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TRIALING AND TRAINING
DOG FIRST AID
MADE IN THE USA
SHEEPDOG HERDING LESSONS
On Tuesday, I started introducing driving to Decker. Like most dogs, he was reluctant. He wanted to bring me the sheep instead of driving them away. I only just touched on it so not to really make a big deal about it. Just little bits at a time.
Today, I worked more with Decker on driving. This time I stretched out the distance I had him drive. But really, it is just a tiny bit, just enough to give him a taste. He still does not know his flanks; so driving will be more difficult to teach him. I intend to not push him on driving, and take it slow.
On the other hand, I have been pushing him that he learn his flanks. He kind of shuts down a bit when he gets corrected, but he will get over it eventually. It is time that he starts thinking about what he is doing and where. But he is the type of dog that does not like getting into trouble, so he tends to slither (kind of a half walk, half lay down, if you can picture that). Or he will start to leave, which is typical Aussie, which I can't stand; I just keep encouraging him to keep going.
He never shuts down completely, but he is sure feeling the stress of having to make a decision of which way he is to go. I can see him think about it. He really has to take responsibility for making a wrong or right decision. I give him lots of positive reinforcement when he makes the right decision and goes the correct way that I told him to. I do expect in about a week, he will be desensitized to the pressure, and take it in stride.
I know he is smart. No dog that I know can learn to shake hands in 10 minutes flat. So hopefully soon, he will be taking more and more correct flanks, getting instantly rewarded. When I am training him on his flanks, I usually start with the easy ones, first with me on the opposite side of where I want him to go, opening up the direction where I would like him to go. Then as the lesson progresses, I start making the correct path harder, changing my position in relation to the sheep. When he wants to go one way, (I see him leaning toward a certain direction), I will send him the opposite, then immediately scold him for going the wrong way.
If he really hates being wrong, then he will catch on fairly soon, and listen to what I am saying, and respond accordingly.
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