Working with Very Light Sheep

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  • #4715
    Scout
    Participant

    I have a couple of different sheep flocks. I have a flock of woolies, and a flock of hair sheep, with a couple of “sub-flocks” of different breeds of wool sheep. The only dogs that work my sheep are my own (and an occasional friend that might come by). The sheep are treated well and are not chased or harmed by the dogs.

    Even so, my hair sheep are very, very light. I have everything from light to very heavy (Texels!) in my wool flock. But in general, the woolies are heavier than my hair sheep. My question is, what strategies do you use to work with lightening fast sheep? I have been doing “sideways pressure” exercises, and that seems to help. Anything else that I could be doing? Oddly, my dog with less eye seems to handle these quick sheep better than my strong eyed dog, which is the opposite of what I would have expected (that is, the eye holding the sheep in and controlling them).

    I don’t have too many problems with the heavy sheep, as the dogs can control them pretty well. The runny hair sheep are more of a challenge for me. This topic is important to me because, for reasons unrelated to dog training, I am transitioning my flock so that I have a majority of hair sheep (good meat, don’t need shearing, and do well in my climate). I will always have a few woolies around, but I’ll have more and more hair sheep.

    Oh, by the way… despite the profile picture, the dogs in question are working border collies with good breeding. The picture is of an old pet dog. 🙂

    Thanks!

    • This topic was modified 5 months, 2 weeks ago by Scout.
    • This topic was modified 5 months, 2 weeks ago by Scout.
    #4758
    Patricia
    Keymaster

    Hello! super sorry for the delay, we have been traveling and I missed this, my sincere apologies.

    To get light sheep quieter, try driving the sheep in a circle with more experienced dogs.

    The Circle-A versatile and excellent driving exercise

    Additionally doing figure 8’s quite far up the field (in front you by 200 yards or more if possible) and if you can, make a concerted effort to NOT fetch sheep (instead putting the dog all the way around and calling off) It sounds like you have enough sheep you could do fetching and outruns with a quieter group.
    From a running style perspective, a stop and flank style is often more suitable and therefore your dog with less eye may run a similar style. Also dogs with eye like to stay in contact and if sheep are super light and require dogs to work far off, this may actually be more difficult for dogs with a bit of eye. Hope this helps and again, sorry for missing it!!

    • This reply was modified 3 months, 1 week ago by Patricia.
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