Beekissed

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Bee, what a nice puppy. I know you will give him your all, your very best. If anybody can do this, it is you. I will be following along on this journey. I have nothing to add as I have no experience with herding dogs, but I will applaud your efforts. Dooley will become a great dog under your training.

I have never heard of a Hanging Tree Cowdog, it was interesting reading about them. Truly a utility breed.
Bay, of all the little puppies I've raised thus far, this one seems to have stolen my heart more. I don't know why. He's so easy going, but still spritely and puppyish as can be. He actually listens when I talk, cocks his little head and watches my face. He's quick to learn and doesn't get his feelings hurt over corrections. I smile every time I see him, he's just that engaging.

I don't know if I can do this kind of training but I'm excited to learn and also excited about Dooley's potential. He's not turned on, as they say, too much but he's definitely got the instinct...that's something I can work with. Not sure if I could train him if he was like his father....his father was clearly obsessed with the sheep and was busy herding them from outside the fence while we were there. His eyes never left the sheep, even with strangers on the land.

His favorite thing to herd right now is the cat, which he does a fair job of until the cat runs up a tree. He'll swing wide around the cat and then lie down in front of him, waiting for the cat's next move. The cat will run around him and Dooley will swing wide and try to cut him off. It's funny to watch and they both seem to be having fun. I say, if you can herd cats, you can herd anything! :gig

 

Beekissed

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He went for his first real walk on the leash this morning. Wore his little butt out, which he's been needing. He's growing quickly and getting rambunctious, so needs daily structured work and exercise. Today is the start of Dooley's education...and mine!

He's real good on sitting and staying until I tell him he can eat and these past few days we've transitioned to lying down and waiting for food and he did it automatically this morning. Quickest pup yet to learn that concept without an older dog to show him the way.
 

Mike CHS

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That obsession that you mentioned is the main reason these dogs do what they do. :) This is another case that I wish I had taken pictures. At dog trials all of the owners have their dogs with them and mostly sit at the fence line to watch the trials. All of the dogs sit at the fence, not moving a muscle and just staring at the sheep and waiting their turn. Be patient and use his instinct without pushing too fast.
 

Beekissed

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That obsession that you mentioned is the main reason these dogs do what they do. :) This is another case that I wish I had taken pictures. At dog trials all of the owners have their dogs with them and mostly sit at the fence line to watch the trials. All of the dogs sit at the fence, not moving a muscle and just staring at the sheep and waiting their turn. Be patient and use his instinct without pushing too fast.
Will do! Right now I'm concentrating on obedience and just general socialization. He's smart enough to boot scoot out of the fence when the sheep show up to investigate him. This morning was the first time he barked at them, but I couldn't blame him...they all crowded up by the gate to see him and it was just a wall of sheep. He put that butt up in the air, head down and gave them a few intimidating puppy barks. It was pretty funny. Real bold from the other side of the gate. :gig

Right now, when he tries to herd the cat or chickens, I just add words to his actions~"come by" or "away to me" when he swings in those directions. When he lies down after a swing, I tell him "lie down" and then "that'll do" when he comes to me. Just trying to get him used to those phrases. When we walk on the leash, instead of "let's go" that I used for the other dogs, I tell him, "Walk up".

It's a whole new learning curve for me to train in this way or to even let a puppy chase a chicken....for all the other dogs that was extremely forbidden. I'm trying to let him herd, but not chase, if that makes any sense. He can "herd" when he's with me and the chickens are moving in front of us to the coop, but when they reach the coop, he has to sit down and stop herding. So far he has a good on and off switch in these casual scenarios, but he's just little right now, just barely 2 mo. old. I expect he'll be more intense as he grows, so trying to get a little control in there early.
 

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Years ago I decided to buy a herding dog - Border Collie - but a sheep friend who trained them (she has since become a herding trial judge and moved across country) told me not to get one. She said that the best ones would do just what you describe this pup's daddy doing - herding the sheep themselves without being told to do so. They are compulsive herders. She said that in our situation we did not have enough land or sheep to provide enough work for the dog. We mostly had dairy goats, and our sheep were trained to come in at night and go out in the morning. They were 4-H sheep, al halter trained by the children. In our situation, the dog would just move the sheep back and forth all day. She had seen situations where the owners of a good herding dogs were concerned that their sheep were losing weight. They discovered that it was because their dog was working the sheep all day long while they were at work. The sheep never had a chance to graze!!! She told us we would have to keep the dog kenneled except when working because we didn't have enough work for it to do. Since we didn't want a perpetually depressed dog, we passed on the Border Collie idea. We did get an Aussie from working lines and she was a joy to train. When we move, we will need a good herding dog, so I will be watching your adventure with Dooley with interest.
 

Mike CHS

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Border Collies are actually pretty laid back depending on how they are raised and our BC and the female Aussie have lived in the house for 5 years with no issues. We know dozens of people that have them and all except for a couple also have them as both working dogs and house dogs. Our Aussie has had as much training as the BC but the BC intensity is what lets them go from not working to 100%. I can' imagine letting either type have access to sheep without supervision though.
 

Ridgetop

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Agreed. That is why we won't have either one until we move. On this steep area while it would be a dream to just send the dog to bring in the sheep, we can get by without them at this time. Later, with more property and more sheep, we will need them. Then I will start shopping. My friend had super intense competition dogs and worked them everyday so maybe she felt that with all we had on hand with our kids and 4-H activities we didn't need a herding dog. Most of our animals were trained by 4-H children too. LOL
 

Beekissed

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Years ago I decided to buy a herding dog - Border Collie - but a sheep friend who trained them (she has since become a herding trial judge and moved across country) told me not to get one. She said that the best ones would do just what you describe this pup's daddy doing - herding the sheep themselves without being told to do so. They are compulsive herders. She said that in our situation we did not have enough land or sheep to provide enough work for the dog. We mostly had dairy goats, and our sheep were trained to come in at night and go out in the morning. They were 4-H sheep, al halter trained by the children. In our situation, the dog would just move the sheep back and forth all day. She had seen situations where the owners of a good herding dogs were concerned that their sheep were losing weight. They discovered that it was because their dog was working the sheep all day long while they were at work. The sheep never had a chance to graze!!! She told us we would have to keep the dog kenneled except when working because we didn't have enough work for it to do. Since we didn't want a perpetually depressed dog, we passed on the Border Collie idea. We did get an Aussie from working lines and she was a joy to train. When we move, we will need a good herding dog, so I will be watching your adventure with Dooley with interest.
Dooley's mama didn't have that intensity. She is more a utility dog and works mainly with the cows, but only when told to do so. She didn't even seem to notice the sheep. I'm hoping the mix will take the edge off the BC obsessiveness his Dad has. For now he seems VERY laid back and I'm hoping he stays that way. I want a dog that will work when I tell it to and then switch to general chicken/home guard on his "off" time.

Another thing that would keep Dooley from working the sheep when we are not around, if he is prone to do so, is Blue, our LGD. Blue is very gentle but he doesn't like dogs to chase his sheep, bark at and chase vehicles or any other foolish behaviors~he's not mean about it, he just chases down the offending pup and puts his front paws on him to knock him down and keep him from the behavior. I'm hoping they will both form a good partnership over time wherein Dooley leaves Blue's sheep alone unless I'm around to let Blue know that it's Dooley's turn to work. I like it that neither dog is very intense or aggressive thus far...we'll see what time and maturity brings.

Since I move sheep often, it could be that Dooley will get to work a little every 2-3 days and he can work a little every day on the chickens when we go to feed. Then, of course, he will work alongside of me when I go for walks, do chores, etc. Today he actively supervised us digging up a pressure tank, sneaking off with tools we laid down, chewing on our body parts and shoes when we were taking a break and otherwise making a nuisance of himself.

I've seen BC dogs that were intense and obsessed and those that were just like regular dogs around the farm until it was time to go to work, then they turned on the intensity. I've also seen BC that had no inclination for herding at all but were obsessed about fetching a ball.

Right now he's learning "down" and "leave it".
 

Baymule

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Before I got my sheep, I wondered how I would move them from barn to pasture and back at night. No worries-shake a red Folgers can and they will follow me anywhere. On our small acreage and small flock, that suffices. It would be fun to have a working dog, but I don't have enough to keep one busy. So I will live vicariously through you and Dooley. :love
 

Beekissed

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Before I got my sheep, I wondered how I would move them from barn to pasture and back at night. No worries-shake a red Folgers can and they will follow me anywhere. On our small acreage and small flock, that suffices. It would be fun to have a working dog, but I don't have enough to keep one busy. So I will live vicariously through you and Dooley. :love
Bay, that feed lure is powerful but only the older ewes have ever truly been trained to it and I'm glad it wasn't all of them. As it is, if I have to lead them very far they are bumping me, trying to climb on me to get to the feed, trampling my feet and overall just buffeting me in all ways so that I can't walk over the uneven terrain....Fat May will circle me tightly like a cat so that I can't take a step without her running her full 200 lbs into my legs and stepping on my feet. I feel like I've been run over by a train after moving them this way and so I'd love to get away from that way of moving sheep...it's handy if you want them to go into a penned situation and all but to move paddock to paddock over this rough ground is downright dangerous to my person! :oops:

That's when I realized something had to give...between the sheep that will kill me for the food and those that ignore me because they've never been trained to the feed, so they stay behind, then they confuse the rest of the herd so that they keep going back to those left behind....let's just say if that little dog can even do a SMALL amount of herding or driving or even holding the sheep for me, I'll be happy.

He's smart enough to learn, it all depends on if I'm smart enough to teach something I know less than nothing about. Let's just say I'll be praying about it all along the way.
 

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