Tuesday, August 23, 2011

What I Learned From Faansie

It was a great clinic.  Even though many of the concepts that he showed were ones I was familiar with, he packaged them differently.  My key learning moments were the following:
  • Work young dogs on fresh sheep, preferably lambs.  This will allow the dog to develop its natural instincts and prevent your dog broke sheep from teaching your young dog bad habits.  I plan to buy some to use this winter.  One of the dogs quirks that was driving me nuts was in part because my dog broke sheep weren't handling like sheep.
  • Watch my angles.  I learned to almost create a triangle with the dog as the point and the sheep in the middle.  I had been circling.  I learned to cut my angles tight to the sheep and walk directly to the dog's hip or rib to get a specific result.
  • Lie down frequently.  I learned to lie my dog down and erratically ask it to go quickly.  This will allow my pups to learn that they don't always get pulled off when put into lie down.  Be unpredictable so the dog has to think.
  • When I lie my dog down, and stand near the sheep the dog must bend around and not step towards the sheep before bending.
  • Use a dog food bag and make a sharp noise to get the dog's attention.  Watch my hand/arm movement.
  • Use the corners and fence to help control the movement of the sheep.  When a dog is too wide or out of context have them push the sheep into the corner and call them in, then have them cover the sheep that pop out.  This will teach the dog to read it's stock and respond to pressure.
  • When I give a correction make it count.  Don't release my pressure too soon.  Don't be afraid to apply pressure.  If a pup tries to leave, call them back, give them a pet, and then put them back to work.  Then when they're hooked, reapply the pressure to get what I want.
  • Use different speeds, get your dog working slow and thoughtful, then speed them up.  This keeps the dog thinking.
  • With Diva give her no quarter.  Work with a purpose and be demanding.
  • Start putting commands into the pups rather than "shhhh" which is what I'd been using to send them.
  • Fine tune my recall.  Recall is the start of a shed.  Teach the babies to recall to me when I'm standing square. 
  • Body language is key.
  • Don't block the sheep!  Let them go and make the dog cover them.  Get some distance between yourself and the sheep and allow the dog room to come around and bring them to you.  This makes it more clear for the dog.
I bought the Faansie Basson DVD and am super keen to watch it.  I learned so much.  More than I thought I would.  It was amazing for the dogs.  Both babies grew a tremendous amount.  Ryder developed so much confidence and Diva developed more respect.  And if nothing else, learning how to better handle Diva's behavior was priceless.

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