Welcome to week 2 of The Started Dog with Scott Glen – The Long Line Effect!

Here’s how the class works:

Each session in the class is presented in a 7 day presentation that you will experience in this format:

  • Monday: Watch the video instruction for the week.
  • Monday thru Wednesday (Noon PST): Submit your questions for Scott Glen by emailing them to questions@sheepdogtrainingcourses.com. Please keep your questions to the dog(s) and training method as it applies to the dog(s) in the segment. In order to allow Scott enough time to develop his answers while traveling to trials and clinics, please submit questions by Wednesday, Noon PST.
  • Thursday afternoon: Answers to submitted questions will be available to listen to. Question and Answer sessions will also be available in writing to make finding specific answers easy.
  • Friday: Check back here for final thoughts from the week and the homework assignment developed by Scott Glen.
  • Saturday/Sunday: Review what has been present in this week’s class.

This page will contain all of the information as it becomes available throughout the week. If you have questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us at questions@sheepdogtrainingcourses.com.

This Week’s Video

[S3VIDEO file=’Scott_Glen_Started_Doug_W2V1.flv’]

Questions & Answers

Click the play button below to listen to the MP3 version of the Q&A. It may take a few seconds before it buffers enough to play.

[S3AUDIO file=’Scott_Glen_Started_Doug_W2_QA.mp3′]

The Long Line Effect; written transcription from audio Question and Answer session with Scott Glen

Q – What goes into your decision about how many sheep to work for each exercise?
A – Just, “does your dog look good on that amount of sheep?” Does it look better on less sheep or does it look better on more sheep?  If you dog looks good, it feels good.  I would certainly drop down to fewer sheep.  It was certainly showing some things I wanted to show anyway on this segment, but there are certainly times I would quiet often half that amount.

Q – I have a question about the first part of the video. I want to be sure I understand what Scott was doing and saying. He was showing how to teach off balance flanks using an equilateral triangle and when he was in that position, he wanted the dog to go behind him on the off balance (inside) flank. But when he is further from the dog/sheep than the triangle, the dog should go in front of him. If the dog keeps wanting to do behind, even at a distance, how do you stop/discourage that?
A – Stand along the fence, that would probably be the easiest.  Or give it a little walk up first, and then flank it again. But stand on the fence so it just can’t get behind you.  So the dog gets the idea.

Q – My other question is about the sheep for driving with a young dog. Scott explained that the sheep in the video may be a bit heavy and warned about the difficulties of using really person-broke sheep. What about sheep that are too light and run when the dog approaches them? How light is too light and if the sheep are running from the dog, what should you do?
A – First of all, I don’t think the first part is so much a question but, those sheep are not so much person broke, as far as running to us. Instead, they were fairly heavy. As far as sheep that are too light, if you get desperate looking sheep you’ll have a desperate acting dog.  Now make sure your dog is not making them run for their lives, then it is in the training.  Get your dog off a little bit more, or under control a little bit more.  And if the sheep are just crazy, if you have a smaller pen like a little arena or something, just don’t let the dog move until it realizes the sheep are not going to get away.  Until the sheep settle. And if they are so light they won’t settle, if is not the dog making them crazy, it’s probably time to get less desperate sheep.  Wild sheep = wild dog.  If the sheep are crazy I would not work them out in the big field, not until the dog knew its job very, very well.  A lot better than the dog in this video for sure.  Because they get so desperate the sheep are getting away they are not trying to follow in, they are just desperately trying to get to the head trying to keep them from leaving.  Or worse yet, desperately just trying to run through the middle of them.

Q – What is a young dog learning if the sheep are to heavy?
A – The dog is learning that he can’t move the sheep.

Q – When the dog in the clip started flanking back and forth because the sheep would not move quick enough/heavy, is that also because it was a big group of sheep and the dog is trying to keep them together?
A – It was little bit of both.  Like I said, I certainly would not have any problem cutting that group of sheep back to three or four or five.  Just so they are not quiet as heavy.

Q – Also sometimes you say, “lie down” and the dog stands still , is this acceptable because they are at least stopping? Or would you fix that later?
A – I was not worried about it right then.  One thing I have discovered about doing this project is, when you are talking it is a little bit harder to be 100% accurate on flanks or to be absolutely consistent.  When I was reviewing it myself, I’m winding up the cord and talking and said “lie down” twice and the dog never even threatened to lie down.  So that certainly is not something that I would like to promote. If you say lie down, you mean lie down.  The good thing with that is, with those heavy sheep she wasn’t lying down but she was walking onto them.  Lying down on their belly kind of depends on the dog.  If it is a sticky dog, I would not mind if it stayed on its feet.  And if it is a dog that maybe looks like it might be a little too obedient, then I would be happy enough if it stood when I said lie down.  But lie down, at the end of the day should be lie down.  If you want to put a stand on, you can.  Her, she just didn’t know enough.  If the sheep are heavy, I don’t mind them breaking them a stop.  It can go too far, you just have to say, “you are going to lay down until you are asked, you are just doing too many silly things when you get up or moving” but if you are wanting to let it be direct, I don’t mind it getting up when it is being correct; opposed to its getting up to start flanking again.  Vice a verse if a dog does not want to flank and just wants to eye up, if it breaks it to flank because it is trying to get to balance to cover a pull, I don’t have a problem with it short term for sure.  You might have to fix it after though.  Once it knows its job better, you can start adding a little more control again.

Q – I want to be sure I understand the way you used the long-line to correct over-flanking. It looked like in that situation, you used it to stop the dog, while simultaneously saying ‘there.’ Is that correct?
A – I was using it to stop the dog out of the flank, not to stop the dog.  If I would have wanted her to stop, I would have said “lie down”.  “There” was just to approach the sheep out of that flank.  She does not know it good enough, a couple of times she wandered off to the other flank.

Q – It was a little difficult to see exactly where ‘there’ was with respect to the sheep — am I correct to think it was near the sheep’s shoulder, i.e. someplace just behind where the dog would catch the sheep’s eyes?
A – Some place that they are a little bit comfortable staying there.   So not quiet right to the head but basically at the end of the day it’s where I said “there”.  Wherever that is. But at first, to work with them a little bit, I’ll let them maybe 45 degrees or something like that; 90 degrees.

Q – What are the prerequisites, or readiness factors, for starting off balanced flank training?
A – They need to know their balance flanks fairly well. For me, certainly that is the way I do it.  I want them to have heard those flanks a lot and taken little off balance flanks, not great at it but knowing what they mean.  “Come bye” means that way, “away to me” means that way.  Just through repetition of just teaching about balance, letting them balance and put an appropriate word with it.

Q – Should we always try to maintain the handler-sheep-dog triangle pattern when we are teaching this?
A – Not necessarily, if you get them going, go ahead and go.  But it is hard to be accurate with that flank if they are right in front of you.  If you are wanting to just get them moving, for sure, just let them go.  But it would be hard to make sure you get the right flank when they are right in front of you because you have no way to help.  If they take the wrong one it is not the worst thing in the world but you could stop them and get the right one. That comes with time and patience.

Q – Should we not attempt drive training until we have some mastery of this material?
A – I suppose the definition of mastery would certainly be important, different people would have different mastery.  Extreme mastery would be never missing a flank, never have to help them with their name, never flanking off. So certainly there is such a thing as just staying so close that you never test them or never let them have any freedom.  I would say, I wouldn’t be afraid to stretch them out and test them a little bit, so they have to use their own head a little bit.  I’m allowing her to use her head there, but I am also wanting her to be obedient so I can help her not make a mistake.  But there is certainly nothing wrong with testing them a little bit; pushing them out a little bit farther.  Maybe outrunning a little bit farther, just not so far they can make a mess of it time and time again.  In other words, if you are going to test them before it is absolutely mastered, go ahead and test them asking them for something a little more difficult.  Every one would have their own little more difficulty for their own particular dog. But if they are getting better at it by going a little bit more distance or trying things a little more difficult like inside flanks, off balance flanks with not saying their names; certainly that is what we are after.  But if you push them to try to do better by more distance or something more difficult, and they are getting worse at it, instead of better at it, don’t go quiet so far.  And mastery, I think they should know their flanks pretty well before you get too carried away and just as important, they need to know not to just flank.  When they are asked to move up, they are not just flailing around.  {L:  last week you said, not being afraid to go back if as you are stretching them out, it is not going as planned} Right, the first part is to recognize is the distance just making them think that they don’t have to do it, or is the distance making them look bad because they just don’t know it well enough?

Q –  Scott said that, all other factors being equal, it is preferable to have the dog go behind the handler. Is that to maintain a good shape to the flank? Some other reason?
A – Exactly, and later on it will pertain to teaching them to shed.  Which we won’t get there, it helps quiet a bit with shedding later on.

Q – I am afraid that the concept of the long line effect has eluded me. I think I understood the purpose of using the line later in the video, but not the “long line effect” concept itself. Can you clarify it for me?
A – Well the Long Line Effect at first was not having the long line on, but using her name just like I would pull her right straight towards me with a line.  The long line, when I actually put the long line on her, it was so I could help her not be flanking, and help her be more direct. So the Lone Line Effect is not really using a long line but you are using it just for the off balance flanks so you can control it, you can get that motion easy.  If you actually had a line on, you could say “Tick” and pull it towards me a little bit and let that turn it into a flank and change that recall into a flank command.  So with the Long Line Effect it is not on there but we are getting the same thing. Where I actually put the line on it was to control some of that flanking so she didn’t quite so free to flank.  And I walked with her I could keep her from just flanking around to the head without having to stop her so much and just get some momentum going.  {L: you started the session with your theory is you use their name to always call them towards you.}  Yes, certainly there are lots of great handlers and trainers that use their name for a correction, or to have them think about what you are doing, which you can not argue with success. They have great success with it.  If I say their name, it is just about always 99.9% of the time, to come toward me.

Q –  I notice that your young dogs are way more relaxed and not on the muscle like my young dog. Are they just genetically more relaxed dogs or is it your calm manner of working them that make them appear so relaxed? What can one do to try to relax a more intense type of pup?
A – See you don’t have to raise your voice; if you raise your voice to have to get a desired effect, and basically you are trying to force them around, or force them down.  Then you will find if you sound calmer because you are just in a position you can always get it, whether it be the line, or your are close enough, you don’t have to get loud to get them to listen.  I think in the last session, last week, I had to get a little bit loud with Bliss.  It tends to a soft dog, it might make them melt; and another dog that is real keen it will make them think “I am doing something wrong, I’ve got to try harder.”  It might be they just don’t know the program 100% they are just not broke.  (L: so we do play a role in how calm our dog is?} Most certainly it is genetic too, there are calmer dogs; Tick is not one of them.  But there are calmer dogs just naturally and there are excitable dogs. They both have their pluses: an excitable dog, they are not likely let you down by not trying hard enough, it might be a mess but they will always be trying really, really hard to the point of too hard.  You are trying to stay calm so you don’t have to shout to get them to mind. Where as a calm dog, quiet often they will start looking like they don’t have enough effort, because they just don’t want to make a mistake.  It is not the start, it is the finish; calm dogs quite often turn out to be great, great dogs and excitable dogs that look really good there at first, if you are not careful sometimes they can just get stupid.


Week 2 Homework

[S3VIDEO file=’Scott_Glen_Started_Doug_W2_Homework.flv’]