Baymule

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Dooley is going to be your right hand helper. He is coming along nicely. Wondering out loud, would playing ball be a good way to divert some of his energy, or is he like a LGD, totally disinterested and focused only on work? He is making an awesome dog.
 

Beekissed

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Dooley is going to be your right hand helper. He is coming along nicely. Wondering out loud, would playing ball be a good way to divert some of his energy, or is he like a LGD, totally disinterested and focused only on work? He is making an awesome dog.
I tried a ball and a toy, hoping he would play fetch....been a LONG time since I had a dog that would play fetch. He's not a bit interested in that. He's also not much food motivated, so I can't toss him a kong with a treat in it to get him interested either.

His mother would fetch all day long and would bring you her favorite toy for you to throw, so I was hoping he would do the same.

Yeah...he's focused on me and on work only. He does, however, like to collect various items from around the place to gnaw on, pounce on and otherwise terrorize. All of Blue's old bones have been gathered around Dooley's den, my muck boots, a sunflower stalk, the cat's bowl, etc. I have to go out there every day and put things back, out of reach, etc. So, he likes toys, of a sort, but doesn't really want to chase them. I have a tug rope with a rubber ball attached to it and hoped to get him interested in playing tug with me but he's not interested in that either.

Funny thing this morning....took Dooley on the lead with me to feed Blue in the sheep paddock. As soon as the sheep saw Dooley, they moved into the wooded part of the paddock, far away from where I was feeding Blue. This is highly unusual, as they usually crowd around, trying to get Blue's food as I'm dishing it out or other wise looking for a handout. Rose came part way across the distance between us and the flock but would come no further. That Dooley has them all minding their manners, big time!

I like that...a LOT. Now, if I can just channel all of that and get him to have an on and off switch and be able to trust him to stand down when I say so. With just high tensile fencing and temp wire as their paddock, I can't afford to let Dooley run them through that wire. All his work is going to have to be tightly controlled, small moves, small corrections, and calm/mild work. The sheep need to walk instead of run....and that's going to be so hard to do, as this pup has a lot of amps that need to be turned down before that can ever happen.

Wish I lived somewhere that had flat highways or trails where I could ride a bike...I'd take him bikejooring and burn off all that energy before working him with the sheep.
 

Mike CHS

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Are you working on any verbal directional commands yet? I have a reason for asking but I'll not write a bunch of stuff out if you are already doing it. :)
 

Nao57

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Well....

How much of a herd dog's ability to herd animals like sheep etc or cows depends on genes, and how much is self owned experience of the dog? Is there some kind of consensus or idea of percentages on this?

I'm also guessing some people will disagree or say anything can become a herd dog. But I don't necessarily think that's completely true. Some do it better than others.
 

Mini Horses

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Agility training for Dooley? Some commands that are also used with herding....just a "burn off the energy" type job/training. Many herder types excel in this as they are so "command" driven...and BUSY!!!
 

Beekissed

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Are you working on any verbal directional commands yet? I have a reason for asking but I'll not write a bunch of stuff out if you are already doing it. :)
Not in a structured way, but each time he swings left I say, "Come by!" and "Away to me" when he swings around them to the right. "Walk up" when we walk towards them, "that'll do" when I want him to come back to me. I do that even when he's moving in these ways around the chicken flock, around the kids, etc.

When he runs ahead of the chicken flock and then flops down, facing them and me, I say "DOWN....GOOD down, Doolley!"

I try to remember to use that phrasing each time I see him use these flanking maneuvers, these slow walks towards the flocks(both birds and sheep), etc. I'm hoping they will sink in and will be familiar when we actually get to use them for real.
 

Mike CHS

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Not in a structured way, but each time he swings left I say, "Come by!" and "Away to me" when he swings around them to the right. "Walk up" when we walk towards them, "that'll do" when I want him to come back to me. I do that even when he's moving in these ways around the chicken flock, around the kids, etc.

When he runs ahead of the chicken flock and then flops down, facing them and me, I say "DOWN....GOOD down, Doolley!"

I try to remember to use that phrasing each time I see him use these flanking maneuvers, these slow walks towards the flocks(both birds and sheep), etc. I'm hoping they will sink in and will be familiar when we actually get to use them for real.

I don't need to write a long response since you are already doing what I was going to suggest. I mentioned several pages back that a lot of trainers use a round pen or a long lead line to start giving directional commands and that is what you are doing. It makes it easier on the dog to learn if you do the same thing every time and they will become more aware of how you fit into the equation. One of the hardest things to do with herding dog training is to convince the dog that you know more than he does. I have only trained Aussies and Border Collies and but yelling results in zero forward movement so it's always a plus to have control and not need to discipline.
 

Beekissed

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I don't need to write a long response since you are already doing what I was going to suggest. I mentioned several pages back that a lot of trainers use a round pen or a long lead line to start giving directional commands and that is what you are doing. It makes it easier on the dog to learn if you do the same thing every time and they will become more aware of how you fit into the equation. One of the hardest things to do with herding dog training is to convince the dog that you know more than he does. I have only trained Aussies and Border Collies and but yelling results in zero forward movement so it's always a plus to have control and not need to discipline.
Yes, I've found that when he's excited about herding the sheep, yelling yields nothing....he's got wool on the brain at that point. That's one reason I don't use a regular leash on him, but a smaller version of a long line that drags behind so I can step on it if I need him to stop or pause....saw that on some of the herding dog training vids I've seen and it comes in real handy. Just that sudden stop at the end of a run kind of snaps him out of it so that he can listen to come back/down/out.

Beyond the prey drive even, I think it gives this little dog a thrill to be able to intimidate these much larger animals. He always seems so gleeful and satisfied after even a tiny run at them, whereas when he first met them he was the one intimidated by their size and inquisitive nature towards him. I sure wish I had at least one paddock that was fenced with woven wire so I could eventually work him properly with them in a larger space. For now it will have to be in the sorting pens, small areas with work on a line first to get him used to moving along with the commands.

Thank you, Mike, for helping me along this journey....I feel so inadequate to do this properly and I really don't want to mess this up. Especially since I think Dooley is a man's dog and not so much a woman's, so I think he would respond to training much better if it were being given by a man.
 

Mike CHS

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Anyone who has trained a herding dog goes through that frustration you can feel. They have such a strong instinct that it is a challenge to break through and there is no best technique - just consistency. I am actually very impressed at the progress you are making by going through it all on your own. I have been to more than a few dog trials with experienced dog handlers that wound up wanting to sit down and cry since they had well trained dogs that acted like first time puppies. :)
 

Mini Horses

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I have been to more than a few dog trials with experienced dog handlers that wound up wanting to sit down and cry since they had well trained dogs that acted like first time puppies. :)

Actually true with most animals. They have their moments! :D

But consistency of words has to come to owner/trainer also. I did horses for so long, my goats know "whoa, stop, back" :lol: It just comes out of your mouth!
 
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