A Consistent Stop By Don Helsley
Lie down, Lie DOWN!!
We have all been there, our dog won't stop. This is what we often do: At a trial, we either blow the same whistle repeatedly, not wanting to sound harsh, and almost begging the dog to stop; or we stay at the post and yell. Often we give a stop command, but the dog doesn't take it. Since we are trying to hit the panel, we go ahead and give the dog a flank and carry on. Or, there are those of us with good lungs that will run up the field, only to have to run up the field the next time, and the next as well. Often a dog will stop at home, but not at a trial. People will be able to stop a softer dog, but when they get a dog with more gas, they suddenly realize they aren't the dog whisperer they thought they were. So what should we do instead? We asked an expert, Don Helsey along with his wife Jeanie, their method for stopping a dog. We picked Don, because he is arguably one of the best at it. Whether it is a handful of a dog, or a soft dog, and no matter if he is home, or at a trial, his dogs always stop. His thoughts are below.
Putting a stop on a dog initially starts in the round pen, but consistency is the key, whether you’re in the round pen or on the trial field. I have a 3 step program for creating good stops. 1. Say it or whistle it like you want it to happen. Often times we ask for the stop like we don’t actually expect it. 2. Introduce speed. The faster the dog goes, the harder and faster they will actually stop. 3. When you do stop them, give the dog a fast release, to reward them by giving them what they want, which is the sheep. Don’t forget, the stop can become less enforced when we get on the trial field, because we are focusing on what we want to accomplish. Inconsistency is the biggest problem people have. When you are away from home, that’s when it’s time to remember the 3 step program. Keep in mind that even when they stop great on the trial field, it doesn’t hurt to remind them of those 3 steps at home.
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