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Eileen Stein

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Everything posted by Eileen Stein

  1. Some sheepdog trainers agree with Patrick, but certainly there are others who believe in using the command as a correction, and even some who use the command as praise/reward. Derek Scrimgeour, if I'm not mistaken, is one who uses it for all three: Say "lie down" in a neutral tone, if the dog doesn't respond say it in a harsher voice, if the dog does respond say it in a softer approving voice as he is lying there. Within the generally accepted ways of training a sheepdog, there are individual differences and preferences like this. But I think tone of voice in general is huge in sheepdog training, and it is definitely conveyed in whistles. Very interesting discussion -- thank you, everybody. My thanks especially to Maya for the hot-and-cold children's game analogy and to Alfreda for the marble sculptor and stonemason analogy.
  2. That makes sense. Although sheepdog training itself contributes to building muscle and stamina, I can see where you'd rather go into it feeling confident that he is physically able to handle it.
  3. If your dog is not symptomatic, why would you have to postpone his training? Even if he is symptomatic, regular B12 injections should take care of it.
  4. Bruce lives in Sidney, Ohio -- the far western part of the state, very close to the Indiana line. Last I heard, Judith lives in Florida, and I think Stuart Ballantyne may live there too.
  5. You might try contacting Bruce Fogt . He might know of Dell descendants that are around now.
  6. Got some real nice dogs on the top half of that pedigree . . .
  7. Is there any possibility you could borrow a friend's dog for a few days? That would give you more information on which to base a decision. You'd find out whether he'd stay in the yard if you had a second dog, or if he'd take off anyway. He could get over his discomfort with the household activity level in time, I think, but I agree that his leaving the premises is a deal breaker.
  8. I think the point of including the border collie was to distract you from noticing that.
  9. Bob, Son of Battle (great old book!) is one of the books that Project Gutenburg makes available online for free -- see http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/2795 I'm so old-fashioned I prefer "real" books, and I love the idea of Boards members sharing books, but PG's is worth knowing about if you like ebooks or if you'd like to read a few chapters online to get a feel for it.
  10. I should mention that our current expert, Amanda Milliken, is putting on two major trials within the next two weeks and is probably not in a position to check the Boards right now. I too suggest that you post this in the Training Discussion forum, just above this one. You will certainly get more responses there.
  11. I don't think you'd have had that reaction to the segment itself. The phrase "hot new sport of sheep dogging" was certainly never used, and it was portrayed as being closely connected to livestock ranching and somewhat obscure. Nothing about the show would lead an ordinary person to believe it was something they could "get into," IMO. That's why I said it was well done.
  12. So it turns out that there's a TV program called 60 Minutes Sports (CBS). And last week it featured a segment on the Sheepdog Finals in Colorado last year. A friend told me about it, and I just watched it on Showtime Anytime (it's also available via On Demand, I think). It's quite well done -- features Alasdair and Norm & Vicki Close. It's Season 3, Episode 6. If I'm the last person to hear about this, please break it to me gently.
  13. The difference between barred and expelled: If you are currently a member in good standing, you are expelled from membership. If not -- if for example you are in arrears in your membership fees -- you are barred from membership. The result is the same. Julie is right about the process. It is complaint-driven, and the ABCA president makes an assessment of whether the complaint is credible or not before initiating an investigation. You can find the rules governing disciplinary actions here.
  14. I give 3 mg two hours or so ahead of a storm if I have sufficient warning. I will give another 3 mg when the storm hits if the dog is showing anxiety (trembling, panting). I've never seen any bad effects in the dog, not even sedation. It works pretty well, where I could see no effects at all from the heavy duty stuff like Xanax. As a person, I am the opposite of Ruth -- it takes an awful lot to knock me out, I envy her -- so that may make me more cavalier. But none of the people I know who give their dogs melatonin have run into any bad effects either.
  15. FWIW, melatonin helped my dog more than Xanax. What works for some doesn't work for others, but it's worth a try.
  16. This is not a book, but it's right here on these Boards and it shows a good trainer bringing her dog along from the beginning and will also show you how she assesses the dog and what thoughts are in her mind as she decides what approaches to use -- how trainers think about what the dog is showing and what the dog needs: Denise Wall training May It's also a good way of seeing that this is not like most kinds of training, where you teach the dog step by step exactly what you want it to do. With this kind of training you're working to shape what is already in the dog, and to do that you have to be able to create a situation where you can see what's in the dog and use the sheep to bring out the reactions you want. That is so easy to lose sight of when you're first starting out.
  17. I disagree with my learned friend Donald. He is right that a trial will not be too hard for the best dog to win, and a trial will not be too easy for the best dog to win, but the point of a trial isn't just for somebody to win. If trials are going to be used as a way of testing quality, they must not be too hard or too easy. You would not gain much information by giving an advanced math test to second graders, or by giving a second-grade-level math test to college students. If all of the dogs score very high (or if all you need do is "command your dog like a robot"), the trial (test) is too easy, and if all of the dogs score very low (or if artificial elements are added for difficulty that depart from what's useful for practical livestock work), the trial is too hard. Much better that the trial be too hard than too easy, but ideally it should be set at a level that effectively distinguishes the wheat from the chaff. That's why it takes a person with a certain degree of knowledge about dogs, sheep and how the former can and should manage the latter to set a good trial course. The Sturgis Finals to which Donald refers had sheep that were so large and aggressive and unused to being worked that the international shed simply could not be accomplished the first year or two, and therefore no one completed the course on the final day. Over the course of those years the best dogs and handlers figured out how to do it, which was a fantastic experience and illustration of what dogs are capable of. And in the meantime the gather and drive provided a good fair test of the dogs' abilities, so I would not say that the trial was too hard. That's why bordering on too hard is better than too easy -- there are challenges that a dog and handler can meet that at one time might have seemed impossible, but too easy is just pointless. As for grading, I don't know if you meant to grade the trial or grade the dogs. The dog's score is its grade, I suppose, but I think the trials are grade-able too, and they ARE graded if only in people's minds. Most people have a mental ranking of existing trials from the most challenging and fairest (in the sense of calling for and rewarding the best work) down to the least challenging/fair. Every now and then people call for the USBCHA to rank them more formally, and limit sanctioning and/or number of points awarded to trials of a certain level of difficulty, but that's unlikely ever to happen, because sheepdog trial hosting -- like sheepdog trialing -- is made up of independent cusses who don't like to be told what to do.
  18. Geonni, I assume these are your words, not Wikipedia's? Reading your overall post and the sources you quote, it sounds as if you conclude that the border collie was not a breed until a kennel club recognized it and wrote an appearance standard, and then it was a breed? Before that, it was a type? Now it's a type if it's not registered by the AKC, but once someone sends their dog's ABCA or ISDS papers to the AKC and obtains registration, it becomes a member of a breed? Even though AKC registration is open to all ABCA, ISDS, CBCA, AIBC and NASDA border collies, and they have considerable variation in appearance? Or are Barbie Collies a breed, but working-bred border collies not a breed, regardless of who they're registered with or whether they're registered at all? I think Wikipedia is a good source for factual, non-controversial information, but when it comes to anything that's not clearcut, I would need to consider the source, and in Wikipedia the source can be whatever anonymous person last edited the article. It's common in the livestock world to have criteria other than appearance as the goal in breeding, e.g., milk production, multiple births, etc. The breeds that are bred to such a "standard" end up having a somewhat similar physical appearance (as do border collies), but that physical appearance is not what the breed was developed for or how it is defined. Yet they are considered a breed, and not just by those ignorant of other names by which to classify them. To me, the traditional border collie, bred for work, is definitely a breed, and I have always preferred the breed definition used in this article: To a geneticist, a breed is simply this: a population of animals whose breeding is controlled and outcrossing limited, so that genetic selection can be exercised on it. I don't think that "breeding true" to a physical appearance standard is a necessary part of the definition. ETA: However, on further reflection, I think our negotiators may have used the "type" argument back when we were trying to fight off AKC recognition. Didn't do us any good, though.
  19. If you're breeding labs to a conformation standard and one of your pups is born with a sizable white spot on its chest, does that mean the labrador retriever is not a breed? Just because some of your pups don't meet the breed standard doesn't mean there's no breed. And yes -- good work, Alligande. It's nice to have a success now and then.
  20. Theoretically, you could register it based on its ABCA or ISDS registration. But the end result might well depend on its looks --as you can see from this old thread. Chene, I liked what you wrote. The only thing it occurs to me to add is something about why you have to keep breeding for working ability if you want to keep working ability -- it's not enough that prior generations were bred for it. But I don't think I would add that after all -- you have enough new thoughts for readers to deal with for the moment.
  21. Who knows? The demand would certainly decrease. I would guess that the working dog community would be able to meet the demand for border collies from people who really had good reasons for wanting a border collie (i.e., those who will use them for work or who know the breed well enough to actually have a reality-based preference for them as a companion). And it would reduce their visibility to those who don't, who would then be more likely to choose a more readily available dog, one that would be more likely to suit them better. It would also remove a competing standard of excellence, which is systematically destroying the coherence and integrity of the breed.
  22. I'm sure we're reaching the point of diminishing returns, but I just don't understand your reasoning here. You seem to be saying that X cannot be the principal cause of something if that something would continue even if X was removed. But that makes no sense. The fact that X may have set in motion a chain of events that could persist even if X now were to disappear does not make X a symptom rather than a cause. X is still the cause. The AKC is the remote cause, because the AKC popularized the idea of breeds, the importance of "pure" breeding, and the definition of a breed by its appearance. The AKC is also the immediate cause, because when AKC recognized the border collie over the objection of the overwhelming majority of border collie owners, it popularized the Border Collie breed while changing its definition and setting up a competing standard of excellence, sowing confusion that has damaged and continues to damage the integrity of the breed. So AKC made breed names important while changing and obfuscating their meaning. You say the AKC "just capitalizes on a movement that was already taking place." But no, it wasn't already taking place. There were no more than a handful of breeders who were breeding border collies for obedience competition before AKC recognition, and I doubt very much that there are more than that today. They were not being bred for any other purpose. Yes, there were dogs sold for pets, which is fine, and dogs who were bred without any systematic concern for working ability. But we're talking about a steady trickle, not a flood or a cataract. A trickle is not a threat to the breed, but a flood is. It's the AKC that caused and is continuing to accelerate the flood.
  23. It's worth pondering that the AKC market, and the pet market influenced by AKC, are able and willing to spend much more for a border collie puppy than the average farmer can. At the time of AKC recognition the average pet buyer had never heard of a border collie. But once they became "an AKC breed" they were included in AKC books and other books aimed at the general public that are meant to help people decide what kind of puppy to get. It is much easier to breed a dog that "looks like a border collie" than to breed a dog that has the working ability of a good border collie. So if you can breed with much less knowledge and effort, and reap a much higher puppy price for doing so, what effect do you think this has on the supply side?
  24. I agree that it cannot be conclusively proven that "more AKC dogs means less working dogs," (or even dogs less capable of working, which is what matters), and I agree that there is a difference between cause and correlation, in that the second does not conclusively prove the first. But rather than re-hash all the factors that I think make it highly likely that AKC is a major causal factor here, and that the inevitable result is harm to the border collie breed as a working dog breed and harm to the people that depend on it (just as it is highly likely that AKC was a major causal factor in the diminution/demise of working dogs in other breeds), I will just say that the standard of proof you are requiring here is highly unrealistic and inappropriate to the subject. There are many species and even civilizations whose decline and/or disappearance we cannot conclusively prove were caused by this or that. We can point to actions and conditions that would likely lead to this result, and that are good reasons to accept that those actions and conditions were indeed the cause, but we cannot prove it conclusively. That doesn't mean we should refrain from advancing the arguments or trying to counteract the actions and conditions (where that's possible). In your first post, you said that, instead of focusing on the working dog, we should be making the argument that "The AKC's lack of oversight in its registered breeders has led to poor breeding practices." But can you conclusively prove that? How do you know that just as many people outside the AKC don't breed just as poorly? How do you know that breeding practices were not equally bad before there was an AKC? How do you know that any action the AKC might take would improve breeding practices? You don't. You actually have less concrete evidence to eliminate these competing possibilities than we do. But even so, you can make a reasonable and credible argument that it is likely the case. Similarly, one can't conclusively prove that the disappearance of the Cocker Spaniel as a useful and used hunter was caused by AKC's impact on how they are bred, rather than by people no longer wanting to hunt with them or finding a breed they liked better. But which is more likely? And if people came to no longer want to hunt with them, or to like another breed better, might that not be because the Cocker Spaniel, thanks to the AKC's influence, was being bred in a way that made it less suitable for its job than it was before? You can't know -- we don't have a way of accessing all of the facts. But we have good reason to believe that the AKC was the principal cause. Even when it comes to strict science, the people who concluded that cigarettes were harmful back when there was no more than a correlation between cigarette smoking and cancer, heart disease and other maladies were sensible to alter their behavior accordingly and to encourage others to do the same. There were enough good reasons to think they were right, and that waiting for conclusive proof (which was eventually possible in that setting, though not in ours) was not a good idea.
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