I made the mistake of going on a border collie forum again. I don’t know why I do that since I end up angry at some of the comments. It seems everyone has plenty of advice for a novice trainer.
I’ve trained dogs since I was 13. I’ve run obedience classes for years and competed in trials. I have trained for herding trials since 1989. I may not have all the answers, but I’ve been around the block a few times.
If you’ve read any of my blogs, you’d know how frustrated I am with Moss. After over two years of training, he still won’t lie down reliably. It seems the harder I get down on him, the worse it gets. Yet this same dog absolutely loves training when we teach tricks or awareness training. He learns things incredibly fast.
The difference is when we do training at home, it’s all positive. I use a clicker. When we train on sheep, it’s all negative. I’m pushing, running at him, yelling, throwing things, slapping the ground. One trainer at a lesson we attended had him on his back yelling in his face. After two years, it has made little difference.
So this morning I have started a new program. We play frisbee every morning to let the dogs stretch. I have used this time to teach him some tricks too. He will lie down like a shot if I have a frisbee in my hand. I organized some ideas and took some treats and a clicker out with me today. The first step was to get him to lie down when he was running back to me. He didn’t want to stay down so that will be a future exercise. I tossed the frisbee a few times and he couldn’t resist leaping for them. I’ll start by making it easier for him to lie still and progress from there. Then I’ll have him lie down as he’s running for the frisbee.
Once he gets this down, we’ll try it in the pen with sheep. I don’t know if he’ll even want his treat when sheep are in view but it can’t hurt to try. I think he’ll still respond to the clicker anyway. I’ll let you know how it goes.