So many times, we receive calls that the dog is running past the lambs/goats in the track.
Frustrating yes, but understand your dog is bred to bring the livestock back to you. So technically he is doing his job.
Your position in the track can play a huge part in why your dog is running past the animals. If the dog and the sheep both pass your position in the track, your dog’s natural instinct is to turn the animal and bring it back to you. There are a few different ways to help counter the dog’s natural instincts and make your tracking process more successful.
Here is the list of things to consider…
First, how wide is your track alley? So many times, when we go help clients with their tracking, we find tracks with alley’s built too wide. We recommend 4 ft wide on the straight aways, opening up to about 6 ft on the corners. Tracks wider than this create major challenges, making it hard for the dog to keep animals moving forward and not turning back. Think about trying to block three linebackers in a hard run, the tighter the area, the easier it is to control.
Second, does the dog have a good down? If so use it before the dog gets close to the animals or put pressure on the dog by cutting in between the dog and animals and saying “easy“ with a growl. We know a lot of people are concerned about stopping and starting dogs in the track. However, we see this as an opportunity to build more explosive muscles in the animals similar to athletes running lines or stop and go sprints, instead of marathons. The adrenaline continues the entire time the dog is in the track as long as you have dog broke the animals correctly. The natural predator/prey relationship is very active thus creating adrenaline as long as the dog is around the sheep/goats.
Third, is the dog wearing a bell? The bell truly works to let or tell the animals in the track they have something (the dog) chasing them. So put the bell on the dog! We have tested the use of the bell with same set of animals with and without the bell. Truly, the sheep/goats move away from dog must better while using the bell.
Forth, change up or rotate which animals you are tracking together. If you have an animal that tracks well, put it in with an animal that does not track well. The normal predator prey relationship will help the slow animal to catch up to the other one while using other techniques to keep the dog from passing the animals.
Lastly, if your dog is moving incredibly too fast, you can slow down the dog by using a short chain on the collar of the dog. (10 one inch chain link with a clip in the middle works great). This process works by tapping the dogs legs when they really stretch out in a fast run. By slowing down the dog you have a better opportunity to down the dog before it gets to the animals or passes the animals in the track.
If you have questions about any of these techniques, please give us a call and always, Keep Tracking for Success!