Safest way to dogbreak sheep?

Discussion in 'Sheep' started by kirsten, Aug 29, 2005.

  1. kirsten

    kirsten Well-Known Member

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    I have an aussie shepherd-aussie cattle dog mix who I was taking to a professional trainer until we moved. But she is only a year and a half and still works the stock at break neck speeds, no slow there at all! I am thinking round pen but want to be even more gradual than that in case finnsheep are amazing leapers and somehow kill themselves in their terror. So what is the best way to start new sheep who are not familiar with dogs?
     
  2. Maura

    Maura Well-Known Member Supporter

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    If you already have dog broke sheep, put your finns in with them and have your dog move them. You may want to put in one Finn at a time, depending on the size of your herd. The sheep will want to move together, though I don't think the Finns will stick close with the other sheep, they will move in the same general direction. They may learn quickly that all of the other sheep fear the dog, or they may confront the dog. If they confront the dog, it's up to your dog as to whether he will nip or stare down the sheep. The sheep, either way, will run to the safety of the herd.

    I'd try to keep the dog as far away from the herd as possible and still have them moving. They can be walking, stopping to nibble, etc, just get them moving. The new sheep may recognize the dog as a predator and take the cue from the old sheep. If you have a ram, he is the one who will take on the dog. Also, once one sheep has confronted the dog (if one does), and the dog wins, the others will respect (fear) the dog.
     

  3. Hank - Narita

    Hank - Narita Well-Known Member

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    What if the dog loses? Our dogs were fine until butted by the 2 ram lambs. Now they won't herd like they used. Any way to build up their confidence again?
     
  4. bergere

    bergere Just living Life

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    Someone I knew used Runner Ducks. Might work for you.
     
  5. Maura

    Maura Well-Known Member Supporter

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    After being butted, I just egg the dog on. "Get him, get him", so he knows it's okay to go after the d**d ram lamb. After getting the dog to be gentle with the sheep and just use eye, he needs encouragement to get tough. Once getting nipped on the nose or ear, a smart ram will comply. It also helps not to put the dog in the position of being in with the sheep when not expected to work them as he can be taken off guard by those young whipper snappers.
     
  6. Hank - Narita

    Hank - Narita Well-Known Member

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    Found a way to herd the rams; his name is Sammy. Gave the girl Aussies some time off and got the big boy. He even got the two rams out of the horse trailer after words of encouragement from me. Good dog.
     
  7. kirsten

    kirsten Well-Known Member

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    Thanks guys but they are my first sheep. Our trainer owned nice dog broke sheep. Maggie, my dog can move the sheep just by looking at them, they will back up. But she has not been struck yet or really challenged. She is a submissive personality but not exactly sensitive. She nips rears so far not noses yet. I don't want to do ducks becuase I breed poultry and let them out together so I don't want her chasing anything that resembles a chicken at this juncture. I think I will do the packed pen method, plus the training on the leash to get her to find that certain "spot," a lot of walk up and lay down. The problem is that the sheep have never seen green grass in their lives. I will have to only let them out for short than longer periods after eating hay so I really need my dog to bring them in. I really need her to do the work unless you think my new sheep are just going to come when I call them? They'll be scared of me, I think. I just don't want injuries. I was going to make some wethers to train with her year round but maybe I will buy some dog broke sheep too. What is the cheapest breed of sheep out there? But I still have to quarantine and all that is a pain! But thank you. kirsten