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Training Jaco

We’ve started giving our youngest dog, Jaco, some more responsibility. He had some basic training a while ago and we’ve just been building his confidence and letting him do the things he was naturally good at. Now he’s ready to start working on some more advanced skills.

He’s a naturally a very calm worker, he can hold sheep really well, but he’s less good at getting them to move, particularly over creeks or into yards; places they don’t really want to go. It’s a useful trait to be able to hold sheep quietly during the muster, so we don’t want him to lose that, but he needs to develop a bit more force.

We had to spend a week or so working with cattle; they had to be found in the hills, brought home, sorted and then returned to the hills. This made for a good opportunity to get Jaco some experience. Cattle won’t be held like sheep, the dog needs to be more forceful to guide them in the right direction. With Floyd’s help, Jaco did really well learning how much pressure to apply and when to let it off. We also liked the toughness he showed when he went in a bit too hard and a bit too close and earned himself a good kicking for his troubles. He got up, shook himself, and went straight back to work. Working days can be long and difficult for the dogs, so it’s good to see this sort of resilience.

This week he’s been back on sheep and he’s looking really good. He still holds them nicely, but when asked to move them, he comes slowly up onto them and, if need be, he’ll give them a push to get them going. We think he’s going to turn into a pretty good working dog. He’s also a really sweet natured fellow to have around.

 

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