Man’s greatest buddy, a loyal companion, and a farm’s best asset – the worth of a well-trained sheepdog can’t be overestimated.
However even essentially the most skilled of collies can have their quirks, leaving farmers annoyed and not sure on one of the best course of correction.
Right here to assist with coaching challenges are shepherding husband-and-wife workforce Emma Grey and Ewan Irvine.
Based mostly on the Scottish Isle of Bute, the pair are identified for breeding and coaching a number of the nation’s most interesting and most profitable collies – producing canine which have damaged world information at public sale and achieved nationwide trialling success.
Extra not too long ago, they’ve set about sharing recommendation and coaching ideas via their on-line platform, Sheepdog Faculty. And, now, they’re right here to assist Farmers Weekly readers, too.
Early groundwork – the key to a superb cease
A great cease is vital in relation to working your canine on sheep.
On this month’s coaching tip and the accompanying video, we are going to take you thru a number of the widespread errors that folks make, and provide the greatest strategies for achievement.
First off, don’t ask for the cease when you aren’t going to get it – asking for the cease when adrenaline is excessive will increase the possibility of your canine ignoring you.
As a substitute, it’s best to put together for the cease through the use of physique language.
The best level for the canine to cease is at steadiness, normally 12 o’clock to your six o’clock, the place it’s got across the sheep and turned all their heads in the direction of you, making a sheep sandwich.
You’ll be able to start by asking them to “regular” as they attain steadiness. They’ll come to anticipate the cease and can start slowing down in preparation.
Tone of voice is essential right here. Make “lie down” sound like “good canine” fairly than indignant shouting which may trigger nervousness, doubt, or perhaps a grip.
“Lie down” needs to be a constructive place on your canine, so your physique language needs to be non-threatening.
When your canine is drained, they could even be extra compliant with stopping.
For younger canine, early coaching needs to be enjoyable, so it’s essential to maintain your enthusiasm excessive.
We don’t count on them to cease for lengthy, releasing them again to work shortly is a reward for the cease.
A visible assist may also assist, comparable to a raised arm or coaching pipe to strengthen the instruction.
What to keep away from
- By no means punish your canine for stopping, even when they’ve given you the runaround. Reprimanding them makes it much less possible they’ll cease for you sooner or later.
- Ask as soon as, don’t repeat “lie down, lie down, LIE DOWN!” or you may be conditioning your canine to attend for the third or fourth command earlier than they assume you really imply it.
- Don’t give the following flank command earlier than getting a full halt.
By getting the foundations proper at hand in these early phases, your canine will get used to stopping every time it hears your command.
When you put the ideas above to make use of and stay constant, you’ll develop a contented assured canine with a safe cease and reap the advantages for years to come back.
Ship us your footage
To rejoice the launch of our sheepdog coaching collection, we need to see your working canine and cab companions on the farm.
Ship in your greatest snaps to the Farmlife Framed gallery.