It may seem like a lot of food, and it is. I don’t mind as I get great results quickly and lasting. I never bribe a dog. But I do reward...a lot. And not just with food. I start with food beacuse it’s easy but I want to learn my pup--what are they about, what interests them. I believe the best way to reward a pup is by understanding what they want most. Food, play, freedom, chase games--George the cat. Rewards are motivating and I want my pups motivated to make choices that please me. A thinking pup becomes a thinking dog. A thinking dog who has been shaped to look at their own behavior as a means of getting what they want will be easier to take to sheep, call off sheep, down in the presence of sheep and so on.
Body Corrections are a means of communicating with my pup by pushing my prescence on their "bubble" . This was needed more with Jolene than her brother. Jolene's world was small. That which caught her attention was all that mattered. I want her attention on me when I speak to her. I prefer to use a body correction over a long line but will add one if needed. So far, I haven't had to but we'll see!
A body correction looks like this: "Jolene!" (I'm 10 feet away but she is staring at a dog on the other side of fence), no response. "Hey!" (in growly voice) as I lean aggressively toward her and stomp my feet as I approach. Jolene notices me and continues to look at dog. I get closer until she starts to back away. Immediately I will soften my voice, squat down, and call her to me. Followed by petting and maybe a treat…usually not, as what she wants to watch the other dogs soooo… that is her reward. I do this 5 =/-times from greater distances to be sure she understands that she needs to listen. I practice often with less distractions as well. Right now I'm able, with light distraction, get her to respond to her name without a "lean" toward her. But with more action I need to lean and use a "Hey!". Very little stomping or walking toward is needed.
It is important that we have presence with our dogs as it is the main tool we will be using throughout their working career.
*Marker Based Training: I have an extensive background in training non-working dogs. I use marker based training all the time so it's no surprise I use it with my Border Collies. Clicker training is very powerful and useful for working dogs if used right. I will use a clicker with all my dogs at some point. With the young ones I don't start there but rather my voice. By pairing heavily my voice/food I will build a positive and powerful voice without the use of force or corrections. More on the clicker usage when these two beasties are ready. In a couple of weeks.