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Training technique - holding sheep against fence?

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I recently saw a video of a Kevin Evans' dog being worked on sheep. (I think the dog had been for sale, and this video was used to show the dog working.)

 

Among other things, he had the dog hold the pack of sheep (5 or 6 sheep) against him while he was backed up to a fence. He seemed to want the dog to hold them in a tight pack against the fence while he stood in the middle. Not for long, maybe 30 seconds, then he let the sheep go and the dog worked the sheep some more before repeating this exercise.

 

I am not fully understanding the purpose of this exercise. What is this teaching the dog? I have an idea or two why, but wanted to hear expert opinion.

 

Thanks for your input.

 

 

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There may be reasons why someone would want the dog to hold sheep to a fence. I often did it if I wanted to check quickly on a particular sheep without necessarily shedding it away from the flock. I also used it away from the barn if I wanted to give sheep their shots, etc.

 

So I'd say it's not necessarily teaching the dog something other than the holding itself, but that having taught the dog to hold sheep to the fence can be useful in itself for a variety of purposes.

 

I'm sure others will have additional or different comments.

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That certainly sounds reasonable. I was wondering if the fact that he, himself, was in the middle of the sheep was important - or maybe these were 'broke' sheep that wanted to be next to the human, and he took advantage of that fact to start training the dog on this technique.

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When I was working on my dog learning to independently cover we played Shoot the Gap which started with him pushing the sheep up against the fence and holding them for a second, and we have done like a "windshield wiper" exercise to help teach him to open up his flanks and learn to move out before turning in...

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IMO it's showing the dog's natural abilities rather than a trained skill (i.e. holding sheep on a fence).

 

Holding sheep to a person that's standing against a fence is very pressure filled for a dog, I assume that he is asking the dog to really put the sheep on him so the dog is walking into a lot of sheep, fence AND human pressure. A potential buyer will like to see that a dog can handle this without blowing up, orbiting off the pressure or refusing to walk in.

 

He'll also usually back off and have the dog go between the sheep and the fence, also something a buyer wants to see.

 

I've watched a lot of his sale videos. Often he will also have the dog push the sheep right up into a fence (without standing between sheep and dog) until they split and squirt out the sides; the good dog will flank off to cover the escapees without either letting them go, diving into them, and / or gripping.

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I use it when I want to grab one quick to check something out. Or I'll use a corner, and let them go till I have the one I wanted. A *hold* is invaluable imo.

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