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Discussion Starter #1
Sooo, we are finally taking mikko to his first herding lesson tomorrow...yay!! I am sooo excited!!

My only concern is that he will be afraid of the sheep. The only other large animal he has ever met were horses and he is kind of afraid of them.

Has anyone had a problem with their dog being afraid at first? Can a dog that is afraid of the sheep end up doing well?
 

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That is a great question. Im sorry I dont know the answer but Ill be watching this thread play out for sure.
 

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Oh NEATO! Let us know how little Mikko likes his sheep!

Oh, wear grungy clothes and old junky shoes. I got that tip from Mspiker03, will be taking Janka for her evaluation in July.

Take pics!!!
 

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Have fun! I would love to try Ris on sheep.

If it makes you feel better, Risa is a wuss dog. She's pretty fearful in new situations. I can't remember if it was her first or second time seeing sheep. . .but one of the times when we were over at our trainer's house, Ris was in the backyard running the fenceline 'herding' the sheep. She had stopped for a moment and started giving one of the rams 'the eye.' He butted the fence right in front of her face and she didn't even flinch.

Y'never know. Mikko's instinct might just kick in and he'll surprise you!
 

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Quote:Y'never know. Mikko's instinct might just kick in and he'll surprise you!
that's what i'm hoping for!

good tip on the grungy clothes!
 

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I only have one experience, so can't answer.

Hugo was just 7mos old, but he is big. My cousin has a farm and said there were 7 sheep "out there somewhere" and sure, see if Hugo could find them. So early the next morning, we went to the empty barn and pen, he got a nose-full, I said "Let's find them and bring them back here!"

Was all I could do to keep up with him, he found them sleeping in tall grass, they took one look at him and spooked, he chased them a bit,
came back to see how I was, they slowed, some lay down again, when we got near, they booked to the barn. Wasn't really any work involved, other than "tracking" them, as they wanted nothing to do with him, and scurried to their safety zone. I leashed him up and didn't let him hassle them as soon as they beat feet into the corral.

It was interesting and fun, but not much of a test. They live a good 10 hours from me, so haven't done that but once. Of course, I told him he did a great job.

They are prey animals, dogs are predators. I wouldn't expect that they are going to challenge, but instead show some nervous fear.
That ought to embolden your dog, and it ought to play out as it has for eons. Horses, they too are prey animals, but their size is so much more formidable, I'm sure most dogs would think twice. Cowboys on horses herd horses, not a single shepherd and his canine. I'm sure there are dogs who do, but I doubt many just started out herding horses day one!

Have fun! Kick some booty Mikko!!!

I know what CGC means, but TN-N, NJC, NAC, TG-N, WV-N ?
 

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I betcha Mikko does great. Mine had never seen a sheep before, but the first time they saw them they knew exactly what to do...that herding instinct is something they are just born with.

Have fun and take pics!
 

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well, we had a great time! mikko was definitely not afraid of the sheep! the trainer handled him today- she owns/trains the #1 mal. i didn't get a lot of pictures because my camera doesn't do so well with the motion. but here's a pic and a short video:



 

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i have a question about training for you all...do your trainers use a plastic rake or something like it to help with training? if so, do they "bop" them with the rake? it wasn't hard or anything- but we have never used physical corrections with him- so i was a little uncomfortable with this. it didn't phase him though- he was so fixated on the sheep.
 

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Oh that looked wonderful! Mikko is so handsome! He sure seemed to know exactly what he is doing. Wish I knew more about herding, and knwe more about what it is that the dogs are supposed to do when working the sheep.
 

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yes, our herding trainer uses a plastic rake (a small child-size rake) as a tool. Think of it as an extension of your arm, which you're using to kind of direct the dog, and block the dog. The only "bopping" we've done is a nudge behind the shoulder to push out. (Or sometimes bang the thing on the ground in frustration!)


Looks like Mikko had a ball!

eta: just watched your video---he did really great! He's a natural.
 

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Mikko looks like he has a great time!

Quote:do your trainers use a plastic rake or something like it to help with training? if so, do they "bop" them with the rake? it wasn't hard or anything- but we have never used physical corrections with him- so i was a little uncomfortable with this.
Our trainer uses a yellow or white plastic stick. She hits the ground in front of or to the side of the dog to get them to back off or change direction. With some dogs that's enough, while others aren't at all paying attention to the stick.

If a dog doesn't pay attention to the stick, she "hits" them with it (it's not a hit, more like a touch) at the front of the chest (under the head) to get the dog to back off.

If the dog ignores that as well, she has a stick with a plastic bottle filled with rocks at the end, which makes noise when you hit the ground with it. That works for most dogs.

We had to use bottle-on-a-stick with Abby because she was just totally fixated on the sheep and completely ignoring the regular directing stick.
 

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If he has the extinct on sheep/stock it shouldn't matter he he is afraid of horses. My dog shy's away from horses but not not sheep. He received his 1st leg in herding started sheep today.

We also use a plastic garden rake for training purposes. It serves as an extra training aid and doesn't harm or discourage your dog from working the stick. We use it in a small pen.
 

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"Oh, GAWD.. not again!"

"Oh, yeah-- Here we go, it's 'The Noob Hour!"

"Lovely.. here comes the next doofus-in-training... Okay girls, scatter!"

(The training sheep's convo)
 

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Originally Posted By: Brightelf"Oh, GAWD.. not again!"

"Oh, yeah-- Here we go, it's 'The Noob Hour!"

"Lovely.. here comes the next doofus-in-training... Okay girls, scatter!"

(The training sheep's convo)
haha...that should be one of those farside cartoons.


Quote: Was Mikko OB trained before trying herding?
I dont know what all of the titles on the end of his name are.

Camo is going to start training for it next month. ( He is not OB, competition level, trained)
he has pretty extensive OB training- but not competition level. His titles are all in agility (and CGC is canine good citizen). I don't think you need to have a competition level of OB training, just a dog that is under your control. maybe someone that knows more about herding could give you more details.

make sure to take lots of pics and a video if you can! have fun!
 

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What a great photo and video!
 

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I have found that too much obedience can be a detriment in sheep herding. In obedience, the focus is on you (the handler) but in sheep herding, you want the dog to focus on the sheep and not totally on the the handler. I am still struggling with this as my dog was extensively obedience trained before we tried out with the sheep. If you have a good relationship with your dog and he will recall to you, then you are ready to try herding! If I could do it all over again, I would work my dog with the sheep before the obedience and agility training.
 

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Originally Posted By: sleachyI have found that too much obedience can be a detriment in sheep herding. In obedience, the focus is on you (the handler) but in sheep herding, you want the dog to focus on the sheep and not totally on the the handler. I am still struggling with this as my dog was extensively obedience trained before we tried out with the sheep. If you have a good relationship with your dog and he will recall to you, then you are ready to try herding! If I could do it all over again, I would work my dog with the sheep before the obedience and agility training.
We have run into this with one of our dogs as well. He is very handler focused and we had to teach him that "walk up" meant walk up to the sheep and not the human.

Also, having your dog sit or down on command is very helpful with herding.
 
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