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Using 'There' - what, where, when, why and how to train

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Yesterday a video of a border collie herding cattle into a trailer showed up on my FB feed. Not sure if others saw it. The dog's name was Brute.

 

The handler was using the command "There" quite a bit to stop the dog in precise locations. I actually was quite impressed, but I wondered about the command 'There' since I don't seem to hear it very much at the sheepdog trials I have attended. So I have several questions for anyone who can explain:

 

Is 'There' more common in certain situations (i.e. loading livestock onto a trailer vs. herding in a large field)?

 

Used more for the cattle culture vs. the sheep culture?

 

Do you use it? A lot or a little?

 

Do you have an alternate command that serves the same purpose? (Lie Down? but this dog stopped while still maintaining an alert stand)

 

How would you train a 'There'?

 

Any other insights would be appreciated.

 

Thanks in advance

 

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I use there when I want to place the dog precisely, which is important for driving and even shedding and penning. For me it's pretty much the same as my steady whistle, which is in turn a very short version of the stop.

 

It's likely that lots of handlers are using the command (through whistles) and you just haven't noticed because they're not saying the word.

 

You could train it like any other command. There essentially means (if the dog is flanking) "turn in there and start pushing on that line." So you can start with there when the dog comes to balance (assuming the dog has enough eye to cause it to turn in on balance, and then move on to other spots around the circle of a flank.

 

Consider that when you ask a dog to lie down, it often turns in to the stock. So you can use a combination of there and lie down to achieve the desired effect once you move from using there at the balance point. That's pretty much what I'm doing with Birdie now. I give her a "there" where I want her to turn in and if she doesn't turn in then I give her a "lie down" so that she makes the connection with "there" meaning that she isn't to travel further along her current path but instead needs to turn in. The lie down reinforces, but ultimately the dog will turn in when you say there, but will keep moving forward at the same pace at which it was going when it heard the command.

 

I'm probably not explaining very well because I just sort of do it automatically when I'm training.

 

J.

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I learned to use "there" at my first exposure to training Celt, at a cattledog clinic (we did use sheep as part of the clinic but the initial exposure was to calves and the emphasis was on working cattle) given by an old-time western stockman. It meant to "turn in *right there* to face the stock and walk up or stop, depending on the situation and what we are trying to accomplish". A "walk up" or "down" or "stand" would be given if I needed to further direct Celt at that point.

 

Dan is not quite as in tune to the "there" as Celt was rather naturally but he has developed the concept to a degree and continues to improve on it.

 

I find it a useful command and, for Celt, it's something he has always done quite naturally and nicely once he grasped the concept at the beginning of that first clinic, when he had just turned one year old. As Julie said, using the balance point to train the command makes it rather easy for many dogs to learn.

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I used to use "there" when I was still working livestock too. It was a useful cue to let the dog know that it needed to stop it's forward movement and stop or turn in, but without the break that "lie down" warranted.

 

ETA: I'm sure there were other reasons I used it, but not remembering ATM; it seems like a lifetime ago. :(

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I tend to teach it when driving. It depends on the dog what works best, I tend to stop the dog with a stand or down then a there walk up to indicate exactly where I want the walk up, honestly usually not balance.

 

I think many people teach it put are able to drop it on experienced dogs. A flank and then walk up should have them walking up where they are asked. I have heard it used a bit when possibly correcting a bit to get the dog in an exact location. I use it often at home on sheep when needing more precise work that may not be "natural" or what the dog wants to do.

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Why would you drop it for an experienced dog? My experienced dog has no better clue than an inexperienced one where I might want it to turn in off a flank and start driving. For my dogs I'd give a flank and a there and then expect the dog to walk up knowing that doing so would be the next expectation.

 

J.

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It's likely that lots of handlers are using the command (through whistles) and you just haven't noticed because they're not saying the word.

 

 

J.

That is very likely since I do not know what the different whistles mean.

 

In the video, it was close work so verbal commands were used.

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I can simply give a flank then a walk up where I want it, dont have to use the there. For me a there is a position. I might want a down or a stand or walk up. If I do not need to mark the exact spot I dont use it

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My disagreement is with your comment that most people drop the term. I know plenty of open handlers who use it regularly, including myself.

 

J.

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Indeed Pam. My 'there' (is icelandic btw, tharna) has a rather different meaning than the one from previous posters; I use it as a"hold that line" command with Gláma who likes heading too much.

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I don't remember whose videos on starting puppies I was watching, but he used "there" to teach pups where the balance point is. I think the way he did it could have easily transferred to "Hold that line" as the pups matured and learned more complex behaviors.

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^^Exactly, except I don't use there to teach the dog balance (I prefer dogs with eye, so they generally find the balance point on their own) but rather as a marker (same as my previous comments--it means start moving forward on that line, whether it's a fetch--young dog--or drive--dog further along in training). For me, because my there whistle is the same as my steady and is the beginning of the lie down, it's all just nuance to the dog. A short tweet means there/steady; the longer version means stop. Because I don't necessarily want the dog to stop when it turns in on the "there" command, I use a different whistle from the stop. So while Denise uses a stop/walk up to position a dog to start a drive, I simply use a "there," which may or may not be followed by a walk up (depending on the situation and dog). Slightly different process, same end result.

 

Smalahundur,

I don't think your use is that different. It's all about indicating where the dog should turn in and then could be (and is) used to remind the dog to hold that line (stay there on that line) and to be steady (don't push too hard). My Kat had "gears": one steady whistle was just to hold the line, a second steady would mean take it down on gear (e.g., lope to trot), and a third meant go even slower while staying the course (so from a trot to a walk). For the reverse (speed up) I'd use the walk up whistle (different tones for different speeds).

 

J.

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