Training Max – The Gripper (Part 2)

Thumbnail image for the sheep and cattle dog training tutorial: Training Max the Gripper part two

After a quick recap of Max's colourful start to his training, this tutorial shows him making good progress in the training ring and even starting to bring the sheep up to the handler but he's difficult to stop.

Andy's careful to start the training session correctly to give Max the best chance of going around the sheep rather than gripping or splitting them - but can Max keep up the good work?

Max had no training of any kind at any time in between the lessons shown in these tutorials.

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8 Replies to “Training Max – The Gripper (Part 2)”

  1. Hi Andy, I have watched part 1, 2, and 3 of max the gripper and many other of your videos.

    I started making progress with my 3 year old border collie (she may not be a pure breed though, but her parents were both cattle dogs) but then she started to snarl and show her teeth when I would “whoosh” my stick at her to push her out from the sheep. I have not tried the rope chain because my training pen is pretty small and I think it would just get her closer to the sheep and she would grip even more.

    She stays very close to the sheep and comes in for a bite when ever she thinks she can. I try to push her out from the sheep and then she starts to lose interest and sniffs the ground and starts eating muck. I encourage her to stat chasing the sheep and she will come back and start from the beginning. I make sure I encourage her when she gives the sheep space and I save my harsh voice for when she is about to or biting a sheep.

    When she grabs a sheep (usually by the leg) and holds on, I come over and will hit her with my stick. She lets go after that and has a 50 – 50 chance of losing interest in the sheep again. When I send her on an outrun rushes strait at the sheep unless I am with them and she tries very hard to grip one.

    I absolutely hate it when I use the stick to hit her and I wish she would stop after that but she is so determined to keep gripping the sheep. Can you give me some advice on how I can show her what I want her to do?

    Thank you,

    1. Try to avoid hitting your dog if you possibly can, Gwen. Of course, you must protect the sheep from harm, but if possible, try to whack the stick on the ground very close to the dog so that it THINKS you’re going to hit it, rather than actually making contact.
      It can take several lessons to stop the dog diving in and gripping, and if the ring’s too small that will make matters worse. Dogs are always more aggressive with the stock in a confined space. If you don’t use the rope chain it could take longer still. Surely it’s worth the effort to make the ring 16 metres diameter – just for a short while? Put in the effort and keep trying, – you’ll get there.
      Watch Calm but Firm to see how I deal with an aggressive dog which loses interest when corrected.

    1. No I haven’t June, and I don’t intend to – but I have seen them used. Using a muzzle is “papering over the cracks” and simply frustrates the dog further in my opinion. Far better to take a little extra trouble and train the dog properly.
      If you watch Sometimes Nice is Not Enough, you’ll see that I don’t completely eliminate the grip. If it encounters aggressive sheep, the dog needs to know it can defend itself, otherwise it will totally lose confidence.

  2. Great to see the next step in Max’ training. As a fairly inexperienced handler myself, it is hard to train a strong and determined dog, but we are now making progress. I realised that I needed to get tougher with him when he attacked the sheep, and he got the message pretty quickly. Thanks for the great tutorials.

    1. Good to hear you’re dog’s improving, Caroline. If you can get your corrections in before the dog grips, they work much better. Great to hear that you like the tutorials.

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