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sean mac

recall not working when sheep start running

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Hi,

I have a bc dog that's about 9 months old. I don't work him but he is out of working parents. I trained him the basics, how to walk on and off leash, recall and that's all. He is, or was, a good dog as far as obedience goes. Anyway I live near a lot of commonage and there are often sheep and cattle walking about on the loose, in my driveway sometimes, sometimes livestock gets pretty close to the house. Until recently I could call my dog to heel when we walked by loose sheep. I spent a lot of time on recall when he was a pup. I've actually called him off sheep that we walked by that started running serveral times. Once when another loose collie pup was chasing them like mad I called him once and he came back. After that I thought his recall was rock solid. But something clicked in him recently and his drive to chase has kicked in big time took me by surprise. He's chased sheep about three times, now without coming back right away, since that happened I've been working with him and it's helping. I've taken him up to the bog and had him up close with sheep in a closed area to get him accustomed. The first time I did that I noticed that he was a bit afraid of the sheep up close. He's afraid of them until they run then he goes mental wanting to chase. Don't really want to use a shock collar on him but I will. The farmers, my neighbours, will land at my door with guns if he chases their sheep especially during lambing season. He's only doing what's natural for him so it's not going to be easy I realize.

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I should mention that I've had him on the lead since this happened but I like to walk him up in the bog without a lead, there's a lot of free roaming sheep up there. Basically I need to get him stock broke.

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That is such an enjoyable mental picture "he's afraid of them until they run then he goes mental wanting to chase."

Nine months old is often the age where an earlier epiphany with sheep becomes a full fledged obsession. Nine months will likely bring you his worst, most out of control self. If you can work through his demons till he gains control again, and without your neighbours gunning him down, he will likely emerge from teendom as a decent canine citizen.

You need to decide where you want it to head, If you see a chance for using him as a stock dog occasionally, maybe you better find ways to be training him. He could then settle down about the running sheep as a more sophisticated dog will tend to do. That will be quite a bit of work. As a sheep dog hand, of course, I feel well worth it.

If you plan for him to be a companion, for whom it will be a an inconvenience for stock chasing to top the agenda, then your shock collar will likely work. Don't change your mind after its use and want the stock worker back. Be sure at the outset.

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Ok...a teenager with an epiphany ... I guess have to think about this a bit. If he was magically transformed into a worker tomorrow than there would be work for him helping the neighbours out with sheep and cattle. But there's no way they're going to let me train him on their stock so it would be a real stretch to say that it would be possible. It might be wishful thinking but it would be cool. Besides the fact I've never worked a collie in my life and I wouldn't know where to start. A few farmers that have seen him seem to admire him. I asked one of them about maybe teaching him to work and what was involved, he said that I would need to be out with him everyday basically. . Anyway thanks this is just what I needed to know really.

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yeah called him off some loose sheep today as well. bloody things are all over these days. He still gave them a good chase before he came back. Also I saw something that really baffled me. I was throwing his ball to him the other day. It went over the fence into the field next door. The sheep had just been moved out of it. He actually knew of a gap in under the fence and went in to look for the ball. He's living beside sheep the whole time, literally within 10 feet of a field full of them that he can get into and he doesn't. I just didn't know what to make of that one.

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I get asked a lot if he is trained by farmers. he would have a lot of work and I would be popular with the neighbors.
But when I see him chase cows or sheep I just think how the hell would I ever get him to go right or left or lay down, he's just going mental.

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that dvd looks really good. I'm sure I've messed up a bit with jin as he's my first collie so that would be the dvd for me. Anyway I'm going to take him to some trials that are happening nearby in a couple weeks.

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Please, folks, this is the "Ask an Expert" forum. Everybody can chime in with training advice in the forum immediately above this one, "Training Discussion," but in this forum the only person giving advice should be our Expert, who is currently Amanda Milliken, a National Sheepdog Finals and National Nursery Finals champion. We are very lucky to have access to expertise like this, and I feel the need to keep this forum to its purpose. I have removed the posts put up by posters other than Amanda earlier in this thread, not as a comment one way or another about your training advice -- often "non-experts" have good ideas to contribute -- but to keep the focus in this one forum where it belongs. We are vouching for the expertise of the person posting advice in this forum. Ask an Expert.

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