QUESTION: I purchased a fully trained sheepdog but I have never worked a dog on livestock before. Do your videos cover how to start off with a trained dog?
ANSWER: Sometimes people buy a trained dog in the hope that it will know what to do, but that’s asking a lot of the poor dog! We need to give our dog a lot of guidance such as: where to gather the livestock from, and where you’ll want it to take them.
This is only a tiny part of what they need to know. Watching our tutorials will help you to begin working your new dog, and also understand what’s happening, and how to control events.
The most common problem with a new dog is that it hasn’t had time to bond with its new owner.
Bonding is nothing to do with the dog wagging its tail when you pat it on the head, it happens when the dog accepts you as its leader. That can happen quickly with a puppy, but it takes longer as the dog gets older. Sometimes, it takes several weeks or even months.
You can increase the bond between yourself and your dog by spending time with it. Even riding in the truck or tractor with you as you move around the farm can be a big help, but the dog also needs your guidance.
Be FIRM, FAIR and CONSISTENT
Give your new dog a few days to settle-in with you before you start working it, and then when you take it to the stock, give it easy tasks to begin with.
Even a highly skilled dog needs to know the pace you want it to work at, and how much pressure to apply to the stock for instance, and skilled dogs are no exception when it comes to cutting corners and find easier ways for themselves to work. These ways may not be what we require, so we need to understand when the dog’s working correctly and when it’s not!
Our Sheepdog Training Tutorials (see video below) are of huge benefit to beginners, because to get the best out of your dog, you need to understand HOW and WHY the dog works the way it does – and how to correct the dog when things go wrong (as they inevitably will).