a blog about Kilt and her kids plus Trouble our JRT mascot.

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Sequim, Washington, United States

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Clicking and herding

Can the two go together? I think the clicker is an invaluable tool in my herding tool box. I don't mind if most find it unorthodox and not a tool they would use. Different strokes for different folks. I've never been one to go along with the norm (whatever that may be.) I like to do my own thing, but I'm always open for suggestions and new ways to teach and learn.


I start teaching the shed on a 2 sets of sheep on hay 50-100 feet apart. I call the dog to my side with a hand held out and a verbal "here." As soon as the dog glances at me instead of the sheep, he is clicked and treated when he comes to my hand (heaven forbid..okay to laugh here). We do this until the dog is fairly comfortable and then I start moving the sheep closer together. For me it's easier with a looser eyed dog. My keen-eyed dog has been difficult for me to "break" her eye off the sheep. I need her to team with me on the shed. She can watch them out of her peripheral eye, but when I say "here" I need her to come towards my out-stretched hand. Once coming to my hand I flank them behind me. Not too necessary on range sheep, but important for farm flocks.
Now that I have the dog coming to me, I try to put some speed to it. Every dog is different. I start only clicking for speed at this point. I'm almost to this point with my 2 yr. old. BC. She's coming to my "here," but is a bit slow for my liking. Yes, flanking helps speed her up, but I want that initial come through the sheep quicker. I'm using a clicker for this. :0)


Clicking for nose bites. Sorry for the panicky voice, but it's hard to watch the dog, the sheep, hold the camera, and click at the right time :0)

Kilt's 2 yr. old daughter gets clicked for each step towards a confronting sheep. She gets clicked in the pens or in loading sheep in stock trailers for heel bites. She is not offering a nose bite yet, but she hasn't been confronted to the extent that you see her mother being confronted in this quick video by a yearling ram. I try to keep the youngster from those particular scenarios until she has a bit more confidence in herself. Though, she is learning if she is stood off if she just takes a few more steps closer the sheep most likely will turn. Hard to get a video of this, but I'll try to get one. :0)

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