Dogs… again

Wood field

Member
Livestock Farmer
Location
South Pennines
I’ve two collie pups ( different parents)
Both are just over 6 months old we got them allegedly at 8 weeks although one was 7 weeks but the other I think only 5 or 6 weeks
Any way , they are good natured and play with our other dogs no problem however
Dog A.. the younger one , when walked alone is fine on her leash
But when out with the other dogs will completely ignore both myself and the mrs
Dog B .. comes when called whether playing or one on one
My biggest problem is having just walked dog A across some fields and over the moor in a “ bonding “ attempt she is petrified of sheep, not good for a working sheep farm
I took her home and she’s now scared of the bloody cat 😖
Question is , is there time for her to wise up as far as sheep are concerned or is it time to move her on as a pet
Thanks in advance
 

ladycrofter

Member
Livestock Farmer
Location
Highland
IMO you cannot change their nature and any attempt to do so will cause harm as she will not be able to understand. She sounds a lovely gentle soul and should go to a pet home. At 6 months she should be twigging to sheep movement if she's a worker. I would expect some degree of recall also - her recognising she's part of "your" pack.

I have no scientific data to support this but have bred several working litters in my time. I reckon out of a litter of say, 6, 2 will be excellent workers, 2 will be okay, and the other 2 would make great pets. And it is a crap shoot which ones are which. I have been extremely lucky once; very lucky just now; and three times in the past not-so-lucky. Have a friend who has been through 3 puppies in the last 2 years, all of good working breeding. The first 2 wouldn't look at sheep but were great-natured and he wisely (and kindly) put them to pet homes. Happily for him the third is a winner and showing interest at 6 months.

Best to call it as it is as soon as possible, in the best interest of the pooch.
 

Turnip

Member
Know of a border collie who is petrified of sheep, moved on to live as a pet and happy as can be. FIL always passes his English Setters on to live as pets when they don't live up to his high standard in competitions. Its not worth the aggravation trying to change the nature of an animal. Sounds like you have a "bad" buy as in it isn't working for you but could for someone else, and need to cut your losses.
 

bribwll

Member
Location
Pembrokeshire
Its a confidence thing sometimes. Not all dogs switch on by themselves, you may just need to go train one of your current working dogs and take the one that is scared of sheep with you to have a look, nothing to stressy just go have abit of fun with them. Small paddock, a place they can't just bugger off home from and try it a couple of times in a week. Always worked for me anyway, best of luck. 👍
 

abitdaft

Member
Location
Scotland
I would say that dog A may need just one on one leadership, decide who she reacts to best and then start individual training. No distractions, sheep in a pen she can see and see what she does from the outside of the pen, let that one person build a real rapport, nobody else has anything to do with the dog, feeding, bedding and training. Be gentle and slow, even if no sheep work is involved for the next month have her by your side daily as much as possible then see where she is at. I have never worked with a dog that will work for anyone other than me. If my dog responded to anyone else I would be shocked. Maybe your pup just needs that one to one and to know who the leader of the pack is?
 

Spartacus

Member
Livestock Farmer
Location
Lancaster
One I heard was to take them to sheep at dusk, apparently brings out the animal instinct as that would be a time for wild dogs to go hunting. Although if it is terrified it might never get it, but some start later than others.
 

abitdaft

Member
Location
Scotland
A big problem with working dogs is folk trying to start them too young. Let your pup be a pup, don't be the task master, the less telling offs a working dog gets the better imho, try not to dent the confidence and rathe build a working relationship. Some dogs will never get there, but if the owner/trainer does not understand the dog then chances are the dog stands no chance understanding the trainer. Sometimes a few minutes out can make a world of a difference.
 

Dry Rot

Member
Livestock Farmer
I had a falconer friend ask me what he should do with a pointer that was not interested in game. I turned the question back at him and asked him what he would do with one of his hawks in a similar situation. Sometimes it is a matter of common sense and if that doesn't work I am with unlacegecko.
 

Electricfencer

Member
Livestock Farmer
Location
Cotswolds
A big problem with working dogs is folk trying to start them too young. Let your pup be a pup, don't be the task master, the less telling offs a working dog gets the better imho, try not to dent the confidence and rathe build a working relationship. Some dogs will never get there, but if the owner/trainer does not understand the dog then chances are the dog stands no chance understanding the trainer. Sometimes a few minutes out can make a world of a difference.
The best dog Iv ever had was shut up in a kennel for 2 years before i got her, she was scared of everything but would stick to me like glue, would run away from stock but one day a calf got out and it was like a switch in her head that that calf has to come back to me. She never looked back after that and was wonderful and probably wont have another dog like her. I have a 7 month old now that I'm just about to start, he will lie all day looking at ewes in a shed but hasn't been allowed to get at them yet, Iv got high hopes for him but good he is a lazy pup and will lie down out of choice rather than stand up.
 

neilo

Member
Mixed Farmer
Location
Montgomeryshire
The best dog Iv ever had was shut up in a kennel for 2 years before i got her, she was scared of everything but would stick to me like glue, would run away from stock but one day a calf got out and it was like a switch in her head that that calf has to come back to me. She never looked back after that and was wonderful and probably wont have another dog like her. I have a 7 month old now that I'm just about to start, he will lie all day looking at ewes in a shed but hasn't been allowed to get at them yet, Iv got high hopes for him but good he is a lazy pup and will lie down out of choice rather than stand up.

I had two from my last litter that would do that all day long at 3-4 months old. One was sold for export and awaiting collection, the other I was keeping. The one I kept is as good a bitch as I could ever hope to run (and due her own pups very soon :) ), and still watches sheep constantly. The other went to Belgium and won his first trial before selling for daft money.

I’m hoping for a repeat.👍
 

Wood field

Member
Livestock Farmer
Location
South Pennines
Well, after doing the usual jobs I took 10 minutes to walk dog A on a lead nice and quiet and no sheep
She was much better so I slipped her lead and kept calling her back .
She was like a different dog , put her on her lead and walked back to the kennel
I think I will persevere with gentle one on one sessions for a few weeks before deciding on whether to keep her or let her go as a pet
Thanks for the advice, much appreciated
 

ladycrofter

Member
Livestock Farmer
Location
Highland
Kneeling or squatting when you call a dog is like magic and should encourage her even more to come. And the squeaky voice! She is also old enough to have short gentle training to sit for a few seconds as a game. Lots of praise when she does. This will help her develop rapport with you. Best wishes.
 

Wood field

Member
Livestock Farmer
Location
South Pennines
We have a local lass who trains pups for hearing dogs, she has been doing a bit of basic sit and stay type of training , even she said floss ( dog A) almost looks at you and flicks a finger !!
We have a patterdale pup and floss is inseparable with him, that’s probably part of the problem, when they are out together they are off in a world of there own
I think one to one training and evern moving the three collies kennels may be the answer
Currently they are all kennelled in the same shed
 

ladycrofter

Member
Livestock Farmer
Location
Highland
I would definitely not be inclined to make an effort e.g. moving kennels etc. A dog that will work should be enjoyable and rewarding to train and work with, even as a puppy (yes obviously they all have off days). No special measures. Her attachment to the terrier says she has made her choice and it isn't you. Time to go IMO. And spend your time and energy with the good one.
 

Dead Rabbits

Member
Location
'Merica
I dunno a terrible amount about dogs but my best one was scared of cows and particularly calves till she was near a year old. I didn’t want a gritty dog as I milk cows so it worked out well. She took to the cows soon enough and had some grit when needed but definitely a softer dog suited to dairy cattle.

Had several pups that weren’t mine that I’ve “trained” as well and they were similar. Always had them obeying pretty well before I had them try much with cattle. Easy to get a pup killed. Rightly or wrongly I never have leash trained a dog. Always expect them to behave as if they had an invisible leash on. Even go to town and inside stores with them.

I’d say some dogs are slow burners compared to others. I’ve not dealt with strong eye dogs yet
 

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