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Everything posted by ejano

  1. I think he won the English finals.
  2. I've been watching - it's not NFL live, but it "will do". Liz
  3. From what I remember of my sociology/psych classes - children raised in an environment of abuse become abusers themselves. If it really was children that did this (can't bear to look at the article) then some serious investigation/intervention is required. That poor brave dog. I am awed that she managed to make it home to her family after being so terribly injured. Rest in peace little one.
  4. Thanks for the tips - I really think it must have been the stones as he sent up a cloud of gravel when he steered around the corner. It's a new surface for him so he wasn't prepared. He seemed fine yesterday and today here at home. I didn't take him to the farm last night because I didn't want him running flat out yet. Yes, we have a golf cart - I was a little reluctant to introduce them to it after losing a dog with a wheel fixation to a car several years ago but they don't pay the least bit of attention to it - except for dear Ladybug - she likes to thumb a ride now and then when she gets a bit weary.
  5. Thanks folks. I'll check his toenails -- we're overdue for a trim. Liz
  6. Robin was exhibiting a noticeable limp last night on his right front side. He was reluctant to put weight on his paw but there was no sign of injury to the paw, up the leg or obvious tenderness in his shoulder. I kept him curtailed last night and this morning he is fine; showing no signs of any injury or hesitation to put his full weight on that leg. 1) He spun out on some new gravel at the farm last night. He didn't go down but he was quite low; when he cut the turn, the injured leg would have been on the outside (high side). He ran full speed through the field with no hesitation and no sign of limping but it's possible he might have gotten a stone bruise on the pad of his foot, though he didn't react when I touched the pads. 2) I didn't see him get out of the SUV (DH let them out) when we got home but it is more possible that he landed wrongly jumping out - Robin never does things carefully. As I said, he seems fine this morning but what should I watch out for? More importantly, we're starting lessons again next week - I can sub Brodie so the schedule isn't a problem if Robin needs to stand down for a bit, but it does make me wonder about general fitness. Robin isn't exactly in shape, though he's not overweight - 3) I've never really done anything to get him fit - just let him run at the farm and take him swimming but if I'm going to be working him, are there other things we can do to help him prevent injury? Liz
  7. This is my new training mantra. Thanks, Amelia (Robin and Brodie thank you too ).
  8. We do need different sheep - and more of them - and a larger canvas. We have about a half acre square paddock to work in and I've been putting no more than three sheep out as I've been working on reducing his excitement level but if this is the result, it's time to up the ante. He has a nice stop command that I can use to halt him on his feet. Now I see that I have to immediately follow up with something to keep him moving as while I'm trying to figure out which way to send him, he's settling in for a nice stare down and if he's feeling really comfortable, lies down on his own accord. I really need to get quicker with my commands - About that moving between the sheep and the fenceline -- he's got no problem with that when he's under motion- in fact, I'd considered it was a fault as when we are wearing he will sometimes belt between them and the fence, pushing them toward the center of the field, but when he does this, he's coming forward circling all the way around me charging back between the sheep and the fence to push them out again which I understood wasn't allowed in a trial? Now that I write this, I see in my mind that when he does this, there is a fence corner is coming up and he likely doesn't want them to be trapped there? He has a tendency to want to orbit around me when we're wearing, but we've pretty much put that one to bed - I can successfully stop him, except at this point. Maybe I should listen to my dog more often. Thanks, folks. I will put your suggestions to work. We're getting back in motion for lessons this fall. For these next two weeks, I'll put five sheep in, keep him off the fence and on the move and work on widening his outrun on the away side. That should keep me from creating new problems. He's a strong dog, very intense and focused. It took awhile to earn his respect. As an aside, Brodie (his littermate) is completely opposite. It took a little longer for Brodie's nervy stage to work its way out but now I see that he doesn't have less work ethic than Robin - just a different level of intensity and style of working. He works so differently that it took me quite some time to realize what he was doing. Then I watched his mother working and realized he works like his mother, very loose, and instinctively stays way outside the flight zone. He's still a bit grippy when things get exciting but when he gets sheep up against a fence, he quietly and quickly goes in and gets them with no hesitation whatsoever. He never gets stuck. And he smiles when he works the sheep. He'll bring them to me then look up at me with those seal brown eyes and that silly smile as if to say, "Isn't this the best fun?" It sure is. I feel very fortunate to have these two boys - they have so much to teach me.
  9. Sudden onset of not eating/weight loss bears looking into as others have suggested. I've fought to put weight on Brodie practically since I brought him home as a pup. I tried Cynthia's satin balls and they work well in the short term. Maintaining the weight without continuing to feed them is a problem for me and Brodie. He simply had to be convinced to eat his regular serving dog food. I had a duh! moment and decided to try mixing in about a 1/3 of a can of high quality canned dog food with his kibble. Ladybug and Robin get the other 2/3rds I can't say he's getting fat, but he is putting on weight and he licks the plate clean every feeding - sometimes he'll even eat kibble in the morning without the topping. It's easy, relatively inexpensive and the really good stuff doesn't smell like I remember canned dog food smelling - which was why I resisted. I still add tempting treats to his diet. He seems to be always hungry and particularly craves carbs I bake a potato the microwave or make a few extra mashed. He is one of those metabolic wonders that can eat everything and not gain an ounce. At least his ribs are a bit padded now - and he's eating all of his ration.
  10. Ah Shetlands. I studied them for hours online when I was recovering from surgery. All the lovely colors of their fleece; the romantic history of the breed - the beautiful things you can make with their yarn (Jamison's wool website is particularly inspiring.) I do love the wee little beasties. What they don't make very plain is that Shetlands live and die by the motto, "The devil take the hindmost." and they scatter like mice. We learned "Look back" by working the Shetlands. They can be feisty too - my newest lamb who is about the size of a Cocker Spaniel conked Robin not once, not twice, but three times on the head when he dared to invade her pen yesterday to help me put feed out. My routine until yesterday was to walk through their pen to the big sheep pen and let Robin clear the route of sheep so I don't get hit in the stampede for grain. Iris just wasn't about to budge. She just put down her little head and charged. Bonk! Bonk! Bonk! He was completely blind sided as we were walking into their small pen in a dim barn and she is a very black little sheep. Finally Robin ducked under the gate (big enough gap for the lambs to go between pens) at the same time and and the rest of the flock sailed out of the barn, giving us some breathing space. Poor Robin. He didn't start a fight with her (he has put her in her place once before, but outside.) Thinking it over, he probably did the wise thing (he usually does) If he'd escalated, we'd both have gotten hurt. Instead he tried to give her a chance to escape, which she did ducking her head at him once again for good measure on the way out the gate. He shows no hesitation about going after a misbehaving sheep at other times and in fact had all ready given Iris a sternly worded memo the day she arrived. Probably why she didn't want to see him coming. These are the things you wish you didn't have to learn by experience. The first six times we went through that pen, everything was fine. Yesterday, she didn't like him. Good thing she's only 30 pounds. And mine are tame. All will feed out of my hand, even these new lambs. There is only one that I can't touch but she comes up to me and I can get a rope around her to halter her for treatments. That's all I really need to do. I've halter broken only one of the Shetlands (I decided not to show); and I will halter break these lambs for ease of handling. I've spoken with breeders who have halter broken rams for show who said they were fairly gentle but I also watched my husband go for a heck of a ride when we were helping with shearing last year and he had the job of bringing the ram to the barn. They may be small but they are powerful creatures. They can be friendly but they do have a wild streak. ETA - on the upside, they are very easy keepers and birthers (if you are going that route). They will want to be outside all the time so you will have to think about predator control. Locking them up in the barn at night might be difficult. Shetlands are hard to contain. I suspect that's why Iris panicked yesterday. She'd been introduced to the fine art of herding then saw that dog coming at her again and had nowhere to go but through him. We have discovered they will go through, over or under a fence if they want to be on the other side of it (those photos of Shetlands on crofter roofs aren't photoshopped) and through the merest crack of a door to get outside. We have a mixed flock so they are a bit calmer because the others are sedate. That might change now that the numbers are even. Pansy (left) and Iris - They likely won't stay a warm (natural) black. I suspect their fleece will end up looking like steel wool but it's just a guess. You can't tell what a Shetland will really look like until the second or third year.
  11. That was an issue as in "uh oh - this is a new problem, what do I do now" kind of thing and we did a similar response. This seems like it is something different. He's perfectly willing to stand or even lie down on his own and stare at those sheep all day. He's put them right where he wants them; they're his now and and by golly, he's going to keep them. I did basically the same thing to unstick him - walked up close enough that I broke the spell he put himself under. I didn't have to touch him but I may have startled the sheep into moving and that kicked him into gear.
  12. [quote name='juliepoudrier' timestamp='1344085880' post='42328 I also keep purebred Tunis (redheads!) and am crossing them with the BFL ram to make tunis mules. J. I love my Tunis X. Tulip is my prettiest sheep and the sweetest tempered as well.
  13. They're thin on the ground but there are shearers who prefer to not do larger flocks. Our shearer won't do more than 12 (We have 8 now) and he's quite reasonable. He just likes to shear sheep but doesn't have the time to travel and tackle large flocks -like many of us, he has a day job. Liz
  14. Late arrival to this thread - and a relative new comer to sheep as well. You learn a great deal very fast. I have what might be called a "spinner's flock" 4 Shetlands and 4 Clun Forest/Tunis mix. Shetlands - because they are small, thrifty, seem to eat everything, have lovely fleece if it's processed right and yes, they're cute. Really, really cute. The wool when hand processed is really quite lovely and it is difficult to buy true Shetland yarn - most of what is marketed as Shetland is from different kinds of sheep in the Shetland isles, not necessarily from the Shetland sheep breed. So now I have my own supply. Clun Forest/Tunis - again because the Tunis at least eat browse - we have a great deal of multiflora rose) and they've taught the others to at least sample things other than grass. Their wool is lovely, their dispositions sweet. The Clun girls are rather large, topping 200 pounds now and a bit intimidating when roaring down on you, eager dog in hot pursuit. If you're thinking of doing any training with your sheep - my advice is to get smaller ones! The Tunis wool is lovely. I've sold some yarn this year from my first clip (enough to pay for half of the processing)and kept the rest for me . If I could expand my flock, I would buy more Tunis. They do have some foot problems (my crosses each have one foot that's a bit flakey) but they are just a nice all around sheep - good for meat and wool and the land. But there is that foot thing. IF you're going to have a large flock, it could be problematic. The first thing to decide is what you want the sheep to do for you. We knew right from the beginning we wanted them to eat their fool heads off so we don't have to mow awkward places. We also knew right from the beginning that this was not an investment that would make money. I did make a few bucks this year on the yarn and sales may increase in future years, but not to the point where they will pay for themselves. We do however have a lovely pile of compost roasting for the gardens and our tomatoes this year are huge so there are secondary impacts. I also intended to use them to train my dogs but that is quickly going south because they are all over-dogged now. We all know the routine so we really can't practice maneuvers but the dogs and I have reached the point where we can do every day work. I also bought these sheep locally - they come from farms less than 15 miles away which means 1) they'll likely thrive in my climate and on my pastures 2) I've got some back up if I have questions or concerns about the sheep or the breed. Mentors are always helpful. The person from whom we got several of the sheep helped me to vaccinate this spring. Storey's guide doesn't quite tell the whole story. Good luck! Sheep are really wonderful animals- interesting and clever. We're happy that we have them. Liz
  15. Talk to me about a strong eyed dog now tending toward "sticky" in certain situations. Robin now has a slow gear and is starting to drive on his own (what a beautiful sight!) and then he gets them up against a fence and we're stuck in freeze frame. He's waiting for the sheep to make a dash one way or the other and ignoring my entreaties to move around them to force them off the fence. They are barely breathing because he's glaring at them from about 5 feet away. When I do get his attention by walking closer to break the spell and he moves around them and off we go again. (He's getting wider - especially on the come-bye side. We are working on the away side now - building from scratch.) Thanks, Liz
  16. Thanks Amelia for your detailed responses. I will work on these things you suggested. Your suspicions regarding the sheep are quite likely on the mark as well. Though I mix up the group to work with, they are all tame (we keep them for fiber)and know the drill all too well. I've two new sheep coming in a few weeks and am scheduling some lessons for Robin and me.
  17. I need luck with this Red Dog - and all my wits. He's 3 years old this year. We've been training in fits and starts as I've been working around some illness, now behind me. At this point, we've been doing as you outlined and he is good about walking into the field, lying down and waiting for a command while I walk up the line to the sheep then I turn back to face him and send him around and he brings them to me - and off we go "walkies", wearing the sheep down and back. He balances pretty well though both he and my other dog insist on guarding the off side, staying between the sheep and the barn. It's not pretty but we're managing that part. Edit -- we do need to practice the middle part you describe, widening his arc - I've been standing at the bottom of the clock - say 6 o clock but if I move to around 3 o clock before giving him the release command that might help because that's where he starts to slice in? It's the next step, when I'm standing with him beside me and sending him off from the post as it were on an outrun - this is very new for us. I'm missing a very major part of the puzzle. When he is collecting them from the barn side of the field, he does pretty well - he seems to get them all together, brings them to the "post" at a reasonable pace, and then off we go wearing the sheep again. It is when we turn around and try it in the other direction that he gets all ramped up - holding them against the fence, then kiting all around them. Maybe he's reacting to the pressure - not wanting them to go back to the barn? So many different elements at play? (As for that pulling -- never, never have I had a dog that pulls on a lead like he does. I've tried what seems like a hundred different techniques to break him. What worked the best was switching direction (as you say, a counter move). He knows he's doing wrong and he's sorry every time. The second he's aware that he's misbehaving, he comes right back to heel then he's right at it again. Off lead, he sticks with me quite well, even walking up to the sheep. I don't quite trust him when we're coming off the sheep. He responds to "That will do, here" but it really bothers him to leave the sheep out in the field. Several times it's been thundering hooves - "HEY YOU FORGOT THESE!" Post manners also top our list of things to learn.
  18. Hi Cynthia, great advice. We'll go back to basics. We had a lesson just last week, which was where this problem emerged. We moved out into the "really big" pasture where he had a heck of a good time. Obviously, we overreached ourselves. His initial start has some self control and he reacts to a slow down command but the closer he gets to the sheep the more excited he gets. It doesn't help that he has a great deal of presence and the sheep naturally are more flighty around him - which might be self rewarding? He expects them to pop off and if they don't, he'll make it happen? He's got to learn to stay way off them as well. About an acre away, I think .
  19. Robin evidently doesn't have enough excitement in his life. He is enjoying scattering the sheep so he can round them up again so this is the problem I am working on fixing. Yesterday evening when I was working with him, I picked my three calmest sheep. While he did his darnedest to scatter them, they stuck to my leg like burrs. I felt like I was in the middle of a butter churn as he whirled around us. I kept stepping in front of him, either lying him down, making him change direction, or pushing him back off the sheep. I achieved what I thought might be a tiny amount of success as he did take the commands. He was still wild, puppy eager when I took him off the last time. He hasn't been that way for some time so I'm thinking there still must be something amiss to have him that dissatisfied mentally. Or maybe I'm over-thinking it, and he was just having a heck of a good time and didn't want to quit as he was pouting every time I took him off the sheep? Is this all I can do, or is there another approach to teaching him how to stay off the sheep and to take time? He will take a "slow" or "steady" command once he has the sheep and is doing something with them. In his first small outrun of the evening, he got them stuck in a corner of the pasture and was holding them there as he was unsure of what to do. He didn't want to blast into them as he was reacting holding them against the pressure of heading back to the barn. We worked quite nicely together with him taking good direction. For once we were in complete agreement about how to get the job done. Felt good. . (I always feel like I'm doing something wrong with him because when I train with Brodie, I tell Brodie he's a good boy and he wags his tail and we leave the field with him prancing beside me. I tell Robin he's a good boy, he pays absolutely no mind and we leave the field with him dragging me backward toward the sheep. Once in a rare while, I can tell that he's leaving with his mind, satisfied and relaxed but I can't yet put a rhyme or reason to why.) Thanks, Liz
  20. I couldn't lift the boys in and out of the tub and so taught them how to jump in (no water) onto the rubber non-slip bath mat (be sure it won't slip as one bad experience might take a long time to get over). I use a hand sprayer for bathing them so they don't have to stand in much water. The command was the same as putting them in their crates in the car "HUP" as it is up and over the side of the tub. They don't mind their occasional baths and hop in and out willingly so when they saw the tank at the trainer's it was no different - we walked over, I showed them the water and "HUP", in they went. They do love the water, following Ladybug's lead, so if your pup isn't yet fond of the water it might help to have another dog or two show him the ropes. Let him feel his way around the shore line first - a pond or a creek seemed to work best for our dogs but others I know don't mind a swimming pool - there's just no way to walk into one. "Go play" is a useful generic command for kick back, have a good time. Swimming is a great way to exercise a "bored" collie on a hot day -- we just got back from the pond! Liz
  21. Apparently so - my grandfather had one when my mother was young. The collie was all white, and once had ten pups! He went to English Shepherds, then Border Collies. The article was inBaker Creek Heirloom Seeds most recent quarterly magazine and says exactly as you said - an old-time loose eyed low intensity farm dog. Breeders are now trying to bring the dog back. The article is not on their website but you could contact the company to ask for an issue. (It's a great magazine by the way!) Liz
  22. I can't lay my hands on it at the moment but one of the farm magazines recently had an article on the old-time farm collies. Not to start another rant about AKC breeding practices, but basically (again) a very good breed was ruined by breeding for exaggerated confirmation points such as the long narrow nose, tipped ears, and particular coat colors following the popularity of the "Lassie" shows. Liz
  23. My littermates were completely different. Brodie at 3 still objects strenuously (and loudly!) to being crated if we're moving about the household - i.e. I'm done eating LET ME OUT! and is very reluctant to crate - moving backwards might describe it best. He's quiet overnight but turns into a rooster at the first crack of dawn. Robin was and is very sanguine about it. I tell him "crate", he goes and stays even if the door is open. He'll even independently wander down to the mudroom to take a snooze in his crate. I don't think I did anything differently between them. We brought Brodie home a few days before Robin but neither pup had been crated. To me it shows the basic differences in their personality - Overall, Brodie is a bit nervy and wants to be right on top of you all the time (he's on my feet right now as I "work"); Robin quite relaxed and just goes off in a corner if nothing interesting is going on. At the moment he's guarding the door to the driveway - just in case someone might be leaving the house, he'll be the first one to volunteer as a co-pilot. Try to not leave your pup crated too long at first. Taking him (her?) in and out will demonstrate that yes, someone does know I'm here and will come to get me. I had my boys in the study so even at night they were handy though not in the same room and even now I keep a bone in there for them to gnaw on if they get bored.
  24. Thanks Amelia and Inez! (I drifted away from this forum for a bit -- grading papers). I think developing a slower pace in Robin and putting him on some different sheep periodically is going to make a big difference this summer. Amelia, your tip about the working fence is a good one; we've done that at home and in lessons with some success, though the last time I set Robin up against the fence in an effort to break him from a recently developed bad habit of circling them, Robin leaped over the fence in an attempt to get around them. He's always a challenge, that one. You can read the entire sorry adventure in "Coffee Break" I haven't had the courage to try again for the first meadow as yet... and Inez, I agree smaller is better. I sorted out my smaller sheep the last time I was in the field and what a difference subtracting about 70 pounds makes! I agree about the home training - if I want them to obey in the field, then they have to get off the couch when I say so . We do a lot of every day obedience in the course of a day. Liz
  25. I tried Robin out when he was about five months old - there are only two buildings with public elevators in our town (guess you can tell how small we are!)- in the library and the court house. As the one in the courthouse is only used for handicapped people getting to the second floor courtroom, we opted for the library. Up wasn't a problem, but down was a distinctly different story. He splayed out on the floor and stayed there. We've returned now and again to brush up on our elevator skills, but he's still not comfortable with "down". He'd rather not go in the elevator at all, but he does so because I ask him. So glad you and Danial are going on therapy visits! You are going to be a great team and will really lift people's spirits! Liz
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