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TRIALING AND TRAINING
DOG FIRST AID
MADE IN THE USA
SHEEPDOG HERDING LESSONS
My friend Roland came over to work sheep with his dog Jessy. Last week, Jessy had been spayed, and Roland hadn't been able to sheepdog herd with her for a while. Decker had also missed Jessy. They are best friends, always playing and chasing each other as fast as they can run, around the house and back again. Often, we will see Decker on his back, with Jessy straddling him, as they mouth fight.
While Roland did some sheepdog herding with his dog, I went over to the other side of the house to stack wood. The forecast in the afternoon was for rain. Since we heat our house with wood, it is pretty important to have our wood under the tarp, nice and dry. My husband had just finished splitting all of the wood, and didn't have enough time to stack it. So I thought I would help him out.
When I got done stacking wood, I was able to do some sheepdog herding with my girls. I had a lesson with Shelley, my trainer, last Saturday. Since then I have been working with both of them not to slice the end of their flanks, the part where they want to stop and start to drive. Since the flanks start good, its just the end that I have been working on. I am trying to make them understand not to close in on the sheep, and to keep back and lesson the pressure off of them. This will help in trialing.
Decker has been introduced to driving. Last week, I just touched on it. Today, I let him drive further. I was expecting a struggle. When I changed training strategies on him before, we both struggled for several weeks. When I went from him circling the stock, both directions, to fetching, I was constantly blocking him wanting to circle. After several weeks of this, he settled down and accepted that I wanted both, circling and fetching. But I wanted it when it was appropriate. When I am walking backwards and asking him to walk up, he, by instinct, is to bring me the sheep. Now, he fetches very well. I no longer have to use the fences, and am out in the open field.
I am quite impressed with the amount of instinct that he has. While driving today, he did fine. I was ready for a challenge, but didn't have one. Roland was watching, and commented that maybe he is a driving dog. Driving dogs are drivers by nature. That is what they really want to do. You will find them in all of the herding breeds. I actually think it is just a little early to tell if he is a driving (line) dog. And to tell you the truth, I am starting to have fun working him. It has been somewhat of a chore to train him. But now that he is starting to drive some, that is more fun for me.
I am still working on him to learn his flanks. I feel that he is just starting to get the idea, that away means something, and come-by means something. I am thinking that he will know them in a couple more weeks.
Earlier, I mentioned that I would let you know how the male wrap is working for Decker. Great!! :) I wish I had used it sooner. He is also learning to stand on command by having to put on the wrap when he comes in the house. Also, my house is rejoicing, as there is no more leaking at all.
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