A gripper (a dog attacking biting and gripping sheep) must be quickly brought under control for the welfare of the stock. Find out how we correct Max’s bad ways.
Max would ‘Grip for England”!
On release Max ran straight at the sheep, attacking biting and gripping them.
These sheep have good heavy coats, which protect them from a dog’s teeth when it’s nipping them.
Watch how Max naturally starts flanking around the sheep.
Max’s first training session at home (10th May).
Setting Max up in the hope of guiding him around the sheep.
Max grips a sheep and hangs on to it.
Whacking the training stick hard on the ground close to the dog makes him let go.
The dog stays out while flanking, but lunges at the sheep when told to stop.
Look for a pattern
Patterns in the dog’s work can help us predict what it’s going to do next.
The dog is hanging onto a sheep again.
A typical pattern to look for – the dog attacks when commanded to stop.
To train a dog like Max, you need to be tough.
Watch how a well-timed correction prevents the dog changing direction.
Another well-timed correction prevents the dog from nipping.
Attempting to stop the dog.
Crouching down and giving the ‘that’ll do‘ command, stops the dog at last!
On sending the dog off again, he grips a sheep. (Another pattern to note).
Some dogs calm down as they get tired – but not this one…
If the dog stops, try to give it the impression you commanded it to stop.
Trying to stop the dog.
Crouching down, and the ‘that’ll do‘ command, stop the dog again.
Lead training is useful for reinforcing your status as the dog’s leader.
How to make the dog think it’s on a lead when it’s near sheep.
SAFETY is essential. Ensure the rope will not cause injury to people or animals.
Leading the dog around the sheep – Max’s second training session (15th May).
The rope’s too long!
A rope can help control a dog, but in Max’ case it had little effect.
Some people attach a long rope to the dog, and then tread on it, to stop the dog.
Treading on the rope to stop it might seriously injure the dog’s neck.
A long rope is bound to wrap itself around things, including the handler’s legs.
Instead of encouraging the dog out wider, the long rope unfortunately drags it in towards the sheep!
It can even wrap itself around the legs of the sheep, and wind the dog into them!
A better combination is a short rope, with a heavy chain attached.
Dimensions and assembly of the rope-chain.
Make the rope long enough to allow the chain to keep clear of the dog’s back feet.
The short rope with heavy chain attached steadies the dog down and also give the dog the impression it’s on a lead.
Max’s third training session (also 15th May).
The rope in this clip is longer than the rope we use now.
Setting the dog up for a short outrun.
The dog dives-in, attacking biting and gripping sheep.
Whacking the stick on the ground close to the dog makes him let go.
Stopping the dog.
The chain dragging in the grass is also slowing the dog down.
With the rope-chain attached, the dog is flanking, that is to say circling, and stopping better.
Watch the dog get the sheep away from the hurdles – very tight, but he didn’t grip.
Getting the sheep off the fence again, but in the ‘away‘ direction.
Insisting the dog goes the way you send it, and not the way it prefers to go.
The dog continues to improve dramatically.
Working without the rope-chain
Soon we remove the rope-chain and allow the dog to work without it.
Max working without the rope-chain.
Stopping the dog.
Moving the training stick to the correct hand soon causes the dog to change direction.
Encouraging the dog to bring the sheep along.
The ‘walking backwards‘ exercise!
Catching the dog.
Attempting to set the dog up for a short outrun.
Max’s worst grip! The outrun setup didn’t work.
The rope-chain did a great job, but it’s no instant-fix.
Attempting to set the dog up for another short outrun.
Catching the dog.
Setting the dog up for another short outrun.
A well-timed warning prevents the dog from biting a sheep. (Reading the patterns).
Dogs love silly talk because it shows them all is well.
REPLAY: Rapidly repeated commands increase the dogs excitement, and speed it up.
REPLAY: Watch Max’s biggest grip again.
Not for the faint-hearted
PART 1: This tutorial deals with one of the most difficult aspects of sheepdog training, how to cope with a very strong-willed dog which also persists in violently attacking biting and gripping sheep. In the first part of the video, you’ll see Max at his worst despite his trainer being vigilant. Later on, Max’s training becomes easier and far more rewarding. Watch all three videos to find out how to stop your dog biting sheep or cattle.