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

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Sequim, Washington, United States

Saturday, January 15, 2011


A new discussion has been going on the workingsheepdog list.  It is about lifting the sheep.  That is the introductory handshake the dogs makes with the sheep on balance at the end of their outrun. 

Some dogs, like Kilt, make their introduction on the outrun.  That's what I call presence.  I have worked hard and it's still a work in progress to get Kilt to run wide and deep and stop at the top.  She comes on to her sheep like a locomotive.  Too bad I didn't get it right when she was still a youngster.  I'm paying for it now.  I swear Kilt likes to take control before she gets to the top of her outrun.  She is a control freak.  That's why it is difficult for me to partner up with her.  I have never seen her unable to lift any type of stock.
We usually place when the stock is the most incorrigible and all the other runs fall by the wayside.

The more powerful dog/more presence

"This type of dog can upset its sheep more easily and usually needs plenty of

distance to help it appear more kinder to the sheep.  If the dog has plenty of
distance behind the sheep it can be trained to approach the sheep steadily,
 adjusting the pace as the sheep move off. It can be trained to really take its
 time on the end of the OR (outrun) and on its approach to its sheep."

Yoko is Jet with a little more of her Mom's mojo.  She is a natural wide outrunner with a gentle lift.  She is so gentle and kind that certain types of sheep IGNORE her.   She learned as a baby on goats.  Goats ignored her.  She hit the goats hard with a bounce or teeth on their heels.  I paid for that when she was younger.  She would hit hard on her lift on sheep even if she didn't have to.  Now that she's growing up, she only uses that technique when she is being ignored.  She is kind to sheep that move off of her and she will hit hard on sheep that pretend she doesn't exist.  I let her use her discretion.  I think this is a GOOD thing.  She knows to bring me sheep any way she can. :0)

The lighter and/or kinder dog

"If this dog outruns with a negative approach...ie going there but not sure if
it can lift the sheep or not......the sheep can often weigh them up as
they approach on their OR. The sheep, if light, may feel quite comfortable with
the dog lifting and driving them into the fetch but if the sheep are as you say
Range ewes then they may just ignore the dog or challenge it thinking that they
are not threatened and not in any danger. This type of dog would more than
likely need to work in a more positive manner to bluff its sheep into thinking
it means business."

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