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Alchemist

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About Alchemist

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    White Hall, MD

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  1. I’m so sorry. Run free, Chief Girl!
  2. We are seriously ready to be done with mud here in N. Maryland. It’s not just the four Border collies and all they track in - it’s also some of the night pens for the sheep that have been ankle deep in muck. I’m afraid I don’t know anything about the toxicity of wood chips - my dogs were past the point of wanting to eat them, so that wasn’t a concern. We did try wood chips in the dog yard a year or two ago. They just floated in the puddles during the year when the Rain Would Not Stop. This year we’re (literally) in the process of having a brick “patio” installed at the base of our deck i
  3. Northern Maryland here. Weather is all over the place. I’ve been trying to renovate one pasture per year for the past several years. The process involves planting grass seed (not cheap: think $500/acre, not counting cost of labor/fertilizer/lime) in late summer/early fall, and doing a rain dance so it germinates before grasses go dormant in the fall. Fall 2017: Pasture #1 renovated. No rain for six weeks following seeding. Fall 2018: Pasture #2 renovated. Incessant rains (2-3x annual average that year) made it impossible to plant seed on a normal schedule. Waterlogged soils meant see
  4. Agree 100% with what Mark and others have said. There are often fully trained Open dogs available, in addition to dogs not quite at that level, for prices less than stratospheric. I learned legions from such a dog. Sometimes they just aren’t competitive with other dogs owned by the same handler (you’re lucky to be able to run 3 dogs in Open at any particular trial). Sometimes they’re just creeping up in age and would be better suited to (Shorter) novice courses than to (bigger outrun) Open ones. Sometimes they just don’t work range sheep well but would be well-suited to farm flocks. Lots of re
  5. Late to the party, but totally second (third?) Linda Tesdahl. She's in Mt Airy, MD. She's probably 1 hour 20 minutes from you if you're in Bel Air. She also hosts clinics twice each year with Patrick Shannahan - appropriate for young dogs/novice handlers (or not) as well as for more experienced dogs/handlers. I can't think of anyone closer to you who I'd recommend. She doesn't sugarcoat things, but I appreciate her candor.
  6. Nothing to add, but so sorry she is having these issues...
  7. It's not quite the same issue, but I convinced a young Border collie puppy that chasing the cat was NO FUN some time ago by locking him in a "time out" in the bathroom. It only took one or two times locking him up before he realized that the consequence was NO FUN. I used the same approach to convince the next young Border collie that jumping on people had consequences (grabbing him and hustling him into a crate, from which he had NO access to exciting visitors). Again, it only took a couple of incidences before he stopped jumping up on people. If I had a pup that was over-nippy, I'd do t
  8. I don't know where you live, but I swear by my specialist ortho vet. A regular vet rarely has much expertise in diagnosing ortho injuries, let alone figuring how best to treat them and to return a dog to regular activities. I've had several situations where a regular vet will offer sedated X-rays (bloodwork for anaesthesia, half-day hospital stay) - very pricey! (In one case the X-rays proved "inconclusive"). Whereas the specialist ortho vets have been able to do unsedated X-rays right on the spot. They're used to diagnosing different sorts of injuries, and to formulating appropriate courses o
  9. Between these three choices - I'd say "it depends on the dog", but I lean towards (1). I have four Border collies - one 12, one 10, one 5, and one 7 months. We got the 10-year-old one insured after running up thousands of dollars in vet bills when he was a puppy (bilateral shoulder OCD, then bilateral CHD. Surgery for the former, followed by months and months of PT. There went that vacation we'd been planning on taking that year...). With the second puppy, we got him insured as soon as we brought him home. Ditto the third puppy. The 12-year-old came to us as an adult. This year
  10. The older one (at 10 months) is still a puppy, so you shouldn't have much in the way of issues, unless one has fear/resource guarding issues. Of course, things are often easier if they're of different genders (you didn't mention). More to the point - please make sure you're giving the new puppy plenty of "alone" time (time in the absence of the older dog). Otherwise it'll bond to the other dog, and not to you. (I currently have a 3.5-month-old BC pup who has never been allowed unsupervised with the other three adult BCs, and only is allowed to greet the other three for brief intervals eac
  11. I think it's hard to predict how good a watch dog any dog will be until it's put into the situation where it thinks it needs to take action. As a kid growing up, our two Border collies were the sweetest, most submissive dogs on earth. Until once, a workman coming into our back yard opened the gate, knocking my youngest brother (a toddler at the time) over. That sweet little Border collie immediately went for him. Fortunately someone was nearby to call him off. When I was in grad school, I would have sworn that my Border collie at the time would have been the sort to help the burglar
  12. Border collies have been bred for generations to be "biddable", so in general, yes, they're easy to train. (My current pup, at age 3 months, knew "lie down", "sit", "spin", "leave it", "that'll do [come]", "kennel up", "release" (and not to leave his crate until he'd heard it), and "stay"). Not claiming that the recall or stay are rock-solid yet, of course, but it doesn't take but a few minutes to teach each one after he got the hang of my asking him to do things with his body. Of course, as with any generalization, there will be exceptions to the rule. But I suspect anyone would have greater
  13. I'm so sorry, Donald. I enjoyed meeting Fly in person, and also reading of your and her adventures together. She was quite a character... - Lynn
  14. I've acquired puppies at anywhere from 7-8 weeks. Some sleep through the night from the get-go, others don't. The most recent one that didn't sleep through the night from the get-go refused to pee from the time I picked him up from his breeder's in Idaho at 4:30 AM, wouldn't pee at the Boise airport, wouldn't pee on the pads in the "family" restroom in SLC, wouldn't pee at the airport in Baltimore... wouldn't pee until I finally got him home, easily 12 hours after I'd picked him up that morning. So he certainly *could* hold it for an inordinate amount of time. He just *preferred* not to for a
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