Down at a distance...without looking at me - German Shepherd Dog Forums
 
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post #1 of 3 (permalink) Old 02-26-2011, 12:27 PM Thread Starter
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Down at a distance...without looking at me

We're in sheep herding training and I need to teach Stosh to down while he's away from me, but I don't want him to take his eyes off the sheep and look at me. It was a struggle to get him to stop coming to me for a treat since in obedience I wanted him to focus on me. Now I need him to focus on the sheep, but listen and obey away from me. Any ideas? Right now he's on a long lead while he's in the pen with the sheep because he doesn't have a consistent down off lead and I cant' have him chasing them.
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post #2 of 3 (permalink) Old 02-26-2011, 12:42 PM
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My old herding instructor told me once that she hated working with dogs who came to herding with a ton of obedience training because it was difficult to train some of the conditioned responses out.

Tanner was pretty good about remaining focused on the sheep, but even he would turn and look at me when he heard the down command (it was kind of cute, really, almost like he was shocked that I would tell him to down because didn't I know there were FREAKING SHEEP RIGHT OVER THERE!!!).

What helped me was to stop using his name before the command. That helped decrease the head turning and loss of focus a lot. Also, I practiced it a lot away from the sheep, during off leash exercise out in the open range or in my back yard. The more common it was the easier it was for Tanner to handle.

It does get better!
Sheilah
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post #3 of 3 (permalink) Old 02-26-2011, 01:44 PM Thread Starter
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Oh, that's a good idea, I'll stop saying his name first because he's very responsive to his name. Today I had him down while we were playing with frisbees and he did really well with that, but still he was looking at me. I'm going to take him to watch agility training which I know will get keep his attention and I'll give him some commands while he's looking at them. It's pretty much the opposite of the way I've trained him until now. But he's showing some progress each time so I'm hopeful!
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