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Thread: Help! Starting Older Kelpie...

  1. #1
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    Unhappy Help! Starting Older Kelpie...

    G'day

    I'm a bit of a novice and my ventures in getting advice haven't been to flash so far. I really, really need help in getting some advice regarding the training and starting of a kelpie who has sadly had no formal training so far in his life.

    Scottie is a very, very friendly 18-24 month old kelpie, and if we can't get him going then the alternatives are quite scary.

    Any advice or information would be really appreciated...

    Cheers, Em xx
    A UTE WITHOUT A DOG IS LIKE A SHAG WITHOUT A SHEILA... IT'S KINDA LONELY

  2. #2
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    What do you mean by 'training and starting'?
    A pessimist sees the glass as half empty;
    An optimist sees the glass as half full;
    A realist just finishes the damn thing and refills it.

  3. #3
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    There is a book, "The Kelpie" by Tony Parsons, may help tho he prefers a younger dog.

    You may also want to learn about operant and classical conditioning and clicker training...

    Gary Wilkes Clicker training
    has a lot of good articles.

    The other thing to do would be to join an obedience dog club in your area and learn how to train your dog from them. It might take a few goes to find the right one, that's focused on rewards based training and less on inflicting pain on the dog (choke chains).

    There are also herding competition clubs that may be able to help.
    Herding | Dogs NSW

    And for general training and help with an agility focus, I like Susan Garrett and Greg Derrett.

    Start simple.

    For sheep herding, you need a really fantastic recall, and a remote stop/drop.

    Start close and with short durations and then build up slowly.
    Last edited by Hyacinth; 03-23-2011 at 03:23 PM.

  4. #4
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    Talking

    G'day

    Cheers for that hyacinth! I have heard of clicker training but never thought it really applicable for working dogs. I'll give it my best shot!

    Ta, Em xx
    A UTE WITHOUT A DOG IS LIKE A SHAG WITHOUT A SHEILA... IT'S KINDA LONELY

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Anne View Post
    What do you mean by 'training and starting'?
    By training I mean getting some obedience into his systm and by starting I mean starting him working. Term used by working dog owners. A started dog has had experience working and is always more helpful than an unstarted dog. does that help you???
    A UTE WITHOUT A DOG IS LIKE A SHAG WITHOUT A SHEILA... IT'S KINDA LONELY

  6. #6
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    Hi Emu

    You probably don't want to use an actual clicker for herding training, just voice or whistle... you can use a word like "yes" instead of the click that a clicker makes. Someone I did some herding with would say "there" when the dog was where she wanted. And hand signals are very helpful for when the sheep get noisy tho the dog will not always be looking at you. For herding - I would definitely get the Tony Parson's book even though it gots about the same as a rock concert ticket.

  7. #7
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    What type of issues are you having?
    Basics like sit, heel, wait? etc.
    Or away, steady, bye? etc.
    Education not Legislation

  8. #8
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    We used whistles on our working Kelpies..We used the ones the retriever people use. My hubby can whistle, but I am useless.
    No matter what system you use, start as if you are starting with an eight week old puppy. Start with a clean slate and pretend your dog knows nothing and go from there with the system you decide on. Whistle training is or can be the same as clicker training. And the whistle leaves your hands free.
    If you want a working dog, you should see if you can find someone who works their dogs nicely. There are herding groups now, just google.......
    Pets are forever

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by emu View Post
    By training I mean getting some obedience into his systm and by starting I mean starting him working. Term used by working dog owners. A started dog has had experience working and is always more helpful than an unstarted dog. does that help you???
    I start my herding dogs in a round yard on dog broke sheep. Before you do anything else you need to get the dog balancing to you (moving around the sheep and keeping opposite to you and moving the sheep towards you) and getting it to flank out around the sheep to the balance point. Some people use a soft leaf rake to encourage this. A well bred working dog should have this as an inate trait and it should only need some encouragement and direction. Once I have some understanding of balance and is flanking both ways, I start taking the dog on walk about with the sheep. I keep my mouth closed and encourage the dog to think. The dog has an understanding of balance so I will use my body position and rake to encourage the dog out around the sheep. I do lots of direction changes and the dog needs to be encouraged to balance and bring the sheep towards you. You also need to make sure the dog doesnt favour one flank to the other so work hard on the weak direction.

    My dog has an excellent recall and wait away from sheep but teaching it on sheep is a whole new ball game LOL and there are some handy techniques to this. Then there is driving and casting and a whole load of others things to work on once balance , flanking commands, waits are in place.

    You also need to develop and understanding of how sheep move and think and need to try herding them without the dog and get a feel for body language.

    There are some great DVDS to get you going - I have Time well spent by Aled Owen and From Chaos to Control by Andy Nickless, I also have several books by Aussie authors (Tully Williams).

    I do not start my dogs untill they are physically mature enough to deal with sheep charging them and have the physical ability to flank- so some physical and mental maturity say 6-7 months. Some experienced people dont start till they are 9 months old. Earlier than this if you dont know what you are doing can seriously damage a dog depending on its temperament. Some people start their dogs earlier but they are usually very experienced. I started mine at 6 months old and I wish I had waited. Maturity (12 months +) has really made a difference and I have had to try and undo some of the earlier bad habits which is harder than not developing them in the first place. So your dog is a great age really if he has the instinct.

    You can do this on ducks if you cant access sheep.

    Working on obedience and your relationship with the dog are good pursuits before this.

    Agility is also an excellent kelpie pursuit and could be avery good option!
    Last edited by Kalacreek; 03-23-2011 at 07:12 PM.

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