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SouthOfSouth

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  1. Hi, If he is working happily elsewhere, I would consider two issues; ambiance and body language. The ambiance of competition is always different from training and practice. The judge and stewards are (and other competitors may be) watching you both intently. Border collies tend to be more pressure-sensitive than other breeds, and can discomforted by being closely watched. Organising a "cheer squad" to watch intently then praise during training may help. The noise and activity focused on the competition ring is likely to add to any discomfort. Do your rules allow you to withdraw before
  2. Hi, A few months ago, I bought two whistles. One was a stainless steel whistle, similar to this in shape, although I don't think it was quite as well made. The second one is a nickel/silver whistle and generally similar in shape to the first, except that it does not have a tag and hole for a tether. I prefer its tone and taste and can produce a few different notes in practice, but without any way to secure it, I haven't dared take it outside. If I drill a hole near the rim, will it ruin the sound? Alternatively, would it be feasible to glue or solder a tag onto the outer surface?
  3. When I first saw this, http://fiascofarm.com/goats/chicken_coop_raid.htm , I was amazed. Now, I've owned goats for a few years and it does not seem even slightly surprising.
  4. This site http://fiascofarm.com is a very useful source of information about goats.
  5. One more comment: In my opinion, using learning by laboratory animals as a model for learning by pets, working dogs/horses, free-range livestock or wild animals is like using learning by children in a 3rd world orphanage as a model for learning by children from a happy home.
  6. I'm not convinced. However, my comments are based only on the abstract, because I'm not prepared to pay for the full paper. 1) The group size (11 dogs per group) is perhaps one-tenth of the size likely to produce scientifically meaningful results. 2) I wonder what was happening to those dogs between training sessions. If they were usually kept in cages or kennels, the dogs that were trained at weekly or bi-weekly intervals would be starved for attention (or even more starved for attention than the other poor dogs!) This would have effects on their learning that could not be extrapolated t
  7. I looked up my copy of Hungerford - not the most recent edition. According to this edition of Hungerford, photosensitization is the external manifestation of liver damage thought to be caused by a fungus, Pithomyces chartarum, growing on the pasture. Hungerford quotes one paper as saying that only 8 ewes in a flock of 180 had facial lesions at slaughter, but 60% had liver lesions. He says that it commonly occurs when stock have been exposed to recently dead pasture in humid conditions. The symptoms are commonly seen in young sheep, but pregnant ewes are particularly adversely affected. Hu
  8. Written as a practical guide for the (Australian) farmer, this 1200+ page book is separated into sections according to species. Each section starts with an overview of symptoms, and suggestions of diseases that can cause specific symptoms in that species. It has two limitations. Firstly, the latest edition was published ten years ago, so the most recent research will be missing. Secondly, there is only brief mention of infectious diseases that are not found in Australia (e.g. rabies). However, I believe that much of the content would be useful to farmers anywhere. I have both Hungerfo
  9. Speaking of cats and parrots, that reminds me of a funny experience. My mother runs about 150 cows and their calves on 1000 acres of hill country (finally, in her 80s, she's given up delivering calves!) When I was minding her farm some years ago, I realized that a steer had got into the narrow, wedge-shaped road paddock. She has border collies (they sleep on her bed when they're not working), but nobody else is allowed to work them, so I just grabbed a stick and headed down to get the steer. My nosy Siamese cat came along for the walk. We were parading up the paddock (the reluctant steer, me -
  10. I wouldn't claim to be especially knowledgeable about Australian working dogs... there are many people who could tell you much more. What knowledge I have comes from a lifetime fascination with dogs and my experiences living, working, studying and travelling in rural NSW. I think the BC/ kelpie preference varies throughout Australia, with BCs being more popular in the south-east corner, and kelpies in the harder country elsewhere. During the 1980s drought and again during the long drought that finished two or three years ago, it was common to see stock being grazed along roadsides in nort
  11. The kelpie, Australian Cattle Dog (ACD) and "german" coolie (or koolie) are all Australian breeds. The gene pool in the US is likely to be more restricted than that in Australia, and the characteristics of these breeds in the states will depend on the genetics of the original imports. Cattle dogs (aka "blue heelers" - although often red) have been bred to work beef cattle, using both bark and bite. One of the kindest sheepdogs I have seen was an ACD, but gentleness with stock is not usually regarded as a breed characteristic, and they are not a preferred breed for use with sheep. The k
  12. Hi, Bluey now has a reasonable handle on the basics of herding - balance, flanks, short to medium outruns, walk-ups, a little cross-driving and look-back. In fact, he has a better grasp of the flank commands than I do, and when I give him the wrong command (combined with the correct signal), he'll look at me as if to say, "make up your mind!" We have two walk-up commands; "steady" for slow walk-ups and "walk-up" for normally-paced walk-ups. I'm finding that so useful that I'm now wondering whether different flank commands would be useful when I want him to just step a few paces in one dire
  13. No camera. Actually, last weekend I really wished I had a camera with me. As I put the goats back in their paddock, I discovered that the cows had spotted the open gate and... the grass is always greener, etc... So, Ms Boss-Goat marched in the gate and literally locked horns with a cow that was blocking her way - cow and goat forehead to forehead, glaring at each other. It was the cow that backed off! (Although I must admit that Ms Goat did look anxious for a moment.)
  14. I have two rectangular dog yards with a gate between them on the narrow side. Recently, I have been using these to improve Bluey's driving, by getting him to push the goats from one yard to the other, with back-up from me when the goats become "stroppy". Yesterday, we had pushed the two wether goats from the western yard to the eastern one, paused for a few minutes, then changed direction. One of the goats jumped on a dog kennel. Bluey rolled an appealing eye at me - don't border collies have the most expressive eyes! The second wether looked at the first one, looked at Bluey, and promptly jum
  15. Kaleidoscope - a complex, colourful, and shifting pattern or scene Kal for short
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