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Getting sheep into a tight spot, and then getting them out again, needs confidence and control
Practising any particular technique, time and time again, becomes boring for handler and dog, so don’t be afraid to tackle something new with your young dog, even if you think he might not be quite ready. There’s no harm in broadening the dog’s horizons, and encouraging it to think.
In this tutorial we see Eve, a keen young dog whose training’s progressing pretty well. The basics are in place; Eve flanks nicely and (usually) stops well, but she still shows some tyro weaknesses – she favours “Away” to “Come Bye”, and her stop isn’t so good when she feels under pressure. However, a lesson in and around the pen doesn’t only teach penning, it gives us the opportunity to work on Eve’s stop and flanks, to introduce the “Look Back” (when she fails to bring all her sheep cleanly to the pen) and to help build her confidence to get between the sheep and the fence.
Although the work may be new and different for the dog, for the handler the rules are the same as ever. Just as when working in the training ring or out in the field, you must remain – or appear to remain – calm and confident, and to use the training stick in exactly the same way as usual to either block or support the dog’s decisions.
The tutorial uses three camera angles and shows the entire lesson twice, making this one of our longest tutorials yet (over half an hour). To help you understand exactly what’s happening, the first session is at half-speed with a full commentary. It’s not always a slick performance (by man or dog – or sheep!) but then, training very rarely is. Visit the Tutorials Library.