Just starting herding... helpful tips? - German Shepherd Dog Forums
 
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post #1 of 7 (permalink) Old 07-06-2009, 11:09 PM Thread Starter
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Just starting herding... helpful tips?

Hi all, I'm just getting started in herding. We have done the Herding Instinct Test with the results being "she's a natural..." We have done 3 sessions with the sheep, under instruction, now and I am really loving this. Lana is too. She does so well! I'm the one that needs help though. I would appreciate any tips you can provide to help me get the hang of this.

Thanks,
Donovan and Lana

Krylos
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post #2 of 7 (permalink) Old 07-07-2009, 03:05 PM
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Re: Just starting herding... helpful tips?

I think it is just practice and time with the sheep to learn how to read them (the sheep). Learning how to place the dog so that he/she prevents the sheep from going where you don't want them to go and then moving the dog to get the sheep to move somewhere else. Also, learning how your body language effects the dog and where the dog goes just takes time. It took me ages to feel like I was starting to "get it." I also found going to trials and talking to the more advanced handlers - listening to them critique other runs helped.

I do hear it quite a bit - dog is great, handler...well, needs work (and I still say this!!!)

Paisley and TJ
Leyna and Levi, RIP
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post #3 of 7 (permalink) Old 07-09-2009, 11:05 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Just starting herding... helpful tips?

Hehe... yeah, that is pretty much what our instructor tells me... "the dog isn't the problem..."

Krylos
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post #4 of 7 (permalink) Old 07-10-2009, 12:38 AM
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Re: Just starting herding... helpful tips?

I think that is pretty common, actually. One day, it will just start to click for you.

The one I used to get all the time - "you are blocking the dog with your body." And here I was...how in the heck am I doing that when I don't even understand what I am doing!!!!

Paisley and TJ
Leyna and Levi, RIP
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post #5 of 7 (permalink) Old 07-11-2009, 11:00 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Just starting herding... helpful tips?

LOL... I get "You have to move faster... block her path so she will go the way you want her to... faster!!!" Lana does great, but she is still young at 2 yrs and she likes to break into that GSD trot, so she is difficult to keep up with.

Ok, so the way I take it, I am supposed to be out front of the sheep, right? And the dog bringing up the rear to keep the sheep in a group and following me, right? So how the heck do I slow her down so it's not the sheep up front followed by Lana with me sprinting behind trying to catch up??? LOL!!!

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post #6 of 7 (permalink) Old 07-12-2009, 01:31 AM
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Re: Just starting herding... helpful tips?

For now...yes, you are in front and then sheep and then Lana. We have our dogs sit (or if you have a standing stop, that will work too), walk up, sit, walk up, sit, walk up constantly to slow them down (Leyna still likes to trot too fast at times and that makes the sheep move to fast and then bad things happen!). But, at the beginning...I do remember times when we were running backwards (I'm so glad those days are over).

Later on...(after Course A Started) when you start driving...the dog will be herding the sheep and you will be staying in one spot for a time. We are just at this point, but have taken a "detour" in our training and are doing large flock for a little bit. There are times, during large flock, when I actually have my dog in front of the sheep with me. It is all about learning to place your dog so that the sheep go somewhere or don't go somewhere (in Course A, I placed my dog so the sheep wouldn't break to the hay for a snack...so that she wasn't always in back of the sheep...sometimes she was along side them). It is just going to take practice...there really isn't any other way to explain it.

It is a really fun sport. I enjoy it and so do the dogs. But, yeah, it is very confusing at first.

Paisley and TJ
Leyna and Levi, RIP
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post #7 of 7 (permalink) Old 07-12-2009, 10:29 AM
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Re: Just starting herding... helpful tips?

Another suggestion - have someone video tape you and the dog working.

At the time there is so much going on that I have a hard time 'seeing' my problems. But if I sit down and watch the videos I say "Why didn't I dod this or that right there??"
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