Looking under the hood

I have a few young dogs that are just starting and thought I would comment on what I’m looking at/for when I work them at this young stage. All I’m looking for is a glimmering of “things to come”. I’m not expecting a pup to work like trained dog … but I am looking for the…

Zamora

Zamora is always one of the most enjoyable and challenging dog trials around. This year it was challenging in “more ways than one” … the weather took charge and everything had to revolve around it. It all started with the rain they had received in Northern California. The Slaven’s were lambing so they had to rent sheep…

Eye see

I was recently emailed and asked if I had written any articles on “eye”.  I said I had referred to it in a number of articles but never really written one exclusively about the difference in eye and how I work dogs to “fit” their eye. It got me thinking why I hadn’t done an article on…

The communication puzzle

WHY? I’ve been asked why do I emphasize communicating with a dog instead of just “making” the dog obey. Sure, you can train a dog to work livestock by controlling every move he makes but why would you want to? You end up with a mechanical dog that although he is able to do what he’s…

Crossing the line

Sometimes there is a fine line between correction and over-correction. It’s often hard for a novice to know when they are correctly on the “line”, when they have gone over the line or sometimes … which side of the line they are on. Unfortunately in some dogs this line is razor-thin between getting your point…

It’s NOT what you say

It’s HOW you say it. I’ve always used my voice a lot when training. I  often joke about running “name dogs” … meaning I use their name a lot. I use their name to slow them down, have them walk up, or remind them I’m in the picture. Obviously, it’s the same word … but…

Buying trained dogs

I import, buy and sell a lot of trained dogs and receive many questions. Complex question … what should you do when you buy a trained dog?  Simple answer: Start over. It  sounds odd but that really is the best way to approach it. Just because a dogs trained doesn’t mean he’s trained “to you”….

What shape are you in?

Shaping the flanks … Just what do trainers mean when they say that. It will be hard for a novice to recognize an incorrect flank if they can’t visualize what a correct flank looks like. The first thing to remember is shape means more than just distance from the sheep.  Why … because different sheep will need…

Making mistakes

Through the years many of my students had trouble understanding how to take advantage of a dog making mistakes. If handled correctly a dog (AND student) will learn as much from being “wrong” as being right. Your dog  should NEVER be afraid to make a mistake or he will be hesitate at *those* times when you need…

Trialing thoughts

Real work is about what is practical and efficient. Trialing attempts to take what is practical and efficient to precise and perfect. That’s why it requires more interaction and entails such mental discipline on the part of a handler/dog team. I have never understood the “thought process” that trialing isn’t practical. The phases of work…