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olivehill's Achievements


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  1. My ideal Border Collie has straw and hay stuck in his fur, is dripping stocktank water off his chest and tail and legs, and has a long tongue dangling out of his panting mouth.... because he just got done helping me with chores and he's happy and tired and ready to go again if need be.
  2. I raise hogs farrow to finish in both pens and on pasture and use my dog to move them, hold them and as backup when I'm working boars and potentially-cussed sows alone. It can be done, but it's a different type of work than sheep and even cattle. (Both of which we also work in different capacities.) I've found that the difference in the way hogs react and the way they need to be pushed and held can be confusing to a dog who is just starting out. Not that they can't figure out more than one type of stock at a time, but simply that it does create an extra layer of confusion and complexity to the early stages of training. I don't know how old Timber is, or how far along in his training -- or what you want to do with him, for that matter -- but, personally, if he's young and you have a trained, older dog who can do it I'd just use the older dog. ETA: I guess I've assumed above that Timber is young yet. If that's erroneous and he's got a handle on his basics, I wouldn't hesitate to use him rather than the older dog.
  3. If you're concerned it certainly won't hurt to have him checked out, but I'd also take into consideration how much of the gain could have been muscle if he was getting more exercise. My dog's been staying with a trainer and though I didn't weigh him just before so can't compare to now I can tell you he put on visible weight over a short period with the daily work he was getting -- and it's all muscle. Since muscle weighs quite a bit (think of how small a 3 lb pot roast is) I wouldn't be surprised if it is 5-10 lbs. Feeling him over should tell you pretty quick what kind of weight gain it is, muscle vs fat.
  4. It's not. I never said it was. I understand, recognize and have acknowledged your perspective as legitimate. I can offer an alternate perspective without condemning those that are in opposition to it. And I would like it noted that I never once suggested someone who has a dog as a tool would or should neglect their mental needs -- as far as I'm concerned that would fall neatly under "maintenance and upkeep."
  5. Yes, there are always owners of [insert thing--living or not] who take no pride in and therefore do not take care of the that which they own--again, living or not. I was excepting those people from the conversation given that I would put people who need tools but do not take care of them in the same group as people who need animals of any kind and do not take care of them, they are simply irresponsible. I am not talking strictly about mechanized equipment. I am talking about everything from attire to hand tools to tractors. At any rate, I will not beat the dead horse further. Objections followed swiftly by admission of not belonging to the group I reference is exactly the point I was trying to make: it is an issue of perspective. When someone says, "tool" they may not necessarily mean strictly what you might think of as being encompassed by that word. It is the irony of language: it's our chosen way to communicate and yet so incredibly ineffective. ETA: And just to make sure it's clear: I'm not saying the other posts are wrong. Like Red Russel/Dave I'm just saying: remember there's another perspective out there other than the dominant one here.
  6. I don't think it's "questionable" at all, I just think it is the view of someone who does not need tools to make a living. Which is case-in-point of my first post. The word tool has a naturally negative connotation to the vast, vast majority of the population because they have never been wholly dependent on a "tool" for their livelihood. It's not the fault of the people who hold that view, it just is what it is. Good, bad or otherwise it's a simple function of the cultural suburbanization of society. I'm simply saying that many of the people who would be likely to be using a working dog as a tool in their operation are also the people who are likely to need tools to do their job. So to assume that by calling the dog a tool they are meaning that the dog would receive anything lesser in terms of care is an error in perspective.
  7. Chene -- May I ask how you make your living?
  8. I think there's an unnecessary negative connotation with the word "tool" in this context that makes the entire conversation rather moot. "Tools" are only regarded poorly because most people do not need them to make a living. For those of us who do, they remain prized and well-taken care of in much the same way you should take care of a good working dog. You start by buying good quality from a trusted source and in a model that is likely to fit well for the job you have in mind, you bring it home, use it properly, store it in a safe place, perform regular upkeep and maintenance, fuel it up as needed, keep an insurance policy in case of accident or disaster... and if it happens to be a tool that could also be utilized for recreation, you do that with it, too. Seems to describe a working dog rather well, to me.
  9. It's always gone down in about 24 hours.
  10. I've got one that insists on snapping bees out of the air, getting herself stung on the inside of the lip in the process. Her lip has swollen up so large you'd think she's hiding a baseball in her cheek. So long as there are not other symptoms I wouldn't worry.
  11. We have indoor/outdoor cats and dogs that -- while they know they are supposed to "leave it" -- I would never trust 100% when a human isn't around to remind them / catch them. (And they are outside without a human often because watching/guarding when humans are too busy to do so is their job.) The cats are much brighter than you might initially think. They seem to know the difference in their relationship with the dogs inside vs outside and they even seem to know that running sets off the dogs' prey drive; when they see a dog coming they will often calmly, but briskly walk to safety. Not every cat, of course, but many, I'd even say most. ETA: The cats also are very savvy about which of the dogs are a threat and which aren't. We have 4; 2 are cat-safe/friendly and the other two are generally cat-safe alone but not when they're together. The cats will laze around when either or both of the cat-safe dogs comes along, but will skidaddle at the first sight of the other two.
  12. I stock up on fleece throws every year on Black Friday. You can usually find them for $2-$4 each and they make great crate mats, car seat covers, sofa covers, tug toys, etc. I keep a cupboard full so they can be changed out frequently; just toss the old one in the wash and put a new one down him to use. All of our dogs seem to appreciate that the blankets are very malleable, too. They can spread it out flat, paw it into a nest, ball it up for a pillow, etc. etc.
  13. Another thing is that a pup that age really can't handle much so you're going to spend two hours on the road for 5-10 minutes of running around a bunch of ducks. The dog doesn't really get anything lasting out of it, you don't really get anything lasting out of it (because the dog can change a lot by the time it's actually ready to work; anything you see now may or may not predict future capability.) Unless you have your heart set on him being to a certain level of training or useful-ness by a certain age, I'd just wait until he's more mature.
  14. To me a "tired dog" and the dog you describe are not one and the same. A tired dog is, just like a human, one that has used 95-100% of the gas in the proverbial mental and physical energy tanks for the day and is ready to rest and recharge. An over-tired or exhausted dog is one that has given 100% or more of the gas from those tanks and is being asked to give even more. The latter, reasonably, leads to tantrums and meltdowns regardless of age or species.
  15. I hadn't thought about the coworker vs family member analogy before. I, like Sunday, tend to think more of a suburban or urban pet only type dog when I hear or read "family dog." But it seems like at the same time many here are on the same page as to basic level of accommodation for a dog, working or not. I can certainly be counted among those who agree whole heartedly with Julie's take. Then again, there are more than the average number of owners of working dogs here, too. I wonder if we took the same informal poll in a more pet oriented group if the results would be the same? The pet-ification of working animals has been the bane of too many breeds -- both in dogs and other species -- but I do think there is a good middle ground. I don't remember who asked about the dogs' own choice, but we have working dogs who have a choice in where to spend their off hours and the choice they make is dependent on a few different factors. Weather, the personality of the dog, etc. Across the board however, all of ours choose to sleep inside late night to early morning most nights. The exception being one dog who just loves to be outside; he does choose to sleep outside when the weather is nice.
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