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Author Topic: Happy Gotcha Day, Jilly Bean  (Read 11398 times)

SallyintNorth

  • Joined Feb 2011
  • Cornwall
  • Rarely short of an opinion but I mean well
    • Trelay Cohousing Community
Happy Gotcha Day, Jilly Bean
« on: October 14, 2022, 12:43:58 pm »
Yesterday was Jilly's first Gotcha Day, and was also the first time I really felt hopeful that I will get her working sheep under control eventually. :fc:

She has come on steadily since we lost Dot; the one-to-one attention has really made a difference. 

Jilly's background is 3 years on an Irish farm before being surrendered for rehoming as "unsuitable for work, ran home when shouted at".  I figured she was either very sensitive, which I can handle  (Dot couldn't work if you got cross with her, so I am used to that), or was uncontrollable and hence was really shouted at.  Latter not ideal, but frankly our sheep come to call and my dogs are 90% pet / walking companions these days, so it wouldn't be the end of the world if she didn't work, for whichever reason. 

The English rescue lady (Border Collie Spot - experts in matching collies to homes) thought it most likely the former reason, as Gill (Jilly's original name) was nervy in kennels.  The farmer was known to the Irish charity, who said he didn't ill treat his dogs but would surrender to them for rehoming any which didn't cut it as working dogs. 

Took Jilly for walk around the farm when I got her home, and as soon as we saw sheep it was clear why the farmer had shouted at her...  :o

Well it's been (and still is) a bit of a journey...  :-\  But I wouldn't be without her, and we are getting there, just slooooowwwwwwlllllyyyy..... 

(I will write more, a LOT more, if given the slightest encouragement...  You have been warned!  ;D)
Don't listen to the money men - they know the price of everything and the value of nothing

Live in a cohousing community with small farm for our own use.  Dairy cows (rearing their own calves for beef), pigs, sheep for meat and fleece, ducks and hens for eggs, veg and fruit growing

Fleecewife

  • Joined May 2010
  • South Lanarkshire
    • ScotHebs
Re: Happy Gotcha Day, Jilly Bean
« Reply #1 on: October 14, 2022, 05:15:07 pm »
Sooo..........what did she do when she saw sheep? :eyelashes:
"Let's not talk about what we can do, but do what we can"

There is NO planet B - what are YOU doing to save our home?

Do something today that your future self will thank you for - plant a tree

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SallyintNorth

  • Joined Feb 2011
  • Cornwall
  • Rarely short of an opinion but I mean well
    • Trelay Cohousing Community
Re: Happy Gotcha Day, Jilly Bean
« Reply #2 on: October 15, 2022, 10:39:59 am »
Sooo..........what did she do when she saw sheep? :eyelashes:

Turned into a wolf!  Ears stopped working, and I discovered how much strength a 13kg dog can have when it puts its mind to it...

So she seemed absolutely obsessed with sheep, and totally not listening to me if sheep were in front of her.

I didn't dare let her loose with sheep, of course, but inevitably with such an agile dog who often didn't listen, we pretty soon had a dog-loose-in-field-with-sheep event.  At which point I discovered to my relief that she just wanted to chase, herd and control, and didn't make any move to attack.   :relief:   Chasing and herding outwith owner control still potentially dangerous, of course, but orders of magnitude more manageable than wanting to get her teeth into them.

Don't listen to the money men - they know the price of everything and the value of nothing

Live in a cohousing community with small farm for our own use.  Dairy cows (rearing their own calves for beef), pigs, sheep for meat and fleece, ducks and hens for eggs, veg and fruit growing

SallyintNorth

  • Joined Feb 2011
  • Cornwall
  • Rarely short of an opinion but I mean well
    • Trelay Cohousing Community
Re: Happy Gotcha Day, Jilly Bean
« Reply #3 on: October 15, 2022, 10:42:10 am »
The not listening has been the biggest problem all round.  She seemed to have no concept whatsoever of "commands", that Hooman making a certain noise meant Do a Certain Thing.  Not just when she was focussed on anything else, but at all.  She understood  that being shouted at meant you had to stop if the hooman is close enough to grab you, but that was about it.

Don't listen to the money men - they know the price of everything and the value of nothing

Live in a cohousing community with small farm for our own use.  Dairy cows (rearing their own calves for beef), pigs, sheep for meat and fleece, ducks and hens for eggs, veg and fruit growing

Fleecewife

  • Joined May 2010
  • South Lanarkshire
    • ScotHebs
Re: Happy Gotcha Day, Jilly Bean
« Reply #4 on: October 15, 2022, 01:31:23 pm »
This sounds so like my JRT  :dog: . He just loves rounding up the sheep, especially the tups, then with his favourites he just gives their ears a jolly good wash  ::)
So I shall follow to see how you persuade your dog to listen to and obey commands when she doesn't want to. Hopefully, yours has some instincts appropriate to working with a human, JRTs just have instincts full stop  :o
"Let's not talk about what we can do, but do what we can"

There is NO planet B - what are YOU doing to save our home?

Do something today that your future self will thank you for - plant a tree

 Love your soil - it's the lifeblood of your land.

SallyintNorth

  • Joined Feb 2011
  • Cornwall
  • Rarely short of an opinion but I mean well
    • Trelay Cohousing Community
Re: Happy Gotcha Day, Jilly Bean
« Reply #5 on: October 15, 2022, 09:13:50 pm »
Oh, having an obedient terrier is easy!  I was told how to do it yonks ago.  You just never ask a terrier to do what it wasn't going to do anyway  :roflanim:

Don't listen to the money men - they know the price of everything and the value of nothing

Live in a cohousing community with small farm for our own use.  Dairy cows (rearing their own calves for beef), pigs, sheep for meat and fleece, ducks and hens for eggs, veg and fruit growing

SallyintNorth

  • Joined Feb 2011
  • Cornwall
  • Rarely short of an opinion but I mean well
    • Trelay Cohousing Community
Re: Happy Gotcha Day, Jilly Bean
« Reply #6 on: October 15, 2022, 09:17:17 pm »
So, now that I have been encouraged...

My technique for training collies is Derek Scrimgeour's method.  You get them doing the action (they are born knowing all the moves!), then "put a word on it".  Gradually they associate that word with that action and you can start to ask for it. 

But that couldn't work with Jilly, as she had no concept of "noise from Mum means Do A Thing".  So we had to get that in place first.

Most of my dogs have learned more by watching me with other dogs than I have explicitly taught them.  Dot would watch Skip, and understand the command and the job, then when I would ask her for it, she not only knew the objective but had fathomed her own way to do it, often different to Skip's.  Awesome brains, such a privilege to work with.  :love: :dog:   

But Jilly didn't watch Dot, she had had 3 years of being "self employed" and didn't comprehend being different.

So, I decided that back to basics was the way, and found a nice relaxed local obedience class to join.  The trainer accepted and agreed that we had to let Jilly take her time. She was still quite anxious, and the most important thing was for her to feel safe with me.  I've seen collies who've been pushed in obedience, and I didn't want her to turn out like that.  :'( 

For months, we stayed in the Puppy / beginners' class.  New puppies joined, learned loads, got their Puppy Foundation Certificate and moved up or moved on... Jilly and I stayed as we were, recall mostly good but everything else variable...  I was so grateful for Anita with Tina the Chihuahua, Anita is hopeless (but very loving and a super-good sport) so Jilly & I never became the oldest and longest-standing pup in the class..  :D
Don't listen to the money men - they know the price of everything and the value of nothing

Live in a cohousing community with small farm for our own use.  Dairy cows (rearing their own calves for beef), pigs, sheep for meat and fleece, ducks and hens for eggs, veg and fruit growing

SallyintNorth

  • Joined Feb 2011
  • Cornwall
  • Rarely short of an opinion but I mean well
    • Trelay Cohousing Community
Re: Happy Gotcha Day, Jilly Bean
« Reply #7 on: October 15, 2022, 09:21:19 pm »
She would mostly behave well on walks but then occasionally follow a scent (or run from gunshot) and not come back.  Lost her for 8 hours on Exmoor...  Thankfully no sheep in the immediate vicinity, I had chosen the route specifically for that, but I had forgotten it was shooting country and season, and I think she must have spooked at gunshot at a moment when I was between her and the shot, so she ran away from the guns.  She did eventually make her way back to the car, and was very pleased to find me.  She behaved for many months then disappeared from a walk at home, and stayed out overnight.  All local farmers alerted (and told that she was interested in sheep but would not grip, just herd, and would come off them if you got near and shouted hard).  Because she is a dog who loves her dinner, and had found her way back that time in Exmoor, I fully expected her to get herself home eventually - but she didn't.  By the next morning, after a night of filthy weather, I was looking for a trapped dog / corpse..  :'(  But we found each other, about a mile away from home down a coombe, and she was glad we did.  She may have been on her way home anyway, or may not have known which way to go; it was further out than we'd walked in that direction together from home.  Same thing a month later, but this time she took off from the field next to our sheep, so I had not thought it at all likely she'd run away when she had sheep to watch.  Two nights that time, and the local farming network (who are mostly wonderful about it if you keep them informed) got her back to me.  She was incredibly pleased to find herself back at home, so I think just doesn't have a good sense of direction, and for some reason hadn't been able to follow her own trail home. 

Well, I'd got away with it twice but couldn't expect my lovely sheep-farming neighbours to keep on being so understanding, and eventually she would find herself in a field with someone else's sheep, so she's been leashed on walks unless I know for sure it's safe and secure pretty much ever since.  Thank goodness for extending leads... 
Don't listen to the money men - they know the price of everything and the value of nothing

Live in a cohousing community with small farm for our own use.  Dairy cows (rearing their own calves for beef), pigs, sheep for meat and fleece, ducks and hens for eggs, veg and fruit growing

SallyintNorth

  • Joined Feb 2011
  • Cornwall
  • Rarely short of an opinion but I mean well
    • Trelay Cohousing Community
Re: Happy Gotcha Day, Jilly Bean
« Reply #8 on: October 15, 2022, 09:30:59 pm »
I am not a big fan of using titbits in training, and have never needed to use them before, but eventually I just felt I had to do something to get her to make this link between a sound I make and an action she does.

So we started to use titbits in class, and eventually, one Wednesday in May, I got a Sit on command in class not once but several times.  Not every time, but enough for me to think that she was starting, at long, long last, to get the idea about voice commands.   :excited:

Of course she is very clever and thinks for herself, so it very quickly became clear that what I had actually taught her was, "If Mum has fishy bix, and she says "Sit", then if you want a fishy bix, you Sit and she gives you one."  As they say, it's not what you're teaching them, it's what they are learning...  and that is one of the reasons I prefer to do it without titbits if I possibly can! 

But the important thing was that she had learned an actual command  :excited:
Don't listen to the money men - they know the price of everything and the value of nothing

Live in a cohousing community with small farm for our own use.  Dairy cows (rearing their own calves for beef), pigs, sheep for meat and fleece, ducks and hens for eggs, veg and fruit growing

SallyintNorth

  • Joined Feb 2011
  • Cornwall
  • Rarely short of an opinion but I mean well
    • Trelay Cohousing Community
Re: Happy Gotcha Day, Jilly Bean
« Reply #9 on: October 15, 2022, 09:35:05 pm »
Getting a second command was frustratingly slow...  If I had titbits and used an encouraging voice, she'd try a Sit...  But eventually, using a titbit right in front of her nose and saying "Splat!" as she followed it down (about four billionty times, give or take...  ::)), we had our second command.  :excited:
« Last Edit: October 15, 2022, 10:11:56 pm by SallyintNorth »
Don't listen to the money men - they know the price of everything and the value of nothing

Live in a cohousing community with small farm for our own use.  Dairy cows (rearing their own calves for beef), pigs, sheep for meat and fleece, ducks and hens for eggs, veg and fruit growing

SallyintNorth

  • Joined Feb 2011
  • Cornwall
  • Rarely short of an opinion but I mean well
    • Trelay Cohousing Community
Re: Happy Gotcha Day, Jilly Bean
« Reply #10 on: October 15, 2022, 09:46:38 pm »
"Wait" came next, the tone of voice and my body language I think, but now we could do training as part of play on walks, as she loves chasing and carrying her "Cecil" and "Mike" toys.  Sometimes before I threw the toy I would ask her to Sit (and sometimes if she thought I was being slow throwing the toy, she'd offer a Sit), then I started to ask her sometimes to Wait and just drop the toy on the ground (not throw it as I knew she would not listen, just chase, if I threw it), then, if she'd waited, say, "Go on then" immediately.

It was all going in the right direction now, but still agonisingly slow, and I was still finding that she couldn't listen if she had sheep in front of her.  I knew, from training my other collies, that as soon as I could control her around sheep, then we would make lightening progress, because there is no higher value reward for a herding collie than being allowed to work sheep.  So they learn super fast once doing it right means more sheep and doing it wrong means no more sheep today. 
Don't listen to the money men - they know the price of everything and the value of nothing

Live in a cohousing community with small farm for our own use.  Dairy cows (rearing their own calves for beef), pigs, sheep for meat and fleece, ducks and hens for eggs, veg and fruit growing

SallyintNorth

  • Joined Feb 2011
  • Cornwall
  • Rarely short of an opinion but I mean well
    • Trelay Cohousing Community
Re: Happy Gotcha Day, Jilly Bean
« Reply #11 on: October 15, 2022, 09:58:04 pm »
Three things then happened almost simultaneously, and I think all three helped equally.

Firstly, we lost Dot, which meant I had a lot more time for Jilly, and she could have my undivided attention on walks and in the house.

Secondly, Sarah Hedderley offered her Understanding Your Collie online one-week course free of charge to try raise 5,000 for the Border Collie Spot.  Great cause, so I signed up and made a suitable donation.  Really great course, I would wholeheartedly recommend it to anyone who has a collie or a collie cross.  I already knew quite a bit about collies but I still learned a lot, and I loved the way Sarah breaks things down into small pieces, and gets you to think about each one and how they apply with your dog.  Being me, I failed to watch all the videos by the end of the generous window, so I paid up to join her "Dingbat to Dreamboat Academy" and have a month's access to all her materials. 

And thirdly, now that I had a good recall at reasonable range, and a Sit, and a Wait, we could start Hoopers and Agility.

ETA  Link to the blog post introducing Sarah's Understand your Border Collie course.  The link to the course itself is at the end of the blog post.
« Last Edit: October 16, 2022, 08:20:04 pm by SallyintNorth »
Don't listen to the money men - they know the price of everything and the value of nothing

Live in a cohousing community with small farm for our own use.  Dairy cows (rearing their own calves for beef), pigs, sheep for meat and fleece, ducks and hens for eggs, veg and fruit growing

SallyintNorth

  • Joined Feb 2011
  • Cornwall
  • Rarely short of an opinion but I mean well
    • Trelay Cohousing Community
Re: Happy Gotcha Day, Jilly Bean
« Reply #12 on: October 15, 2022, 10:05:58 pm »
Hoopers was fun, but after 3 weeks Jilly was still not really seeing the hoops or realising that I was running her through them.  She really loved going, though.  Once we'd established that she was manageable loose in the training field, albet she would run to see the sheep through the fence if they were visible, I asked if we could try Agility now.  She absolutely loves that and after only 2 sessions she is now looking to me after each obstacle for the next command!  :yippee:
Don't listen to the money men - they know the price of everything and the value of nothing

Live in a cohousing community with small farm for our own use.  Dairy cows (rearing their own calves for beef), pigs, sheep for meat and fleece, ducks and hens for eggs, veg and fruit growing

SallyintNorth

  • Joined Feb 2011
  • Cornwall
  • Rarely short of an opinion but I mean well
    • Trelay Cohousing Community
Re: Happy Gotcha Day, Jilly Bean
« Reply #13 on: October 15, 2022, 10:18:29 pm »
And so now, finally, we have the ingredients.  She understands the concept of commands, she knows that lots of the commands I give her mean Do Something she loves doing, and that most of the others are a precursor to one which does!  (And even if she doesn't love Doing The Thing, there will probably be another thing that she does love, namely a titbit!)
Don't listen to the money men - they know the price of everything and the value of nothing

Live in a cohousing community with small farm for our own use.  Dairy cows (rearing their own calves for beef), pigs, sheep for meat and fleece, ducks and hens for eggs, veg and fruit growing

SallyintNorth

  • Joined Feb 2011
  • Cornwall
  • Rarely short of an opinion but I mean well
    • Trelay Cohousing Community
Re: Happy Gotcha Day, Jilly Bean
« Reply #14 on: October 15, 2022, 10:31:06 pm »
One of the things I learned on Sarah's course was that collies have more dopamine receptors in the brain than any other breed they've studied.

And that the elements of herding - chasing, stalking, controlling movement, biting - release dopamine in a collie.

So that's why herding is of itself rewarding to a collie - and they can keep going all day because of all that dopamine.

So a lot of what Sarah's materials do is help you understand the different facets of herding, see how they apply to your dog, which ones it does and which ones it's less interested in, and then how to find alternative activities which give it the same dopamine rush, and how to use them in your training.
Don't listen to the money men - they know the price of everything and the value of nothing

Live in a cohousing community with small farm for our own use.  Dairy cows (rearing their own calves for beef), pigs, sheep for meat and fleece, ducks and hens for eggs, veg and fruit growing

 

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