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gvmama

Slow coming in on the shed

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I'm not sure who the expert is now, but I'll take any replies :0) 3 yr. old BC, listens well, little eye, little presence. Her sire has great presence and intensity in the shed ring. He comes in like a bullet. Now, his daughter understands her job (shedding) but is too slow coming through for my liking. I have tried shedding the first part of our work session when she is fresh. I've tried revving her up, "Watch them, Watch them." She stiil comes through very lackadaisical for lack of a better word. Looking for suggestions/training exercises to get her more powered up and focused?

Suzanne

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This is going to sound like I am riding a hobby horse, but all the comments you provide, the revving her up, her genuine understanding of the job, point to your training sheep being a problem. Small numbers of over doggy sheep are rarely any fun to shed. Tell us about them. Maybe you have five hundred Border Cheviots and I am way off base.

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Wish I did have 500 Border Cheviots! LOL...No, you are right on target. She is probably bored to death. She is working a dogged ranch flock of Dorper crosses.

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Joni Swanke has an entirely handy way of driving up to her local sale barn, selling the sheep that have become too doggy and buying fresh replacements. But we all do not have Harry Kerr's sale barn a few miles down the road. In the absence of such an option, others of us have to do things to keep our sheep good for training.

Get a breed that will stay light. Dorpers don't qualify there. Heavy meat breeds do not qualify--no suffolks, no dorsets, no katahdins. Hill type sheep are best, scottish blackface, cheviots, Barbadoes are a tad unrealistic but they can work.

Even if you have light sheep, avoid feeding them where you are the obvious provider. They can get too much like bottle lambs. Feed them no grain if you can get good enough hay. If you have to feed grain, arrange it so you set it out in one paddock and then let them into it from another, so they do not get the idea of rushing to you for food. That can worsen their clinging behaviour for shed work.

Set up your training circumstances to make your dog cheer rather than say "Oh no!"

Keep enough sheep to train shedding. Thirty or forty to get going. Ten just does not do it and certainly not with a reluctant shedder.

Making management adjustments can sort out some of the trouble you are describing. Giving purpose to taking away a shed group of sheep, like putting them in a barn , can help a dog make sense of it too. Do not just shed and put them immediately back together--take them somewhere. And never give a young dog hell for gripping at shed work. Often they have to work out what is reqired to get it done and serious castigations on the way there can discourage them. It is game on when training to shed

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