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Everything posted by ejano

  1. Talking about what they love to do -- that's wonderfully descriptive.
  2. Thanks for the reassurance, everyone. Maja, your point is well taken. I have some dim memories of that intense concentration from my tennis days My concern is, I guess, that his perceived reward for good performance not become an absence of punishment (that is, a correction); and that he stay as keen as he is now because his absolute dedication to task is a thrill to watch.
  3. In addition to print sources, I like the Maryland Small Ruminant web page - Sheep 101, 201, webinars, etc. Pipestone Vet Clinic is helpful, especially if you live in an area (as I do) where large animal practice vets are scarce.
  4. I'm at at a loss for how to praise Robin for doing a good job during his lessons. When we are on the field, he doesn't really seem to want to hear anything from me except directions. He'll react to directional commands and he will take a correction and adjust his behavior. If he's done something particularly well, I quietly praise him while I am setting him up again, then makes sure he gets a chance to do that thing again immediately -- his best reward seems to be the sheep. But that's it. He appears to hear nothing else. I'm not out there shouting "GOOD BOY!" every two seconds, but I want him to know that he is doing the right thing beyond the fact that he is not receiving a correction. When we're through -- he leaves the field willingly but when I praise him for a job well done, there's no particular feedback - i.e. no tail wagging, no indication that he knows that I'm pleased with what he's done. He's biddible, walking by my side without a leash. He goes into his crate, slaps down, slurps water and looks at me with those owlish yellow eyes, slightly glazed...high on sheep? I put him away for awhile to be quiet by himself to ponder recent events and when I come back a half hour or so later, he's his happy rooing self and we're best pals - now he's eager for praise and attention. (It's not just me -- usually he's eager for attention from his adoring public but at a recent exhibition in which he played the role of "young dog just starting on sheep" he paid absolutely no attention to the spectators until the sheep had left the grounds - literally left on a trailer. Then he turned to the people who wanted to meet him and started signing autographs. One woman commented on the total reversal in his personality, saying that she could now understand the BC's total fascination with sheep.) In training, my good opinion doesn't seem to count for much on the sheep but he is taking direction. First, am I making sense? Second, am I reading him correctly? Third, is it a problem? We are progressing - he's learning but I feel a bit frustrated because I don't feel like I'm reaching him completely yet. Liz
  5. We're going with a variation of the Premier style feeder. The Shetlands worm their way into anything - their heads are very small and underneath all of that fluff, their bodies really aren't that big. You might find yours climbing into the feeder you picture just to be sure she gets her fair share.
  6. Now that's really asking for trouble .
  7. Well, you never know when you might get another pup !
  8. Cuter and cuter... As for a mat, someone on the boards gave me this tip Brodie's crate came to me with a stall mat cut down in it (friend's yard sale) but I had to do something for Robin's crate - he was a shredder and that bed in your photo wouldn't have lasted 15 minutes with Robin. Instead of buying an expensive rubber mat (i.e. the stall mats - if you only have just one crate, you're wasting a whole lot of money), buy a dump truck mud flap to trim and put in the crate... you will want to leave it outside to get the "new" out of it out for a while before you put it in there but it has worked beautifully.
  9. Gosh he's cute - and he looks very comfy - I fell for the same style pet dish. The dog puts pressure on the attachment "thingee" and it snaps off. It didn't last very long. I actually snapped the second one off trying to slide it back on after cleaning the dish. Search Amazon for a metal food dish that comes with a frame that hooks onto the crate. Easy on and off for cleaning and it has held up well. The stainless steel flat sided water buckets with hooks on them for hanging on the crate door are also highly recommended - a bit pricey but worth it! http://www.dog-training.com/bgbbowls.htm#Flat%20Sided%20Stainless%20Steel%20Pail (Scroll down) They are cheaper on Amazon but you have to buy a dog clip to hang them on the crate...not a bad idea, holds them more securely. Liz
  10. He's definitely got the "Awww" factor. Beautiful pup! Liz
  11. Your expectations for his attitude seem really high. When we brought Ladybug home she was very quiet for some time (a week or more) and she'd only been in rescue (the local SPCA) for about a week. She wouldn't play, barely ate -in fact, she didn't even pee for nearly 24 hours. And she lives and breathes for fetch and Frisbee. She needed lots of quiet reassurance. And it was a "squeaker" toy that woke her up. She loves squeakers. Scotty was even more reluctant as he was the second dog and didn't want to put a paw wrong before Ladybug gave him permission to breathe. They needed to work out their relationship as well. Plus, he'd never met a cat! As your pup gets used to new surroundings and to your expectations his personality will emerge. Liz
  12. I'm a rank beginner, stumbling around -- these are my experiences so far. We take lessons in a haphazard fashion (when a trainer is available), the dogs are two years old (neutered males). Julie pointed out two very important things -- keeping a (flat) lead on the dog so you can catch him/her up. And being able to get close enough to the dog to catch the lead. My dogs come to me but they're still young - and they need reminding now and again "that will do" so I use a six foot lead - just in case I need to catch them and so that we can walk away with dignity. Being in the larger field is very interesting. The round pen at the trainer's was good groundwork but was awful for me working Robin because he orbits so fast around me he is a red blur. I immediately got dizzy with him. I learned more with Brodie -- he has a different style of moving plus a different coat color and pattern. Brodie broke up the fence, Robin blended in with it. At home, in the field, I immediately had more than an even chance to stop Robin's action because I could maneuver the sheep to switch his direction and then get him to lie down, which he does quite readily in the field when the pressure is "right". My paddock is about an acre and split into two sections - roughly 600 feet by 300 feet. I use the half away from the barn for training, so we're working in an area that's a little over 300 by 150 - it triangles at the end so it's not quite a rectangle. There is a fence separating the two areas with a gateway at each end - but no gates as yet! Robin is also more thoughtful in the field because he is reacting to the pressure of the sheep -- he knows they might thinking about hightailing it to the barn so he's mindful of that escape route - he's trying to get me to notice that he's being a good dog and diligently gaurding that escape route, even though I want him on the other side of the sheep and he's fighting his own logic because I'm putting pressure on him when I move the sheep around so he thinks he should be there as well and he's very conflicted. He'll learn. (He's also quite fond of putting them through the one gate then hustling around the other side of the fence to lie down at the opposite gate (about 300 feet) to prevent them from escaping back to the barn now that he's put them in the far paddock. He thinks he's quite a smart boy when he does this. I however am now thinking that I have in effect trained him into some kind of wacky opposing cross drive - Let's NOT let them through the panel and see how many points the judge lets us have! But then, on my farm, it's a very necessary thing he does, until we get gates. Moving into a larger area also creates opportunities for chaos. I've set up training situations that Robin and Brodie weren't ready for; the sheep have taken off and the dog has ignored my commands and given chase to lunge at my sheep but thankfully not gripped and my sheep weren't harmed and that is a very bad habit to let them start. Plus, I've had to correct the dog for something I basically allowed them to do. Bad parenting. I need to be aware of just how much I am testing their ability to stay calm and focused when I am working without a trainer. I have to ask myself before I set up an exercise, is it fair what I am asking them to do? Are they ready for it? The answer is always...slow down. Take it easy with them. Be fair. I teach. I push my human students to do their best. I have learned to not push my dogs. I let them take their time at their lessons. They will let me know when they are ready for the next step. In the larger field, I'm finding it useful to put out traffic cones to serve as markers while wearing. Everyone has to have a goal in life and these are easy to move. ( We've gotten very good at wearing away from the barn -- now we're working on moving a quarter turn and wearing to the south. Everyone is confused -dogs, sheep, me...and my cousin -- who enjoys watching "sheepvision" while mowing his lawn. Now he has to crank his neck in another direction! Yes, working in a field is interesting - for everyone. Even the neighbors. . Liz
  13. At least she now knows why the BC was peeing all over the carpet back in August... marking territory as the female was coming into heat... Sue, Kristi, I agree -- and the expenditure of time is the most costly of all.
  14. Mine head for the barn at the first sign of a sprinkle, but I think it's mainly because the first four we brought home are "barn babies" -- loooove their barn as they were born in Feb and stayed in the barn for about a month before being let out into the wide world. Though they have options for shade (trees), they retreat to the barn several times during the day to rest and to chew their cud The Shetlands would likely stay out in the pasture forever (where they were born) and indeed thought it very strange to be going in that queer place - the first day Silver Belle actually lay down to nap outside the door when the gang of four went in for their nap, and Rose came out with her then paced back inside with the others - trying to decide where to be...then settled with her half sister but was very concerned she wasn't with the flock. Now, Rose too is a barn baby. Silver Belle still lingers by the door...but she's inside the barn... I agree...we spend a great deal of time watching "sheepvision." Most entertaining.
  15. Our Lamb Chops was bottle raised, along with his twin Tulip. They were very, very tiny -- actually two of triplets (the third didn't survive). Tulip is a sheep but Lamb Chops must have realized he needed to try harder - be a standout in the crowd as he was indeed destined to be "lamb chops" until fate intervened in the form of DH who, when asked if he would like to take another lamb home, looked down at the one standing at his feet, sighed and said, "Yeah, I'll take this one..." Lamb Chops was whethered and came home with us. Lamb Chops and Tulip were nurse maided by a Border Collie (our pups mother) and I really think that Lamb Chops imprinted on her! Many of his behaviors seem to be more dog-like. He is devoted to my husband. When DH is doing something, he's right there with him to the point that he nearly got the end of his nose taken off by a paslode framing nailer when DH was building a creep pen for the Shetland lambs. Yesterday when DH had the Kaboda out widening the ditch in the pasture to accommodate the water coming through the pasture, Lamb Chops spotted him and went pelting out of the barn, prepared to brave the flooding creek to get to him. He was actually starting to wade into the water when I got him to turn back by banging on the grain bin. He'll be worked by the dogs, but he's so disappointed to be considered a sheep that it's almost cruel to do so... I usually just let him fall back out of the way until we're finished. Then, he comes up to stand beside me and the dog will bring him into the flock and we all walk back to the barn together. Lamb Chops, helping to build the creep pen
  16. Others can put it better - I'm not always up on the terminology...I've always thought Border Collies do better in pairs -- but that's just my personal thinking. They like people, but they like each other too, or at least the ones we've owned did and these do as well but perhaps I shouldn't generalize. Most recently, we had one male, one female - both rescue dogs. When we lost the male, we lost our minds and brought two pups home, which Ladybug "adopted." It worked out okay, but it took a lot of work and effort - and still does. I've got three dogs to exercise and they all require different types of individual attention as well as group interaction to make sure they understand who is in charge (not any of them). Best thing to do is get one dog, settle in with it for a year or two, then add another if and when you think you want one.
  17. I'm just picking up on the puppy play - and thinking back to what I observed from the boys behavior. For a time, the boys would run and chase, then about ten months, it got to be a problem. I can remember Ladybug the "Nanny" taking Robin aside a time or to and saying look it Bub, this is how we romp around, it's sometimes just fun and games.... But for Robin it's not play - it's work. He can't just romp. He'll run through the field for exercise and exploration beside Brodie, but he won't run and chase and "play tag" with him. It always ends in hard feelings, with Brodie feeling like he's being "worked" and he's probably right. Brodie, on the other hand, likes to play. Ladybug is twelve now and she's not quite up to speed anymore so I take him back to his home farm now and then, just so he can romp with his mother and a younger half sister -- They have a grand time. No hard feelings there. They all have the same laid back personality.
  18. Okay. I suppose I never thought of this as prey drive...I met my pups the first time when they were about 3 days old -- as they grew, they became very playful at wakeful times so perhaps you caught your litter at a "down" time. Anything soft was quickly shredded so mostly chewy type toys and bones were provided, mostly for safety. They were attracted to things that made noise and things that moved quickly across their line of vision. The pups came to me at about 8 weeks - in that first week I distinctly remember the pups discovering the cache of stuffed animals I had stored in a basket. I had been teaching a previous dog names of the animals. The pups, with a little help from Ladybug who can't abide to leave anything with a squeaker in it intact, tore them to bits in one gleeful evening while being supervised by my blissfully unaware husband. It looked like it had snowed in the TV room. It was the first of many hillarious puppy episodes....we'd never had puppies, my husband and I, though we had successfully raised a child We've tried other so called "indestructible" toys over the first year....none of them lasted longer than fifteen minutes with any of the dogs. No more "stuffies" in our house. We have bones, we have rubber chew toys and nylon Frisbees that are put up on a high shelf when we are done playing, or they would be shredded too. We played tug a little -- with a rope. We never played with towels. Towels are a grooming tool and are always for drying off with...and I've put towels in their crates with them -- they never touched or chewed them. The pups are two and a half now...Robin really enjoys tug of war with a thick rope - a jolly ball comes with a rope threaded through it -- the rope lasts about a week. I never encouraged it -- he just likes it. It was useful for teaching "drop it" and "leave it." We hung a really thick tug rope outside from a pole and he'll go pounce on it and tug away on his own, as does Ladybug (12 years old). They grrrrr quite loudly... but they don't appear to be fighting with each other... Brodie, less so. He's very quiet when he tugs...he pounces at it. Ladybug and Robin pull as if they'd like to snap the rope. Robin and Brodie are equally keen on sheep, though they do have different styles. Ladybug came to us as a rescue at 4 years old....she loves tug - it's her second favorite game (fetch being the first that's her "thing"). She's also a dedicated huntress -- mouses, bunnies, etc. She's not so sure of the sheep. Liz
  19. Don't all puppies do this??? ETA -- every dog I've owned has been willing to tug or grab something and run with it to play -- either with me or with each other...sometimes I've considered it misbehavior when it was something I valued
  20. I've had a few go astray as well when the boys were pups...I hung a really tough rope in the yard that they still play with spontaneously...especially Robin and Ladybug
  21. And the more the dog will try for you . Roscoe, I've only had two pups in my life -- one when I was a kid, and one just two years ago...it's been a long time since I was a kid. I've never been disappointed in the older dogs we've brought into our home -they've been anywhere from 8 months to four years old. If you feel you need a clearer picture of what the dog's personality and talents are, go to rescue for an older dog that will be a good fit for you - or perhaps you might consider purchasing a dog from someone if you are "into" certain pursuits in which BCs excel. If your heart is set on getting a pup and you just want to enjoy life with a dog, pick the one you like the best and discover life together...there are no certainties and the dog will lead you to activities that you can enjoy. ETA -- My advice...leave the towel at home...as I said, I've only had one pup (well, two if you count the fact that we raised litter mates - don't do that!) , but he needed no encouragement to shred anything! Best, Liz
  22. I understand a little better about the snapping and it does seem to be defensive. It sounds a great deal like the rescue we had. Our response was to avoid letting people approach the dog entirely. Scotty had the option of whether or not to approach people. Nobody got to pet him unless he initiated the contact. It took a few months of realizing that nobody was going to bother him unless he asked for attention and he stopped the nipping all together. (He was also a dedicated car chaser and that we could never cure - and lost him to a car - it broke my heart. ETA - he was a five hundred yards away from the road moving in the opposite direction when he decided to go --) So, step one would be to not let people walk up to him, reach down to pet him. For some reason he feels threatened. If they ignore him as if he were on another planet - he does not exist, he'll relax a bit. With more exercise and maturity and a switch in quarters, he'll become more secure in the fact that people aren't threatening then you can start letting him decide when he wants to walk up to them - but only with a release command from you, i.e. "Say hi." That's why he's okay when playing ball -- it's his decision to interact. What's his name?
  23. Yes, it's hard to get the full picture...one of our rescues (an older dog) was like that for a bit -- he felt threatened when people reached for him and would nip...but if he decided to come up to the person, everything was fine. After a few months with us, he stopped it. Got more secure...it's the car chasing that gets me more though...hard to control that once it starts. Liz
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