Mary Taggart Morrison

Teaching the “Stubborn” Stockdog to Lie Down

TEACHING THE “STUBBORN” STOCKDOG TO LIE DOWN Mary Taggart Morrison Many beginning trainers have difficulty getting their stockdog to lie down when they tell him to on the stock. Teaching a dog to stop by lying down is very simple providing you understand the way a dog thinks. The lie down command is used in training to control the speed of a dog’s approach to the livestock, which in turn controls the speed the stock travels. Most people want their…

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Training a Young Aussie to Run Wide

TRAINING A YOUNG AUSSIE TO RUN WIDE ON STOCK “PLAYING THE GET BACK GAME” by Mari Taggart Morrison Probably the two biggest complaints I hear from Aussie owners at training clinics is that their dog works too close and too fast. These sound like separate problems — but in fact they are one problem, and they are not hard to correct if nipped in the bud early, or if the dog is properly started at the beginning. The most common…

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Creating a Training Partnership

CREATING A TRAINING PARTNERSHIP by Mari Taggart Morrison Training a working sheepdog is an art form as well as a sport and necessity. We marvel at the racecar driver’s abilities, or at the basketball player’s fine jump shot, but tend to overlook the complexity of the sheepdog trainer’s job as a sportsman, and the dog’s as an athlete. The trainer must work in exceptional harmony with not just a dog, but with sheep as well. There are some trainers who…

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First Lessons on Sheep

FIRST LESSONS ON SHEEP by Mari Taggart Morrison You now have a young dog that is physically and mentally mature enough to outrun any kind of stock and you’ve got him well trained through the getback game. He’s already learned to lie down when intensely excited by a ball which makes him easier to get to lie down when around sheep. You’ve taught him to get back to the pressure of your body and cane, defined a perimeter around the…

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Everyday Heroes

EVERYDAY HEROES by Mari Taggart Morrison Every once in awhile something will happen that makes you sort of stop and take notice of how remarkable our working stockdogs are. Those of us fortunate enough to own working Australian Shepherds tend to perhaps take the things our dogs do for us every day for granted. Recently, thanks to El Nino, we had massive flooding on our place–the water was so deep it began to creep under the walls of the barn,…

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For Love of Cody

FOR LOVE OF CODY by Mari Taggart Morrison When I got the call about an Aussie that needed rescuing I really didn’t want to pay attention. I’d recently purchased a wonderful, well-bred Aussie pup and had another on order — I needed another dog like a hole in the head. But something about this dog’s story tugged at my heart. A wealthy family had got an Aussie because they wanted a beautiful, intelligent dog but they hadn’t bargained on the…

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