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Discussion Starter #42
WIBackpacker, do you have more photos of Ayla? I'm looking at body language now.....
@dldolan, here are a few more that show snapshots of human/dog body posture. Keep in mind she's a puppy and we have lots to improve on. :) I can't recommend enough, get someone to take video. You can watch yourself and see where things go right (or wrong), watch when the sheep (or goats) turn their head, which happens right before they change direction, watch how your dog responds to little tiny changes in your body movement. I went to a seminar last month and we spent hours critiquing split-second snapshots, projected on a wall, while the instructor showed us where and when things happen.


Handler walks, dog keeps sheep with the handler, circling isn't allowed anymore.





Practicing Stand/Good Girl. She's still dragging a long line, but it's intended to be an emergency brake only. Multiple times during a lesson, she's asked to Stand so that I can approach, pet, praise, touch her collar, and then let her go back to work. This prevents bad "Keep Away!" games, and so she doesn't associate Stopping = End of Game. Good Girl.



And now, some less-great moments, for the sake of comparison.....

Her eyes were darting all over the place and she was fidgeting during this "Stand". The sheep knew it, and two of them are already considering making a run for it. You wouldn't guess that, unless you look at the sheep.... but there it is.

And above, bad flanking/trying to cut in. She's trying to cut across instead of go back around correctly. Woolly traffic jam.

Sometimes the best way to critique yourself is to watch the stock (not the dog). And a final disclaimer, these pictures were taken during an absolutely miserable 38 degree rainy morning. Gotta love the Midwest. ;)
 

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These are great photos! Thank you so much for posting them! I like the comments you have made, and am reviewing the photos daily!
I am wondering if goats are tons harder to move than sheep? They are not very concerned about her. I need to swing the long line she is on to get them to move about 50% of the time. 20% of the time, one turns around to try and butt her (I prevent this!) and maybe 30% of the time they move out pretty well in front of her while she ranges behind on command and we get them nicely into the corral. Whew! Yesterday we had one of those great days! Today, one goat just wanted to sniff her, one moved off her (and my!) pressure, with two standing their ground a lot. I settles for getting them all to take steps in the right direction and we stopped. Good girl! She is mellow when we enter the pen, and will touch noses or lick them until we start working. Jeesh. Puppy still, right? And young goats, so I'm very careful not to spend more than 4-5 minutes at a time.

Are you using the traditional commands? Away? Go bye? Walk on? I've added "wait" and "all done".
 

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Discussion Starter #45
I am wondering if goats are tons harder to move than sheep?

When I trained my older dog on goats (instructor's goats, before mine), we she worked only on goats (no sheep) for about 4 months. They move differently, they're slower, they don't group together as tightly, the dog has to work harder to keep them together, they're more stubborn. Some of them have a nasty habit of teasing the dogs through the fence (mine do), which gets the dog revved up. Tica learned to drive on goats, and that's still how she moves them (not gathering).


I'm not experienced enough to know what will work best for others, but our goats definitely don't see the dog as a buddy. I'm the good cop, the dog is the bad cop, the enforcer. But I only use the dog when the goats need to be penned for meds, or to corral escapes (which doesn't really happen any more, since I changed my fencing), they don't interact every day. It might be worth describing the dynamic of your goat herd & your dog on the BC Boards, to get a few experienced opinions.


Are you using the traditional commands? Away? Go bye? Walk on? I've added "wait" and "all done".

We were just talking about picking commands. Right now, we're only using/proofing "Stand", "Wait", "Walk-Up", "Here".


I'm planning on using "Go Bye", but haven't picked an Away-To-Me. Since I'm already using "Wait" and her name is AY-la, instructor wants something that's phonetically completely different, even when shouted from a distance.


I'll probably use "About" (emphasis: "HUH-bout!"), but I'm not certain, yet.


Watching them work on their own stock is so cool. Your dog is a lucky pup.
 

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Worrisome, as the goats are young and also the dog, which is generally NOT good, right? :) But I guess we are all learning together, and I am not pressuring either the goats or the dog. Sigh. It seems to be going alright, so slowly, slowly we advance! If she can "only" help me to pen them up, that will be awesome!
 

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Worrisome, as the goats are young and also the dog, which is generally NOT good, right? But I guess we are all learning together, and I am not pressuring either the goats or the dog. Sigh. It seems to be going alright, so slowly, slowly we advance! If she can "only" help me to pen them up, that will be awesome!
For sure. At the end of the day, if she helps you accomplish what needs to be done, you have a working dog, and that's what matters. Not many dogs in this day and age get to do that.

This month we also started introducing her to ducks & geese. She's not allowed to chase the chickens at home, so she's slowly being acclimated to the fact some birds are different than others. For the first exposure, she was on a long line, walking around them in wide circles, and learning that they can be moved/grouped like sheep. They'll respond to pressure, they'll move away, they'll stay together. For the most part.


I don't think trialing with ducks will be a priority for us, but since I'm aiming for greater versatility with her, why not shoot for the moon?


 

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I don't think trialing with ducks will be a priority for us, but since I'm aiming for greater versatility with her, why not shoot for the moon?

So cool! Duck herding is neat-o! Was Ayla calm about it?

Unfortunately, my other dog taught Mina that if a chicken flies over the fence into "their territory", they are food. Oops, no helping with the chickens! My previous chickens were safe as he learned to help me get them in at night and not to mess with them as a puppy, but when I started a new flock up in a new pen, he did not see them in the same way as when I had them in the lower coop. Another person told me her dog also had the same issue...when the chickens moved locations, they were no longer safe. He'll still guard from raccoons and hawks, but that is less about guarding the chickens, and more about territoriality.

Anyway, both dogs have jobs, and as you say, they are lucky! I think Mina will do fine with helping me with the goats. Eventually. :)
 

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So cool! Duck herding is neat-o! Was Ayla calm about it?

Unfortunately, my other dog taught Mina that if a chicken flies over the fence into "their territory", they are food. Oops, no helping with the chickens! My previous chickens were safe as he learned to help me get them in at night and not to mess with them as a puppy, but when I started a new flock up in a new pen, he did not see them in the same way as when I had them in the lower coop. Another person told me her dog also had the same issue...when the chickens moved locations, they were no longer safe. He'll still guard from raccoons and hawks, but that is less about guarding the chickens, and more about territoriality.

Anyway, both dogs have jobs, and as you say, they are lucky! I think Mina will do fine with helping me with the goats. Eventually. :)
She was initially kind of incredulous when we walked into the duck arena, I think she was expecting me to tell her to lie down / leave it (a la chicken yard mode). But she "clicked" into gear after a few slow circles. I think ducks and geese will be our backburner/side project, after sheep and goats.

I think it is an ongoing life lesson, setting parameters and teaching the dog when to generalize, and when not to. I agree, and understand how hard it is. I want chickens to be off limits 100% of the time, my geese are off limits when they're in with the chickens but NOT when they're alone and in a place they shouldn't be, but wild geese are ALWAYS off limits, and so on.

A lot of people I train with have had chicken-killers that turned out okay, so there is hope. :).
 

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We had a break-through last night! My nephew called me and asked if I could come with Mina to help him pen the goats as they didn't want to go in, and he'd been at if for 20 minutes and it was almost dark. The goats were very, very naughty, and we drove them down the pasture three times as one would break away and run back up like crazy, taking the others. Mina immediately was on this, but she is on a long lead, so couldn't get ahead of them to head them off. But by the last trip down, she was moving back and forth behind them to keep them going, and saw it and cut one off before he could turn. All four goats successfully penned! My nephew (14) now thinks Mina is a rock star! So cool! :grin2:
 

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We had a break-through last night! My nephew called me and asked if I could come with Mina to help him pen the goats as they didn't want to go in, and he'd been at if for 20 minutes and it was almost dark. The goats were very, very naughty, and we drove them down the pasture three times as one would break away and run back up like crazy, taking the others. Mina immediately was on this, but she is on a long lead, so couldn't get ahead of them to head them off. But by the last trip down, she was moving back and forth behind them to keep them going, and saw it and cut one off before he could turn. All four goats successfully penned! My nephew (14) now thinks Mina is a rock star! So cool! :grin2:
Super! That's awesome, I hope it's the beginning of a long and useful partnership for you and Mina. I love watching dogs that figure out how the stock moves, anticipate the naughtiness, and put an end to it.
 

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I enjoyed everyone's stories photos so cool!!!We had our first sheep herding experience which I posted a video in another thread. I was previously reading the threads on the evaluation test trying to get an idea what to expect. I was nervous and voiced concerns with instructor did not know how he would react to sheep or being corrected by a stranger with a paddle/ stick. Lol he did great though. He did get ramped up when one sheep left the group but got the sheep back quick. She was very good keep him from getting to close which he tried a few times. The instructor knew I wanted to take lessons if he passed and was good at keeping him from starting any bad habits. a few lessons in the small pen and then will move to the big field. They say sheep herding helps with dog reactivity I do hope it builds confidence so he is not as tense being near a strange dog then just behaved. I happy with my herding instructor she is breeds/shows trains Swiss mountain dogs, trains in agility, behaviorist and also does boarding in her home. Looking forward to hearing everyone's herding experience stories!

List of some the commands we will be using-
 

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We had a break-through last night! My nephew called me and asked if I could come with Mina to help him pen the goats as they didn't want to go in, and he'd been at if for 20 minutes and it was almost dark. The goats were very, very naughty, and we drove them down the pasture three times as one would break away and run back up like crazy, taking the others. Mina immediately was on this, but she is on a long lead, so couldn't get ahead of them to head them off. But by the last trip down, she was moving back and forth behind them to keep them going, and saw it and cut one off before he could turn. All four goats successfully penned! My nephew (14) now thinks Mina is a rock star! So cool!
You must of been very proud! Mina needs a pink bandanna now!
 

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Worrisome, as the goats are young and also the dog, which is generally NOT good, right? But I guess we are all learning together, and I am not pressuring either the goats or the dog. Sigh. It seems to be going alright, so slowly, slowly we advance! If she can "only" help me to pen them up, that will be awesome!
For sure. At the end of the day, if she helps you accomplish what needs to be done, you have a working dog, and that's what matters. Not many dogs in this day and age get to do that.

This month we also started introducing her to ducks & geese. She's not allowed to chase the chickens at home, so she's slowly being acclimated to the fact some birds are different than others. For the first exposure, she was on a long line, walking around them in wide circles, and learning that they can be moved/grouped like sheep. They'll respond to pressure, they'll move away, they'll stay together. For the most part.


I don't think trialing with ducks will be a priority for us, but since I'm aiming for greater versatility with her, why not shoot for the moon?


Why not! Great photo!
We have wild turkeys that sometimes visit our yard max was intrigued as a young pup
 

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Jenny, welcome to sheep addicts anonymous. Very excited for you! :)


Progress for us last month - We did a looooot of walking, turning, walking, turning, to square up her flanks. It's coming along. On her initial gather, she still prefers to start going Bye, which is fine. Circling is officially not allowed any more. Even though a little bit of circling can be allowed/excused for beginning dogs in test classes, she doesn't need it any longer (it's almost a crutch because it's easy and the dog gets comfortable), so she gets verbally corrected and "pushed" out with body pressure if she tries to circle instead of wearing. This makes it infinitely easier to move around and walk in straighter lines.

Check this out... she does have eye. :wub:



She's getting so much better at keeping correct distance when my back is turned. Dogs are so in tune with our body posture, it's a big step forward for them to be correct around livestock when your body is directed away from them.





And our proudest moment last month, I sent her around on her off-side (Away, counter clockwise), while walking away from her. Zero body pressure. She did a beautiful gather, and brought them to me at a trot.







After the lesson above, we moved up to a bigger arena and now we're having even more fun. Last week she worked sheep (in the new, larger pen) with another dog inside, and next to the pen where the guardian llama resides during lessons. Besides an initial "Holy Cripes Batman... DID YOU SEE THIS THING?!" stare at the llama and then back at me, she got down to business and didn't bother the fencelines or the set-out BC in the arena.

Have I mentioned how happy I am to find others traveling this crazy journey? Post away, guys! :)
 

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Thank you and I like that SAA!!! Never knew would be this exciting! Great photos and wow she does have eye- she must have border collie dna in there somewhere lol!!! She looks like she is doing fantastic! Llama all kinds of exposure is great! It is going to be a interesting and very exciting journey for sure!
 

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Jenny, welcome to sheep addicts anonymous. AND GOATS! Very excited for you!

And our proudest moment last month, I sent her around on her off-side (Away, counter clockwise), while walking away from her. Zero body pressure. She did a beautiful gather, and brought them to me at a trot.






After the lesson above, we moved up to a bigger arena and now we're having even more fun. Last week she worked sheep (in the new, larger pen) with another dog inside, and next to the pen where the guardian llama resides during lessons. Besides an initial "Holy Cripes Batman... DID YOU SEE THIS THING?!" stare at the llama and then back at me, she got down to business and didn't bother the fencelines or the set-out BC in the arena.

Have I mentioned how happy I am to find others traveling this crazy journey? Post away, guys!
I have that reaction to llamas as well! They are huge! :grin2:
Great work. She looks SO great doing her gather!! Hopefully we will advance to this stage. Naughty young goats...some days cooperative, but often NOT. Like last night. Three times down the pasture kicking and snorting and breaking away, only to follow me in very quietly when I put Mina away. Dufuses. She is doing well, but I still am keeping her on a long line i hold, so when they break away, she can't turn them as the line is too short. I'll wait until the other two Alpine wethers come up into the pasture with the two remaining Boer girls, giving me a herd of four again, before i start working her with a loose long line. (The two Boer boys went to fair last week.)
Jenny, how old is your boy? Sounds like you have found a great trainer! Keep posting!
Do you all feel like I do some days? It's like getting a 5 year old to play soccer. "Chase the ball. Kick the ball. Oh, look at the chalk lines! Can I eat the chalk? Oops, the ball rolled by. Mom, can I have a piece of candy? Kick the ball... :rolleyes:"
 

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All good stuff! I can imagine goats being very stubborn! Max is 19 months old. Our first lesson is this week so we will I'm sure will be finding out soon the trials and tribulations of sheep herding! I'm a well versed in 5 year olds playing soccer though- Aack as when my son was 5 he stopped in the middle of the game to pick dandelions and ran across the field to give to his mom. It was hard not to smile though and find some joy in that! As the pages turn- lol!
 

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Do you all feel like I do some days? It's like getting a 5 year old to play soccer.

Yep. We certainly have our moments. We've started introducing some distractions.... I thought that having another dog in the arena would be a tough one, since Ayla is still very much a social puppy that likes playing with other dogs. I was pleasantly surprised that she ignored the border collie. Watering tubs, on the other hand, still require investigation.....


The level of control expected out of these dogs has always impressed me, ever since the first time I set foot at a trial. It gives us a lot to strive for.
 
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