A great tip to make training your dog to do inside flanks in the training ring.
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An easier way to teach inside flanks
Teaching your dog to circle stock is easier in a training ring, but the dog must flank well both ways.
Carew’s flanks are not perfect, but we’ll try to train her to circle on command, in the training ring.
It helps if the dog can drive a little, as it won’t mind being between the handler and the sheep.
Being able to call the dog away from the sheep is another important point.
Carew’s tail position shows she’s not happy to work with the handler outside the ring.
Inside the ring, the dog circles the sheep at the first attempt.
Carew lunges at the sheep, and then responds well to flank and recall commands.
Carew lunges at the sheep again, she’s not happy!
By combining flank and recall commands, she circles again. She’s learning.
Using flanking commands without the recall, results in her lunging at the sheep again.
Watch Carew wag her tail when she hears the recall command. (She’s hoping we’ll stop this.)
Gradually reducing the number of recall commands works better.
That’s a lot of pressure for the dog, so it’s time to stop.
Eli’s flanks are not so good. I send him clockwise but he goes the other way.
Once Eli’s on the handler’s left, he’s happy to go clockwise.
The dog wants to obey the command, but the instinct to be on balance is too strong.
Stopping the dog and moving to his left – and he goes in the ‘Away’ direction.
Once more, the dog won’t go ‘Away’ if the handler’s on his right.
This time, quickly dodging to the dog’s left keeps him going.
Success! He comes through without stopping!
Trying to get the dog circling clockwise is more difficult.
With the handler on his right, Eli flanks towards the ‘Come bye’ direction but splits the sheep.
Flanking the dog in the ‘Away’ direction, to ease the pressure.
Some simple flanking practice should ease the pressure even more.
Teaching Eli to drive in the open field, recall and flank commands work well together.
The combination doesn’t work so well sending him clockwise, until the handler moves to Eli’s right.
Use a training ring to develop your dog’s inside flanks
PART 2: We take another look at training your dog to do inside flanks (circle the sheep on command). Provided the dog works reasonably on flank commands, has a good stop, and you can call it away from the sheep, the easiest way to teach it to circle the sheep on command is in the training ring.
Once the dog will circle the sheep in the training ring, with the handler on the outside, it’s a simple matter to get the dog to flank between the handler and the sheep out in the open field. Once the dog has mastered this, teaching it to drive sheep or other livestock will be a simple matter.