Stock Dog Training Secrets
Part 2 in a series of 3
By Margie Scott
No matter what level of training you are working at or wish
to attain with your stock dog, there are a certain number of basic
principles that apply to all stock dog training. These principles or "Training
Secrets" can be categorized under the general titles of Canine
Behavior, Livestock Behavior, Discipline
and Common Sense.
In the previous article we took a look at the Common Sense principles
involved in training. We learned to be aware of what to expect physically
and mentally from our dogs as they grow in age and mental maturity. We
learned the importance of using the right kind of livestock to train with.
And we learned the importance of knowing when it's time to quit a training
session. In this article we will be taking a look at the DISCIPLINE
Just as a good parent would not allow a child to grow up without
learning to behave in a disciplined way, a good trainer will apply the
discipline principle to the young dog.
- . Because the working instinct can be so strong in a young pup it
sometimes overrides everything else. You basic means of control over
your young dog is to establish yourself as the "pack leader"
early in his life. Discipline doesn't need to be harsh or nasty.
Sometimes the best discipline is just not allowing the pup to get into a
bad habit. For instance, most little puppies will come to you when you
call them. A wise trainer will reinforce this good habit by ensuring
that the puppy receives something pleasing or enjoyable when he comes to
his trainer - a pat on the head, a brushing down or, on occasion, a food
treat. But when puppies become four or five months old they start to
test you. By that time they have learned you may be calling them to go
back into the kennel and they are having far too much fun playing. Or
they may simply want to see if you really are the "Top Dog".
- Don't wait until this "catch me if you can" behavior
becomes firmly established. If you need to, put a light line on the pup
every time you take him out. Then, be in a position to control him with
the line if he doesn't come to you the first time he is called. It takes
far longer to fix a bad habit than it does to prevent one! Do not allow
the pup to do anything you don't want him to do as an adult dog.
Successful trialists and trainers will tell you "the dog must do
what he is told". This attitude regarding discipline may be why
clinic instructors can take a dog the owner cannot control and in a few
minutes have the dog stopping, flanking and quietly walking up on the
stock. The secret is; there's no "secret" to this. Good
trainers simply control the situation and let the dog know that the
trainer is in control and will dispense appropriate measures of
discipline. In short order good trainers let the dog know that bad
behavior will NOT be tolerated. If you, as the trainer, have your dog's
respect, he will willingly do as you ask.
Go directly to Article 3 in the series of Stockdog
Training Secrets by Clicking
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