The trouble with cattle dogs and lambs

Discussion in 'Sheep' started by kesoaps, Apr 22, 2005.

  1. kesoaps

    kesoaps Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    4,108
    Joined:
    Dec 18, 2004
    Location:
    Washington State
    My poor baby. Things like this should just not happen. Poor Rocket has never hurt anyone, he loves his lambs! Why do they pick on him and bully him so? A two week lamb should not harass a cattle dog. It's just not right...
     
  2. Ross

    Ross Moderator Staff Member Supporter

    Messages:
    13,084
    Joined:
    May 9, 2002
    Location:
    Ontario
    I'm sure Paige my 40 pound border collie wonders why a 180 ewe thinks she can run her over now and then and at last count they couldn't. At least not without some collacteral damage. One of the very last North County Cheviots on the place rolled her with a lunging run, just the other day and Paige literally tossed the witch on her back with some kind of new border collie judo flip I've never seen before. (and I thought they were Scottish dogs!) Sheep are slow learners but their ears twitch at the sight of anything black, low to the ground and strange looking now. They drop water if it moves! Its a potential issue, yes, but how do you de-stress the flock yet maintain a strick level of respect that BC's need to function effectively? I'm thinking I might try a hand-ker-cheif necker from my pocket as a coller, hoping it might just end the challenges sheep consider now and then. On the other hand maybe a paintball gun would both stun offenders and mark them for disposal.............. I could use about 100 volunteers for the kibbles and bits run at the moment!
     

  3. kesoaps

    kesoaps Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    4,108
    Joined:
    Dec 18, 2004
    Location:
    Washington State
    Oh, paintball guns will only work if you aim for the head...otherwise it just bounces off the wool. Ask me how I know! :haha:

    Today Rocket realized the lamb was playing, so he played back. The two of them are just cracking me up. Opie (the lamb) tried playing with his brother, but bro just wasn't interested, so Rocket must pull double duty as punching bag for this little ram wanna be.
     
  4. rileyjo

    rileyjo Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,278
    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2005
    Location:
    the other side of the river
    I have just started my young border collie on sheep and he is so aggressive. He's quick to go to the head and grab the nose and flip the sheep. My sheep are very respectful of him. I'm getting tired of doctoring bloody lamb noses.
    I haven't had much luck finding a trainer nearby but I could sure use some lessons.
    He's been a help to me so many times I don't know how I would get anything done without him.
     
  5. Ross

    Ross Moderator Staff Member Supporter

    Messages:
    13,084
    Joined:
    May 9, 2002
    Location:
    Ontario
    I'm no expert BC trainer but I've found getting them to stop what they are doing is the hardest thing. Its not that they can't, but you have to find a balance between aggresion and control, that dosn't let them run wild or cower. I would actively discourage that kind of enthusiasm, your BC is getting used to. Paige is only allowed to defend herself, every other impact on the sheep has to be by her presense or intimidation. She had to be kept moving in the early days and even today I find I have to keep her from challenging a ewe or cutting one out for lunch. If I needed a dog to cut out ewes she'd likely excel at the job! I work very hard both AT PLAY TIME and when herding to get her to quarter right or left on whistles, stop in place and recall. Recall is allways demanded (because I can absolutley enforce it) and is a way to say all herding chores are stopped for any reason. Vocal praise and reward playtime/treats always outweigh disipline which is kept short and to the point. ALL sessions end on a good note/reward if I have to get her to walk quietly beside me through the yard as a final "chore" or a sit stay if she's not flustered. There is likely better advice out there and E Ontario is an active area for BC trialing which probably doesn't resemble my efforts in the slightest!! :p
     
  6. Cat

    Cat Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,802
    Joined:
    Jun 19, 2004
    Location:
    Kansas
    kesoaps

    Were it me I would discourage ALL 'play' between the dog and the sheep. My GP/GR LGD used to 'play' with the ram when they were both much younger. Now she's gotten in the habit of snapping at ewes and/or lambs that get too close to something that she deems hers whether it's grain or a rabbit she killed, etc. We have quite a few scarred faces/ears from her snapping at sheep which is extremely hard to discourage as I'm rarely there when she does it. Now I reprimand EVERY aggressive behavior towards the livestock with all the dogs. (I have two pups that just recently started attacking sheep, it's a neverending story.)
     
  7. MichaelK

    MichaelK Active Member

    Messages:
    40
    Joined:
    May 6, 2004
    Location:
    Upstate NY
    I agree with ÇåThëRîñè. My three border collies are not allowed any interaction with the sheep except for when they are working. My main man-"Nip" an ex trial dog is so intense that he is on 24/7 and only lives to work the sheep. We have a fairly wild flock of 50+/- Katahdins. He is not allowed in the barn when not needed, and not allowed to get near the lambs when they are very young and show no fear of the dogs.
    It's the preditory instinct that makes these dogs so wonderfully powerful and the sheep should not be their friends!
    The trainer or shepard should be able to bring this instinct down a notch or two when needed in order to have the sheep do whatever he or she desires.

    There is a fantastic breeder/trainer in Ontario. Probably the premier female bc trial competitor in North America:

    Amanda Milliken
    R. R.#2 Kingston, ON K7L 5H6
    613 531-9405
    amilliken@kos.net
    breeding, training, judging, working farm