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JaderBug12285 karma

A correction is anything that conveys the dog is wrong- a lot of the time it's a "hey!" or an "aaght!" noise, blocking their access to sheep, something that stops them and makes them think "oh this isn't right." The key is to make the wrong thing difficult, and the right thing easy. I basically tell them, "no, that's not right. Find a different answer." It's an approach my mentor has been having me use and I am amazed at the difference it makes. You want to make your corrections as soft as possible, but as firm as necessary.

I've seen people try to do "positive only" stock dog training and I think it gives you really false results, the dogs are never really engaged like they should be. The stock should be the reward- the dog should want to work stock more than receiving praise or treats or clicks or anything. My dogs won't even accept pets from me if they're wanting to work, they just want access to the sheep.

JaderBug12257 karma

Away from stock, I don't do much other than teach them respect, teach them manners, and teach them how to handle pressure/corrections because those are really important once sheep training starts. I used to do quite a bit of obedience training with my older dogs before I had sheep at home, my youngest dogs just kind of learn things as we go.

Stock training doesn't start until they are both physically and mentally mature enough to handle training- they have to be physically able to outrun a sheep and mentally mature enough to deal with the pressure put on them for training. Typically they start some training somewhere around 9-12 months old. The first thing we work on is finding balance, which means the dog finding the point on the sheep's "bubble" to where the sheep will come back to the handler and not go right or left. This short clip shows my young dog Polly going on a short outrun (going out around to get the sheep), finding balance (which is where she stops flanking around and walks in) and bringing them back to me.

JaderBug12134 karma

Depends on the behavior. If it's willful disobedience, and they absolutely know what was asked, they're in big trouble with me. If a dog blows off my recall, I will run their ass down and bring them back by the collar. Usually doesn't take much of that before they learn they can't blow off a recall. I do my best to be fair with corrections, being fair is the only way corrections work. Chasing cars however is one thing though where any means justifies the ends to stop the behavior is fine with me, it's too dangerous to mess with. I haven't had a dog that chases cars before thankfully but I have suggested using a long line to jerk them back when they take off after a car.

I don't have any experience with vibrating collars but I have seen the aftermath of using e-collars on working Border Collies many times. IMO e-collars are lazy training for these dogs, they can be great tools for many breeds like gun dogs but they're just bad for herding breeds. They're just too sensitive and almost no one has timing good enough to use on stock training. The dogs don't understand why they're being zapped, often the right moment is a nanosecond and if you're wrong it's completely counterproductive. It really hits their confidence too.

I'm not sure I know the Carmichaels, whereabouts are they?

JaderBug1294 karma

First off, I just want to say Willow has always been one of my favorite movies, if not my absolute favorite. I'm sure I wore out my VHS tape of it when I was a kid, and I was ecstatic when it came out on Blu-Ray. I still watch Willow regularly and I never get tired of it.

Do you feel the film industry has become more accomodating for little people in larger, less stereotypical film roles? Did you feel you had a lot to overcome to get where you are today?

Thank you for doing this AMA!!

JaderBug1291 karma

My six year old Kess is probably my favorite dog to work- she's very natural, she feels her sheep very well, she has a very strong presence with the sheep so they usually respect her. When she's right in what she's doing, it's beautiful and so much fun to work her.

Pepper is my heart dog, she was my first working bred dog (I have one who is older). She'll be nine in April. She's not very confident and she's not very natural, I've had to fight for every skill she has because it doesn't come easy to her. She doesn't read her sheep very well and because of that the sheep don't really like her, but she LOVES working. But, she gives me absolutely everything she has and she would do anything in the world I asked of her if she could

Probably my favorite story... my first/oldest dog Jade (12) is the dog that got me started with herding. She's from bad breeding (most of us start that way, ignorance) and she worked sheep but poorly. We were at one of our first trials one day, we had a ewe and her lamb get 'stuck' in the corner of the arena, neither Jade nor I had the skills at that time to get ourselves out of that situation, looking back what we did was all wrong. But, the ewe was feeling threatened, was stomping her feet at Jade who kept pushing into her space, and at one point the ewe dropped her head and head-butted at Jade, never touched her. Jade took of SCREAMING in a huge circle allllll the way across the entire arena, I just stood there like "What are you doing?!" as she ran away scared to death (she was fine). Everyone watching was like, "Did she get hurt?!!" I just shook my head and said that the ewe didn't touch her lol. She was fine, just got spooked.