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jack'sgirl

Getting a good down

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Hi there,

I have a two year old that is coming along nicely after somewhat of a rough start. Before I got her, she was allowed to run sheep without much direction. She was very wild and I had a hard time getting her to stop once she got locked onto a sheep. I have been working with her for about a year now and she is learning to be patient and wait for my direction. She works well close up on both voice and whistle commands(within about 100 feet of me) but she is not consistant with her down. The further out she gets, the less she wants to take the down. She goes on auto pilot and pretty much shuts me out until she gets within a certain distance of me. How can I get her to take commands at a distance without resorting to yelling?

Thanks

Debbie

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Hi there,

I have a two year old that is coming along nicely after somewhat of a rough start. Before I got her, she was allowed to run sheep without much direction. She was very wild and I had a hard time getting her to stop once she got locked onto a sheep. I have been working with her for about a year now and she is learning to be patient and wait for my direction. She works well close up on both voice and whistle commands(within about 100 feet of me) but she is not consistant with her down. The further out she gets, the less she wants to take the down. She goes on auto pilot and pretty much shuts me out until she gets within a certain distance of me. How can I get her to take commands at a distance without resorting to yelling?

Thanks

Debbie

 

You can't do it without yelling with some dogs and I would suggest she is one of them. The "lie down" is one of the most important commands on a working dog and, if not executed effectively, the dog is in the wrong place all the time. I am a little concerned about the "waiting for your direction" statement as you want your dog to be thinking when she is working and take direction when needed, not waiting for you to give it. Don't be too concerned about yelling while training a dog. You need to use a firm voice and, at times, a loud voice to get the effect you are looking for. As the dog progresses in her training you will have to use less volume in your voice. The stop or "lie down" must be executed as quickly as you are telling the dog to do it. If you want the dog to stop immediately, use that kind of command. ie; "LIE DOWN!!!!! If you want her to slow down or stop slowly, soften it up quite a bit. Use a soft voice for actions that you want executed in that manner and, of course, the sharp, firm voice for things you want done immediately. You can use your whistle the same way. Now, as far as the dog running through you when you give her a command, don't put up with it. Get yourself out to her and give her a scolding if she is ignoring you. Use as much force as is necessary to accomplish the task of getting to listen to you. This can be in the form of "shame on you" (words aren't important, it's the inflection in your voice that counts) but I don't think that will work on her. The next step is to really chastise her harshly so she knows she has done something wrong which will likely work and if that doesn't give her a good shaking. Don't carry on too long with this stuff and don't hold grudges. Give her the correction and then get on with your training in a positive way. One thing that is very important with a dog like yours is to not move out too far too fast. If she is lying down well at 100 feet like you say just move out to 125 feet and when she is consistent there then go a little further. So often we find that we go to far too fast and the dog goes backwards instead of progressing. Take little steps. They work much better. I must apologize for taking so long to answer you but we are lambing right now and there isn't much time in the day or night to spend on the computer. Let me know how you are doing with her in a while and we can continue from there........Bob

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Hi there,

I have a two year old that is coming along nicely after somewhat of a rough start. Before I got her, she was allowed to run sheep without much direction. She was very wild and I had a hard time getting her to stop once she got locked onto a sheep. I have been working with her for about a year now and she is learning to be patient and wait for my direction. She works well close up on both voice and whistle commands(within about 100 feet of me) but she is not consistant with her down. The further out she gets, the less she wants to take the down. She goes on auto pilot and pretty much shuts me out until she gets within a certain distance of me. How can I get her to take commands at a distance without resorting to yelling?

Thanks

Debbie

 

I had a similar problem with my 2.5 year old. She worked so nicely, but really didn't want to lie down around the stock. I started working downs constantly with every thing we did. If she wanted supper, she had to lie down, if she wanted to play, had to lie down, we just started playing the lie down game all the time. I gave her lots of cookies for a good down so the value of the lie down was high. Then when I took her into the pen, I kept her on leash for a bit and she had to lie down before we went into the pen, then she had to lie down before she could work the stock. if she didn't, no stock. Since working stock is what she wants most, she has been improving a lot. it won't take long if you are consistent.

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i'll tell you how trainer barb armata gave my dog a down. some may not like it, but it worked for us. nova had a good down in the yard and house, but not on sheep. in the round pen barb put out 3 or 4 sheep and kept nova on a long line, but holding it like a leash. they followed the sheep at a walking pace around the pen. barb would randomly ask for a "lie down". if nova didn't immediatly give a down, barb stepped on the rope about a foot from the collar and basically forced the dog to consider down as a very good option. the first 3 or so times the dog struggled against the pressure till it realized down would relieve it. after that, when barb asked for a "lie down" she recieved one pretty quickly. since it was done in the precence of sheep, it has translated pretty well to the open field (and the agility course!).

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