I had a new dog to train in sheepdog herding today.  A tenacious Queensland Heeler was my new upstart.  Her given name of Honey, was not as sweet as her name led me to believe.  

About a month ago, Honey had come for her very first lesson/herding instinct test.  She did well that day, and she was sent home with one of my dog crates to aid in her potty training.  Apparently the other dog living in the same home as Honey's, was lazy and going to the bathroom in the house.  This was confusing Honey.  So she needed the dog crate as an aid to help with the potty training.

Today in Honey's sheepdog training, much of the testing was mine.  I had to keep my patience and at the same time help Honey progress in her learning, all while trying to protect the sheep from getting bitten.

She started off like gangbusters.  Running in at the sheep, splitting them up and biting them all over the place.  While I don't mind my sheep getting bitten if they challenge a dog, I really don't like them to get bit for no reason, and that is what Honey was doing.  The sheep were moving off of her just fine.

I grabbed my whipflag to see if I could get her off of the sheep somewhat.  A lot of times the flag works great, and occasionally to great, scaring a sensitive dog.  But in this instance, she got more wound up, then started challenging the flag.  I smacked it many times on the ground right in front of her nose, and with tons of energy on my part.  It didn't help that she kept on going.  

Whip flags of many Colors

Then she started sneaking behind me, while I was walking toward the sheep and she bit me.  Man, I have never had a dog just come up out of the blue and bite my calf.  Well, there was no way I was going to shine that on.  That kind of behavior can develop into kid chasing and biting.  So down she went, and was put into a submissive hold on her side.  She struggled for the longest time that I have ever put a dog in that position, and I thought that maybe she would never give up but finally she did.  I released her and we went back to herding the sheep.  About five minutes later, she bit me again, and I repeated the submitting procedure, which went much faster the second time.  Then I got a third bite, and down she went again.  This time I left her in the submission position for much longer, making sure she got the message.

After resting her for a while, I went back in the round pen with Honey.  She still was biting the sheep, and it was very hard to defend them from her bites.  So I put the long line on her and held on to it.  I had decided that she needed a collar correction the exact second that she bit one of the sheep.  I did that repeatedly until she quit biting.  Unfortunately, she quit all together.  While sheepdog herding is extremely demanding on a dog both physically and mentally, she was done with me, and thought that I didn't want her to work sheep at all.  After not being successful at getting her back on the sheep, I brought in one of my trained dogs with her.  

I have done this in the past, but usually with shy or weaker dogs, not yet hooked on sheep.  This time I brought in another dog just to get her going again.  This is what I call the pack mentality method.  Two dogs together, become a pack, and this gives dogs that are shut down a different thought process.  They quit thinking of quitting and start thinking of killing, so care must be taken.  While I had my trained dog in the round pen with Honey, she started working again.  This time was a lot quieter.  I was able (with the aid of my border collie) to get her not bite, keep some distance from the sheep, and do a few flanks both ways.  Then I decided to quit her.  I didn't want to give her the opportunity to quit on her own, or for that matter, shut down again.

As we were cooling down our dogs, I was talking to Honey's owner.  She was telling me that Honey had taken off a few days earlier, and had taken her little dog with her.  When a neighbor found them, they were about eight miles away.  She was telling me that Honey didn't have her microchip yet, but the other dog that Honey took with her did have her chip.  When I heard the end of her run away story, I called one of my dogs over and I removed her collar to show Honey's owner the Collartag on it.  

The Collartags that I have on my dog's collars will not fall off, get lost or wear off.  I told her that they are easy to put on, but tough to manually get off and on to another collar.  The Collartags are guaranteed for the life of the dog that they are purchased for, and only cost $8.50 and are shipped for free.  They also don't make noise.  Lots of sheepdog herding dogs, don't wear tags because of the noise factor.  The noise has been known to scare the sheep, and many people have told me that the hanging tags get lost very easily.

Honey's owner was very grateful to know about these Collartags, and is going to order them on the website www.SheepdogHerding.com, for all three of her dogs.

Leave a Comment:

All Content, Copyright © 2018 Operation Sheepdog Herding. All rights reserved.
Paso Robles, CA - info@sheepdogherding.com