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Everything posted by Cyberdog

  1. I purchased my dog from a rancher in central Idaho. No pedigree or anything, both parents worked but were not trialed. I found that kind of breeding to be common in those really rural areas. " You like how my dog works and I like how your dog works". I think many of the ranchers where I grew up wouldnt pay more than 50 bucks for a pup. Even if they wanted to trial, they might only be within driving distance to go to 2 trials a year. Ive been very pleased with the health and work ethic of this dog. I think there is a correlation, however, between the price of a dog and how easily it will be parted with... Which makes me sad. I think a lot of these little ranch dogs end up dead, or in shelters because theyre so cheap. I think one thing we should all keep in mind is that we may violently disagree about breeding ethics (conformation breeders, BYB, working ranches, and dog trialers) we all still care greatly about our dogs. Ive been getting more active in my local dog community, and regardless of breeding ethics, most of the dogs I meet recieve excellent care. Show dog or pound puppy.
  2. My bc likes fetch. I used a tennis ball to, very slowly, introduce her to deeper and deeper water. She isnt gracefull.... But happy to go for a swim!
  3. Ive often wondered how many beautiful dogs slip through the cracks because of bad training, and will never get to pass on their gene because of it. Clearly, more goes into a good dog than genes, so Ive simplified the issue a bit. But, trialing may not be the best objective test of a great dog either. Breeding for behavior is a very difficult thing.
  4. Sorry for the story/babble. I've been trying to write about this coherently without much success. I bought my dog, Rocket, when she was 8 weeks old from a rancher in the middle of nowhere central Idaho. She cost 25 bucks, and has no pedigree. I enjoyed dog training, and my mother gave me permission to get another border collie (the family already had an aussie mix) if we named her Rocket. This was in 2004, my senior year of high school. We had family dogs, but Rocket is really my first dog. I bought her and paid all her bills. At the time, I was looking for a healthy hiking buddy that I could teach some cool tricks on the side. A tough little ranch dog seemed to fit the bill. This year, Rocket is 8 years old and I'm 25- I feel like we're getting old. Now that I have a little extra income I wanted to do something for her. I found a local stock dog club online, and noticed that had training days. I packed up Rocket, and 35 dollars worth of club dues, and went to my first training day. I had no idea if she would even be interested in sheep, and I was really nervous. One thing that makes a dog a good hiking buddy is listening off leash and NOT chasing things with hooves. Rocket is a great hiking buddy. The club president cautiously took my money. I think, while he wanted to see what an old dog would do, he was a little concerned I was throwing my money away. After a few of the others ran their dogs, they put 3 young sheep in a small round-pen. I took Rocket in, with the club president, and she proceeded to take a massive shit in the middle of the roundpen. Apparently, this whole thing was just as hard or her nerves as mine. I shoveled away her panicked mess. "If she doesn't do anything don't get discouraged. Keeping bringing her back" I didn't think too much about it. It didn't seem fair to have any expectations on the dog. He got the sheep moving and started making a quiet shhhhhhhhushing sound. Rocket's ears perked and she moved toward the sheep. "Good Girl!" I said, and she came and sat in from of my feet. It would have made any obedience judge proud. We tried ."again with the same results. "She stops, when I talk to her. I'm going to stay quiet" We started again; things were not looking promising. Finally, her ears perked up again. "Don't say a thing!" he said, intensely staring at the dog. She went for it, circling behind the sheep quietly pushing them towards Keith. She was happy to go between the sheep and the fence, and he started to push her to circle in the opposite direction. Since then we have been working a few times a month. Every session she improves. We are working on keeping her farther off stock and getting her confidence up. Both our inexperience leads to stupid mistakes and grips. But we're both learning. At the end of the day, there's no point to us learning to herd sheep. I have no farm of my own, even though I'd like one. She doesn't get enough practice for us to trial, and she's spayed. The only reasons I can think of to keep doing this, is to give her a chance to do what she was meant to. It seems unfair, like clipping a pet bird's wings, to never let her work stock. As much obedience and agility as we do; its just not the same. I grew up in rural areas, and I feel like traditional farm work, and the people who know how to do it, are on the decline. Learning to work stock with a working dog, is also an act of cultural preservation. Who knows, in 100 years there might not be very many people who know how to do this kind of thing.
  5. I think noise sensitivity is probably far more complex, biologically, than we give it credit for. My BC hates thunder, and will hide in the bathtub. I can, however, shoot a shotgun over her and have her retrieve dummies and bird wings. She's not birdy though... The only time I thought she looked birdy she found a moose. Border Collie as bird dog was kind of a failed experiment. She's quiet when she walks, and tolerates the sound of repeated gun shots. So, she gets to come bird hunting anyways. I'd talked to a few hunting trainers who said that a truly gun shy dog will run to the next county. I wasn't sure what they meant until my significant other shot at a pheasant over his little retriever mutt. She went about a quarter mile before turning around to come back. Famous last words, "If you shoot over that dog without conditioning her to the gun, you will NEVER be able to use her for hunting". What was I talking about again? Anyhow, the BCs Ive had in the past did not try to herd people after puppyhood, and have all been pretty darn friendly. Working lines, or not. I've kind of wondered where the bad "pet" rep comes from? I've read plenty of horror stories, but have little experience with most of those issues.
  6. Could you say a little more about what happens when she quits? Does she do a few exercises, walk off, and sleep? What happens when you try to get her attention back? How do you try to get your attention back? Does she just collapse? What is her eating routine like? What does she eat? Whats her exercise routine like? Does this happen on walks and hikes? More details please! =)
  7. I third that rule at my house! Weird growling behavior: I trained my BC to bark and/or growl on cue. Ever since that training s he will start making growly noises when excited and getting belly rubs. I reinforced any noises she made...and now she just makes them when its belly rub/petting time. Her happy growly sounds are different than upset growly sounds to me, but hard for guests to discrimante so Ive had to explain it a few times. The happy sounds are more like grunts or 'burps' than snarling. Its hard to explain.
  8. I hopped on google scholar to see what the literature said about TPLO. There were lots of studies on complications that can occur, but the surgery seems generally accepted within the veterinary community as a helpful technique. One thing I did find was that there were some concerns about scientifically evaluating the success of TPLO surgeries early, and long term, after the procedure. Owner satisfaction, however, was pretty high in a couple studies a glanced at.
  9. I agree that ruling out a health problem is the number one priority. But... How much does she love chasing her ball? I'd like to hear a little more about that. What exactly is your routine like when you try to do obedience work with her? How do you train a basic sit or lie down? Also, Negative reinforcement is not the same as punishment. Neg. reinforcement means that you, the trainer, remove something from the environment increasing the likelihood that the dog will engage in a desired behavior. Its not used very often in dog obedience, but often with horses (bits are a good example). The best example of negative reinforcement is when you, the parent, buy a toddler, who is screaming in the super market, a candy bar so they will stop. The parent, in this case, has been reinforced for buying the candy bar via removal of screaming from the environment. We consider training methods punishment only if they are intended to decrease the likelihood a behavior.
  10. So, Ive spent a few weeks on it, and Im getting wonderful driving forward from the dog at home, and at non-class practices. In class though...no driving. She is the definition of a velcro dog. So, I get to hear about that every class from my teachers. On an up note... We are one of the few teams in our newbie class who can work off leash and do the big teeter. :-) I like to brag about that.
  11. My BC is half McNab, which is a whole other debate... If your looking for a BC but are unsure about BCs on cattle, you might do some research on getting a McNab. Some argue that a McNab is a border collie while others get their panties in a knot when they hear that. On the flipside; Ive seen plenty of BCs on cows too. I grew up in a cattle ranching town where working ACDs were very common. They came from working ranches, and had no pedigrees. No one bothered to trial them, or their BCs; it was too remote. So, they do exist! An ACD, however, would not be my first choice to double as a family pet.
  12. I was asking the vet techs at work about Composure treats. L- Theanine is a serotonergic agonist. Its a really mild one like tryptophan in turkey. Prozac is a selective serotonergic reuptake inhibitor, so it has similiar ( but waaaay stronger) effects on the brain.
  13. I thought it was all a scam so I looked up some studies on DAP (Dog Appeasing Pheramone) and it seems like it works! Now they make sprays, collars, and diffusers with the stuff.
  14. Nice video; I see what you mean about getting ready for the dog walk. We have a couple "drivey" dogs in class. If they get loose from their handler they start running all over the room doing random obstacles.
  15. I think no one would mind if I didnt put treats on my target. Most of the dogs arent truly target trained, so they still need the treats.
  16. Thanks for all the advice! I don't have enough time to write about everything, but ALL of the tips you guys gave me make a lot of sense. I'm incorporating them as I can. I've started working more intensively with a target; for starters. I've gotten to the point where I can send her over a jump from a fair distance (10 ft). She stops right after she's over the jump and looks at me. So, I've started employing the target; telling her "Go Touch!" as soon as she's going over the jump. I want to get her driving to the target rather than coming back to me. We also did our first non-angled weaves today! I was so proud. For now, I think I need to start training each obstacle from a distance. Start close, and slowly send her from further and further away. The weaves, so far, are the most challenging. Though, I don't think I'll ever be THAT far away from her during weaves. I think what arf said about targets and reinforcement is really good point. In my beginner class, the treats are left on the targets so we end up reinforcing mistakes frequently. As an old hand at trick training; it makes me cringe a little whenever I see it. But what are you going to do in a big class with various skill levels?
  17. Those are really good points about target training. Ive got lots of things to try and I will let you know how it goes. Today, at practice, we did obstacles in succession for the first time. Tunnel, weaves, and platform. We had never done a curved tunnel before. When we got to it Rocket jumped over it. When I called her back over to the entrance she jumped over it again! Hope that doesnt become a bad habit. " When in doubt...Jump over it!" <---Dog Mantra.
  18. I am currently starting agility and stock work. My dog is 8 years old, and I have no plans to trial her. We do it for, " the love of the work" My stockdog friends discuss the absurdity of using treats during obedience while my agility friends insist thay I play games with Rocket after working stock to make it more fun. Insular is a good word.
  19. I have done a little bit of target training. If I put a ball in place of the target she moves faster, but is more interested in retrieving the ball than doing the obstacle correctly. Im getting to the point where I can send her ahead of me for a jump, but she stops driving forward once shes over it. I will try using the target more intensely and see how it goes. I keep getting the feeling that its all going to click for her at some point down the road, and she will start moving faster and driving ahead of me on her own. Id love to speed up the progress!
  20. Hello, Im just starting agility and Im not sure how to train my dog to drive ahead of me. She is happy to leave me if we are working sheep or she chasing a ball. During agility she sticks with me like glue, waiting for commands. It means I cant really send her to do certain obstacles.
  21. On the upside; it might show children how wasteful dog breeding can be when its for looks.
  22. I took my dog, for the first time, in an elevator last week. The elevator had a window, and she didn't seem to like the moving landscape. Otherwise, I don't think she would've had any idea we were going up. She did not seem to have balance issues; just didn't want to be by the window.
  23. Points all taken, and I don't want you to think I'm pro confirmation breeding, because I'm not. Its been kind of fun to play devils advocate on this topic. Also, it might be worth sending people to this thread next time anyone posts, "the dog in your picture isn't a border collie because blah blah blah".
  24. So, 1) The breed is still defined by the registry, mostly. Non-registered working farm/ranch dogs being the exception. 2) Appearance doesn't matter at all if ROM requirements are met. Personally, I think this is a good attitude to take for improving the overall welfare of the dogs within the registry. I would still like to end this using another highly unlikely hypothetical situation/thought problem: Don't you think some people would cause a fuss if this dog met all the ROM requirements and the handler wanted the dog to be added to the BC registry...
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