STOP! and Read
A very professional dog trainer, demonstrated to us years ago a wonderful technique of preparing to track your animals by dog breaking them. This technique uses the border collies’ natural way of herding animals which is to move them from side to side.
For those who have tracked for years, this might sound foreign; however, it increases your results tremendously.
The best time to dog break animals is when they are young. This process allows animals to fear the dog as a predator instead of them wanting to fight the dog. This process changes the sheep/goat's instinct from fight to flight. Dog breaking can be accomplished when animals are older however it can be much more challenging. The difference of putting fear into a man or a boy, plus we all know, younger kids and animals alike tend
to bounce and not break. Similar to not waiting till an animal is 8 months old to put on a shearing stand or walker for the first time.
Dog breaking teaches animals how to move away from the dog in the track. By utilizing a bell while dog breaking, and again while “Tracking for Success”, it increases the animal’s adrenaline as well as the animal’s determination to run hard from the dog in the track.
As discussed in an earlier blog, sheep/goats cannot see behind them while running. This is why the bell increases the success rate in the track. The animals hear the bell ringing, knowing the predator is getting closer and closer, thus increasing the fright so they will run.
Many believe the only way to be successful in a tracking situation is for the dog to be aggressive and push the sheep/goats from physical encouragement. However, it is our view, if the sheep/goats are taught at a young age to view the dog as a predator, then when it is time to track you will have a more positive outcome. This is especially true if sheep/goats are used to playing in the track before introducing the dog to the track.
Dog breaking can be completed in the middle of the track or a small pen. We prefer a secure pen about 10x10. This protects animals from running to fast which could cause them to get hurt. Dog breaking is started with the handler in the middle of the pen between the animals and the dog. The dog is commanded to circle the animals and teach the animals how to move when the dog puts pressure on them. During this process, it is important to let the dog protect itself. The handler should work to encourage the dog to keep pushing the animals to move away from the dog. By the end of the teaching process, the animals should freely move away from the dog, with the dog herding the animals towards the handler.
For more information on dog breaking or starting you animals on the track, let us know.
Keep tracking for success!