I’ve been starting pups for so long using a lot of control that I’m having trouble starting pups using your methods. The main problem I have is not teaching them to come to me first. I am currently starting 2 pups, a lively Kelpie who is 10 months old and a quiet Kelpie cross Border Collie who is 8 months old. They are both working the sheep well and learning to hold them on me OK but I have trouble calling them off especially the Kelpie pup. I’ve tried waiting until he “asks” to come in but he hasn’t asked yet and we’ve had some pretty long afternoons. It has often resulted in me tackling him when he’s unsuspecting but I don’t think that’s the right thing to do either. He’s a great pup, going to suit this country well as he is so tough and won’t give up or tire. Would it do any harm to let him work with a rope dragging so I can bring him in with less fuss?
Please don’t misunderstand what I say. I want my dogs to mind and they are taught to come. It is just that the first time they go with me to work – I want nothing to keep them from working with THEIR style, not a way I have forced on them with my control. If you have a strong-willed pup it doesn’t hurt to let him work dragging a rope, or to teach him to come before you take him to stock. A more timid pup should work a time or two before you put too much control on him.