Sheep!Magazine articles

In which users discuss matters pertaining to the management of the health, welfare, and productivity of their flocks. Nutrition, pasture management, health care protocols, feeding systems, and such are all on topic.
denice
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Sheep!Magazine articles

Postby denice » Sun Mar 05, 2017 4:14 am

I am not sure how many folks here read Sheep! I have been writing a stockdog article since 2016 for the magazine. I enjoy it. It is a thought provoking process attempting to write all the small intricacies that goes into training a dog/working a dog to assist with livestock production for what could be someone who has never seen it much less tried it.

The first few stories were combinations of story with some info mixed in. I felt that trying to go toward a more practical - how to type article was the way to go. In the confines of a magazine that is difficult due to limited space and available time of reader. I do not enjoy fluffy articles, if I am paying for a magazine and taking time to read it I would like to learn something. Hopefully entertained in the process.

My question is two fold - If you have been reading the articles I would like your opinion on the articles themselves as well as what you would find helpful for those articles to focus on in regard to sheep production using stockdogs. Are the multi part articles understandable? Are things broken down to much or not enough? What topics do want explored?

The more details in the feedback the better.
My email is denice.r@lycos.com if you would like to email
Thanks

BlusteryKnollFarm
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Re: Sheep!Magazine articles

Postby BlusteryKnollFarm » Thu Mar 09, 2017 7:28 am

Well, I can't provide good feedback, since I don't read Sheep!, but, I am certainly interested in something like that as my sheep flock is growing to the point that I need a good herding dog to make things work well.

If you don't mind a question in that regard, I have issues with the fact that my sheep are not dog broke, so it's very difficult to practice with my border collie. So far the half dozen goats work better for training him. He only puts pressure on stock that tries to stand up to him. He will walk right past a sheep that ignores him.

denice
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Re: Sheep!Magazine articles

Postby denice » Thu Mar 09, 2017 10:43 am

There could be many things going on that cause /allow that to happen, I wouldn't be able tell just what is going on without seeing it.
I have one ewe that started out in the house a few winters ago as a nearly frozen lambs. Mag and I saved her, she hung out in the house for a good week. Frosty would sleep on the dog beds with the dogs. I am not sure if she thinks she is part sheep, part dog part human but she does Not act/react to things like a real sheep. Frosty does not respect the dogs when they ask her to move, she simply ignores them. Now I could insist on them moving her and they would get the job done but I do not feel that is fair to dogs or Frosty.

She is a typical bottle lamb that has remained very tame. I do not train on bottle lambs because of the fact they do not act like sheep. If your sheep are tame to the point of walking up to you, following you, being hand fed...used to bossing dogs around it is going to take some time to get the sheep RE TRAINED and it will take a dog that takes charge to do that. The dog has to convince those sheep he means business.
I know a guy that has a nice flock NCC, they are babied. He has taught them that They can do as they please - they will run into people, stuff their heads in buckets, knock you over, ignore the dogs...the dogs he has taught that they can get get after the sheep for rude behavior. The sheep know they always win and are bullies. Well almost always - a ewe tried to go where she wanted when I was out there working Blu.He warned her twice and asked for my permission, Told him he needed to take care of it. the third time she came at him he did a nice nose bite and let go. I have had Blu for 10 years now and can count the sheep he has nailed on one hand. That girl needed an attitude adjustment and got one.
I had a dog for awhile that would simply drop sheep out the flock leaving them behind preferring the easy moving ones. SHe was fine on light sheep that moved but she did not enjoy pushing them keeping them together. Sheep are smart- they know who's in charge and who isn't. Sold her for a trial dog, that is where she excelled. You could give her 1000 commands while working and she would easily take every one, she didn't mind micromanaged other dogs hate it.
So could be sheep, could be dog. I will not train a young dog on sheep like that because it destroys their self confidence. If a dog will not try then you are in big trouble so I try to set them up for success. We tackle harder things as they are ready. You might have to help the dog move the sheep- proving to both of them how it is supposed to work.

I wish I would have started with dogs when I first got sheep. There is lots to learn and I would be 5 years further down the road. Not to mention they are wonderful company and great help no matter if you are moving 3 or 30 or 300.

Nothing in the world like going out for chores with a good dog next to you. You know no matter what happens it all will be taken care of because the dog will not give up till its done

Linda Poole
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Re: Sheep!Magazine articles

Postby Linda Poole » Thu Mar 09, 2017 2:14 pm

Hi BlusteryKnollFarm-

My dog Cora and I worked through the problem of very tame sheep that weren't dog broke. It was tough since Cora didn't back down from ornery sheep, but neither would she jump up and give them a nip on the nose to get their feet moving the right direction. It broke my heart to see her get knocked off her feet time after time by aggressive ewes -- poor little Cora looked like one of those clown toys that you punch and it bobs back up, just so you can punch it down again. But with a bit of time and some help from Denice and a BC trainer from Wyoming, we made it through and now Cora uses just the right amount of energy and teeth to put the sheep where I ask. Because Cora and I made it through these beginner difficulties, I am confident that everyone and their dogs can as well.

Sounds like you've almost got the opposite issue, if I understand right. Your dog stands up to belligerent goats and walks by sheep that ignore him, correct? Denice is the pro here and I am just a beginner with stockdogs, but if I was in your situation I think I'd sort off some sheep into a little group for training the dog. I'd make a plan for where and how I want the sheep to move, then put the dog to work doing it. The sheep wouldn't have the option to ignore the dog, nor the dog to ignore the sheep, since you need them both doing the job you set them to. This is probably over simplistic, but when my dog and I were trying to sort out how to work my knee-knocking flock, one of the most helpful things was working together to manage a small group of training sheep in a controlled situation. While we did that, Cora and I learned so much about how to be a team, and we both got confidence in ourselves and each other so that we were ready to support each other when we went back to move the main flock.

Cora too would leave sheep behind if they just stopped and held their ground. It was like they were invisible to her. But Cora watched me go up to get those sheep moving and I swear she was embarrassed -- it was like she was thinking, "Well I could have got those too if I just knew you really wanted them. You get out of the way now, Linda, and I'll show you how to get the job done." Seems like that's one of my "training" techniques: after asking my dog to do the work, and having her not do it, I step in to do the work, and then my dog takes over. Clearly I don't have the verbal and intentional training skills to get the message across to Cora, but she's smart enough to watch me and learn what I want. Thank heavens for a smart dog!

Peg Haese
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Re: Sheep!Magazine articles

Postby Peg Haese » Fri Mar 10, 2017 10:54 am

denice wrote:I would like your opinion on the articles themselves as well as what you would find helpful for those articles to focus on in regard to sheep production using stockdogs. Are the multi part articles understandable? Are things broken down to much or not enough? What topics do want explored?

Denice, Paul and I have a Sheep! subscription and look forward to each issue. Your articles have been a welcome addition for us. The multi-part ones are fine as we save all the issues.

One suggestion is to cover what a stock dog may need to know before serious training at home or going off to spend time with a trainer. Basics - walk on leash, stand for an exam like at the vet, crate training, ride in vehicle, meet strangers, what NO! means, come, stop and lie down for examples. The things that will make stockdog training go smoother and form a better dog/trainer bond.

Keep up the good work!
Peg Haese, PNP Katahdins, far SW Wisconsin USA


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