her leg off.

 

This trainer is really nice & laid back, so I imagine she will let me hang around a lot. I wonder, would any trainer ever let a novice, handle an experienced dog in the field? I know with horseback riding, my trainers would let me attempt new skills on a school master before I tried it on my own green horse.

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Hi Jessica. It would be great if this trainer will let you hang round and help with sheep (and general) chores a lot. From my (limited) experience, the more time you can spend round sheep, the better. You get to have a much better understanding of how they tick, and what makes them react, and how. All of this will be really, really useful if you do decide to start your pup when she?s ready.

 

I?m really lucky in having a trainer who?s a sheep farmer, as well as being an experienced handler. I started helping out with chores after a while, and now, I?m working 4 days a week as a farm hand ? sometimes with my little trainee dog, but other times, just working with the sheep in the shed, or doing general chores. It?s making a huge difference to me in working with my dog. Another really good thing, is that I can watch my trainer and her stockman working sheep with their dogs.

 

When we first started, Kirra got into some really bad habits because of the situation we started in, so my trainer had to help me get rid of those bad habits before we could really start working. At one stage, Kirra quit and got sulky because of the pressure we needed to put on her, so my trainer had me put her up, and then lent me one of her experienced dogs to do the exercise with, so that I could feel what it should be like ? very valuable. (I should add that the dog was so experienced and stable that even a green handler couldn?t screw her up!)

 

The dog-broke sheep thing is really important too ? they will readily come to the human, making it easy for the dog to get things right at the beginning.

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cgt: I hope Renee doesn't mind me jumping in here. Not to mention she might not agree.

 

Renee won't mind and would agree. We generally don't think about starting ours till they're about 8 months. Jody was an unusual case for us; she was very mature mentally around the sheep and we VERY careful while starting her at 5 months.

 

Mark

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Thanks Tassie - this trainer is close enough, I could probably plan to go there during the weekends to spend time with the sheep She has some lambs right now, I am going to ask her how much she asks for them :rolleyes:

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Jessica,

 

You don't want to buy lambs if your plan is to work your dog on them once you start your dog. When you're ready to buy sheep, ask your trainer if she has a few very dog broke sheep she'd be willing to sell. While you and your dog are learning you want sheep that are willing to follow you even in the presence of a very excited young dog. Lambs or "fresh" sheep will head for the hills unless your dog knows how to cover and stay off the sheep.

 

Let's see if I can put this in perspective for you. If you wanted to learn how to rope from horseback (and didn't know how to ride) would you start out on a young horse trying to rope calves? (This probably shows my ingorance of roping)

 

Mark

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Jessica,

 

We let our pups be around sheep (able to see them but not able to get to them) until they start showing interest. We are also aware of situations where a ewe could scare a pup (charge at the fence where the pup is standing, stomp near where the pup is, etc) and avoid these. Interest can be in the form of wanting to stare at the sheep for long periods of time, flush the sheep off the fences that separate the sheep from the house, or chase sheep (fence running). These are all bad habits that are easier to prevent than correct later.

 

Mark

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Well, the lamb my mom wants mostly for company for her goat. I didn't have plans on working that lamb necessarily, but more so just caring for it to see how they work, as they are much different than horses and when I have more money (and experience) buy 3 dog broke sheep. I don't need fully functionable sheep to herd right now, as I wouldn't know what the heck to do with them :rolleyes: but since my moms goat needs a buddy, I thought a lamb to just care for might be beneficial later when I move forward. What do you think?

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Mark --

 

So you mean, when the dog notices the sheep as something to obsess over/chase, then its time to REMOVE the dog from the situation until a later date when they are older?

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Jessica,

 

My concern about your purchasing lamb(s) was the possiblity you were thinking they could be something for you and your dog to work (after you start your pup). I just wanted to be sure you understood this would be a mistake.

 

So you mean, when the dog notices the sheep as something to obsess over/chase, then its time to REMOVE the dog from the situation until a later date when they are older?

 

Essentially correct. Realize that "obsess" can take on several forms and may not include the dog moving. Allowing a pup to lay and stare could create working problems later. "Later" is when you're ready to start your pup.

 

Mark

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I was glancing through the posts and saw Charlie's about exposing a 12 week old pup to sheep. You had me totally bewildered thinking when I would have ever said something like that to someone. :rolleyes: I read through everything thorougly now so I'm caught up. Definitely, it's better to wait. Border collie's can go through so many quirky fear stages growing up. You wouldn't want it to remember something scary about sheep while it's in one of these stages.

Renee

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Okay, well I am back from the trainers! I really enjoyed it. As far as I can tell, from a novice view, her dogs seemed very under control and responded well, the sheep were calm (minus a few rowdy babies & an aggressive mom) and it was all very precise looking. The trainer was able to work her dogs with no verbal cues, and even her young, new dog did well.

 

She spent a lot of time explaining what she was doing and why, let me move the sheep a bit to learn how they move, and taught me how to look at some of the sheeps behavior to predict what they were going to do next.

 

My puppy did come because we were out of the house for 5+ hours (errands and such) and no one could watch her @ home, but I don't think she even noticed any sheep. lol She stayed with my mom on leash and walked around the farm, mostly playing doggie soccer with some gentle older BC's that she buddied up with.

 

The trainer did give me some great advice on how to prepare my dog for sheep when she's older, so I'm really excited. I definatly can't wait to go back soon

 

 

sheep5.jpg

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That sounds great, Jessica. It's amazing how much you can learn about working sheep when you don't have to worry about what your dog is doing :rolleyes: ! And it sounds like your trainer will give you some really good background. That will be so useful when Tessa Kate is ready to start. (Wish I'd had that opportunity.)

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Tassie, yes it was a nice experience! It's funny because I have NEVER been around a single sheep in my life. They're alot smaller than I thought! I think my favorite dog was her male, who was the one she said was "fresh" - I liked his quick, intense style the most.

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