New Tutorial: Bronwen and Scylla (Part 5)

Training a herding dog inside a training ring

Part 5 of a Training Comparison Between Litter Sisters
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OUR LATEST TUTORIAL   –   Bronwen & Scylla, Part 5

In part five of our series comparing the training of litter sisters Bronwen and Scylla, we see the two facing the challenge of new, and “undogged” sheep. Some of the results are predictable and true to form.

Scylla has an almighty charge and scatters the sheep in all directions causing four to exit the ring but once under control, she was impressive at times – particularly at keeping the sheep off the hurdles, but her session ended prematurely when a sheep collapsed with stress exhaustion.

Bronwen’s performance was erratic – largely because she was distracted by the close proximity of some inquisitive cattle.

Sheep jumping out of a training ring
Scylla scattered the sheep at first, but soon settled down to work quite well

Some terms used in this video:

  • FLOCKING INSTINCT
    A powerful defensive instinct of sheep used as protection against predators. At the first sign of danger, they run together and form a tight bunch, if possible sheltering in a corner or near bushes or undergrowth for additional protection.
  • TAIL
    When a dog is working with its tail in the air, it’s a reliable sign that the dog is nervous or excited. Usually, the tail will be lower as the dog’s confidence increases.
  • DOGGED SHEEP
    Sheep that are not used to dogs are often terrified of them. The more erratic the dog’s work, the more frightened and panicky the sheep will be. When sheep get used to being worked with dogs, they become steadier. These are known as “dogged” sheep. In extreme cases, sheep can be so indifferent to dogs, they become difficult to move.
  • BALANCE
    The position the dog needs to be in, to hold the sheep where the handler wants them. Often during training, the handler wants the dog to hold the sheep to him or her, and the “point of balance” will be somewhere on the opposite side.
  • GRIP
    When the dog bites a sheep, it’s politely referred to as “gripping”.
  • FLANKING
    The dog going round the sheep is known as “flanking”.
  • ONE SIDED
    Just like humans, most dogs are left or right-handed particularly when they begin training. Until this is trained out of them, it can affect the dogs work because they don’t perform well when going in the direction they don’t like.

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