However reliable your dog’s recall away from sheep, a keen young dog will often feel conflicted about coming back to you while, as the dog sees it, there’s exciting work to be done. Our new two-part tutorial looks at “Calling the Dog Away”, with Part One, “Using a Refuge Pen” available NOW to paid subscribers.
In early training, it can be difficult to coax a keen dog back to you when it’s working. The dog’s hunting instinct is strong. So strong in fact, that at first it might ignore everything we say or do and it’s almost impossible to call the dog away from sheep.
If, during an early lesson, your dog stops listening to you, and is simply charging around the ring and scattering sheep, it’s unlikely you’ll easily regain calm control of the situation. Simply diving onto the dog to catch it could frighten it, and one or both of you could be hurt in the process. It’s for times like these that we’ve found the refuge pen is invaluable. We don’t always need it for a young dog, and we never need it for long. Neither will you – but it will help you retake control when you’ve tried everything else.
If you can’t call the dog away from sheep, take heart! As the dog becomes more familiar with working close to livestock the novelty and excitement will lessen. Your dog will begin to heed the commands you taught it before you introduced it to the sheep or cattle.