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BLevinson

Using a dog on ewes with lambs

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Amanda,

I just finished reading your article on the finals blog. Enjoyable and well written as usual and you brought up an interesting point where you use your dogs during lambing season and it tells you alot about the individual. How do you determine when a dog is 'ready'or 'capable' to use on ewes and lambs? Age, attitude, ability? Thanks you.

 

Barbara

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Age, attitude and ability all figure into it.

Dogs should have good basic training, left, right , lie down, walk up in all kinds of pressure.

The main thing is to ensure success. That takes some work. If your dog has trouble managing a maniacal sheep, bring in the artillary and help it. Dogs have to get the upper hand by hook or by crook. If they lack confidence, I join in and help. If the ewe is real trouble I let Clive have it. Even if the one I want to inspire just sees how Clive moved in, it helps.

I know committed shepherds would not approve, but for what am I keeping these 160 sheep if not to train my dogs? If you are reading this column, asking yourself the same question should get you the same answer. Roz got her legs last year at the lambing. Clive affirms his cool demeanor in the face of a bovine on hallucinogens, at new births. It has definitely been useful to me and I recommend it to anyone. Let the dogs feel the heat and they won't get so unpleasantly surprised at trials, particularly western ones. I'll be using Dorey and Monty from time to time this lambing, Dorey Nursery for the next two years, so not yet two, and Monty last year's Nursery. I believe them both capable. Should they show any signs of being unequal, I will back off and let them do difficult work with lotsa space around them, more room to think.

Defeat at any stage of training is counterproductive and it is easier be defeated with new lambs. The handler/trainer has to stay with job and be ready to help in a flash.

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