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Maralynn

Green dog, undogged sheep

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I got my round pen finished this afternoon and took Kipp out.

 

The good news - I think this is going to work out pretty well!

 

BUT, I'm using the ornament sheep that are kept near the house to keep the grass down and they are not used to being worked by a dog even though they are familiar with the dogs. And Kipp is pretty intense and they can feel it and it makes them kinda jumpy. I can keep him under decent control, but I'm really keeping the brakes on him.

 

I'm wondering if there is a way that I can get them more comfortable to his presence so they're not so jumpy? Or is this something that will work out as I work them?

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Thanks. I think he is being fair for the most part. It started out a bit rough, (mostly because they were like "dog!") but he did settle into cover/balance fairly quickly mode and he had it pretty well a few times.

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Knowing very little, I started out this spring with lambs who probably now fit the definition of ornament sheep :). My boys had taken some lessons in the round pen but I don't have one so we went straight to working in the pasture but it is sectioned off so we were using about a half acre lot. We began to train in earnest around July-August when the bigger lambs were about six months old. I always give my boys had a good run before going to a lesson or working my own sheep. Even five or ten minutes running up and down "Cardiac Hill" - the slope above the orchard - helps to take the edge off.

 

The Clun/Tunis lambs were used to dogs - my boys Mom and the Cluns were especially placid so I'd sort out two of them to start with. Once they (especially Daffodil) understood that the dogs wouldn't hurt them, they calmed down and I added the others one at a time. The boys can handle all six now, including my fast moving Shetlands without either side getting excited but when we're trying something new that I just take two or three out.

 

Limiting the time you're working helps too. I became more successful when I began to more accurately read the signals that Brodie's concentration was slipping or Robin's eyes were glazing over. Pulling them off just before that line really helps to keep control of the situation and they've grown a great deal since.

 

If we want to get anywhere, of course, we'll need to find some more challenging sheep, but for now my main goal is to get everyone down to the orchard and back in one piece, so familiarity is helpful.

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Mara, you can work him on the outside of the round pen with the sheep inside. That way both dog and sheep can get used to the idea, and you can work on your timing, and his obedience on stock.

Good luck with it

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Mara, you can work him on the outside of the round pen with the sheep inside. That way both dog and sheep can get used to the idea, and you can work on your timing, and his obedience on stock.

Good luck with it

 

Hmm, that's an idea! Does the size of the round pen affect how well this could work? the one I have is about 70ft.

 

FWIW, I was going to head out there with Kipp this afternoon, but the sheep were pretty wary about going back in the round pen so I decided to just feed them out there today then work Kipp again tomorrow.

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Mara, you can work him on the outside of the round pen with the sheep inside. That way both dog and sheep can get used to the idea, and you can work on your timing, and his obedience on stock.

Good luck with it

I second this, it works. I used a pretty small penn, just about 5 meters across, and only used it in the way Amelia describes.

After we (Gláma, the sheep and last but not least me) all got the idea we moved out to the field.

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Went back out today with Kipp. Tried having him on the outside at first, but I think the pen is a bit too large for that and it really wasn't feeling like it was working for us so I took him back inside the pen to work.

 

But the sheep are starting to stick to me. They're not knee-knockers yet, but I think they're figuring out how the whole thing works. Kipp is doing A LOT of work to cover/balance them, but he's working pretty clean and fair. And wow, does it ever keep me on my toes.

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Update - I like my dog :)

 

Kipp has really settled down. Still fast as all get out, but he's really figuring out where he needs to be. He has a tendancny to want to dive in and bite if he's unsure, but I took him out tonight and he only tried it twice in 10 minutes and really wants to give them space and cover them instead.

 

Next goal is a good stop. I can get him to stop but realy need to insist on it/pressure him into it.

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I'm having a similar problem. I've just bought 15 texel yearlings that were not used to dogs and it keeps bunching up on the fence and running away from me and the dog.

 

I'm training with 4 or 3 sheep inside a small pen with the dog running outside but it's getting boring for me and the dog.

 

How can I speed up the process a little? I wanted quiet sheep that comes to me at the middle of the field...

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I'm having a similar problem. I've just bought 15 texel yearlings that were not used to dogs and it keeps bunching up on the fence and running away from me and the dog.

 

I'm training with 4 or 3 sheep inside a small pen with the dog running outside but it's getting boring for me and the dog.

 

How can I speed up the process a little? I wanted quiet sheep that comes to me at the middle of the field...

 

Buy some quiet sheep who come to you in the middle of the field

 

OR

 

Have the undogged sheep worked by a dog who will work undogged sheep until the sheep are used to being worked properly by a dog.

 

OR

 

work all 15 sheep in a fenced field. It's easier to work 15 undogged sheep with a green dog than 3 or 4.

 

Working the sheep in the pen and dog outside the pen may get the sheep used to the dog to some degree, but mostly it will teach the sheep that they are safe in a pen (or corner) and frustrate the dog if done for too long a time.

 

There are few shortcuts in this craft. It takes time.

 

Pearse

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There are few shortcuts in this craft. It takes time.

 

Pearse

Though I´d agree with Pearse´s entire post he is very right here, hang on in there . If your dog has some talent you will succeed in the end, but yeah it will take time (and sweat, and cursing, and getting run over by a group of sheep, man is this fun :D ).

Good luck from another newbie, who last fall managed to get his crazy non dogged icelandic sheep to be lifted off the fence and be worked in the middle of the field (thanks Gláma).

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