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Luana

walking backward

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Me and Spillo are continuing to learn and we finally reached a point where I can calmly work him without too much diving in. we are now training at a different farm, different training approach, it seems working better with him.

you can look at this video for reference:

https://drive.google.com/open?id=1PtUk4XEyXonR_g-OAIjyDKezxxLeSAy2

 

we are starting the exercise of walking backward to improve his working distance and the lie down. I have a question about having him reach the point of balance when I send him off. particularly in the away direction he has the tendency to circle the sheep, I would like have him stop behind the sheep and walk in a straight line. Is there something specific I should do to encourage this? and am I positioning myself correctly?

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Get out of the arena and into a field where you have some room to mov in a straight line . Don't let the dog flip back and forth behind the sheep rather make him keep a straight line . Do this by giving him a chastisement when he begins to do it such as a " no" or " hey" . Also lie him down occasionally to have him keep his distance from the sheep. After you cover some straight line distance ,say 25 or 30 yes turn 90 degrees so that he has to move to balance. Get some less dogged sheep if you can as well.

 

Good Luck

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You're doing great. But as jomur said, you need to get out into the open. The dog is doing the best he can, but he is cramped. Of course all dogs have to know how to work in tight quarters, much tighter that these, but having regular training like this is not good. Later, he may billow out and run way too wide.

 

The sheep will also behave differently in the open. If you do go into the open try to make a video of it and compare your dog's demeanor in each place.

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I think I hear Luana say herself to the person off camera that she'd like to go outside in the open. And I agree with that and the people above, that would be a good idea. You clearly have more than enough control over your dog to do that.

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More space, and moving on to some sheep that are less likely to just follow you regardless of what your dog is doing will help you. Sheep can teach a dog a lot but these are following you while your dog follows them. Since the sheep are virtually attached to your body he can't tell that he's supposed to be controlling them and holding them to you.

 

You can mechanically help him be in the right place for now by lying him down when he's directly behind the sheep.

 

 

Try not to send your dog at the beginning after the sheep have already turned to follow you so he can get the idea that he is supposed to lift the sheep and hold them to you. Maybe if they have some grain they will stay put so he can get around them.

 

Have fun!

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thank you all for all the valuable suggestions!

I will surely bother you more with questions as we improve with our training ;-)

and yes we are moving in the larger training field starting from next session, we are at the moment working with training sheep, heavy, with a tendency to follow me around. the next step will be to start to work with some less dogged sheep.

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here are more progress in the training:

https://drive.google.com/open?id=1sKcaVMmDokXaVoVs-ltCE2ElzadHhQG

we moved into an open area, but not a very large one. we are starting with some short outrun. I'm using pretty much always the same corner as the sheep have an escape gate there close to the barn and they want to go there all the times. so I was using this at my advantage as I found difficult to set them in the middle and have them stay in place.

we are starting with the away as the come by feels a bit more difficult to me. should I have him go even wider when I send him off? the sheep start to move away from the corner pretty much when I send him off.

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Here is my opinion,  more experienced folks please correct me if I am off:

To me this is still very, very cramped. When I said to take him into the open,  I didn't mean just outdoors but to a larger open space.  Here he can't cover the sheep - they are against the fence so he can't learn how to  do an outrun and lift and cover the sheep properly.  In general he can't learn in this field to feel their bubble because the place is so small he is always inside the bubble, and he can't find the place outside of it.    

I counted over twenty little outruns on away an one on comebye.  In my opinion, these are too many  repetitions in general, and way too many on the preferred side. From what I know, there should be more work on the less comfortable side. The dog may need more aid and encouragement in the less comfortable side, but he needs to work more there, and not get fixated on the side he already likes more.  

He needs more involved work on the sheep - wearing in a straight line,  changing directions  at  90 degrees, so that he naturally swings out and learns to read them.  For all this he needs space.  

He is a nice dog, and he responds to you well, but I feel he is physically and mentally cramped.  

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Thanks Maja for the suggestions. yes next Sunday I was thinking to try in the open area. I'm taking things slow as when I started with Spillo I had a very difficult time to have him under control.  I am not very comfortable in the come by direction, as well as Spillo, so I'm trying to get there. repetitions: how many repetitions would be recommended in a training session? what I tried to do, as the sheep would gather always in the same spot, is to change the position from which I was sending Spillo, and I agree that I need to work on the come by direction, we are just starting with the outrun.

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I would make twice as many flanks/outruns on the worse side than on the preferred side (but other people may have other suggestions), and I would keep count (or have someone keep count) of the flanks/outruns, because from my experience people are not aware of how many flanks they do on the better side, doing  more flanks than they think.  I would also use the away flank as a reward for a better come-bye flank.   

When it comes to repetition, the key thing, in my opinion, is to avoid repetitiveness of one thing without interspersing it with something else. So you do a couple of outruns and then you do wearing and turns, then again outruns, then  doing figure eight or something else.  Border collies tend to overthink things and if you keep repeating something,  he may become bored or get to thinking he's doing something wrong.  So when you see improvement, you should then move onto something else and only later go back to this, so that he feels "mission accomplished".   This is hard, because when the dog does well, we have a tendency to make ask him to repeat.   Whereas, the best thing, form what i know, is to move on and go back to this later.  When it comes to the number orf repetition you have to watch your dog and see his demeanor, the dog tells you when it's too much.  

I would like to suggest that you buy Vergil Holland's Herding Dogs. Progressive Training.   This is an excellent book, because it is comprehensive: for every problem there is a solution in the form of en exercise. Also Vergil Holland shows how to expand upon and progress in your training.  He has some nice exercises for tight flanks.  One of them is doing figure eight between posts.   

I know that a dog difficult to control is a big problem, but I also had a dog whose very problem was the tight space to which he had been confined due to being hard to control. Which, as it turned out, created a vicious circle.   So he came to me as a "problem  dog" and after I tried a number of things in our  training area, I decided to turn him loose  on an open field.  After the initial couple of minutes of havoc, it was as though someone flipped a switch within him. He calmed down  and started working fairly normal and stayed that way.  Later we  of course went back to the more confined space, since the dog has to be able to work in all spaces eventually, but my experience in general tells me that in the beginning,  very cramped quarters often create problems that seem to indicate the dog is not ready for open space whereas it is the closed space that is the problem.    (And now I am really hoping I won't be sorry  I wrote this after tour opens area training session :lol:)

 

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1 hour ago, Maja said:

I would make twice as many flanks/outruns on the worse side than on the preferred side (but other people may have other suggestions), and I would keep count (or have someone keep count) of the flanks/outruns, because from my experience people are not aware of how many flanks they do on the better side, doing  more flanks than they think.  I would also use the away flank as a reward for a better come-bye flank.   

When it comes to repetition, the key thing, in my opinion, is to avoid repetitiveness of one thing without interspersing it with something else. So you do a couple of outruns and then you do wearing and turns, then again outruns, then  doing figure eight or something else.  Border collies tend to overthink things and if you keep repeating something,  he may become bored or get to thinking he's doing something wrong.  So when you see improvement, you should then move onto something else and only later go back to this, so that he feels "mission accomplished".   This is hard, because when the dog does well, we have a tendency to make ask him to repeat.   Whereas, the best thing, form what i know, is to move on and go back to this later.  When it comes to the number orf repetition you have to watch your dog and see his demeanor, the dog tells you when it's too much.  

I would like to suggest that you buy Vergil Holland's Herding Dogs. Progressive Training.   This is an excellent book, because it is comprehensive: for every problem there is a solution in the form of en exercise. Also Vergil Holland shows how to expand upon and progress in your training.  He has some nice exercises for tight flanks.  One of them is doing figure eight between posts.   

I know that a dog difficult to control is a big problem, but I also had a dog whose very problem was the tight space to which he had been confined due to being hard to control. Which, as it turned out, created a vicious circle.   So he came to me as a "problem  dog" and after I tried a number of things in our  training area, I decided to turn him loose  on an open field.  After the initial couple of minutes of havoc, it was as though someone flipped a switch within him. He calmed down  and started working fairly normal and stayed that way.  Later we  of course went back to the more confined space, since the dog has to be able to work in all spaces eventually, but my experience in general tells me that in the beginning,  very cramped quarters often create problems that seem to indicate the dog is not ready for open space whereas it is the closed space that is the problem.    (And now I am really hoping I won't be sorry  I wrote this after tour opens area training session :lol:)

 

yes, I do have the book you suggested, I read it several times already. however some of the exercises I did not understand very well, so I will ask you for more explanations B)

I also have the working sheepdog subscription, and I'm in contact with Andy via Email: he gives very valuable suggestions all the times.

the video you saw is short comparing to the training session, in the video I only included the outrun portions but I was doing different exercises as well. but I do have the same feeling that I need a larger space for the figure 8 exercise.

in this farm I'm allowed to rent sheep, so I'm taking more chances to try things on my own, and learn to trust Spillo. trainers generally are not very inclined to let a dog like Spillo (you should see some of the first videos I have) free in the large area. however we are improving quite a bit now. so we will try in the large area next and see how it goes. I am learning quite a bit just training on my own, particularly from my own mistakes...but I still do work with a trainer once a month.

 

 

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On one sidedness, I ran across some advice that went a bit against the more classic approach of working the weak side more than the strong side. It made sense to me and used it on my current dog in training, who was not that terribly one sided, but had an obvious strong and weak side. Worked fine for us.

Here is the link, click on the articles "Help me! I can't do that... yet!"(part1), and "I can do that (part2). I found them helpful.

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Sounds good, Luana.  There are a lot of obstacles in training when you don't have your own sheep, a dandy field, good training area, and an experienced teacher close by.

 

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Thanks!

Carol Campion helped me  a great deal in training my dogs.  

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Luana

Just a nit picky point but better to correct it now than later. When you send the dog for the sheep ,turn to face the sheep not the dog, this cues him to where the sheep are located. Also don't handle (touch) him to set him up, instead move forward a bit and call him to the side you are sending him. When sending use a verbal command (or as some do so as not to give a wrong command , give him a sshhh sound ) and do NOT give any physical gestures such as flicking you stick, moving toward him as he is leaving etc. This puts pressure on him at a time that you don't want pressure.

As others have said above ,get to a bigger field. Don't practise too long ,many short sessions are better.

Good Luck

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58 minutes ago, jomur said:

Luana

Just a nit picky point but better to correct it now than later. When you send the dog for the sheep ,turn to face the sheep not the dog, this cues him to where the sheep are located. Also don't handle (touch) him to set him up, instead move forward a bit and call him to the side you are sending him. When sending use a verbal command (or as some do so as not to give a wrong command , give him a sshhh sound ) and do NOT give any physical gestures such as flicking you stick, moving toward him as he is leaving etc. This puts pressure on him at a time that you don't want pressure.

As others have said above ,get to a bigger field. Don't practise too long ,many short sessions are better.

Good Luck

will try that. one thing that was suggested to me was to use my body and the stick at the shoulder level of Spillo to encourage him to go wider. so if I step a bit forward and look at the sheep should I step to the right if I send him away and have him pass me as I'm the post?

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2 hours ago, Smalahundur said:

There is a very simple explanation for that Maja; I completely forgot to put it there... :D

Here it is: http://odnt-bittersweetfarm.blogspot.com

this is a great link! thanks!

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Luana

i wouldn't make any gestures or step into him . Get him used to going out on command. Watch the big hat handlers, not one of them touches,gestures or steps into their dog when they send him.

 

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But you don't watch those big hats while they are starting their young dogs. You watch them performing a winning run at a top trial with an experienced open dog. The best ones might not even use a stop command, clearing the course in one flow. But does that mean you shouldn't teach your dog a lie down?

I agree that the goal is to get the dog get out on command, but I think, in the beginning, you need stepping in, gestures etc, to teach the dog the meaning of your commands. Then as soon as possible you fade them out. I also agree there seems to be a bit much gesturing going on in Luana's vids, so the question is what stage of training the dog is in, does it really need those extra pointers?

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I agree that I might overdue it with the gestures (sorry is the Italian in me, I cannot help it :D). however I'm trying to set Spillo up for success going wide and not like a bullet into the sheep as he was doing before. so, I observed several trainers, some for example use  a stick or  a plastic water bottle, throwing them at the dog while is going for the outrun.

Andy (from the working sheepdog) uses the slingshot to widen the outrun.

obviously the final goal would be not to use gestures at all, but that will take time...

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Any pressure that I use ona dog (voice, posture, or gesture), I use it two-fold: (1) always use the lowest level that works, and when it does not , I can always 'up' it  one degree, until I get to the point where it works (2) as soon as a level gets a good reaction, the dog gets praised (usually by tone in the command not a separate praise) and the very next time I use a lower level of pressure.  This gradually creates a softer,  more pliable dog. 

But, often the non-pressure works better for me.  Here I have a video, where the first time, I push Bonnie out and the second time, I do the opposite, I go backwards giving her more room - you can see the opposite reactions of the dog - she goes much tighter the first time, and much wider the second time. My motions here are not perfect (I did that movie 8 years ago) but it's not easy to record oneself, and this is the best I caught  on camera. 

 

 

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