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From: Callie (71.52.195.56)
Subject:         Nice to meet you
Date: March 22, 2009 at 10:35 am PST

In Reply to: nipping/herding question posted by julie on March 21, 2009 at 6:33 pm:

Herders are gonna herd, so bite ihhibition is important.

But the first thing I'll say is that dog parks are never my favorite places simply **because** of what you describe. That guy is GOING to encounter herders (and trust me ... corgis can be among the MOST voracious herders out there) and he may just habitually make life rough for anyone out there at THAT dog park with a herding dog.

--The other thing I'd have to wonder is because any dog that hurt HIS should have paid for HIS vet bills -- I'd wonder if it's HIS dog that got ticked off and nipped at another dog doing damage?? So it might be well to avoid him in future.

However -- bite inhibition of that sort has to start at home before it will carry over to the dog park.

Does the dog follow you from room to room -- nudging or nipping at your heels trying to get you to go to a particular room or place? (like trying to keep the family together or trying to get you to move 'faster' etc.??)

Now a herder WILL do that -- however, you can't let them touch you with their teeth and really not even their mouth. so *you* have to be uber conscious of any herding behavior to tell the dog 'no' or put her in a 'sit' while you go a few feet and then call her.

I'd work really hard on "recall" and honestly, if you don't have **perfect** recall with her, wait to go to the dogpark until you do. Simply because getting her to disconnect from herding to DO what you want is how you'll stay safe.

Now you CAN and should practice that at home. It's like I said, herders are GONNA HERD no matter what, so it's important for you to provide herding games for her all the time.

So, while you practice on a long leash at home (like a piece of clothesline at 50' can be great -- it gives the illusion of freedom but gives YOU control so you're not giving commands that are being ignored -- start at a 10' lead and work UP to the longer leads so she gets more and more of the idea that no matter how far away she is she MUST come to you.

I'm not talking about a yanking collar correct -- I'm simply talking about you being able to tug a bit on her collar or harness "nope 'COME' means this".

But games -- like take a bucket of any sort and fill it with toys, balls, etc. Have a pocket full of treats. Toss them up in the air (have her on leash so you can lead this behavior too) and have her as soon as one is in her mouth shove the bucket under and tell her "drop" and as fast as she does give her a treat.

Then broaden that so she understands that putting a toy in the bucket (right away) earns her a treat. Then you can 'shape' it to get her to circle them and roll them closer -- this takes a LONG while but it's good training fun for her and you.

Practice it inside ("let's put away the toys") and outside -- but you can get several valuable commands here -- "drop it", "bring it", "pick up your toys". Safer at home (I hate it when people bring toys to a dogpark -- it's a sure way to get a fight started)

The other thing I'd do is get a book on "herding". You can teach her various commands like "come by me" and "away to me" (which indicate whether you want a herder to go clockwise around the 'herd' or counter-clockwise).

But giving a herder an outlet for their herding and learning what behaviors are inate (like bringing a 'flock' TO you -- that's built into these breeds) and what aren't "driving away" -- it not inate but can be taught.

But making sure she keeps a soft mouth and doesn't get so wrapped up in 'getting' stuff that she forgets to be 'nice' is important.

Depending on where you live, you may also be able to find herding classes (yep even in the city sometimes).

Practice also with your voice. I was glad to see you want something that didn't involve 'Yelling' -- because it's usually ineffective. However, the tone of your voice can be such a valuable tool -- particularly for a woman. Unfortunately a higher female voice can remind a dog of a puppy "yip" in play -- so we women have to deliberately force our voices into a more no-nonsense lower tone, and make sure your face mirrors what you want to express.

Good luck. Daryl may have more suggestions -- I'll email her and have her take a look.


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