Welcome to week 3 of Starting the Young Dog with Scott Glen!

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_Young_Doug_W3V1.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_Young_Doug_W3_QA.mp3′]

Q–How old is Lass?
Lass was just a little under 9 months old.  I think that was her second session in the round pen when we saw her, and I think she one or two times and then we moved to the arena.  Not too much experience between the round pen and the arena. 

Q–How old is Rye in the video?
A—It was Rye’s sixth time on sheep and he was a month older than Lass.

Q–When you are working Lass and attempting to get the stop you put pressure on her and if instead of stopping she goes wider you will back off. Is this to give her reinforcement for doing something right (i.e. yielding to your pressure) as she doesn’t really know what you are looking for?
Well that certainly is a good question because obviously that is going to reinforce the width, but at that time I’m reinforcing the width but it about her just not knowing her stop.  There is no sense forcing the issue if I’m not in a spot I can get it, might as well get what I can and that is a little bit of width.  Now having said that, I don’t want to do that too many times without teaching her that lie down a little bit better.  We are trying to teach her lie down and not that lie down means go out and to the left or to the right.

Q–If you continued to push her to make her lie down could this cause a lack of confidence and a dog that may get too wide (knowing the family tendencies would help here)
With her, I don’t think it would be too wide but it is certainly something to consider if you know the breeding on a dog.  If they are wide, you always want to be careful of that.  You might lose a little confidence for a little while, but as long as you get out of the road and let them work the sheep, the confidence will come back.  I’m a big promoter of happy dogs on their sheep: happy/confident on their sheep not just running through them.  I want them happy through their confidence so they cannot always be happy.  Quite often a dog will start out not looking 100% happy with something new. It’s not like a brand new puppy you are starting for the first time, you are not going to put too much on them.  You want them to know they can work the sheep first.

Q–On the second dog, have you done the exercise so he knows to turn his head in the presence of pressure?
Yes, some.

Q–He seems to have a lot of eye which is taking him straight to the sheep. How long do you keep walking towards the sheep while you try to get him to yield to pressure before releasing the line?
The back part of that question first, I’m going to start lying him down and walk to the sheep fairly quickly. As soon as I know he knows he is okay to work those sheep and he is happy about going around and knows he can go around, I am going to start lying him down and walking towards the sheep and then letting him go round so I can start him on a little bit better line.

Six times on sheep, I think it is much more tentative “what should I do with these sheep?” as too much eye.  It is a good question but at six times, unless it is obviously slapping down to the ground and wanting to sit there and stare at them, I really did not think it was too much eye.   

Q–With Lass, you gave a couple small corrections when she came in tight on the sheep (once she might have done a little grip) but you didn’t do much correcting. I assume that you weren’t correcting much because she doesn’t know enough yet. What caused you to give the corrections that you did give?
She was starting to look to do it. The first couple of times she was starting out wrong right from the start and just didn’t open up, or was too close to the sheep and didn’t know enough to open up.  But with the time I gave her a correction, I do believe she was open and then had to go out of her way to break the line she was on. To put it more simple is: let her go just a little bit and then I am going to start asking more effort on her part to be right.

Rye seemed less enthusiastic’, i.e. slower to move around the sheep, occasionally distracted, and kept more distance from the sheep.
I can shed some light on this—his “mummy” was right behind me on one of the cameras.  All the sudden this brand new person is working him and the only person he knows is the person he knows the best and has put him five times on sheep, me being the sixth time, and that person is right behind on a pickup truck running a camera! Credit to him for going to it.   

Q–Would you just continue on doing similar work until he found his groove and focus for his work? What would be your next step for him?
A—The next step would be much the same as Lass, I would lie him down and walk towards the sheep and try to get him to go on a little bit of an outrun.  And continue to build confidence on their sheep. 

Q–Rye was a very different dog from Bliss of week; do you feel confident that both dogs can ultimately be trained to the same level and accomplish the same things even though they’re such different dogs at this stage?
A—please keep in mind that Bliss was 18 months old and Rye was 11 months old. As far as the “same level” if the question is, “can they both be trained to the open?”  Yes I do believe they both should be able to be trained to the open.  Now the same level in the open?  No I certainly could not say at this stage because dogs are not created equal.  If you can get the best out of the dog that you can,  if you can get them to be the best they can: you are a winner.  But all dogs were not bred nor created equal. Some are not going to be as good as others.  If you can get 100% out of the dog, you don’t have to apologize for anything.  That is what it is all about. That is why we don’t just pick the first breeding that comes along.  You are after something that you think can be trained to be great not just good or fair.

Q– With Lass, I noticed you accept a standing stop/pause at this stage
rather than a lie down on the belly so she doesn’t “take exception” to
it. What might make you decide to insist on a stop on her belly later?
Do you ever leave a dog with a standing stop permanently?
What will happen with her pretty quick is, I will insist that she lays on her belly simply because her head pops up in the air when I stop her there.  That will certainly reduce or go away completely with confidence.  So she knows what is being asked and knows how to work her sheep, rather than  right there just circling and being told to go around by body pressure or a down once in a while.  Right now it is just letting her know it is a lack of movement but yes she should be taught to lay down on her belly with a lie down.

I do let dogs earn (a standing stop) but to be real black and white, when they are finished a person should probably teach them to stand and teach them to lie down and it looks like that.  I personally don’t mind if a dog stays on its feet if it is right, with just a lie down. You certainly wouldn’t get any argument from me that they have to lie down too.  But having said that, dogs earn their feet with me and I don’t make them lay on their belly; I do want to be able to make them lay on their belly like with a little bit harder stop.   

Q– At 15:15 Rye stops following the packet and turns to focus on the
ewe behind Scott who had turned to face the dog rather than staying
focused on the group as a whole. Is this a problem?
A—No, I think that it shows that he is seeing head and is not avoiding something that is giving him troubles.  Now I wouldn’t leave it go too long, in the off chance that sheep was just being mean and would decide to have a go at him  But I don’t think that is all bad at all.  It will certainly come in very handy when we start singling.  Also, six times on sheep there is not much experience so you can’t expect perfection; it’s quite a bit less than sometimes. 

Q– A few times Rye lies down on his own. Is this a problem?
A—No, I don’t think so, he’s just trying to be good.  If he were sticky, it would be a different story.
Scott’s Definition of Sticky: A dog that is staring at the sheep so intensely that it doesn’t want to move in any direction and is difficult to get to move freely.  Not to be confused with lack of confidence.  It can get to be  a very negative problem. It looks for any excuse to get to where it can just stare at the sheep.

Week 3 Homework

[S3VIDEO file=’Scott_Glen_Young_Doug_W3_Homework.flv’]