Reducing excitement around sheep
The essence of this technique is that when a sheep is present, good things (treats) come from you. At that moment, you are more interesting than the sheep. In fact, sheep are very boring. At first, you will need to be quite far away from the sheep for this to be the case, but with practice your pup will learn to look at you when they see a sheep, and they will be able to do this even when sheep are close.
Take your pup to a location where you will see sheep but can keep a good distance from them. Keep a distance from sheep that does not make your pup bark, lunge, pull or stare intently at the sheep in such a way that they cannot look at you when you say their name. Allow your pup to look at the sheep, then say their name and when they look at you, say “Good!” and give them a treat. If, when you say their name, your pup is not able to look back at you, then step further away from the sheep until your pup is able to respond to you. For the whole time that the sheep are around, every time that your pup looks at the sheep, say their name and when they look at you, say “Good!” and give them a treat. When your pup begins to offer eye contact voluntarily when they see sheep, say “Good” and give them a treat when they do. With time, slowly reduce the distance between your pup and the sheep, always making sure that your dog can still look at you when you say their name.
- Your dog sees the trigger
- Let them watch the trigger for 1-2 seconds
- You say their name
- They look at you
- You give them a treat