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Dissing the Collie
12 September 2013, 20:34,
Dissing the Collie
After quite a lot of discussion, we have decided to start looking for a new place. I would like to be a bit more self sufficient, and after a load of hints to OH (including the possibility of upgrading the machiner - works a charm, Girls!), he has agreed to start looking next year. I fancy keeping sheep for meat. Now, as we already have a Collie I thought I could get a bit of a headstart on things by training him to deal with sheep. Collies are natural herders, and I was hoping he would take to it. We tried the horses, but his efforts were met by a raised warning hoof (You want some of this??!). The cats were downright disrespectful - they don't do dogs, so that left the hens as the livestock to practice on.

Any person who keeps hens knows that they aren't too fond of being shepherded around, and ours are no exception. In an independent mood I can only describe their reaction to shepherding as a bombburst. We started off with one hen. I ordered Collie to go get that chicken and he dutifully brought her to my feet. Excellent, but a bit worrying as I used a command that tells him to get his frisbee - chicken= frisbee? Perhaps not. The whole thing went to pot with more than one hen. For anyone who thinks that Collies are genetically programmed to understand the words "Come by" - they're not! I was behaving like a manic semaphorer on speed, and shouting at the poor old dog to do all sorts of things. My last attempt ended in dismal failure with the collie sitting in the chicken pen and the hens outside.

I am obviously no good at this, and, worse, the Collie thinks I am an idiot.
So, if there is anyone out there who can help me with information on how to perform a very basic manoeuvre with my Collie please let me know. I shall be ever so grateful.
I don’t want to hear my neighbour but I want to see the smoke of their chimney.
12 September 2013, 21:18,
RE: Dissing the Collie
There are a few ways of doing this, some better than others.

Some farmers like to tie a new dog to an old dog and work the dog, the new dog is forced to do as the experience dog is doing, ... and so he picks it up in the end

The last time I trained a collie, I used a very narrow country lane with high banks,.. a Collie will naturally go from side to side, so every time he goes left,.. give the left command, and every time he goes right give the right command,.. that's how I started

....but something tells me that you will be unable to do either of those options,

So,.. lets revert to the way they teach dogs to pull sleds,.... put the young dog on its lead, and go for a walk,.. every time you turn right, give the right command, every time you..... you get the rest
When you think he is getting that, as you reach the turn, [ but not yet turned ] give your command, if the dog has learnt any of it, he will make the turn that he has been told to do,.... continue like this until you think its been learnt

Then do it on the run,.. you can use a push bike, but he needs to learn it at speed,.. after that you can try him off the lead, and hopefully you will have a dog that at least turns in the direction you want it to, when you want it
A major part of survival is invisibility.
13 September 2013, 00:26,
RE: Dissing the Collie
13 September 2013, 08:37,
RE: Dissing the Collie
Smile I`d wait till youve got sheep! training one with chickens wont work! they scatter when chased,where as sheep group up, ducks would work. but unless your planing on having hundreds the best way too round up sheep is with corn!
27 September 2013, 03:46,
RE: Dissing the Collie
Turkeys and Guinea hens are more stupid than either chickens or sheep, but they do well here in West Virginia left to themselves. The best thing about them is that they eat ticks vigorously, and both are good for sounding an alarm for intruders. The Guineas are better as alarm birds and the turkeys better eating, but a mix of both are fine, and keep the dog entertained. I'm just a rednecked hillbilly and don't know anything, so just go with what my neighbors tell me works. They both eat good, and survive the winters here.

73 de KE4SKY
"Almost Heaven" West Virginia
27 September 2013, 09:25,
RE: Dissing the Collie
(13 September 2013, 08:37)Stevew Wrote: unless your planing on having hundreds the best way too round up sheep is with corn!

Yes ! Mine come running when they hear the sound of a few sheepnuts in a plastic container.

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