Designated driver..

Driving is a complex exercise. You put the dog behind the sheep and push them away from you right??

Sort of .. kinda like that..

Dogs taught to drive properly are few and far between, it’s easier to stear than teach balance to the sheep. You see up to this point the dog has balanced the sheep to you (ie: the fetch) the fetch of course being the pre programmed element of the border collie, unlike the drive it’s typically a trained element. (Before everyone jumps in and says oh you’re wrong, my dog drove natural; well good for you, most of us are training it) save that argument!

Dogs don’t always feel comfortable pushing the sheep away. In fact the first instinct is to swing around and fetch the sheep back (oh shit the sheep are getting away from you, I had better bring them back!! 

I start the drive walking along side, if the dog slips to the wrong spot, I stop them.. not hard. I let the sheep drift along and the dog drift along behind. I let the dog follow for a while, (not drive) I let the dog get comfortable on the back side of the sheep balancing to the sheep ... NOT BALANCING THE SHEEP..... TO ME 

So where is this going.. ???

I like to see the dog driving, walking, jogging behind the sheep (don’t confuse this with method of the dog) 

When a dog is balancing to the sheep; on the drive, you see subtle shifts by the dog when the sheep’s heads become unaligned with the line.. not a flank, just a shift. BINGO.

If you’re sheep aren’t bolting why aren’t you walking? Why are you flanking? 

If you teach your dog a methodical way of driving, slow, steady, and study, let your dog study the sheep as they drive along. Don’t settle for steering the drive, teach the dog correct and the dog will help you achieve a nice driveline, with minimal flanks. If you flank and block down the driveline, you can guarantee your judge is noticing, you will not stand up to the dog that owns and guided his line.

In the beginning don’t do too much steering…. just because you can steer doesn’t mean ya should!