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kingfisher7151

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Posts posted by kingfisher7151

  1. I think any efforts made to create well-socialized, balanced dogs is great. I'd probably do ENS and crazy socialization toys with a litter of my own.

     

    But, I mostly think it's a bunch of hooey. I think most of those traits are genetic, and we just do our best to enhance them. My mom's pup is insanely confident with people, other dogs, moving surfaces, sounds, anything. And he grew up outside as soon as he was old enough to do so. And I don't think he is an exception, there are far too many dogs without a fancy upbringing who end up quite sound of temperament.

     

    But I don't know, the litters who receive this treatment are more than likely dogs bred to be more wired than your average working litter. So maybe it does make a difference for them. But I think a well bred litter wouldn't need it.

     

    I'd still do it with my own litter though, just to cover my bases. And because it's adorable.

  2. I don't put any faith in DNA tests. Any test that thinks your dog, who will clearly top out at 25 or 30 lbs., is a GSDxBully mix is crazy.

     

    If you end up with a bully mix, don't fear! They're fantastic dogs! But I'd be much more likely to guess SheltieXToy or BCxToy based on those photos and your description of her.

  3. I know what you mean by "average", it's the "their great-great-grandparents worked sheep and these puppies would be great at agility because they're super smart" bred dogs.

     

    I think you are one the right track, it is my belief that a working bred dog will be bred to have all the things that make a great sports dog, without breeding for sport. A working dog must be biddable, supremely athletic, and gritty when times get tough. These traits absolutely carry over into the sport world.

     

    The trait I see missing is almost all sport bred dogs I see is impulse control. A working dog with no impulse control can find themselves in very literal life or death situations, so self control is very high up in breeding priorities. You can certainly train impulse control in sport dogs, but it's not nearly as innate as is working bred dogs. You'll see sport bred dogs who are shaking and squeaking in the warm up areas, and dragging their handlers to and fro. A working dog who is employed for 10 hours a day must know when to be at work and when to sit back and conserve energy. High level agility handlers ask for a LOT of drive and focus in their dogs, so instead of cultivating that from a working dog they've chosen to breed dogs who are always "on" for when the handlers need them, but they never turn off.

     

    I don't think its wrong to say that someone may have to do a little bit of digging in the working dog world to find their ideal sport prospect, just because border collies can be extremely varied. A sport person might be interested in a higher drive dog, and will seek out working dogs with a little more spark. I know quite a few well-bred working bred dogs who are wonderfully balanced dogs in temperament, but I would probably be interested in a little more drive in my dog. Some people also may prefer a lighter build compared to some of the large, heavier built cattle-bred dogs. But regardless of small personal preferences, the vast majority of working bred dogs would make excellent sport prospects who can match or surpass the abilities of a sport bred dog. There are a lot of people here who do sports with their working bred dogs, with some dogs (like mine) being rock solid beginner dogs, and some being speed demons who will leave you in the dust if you're not with them.

  4. Gideon's girl, that's actually a pretty cool idea. I've never even thought of that.

     

    I'm vain, and I don't like the idea of being able to see ear tattoos. But one used for identification purposes that's invisible, I'd absolutely consider that. Not my SSN of course, but something unique to me would be great.

     

    S/N tattoos are quite neutral to me. I wouldn't mind them, but I've only had male dogs. So, you know, they either have nuts or they don't. :P

  5. What a potentially exciting opportunity! I'm sure there are mixed emotions, but who knows what's meant to be. I personally enjoy doodles, and I know they can make spectacular SDs. I think you'd be very, very happy with one. We'll have all our fingers and toes and paws and hooves crossed over here!

     

    (I misunderstood about your trainer, I though she was encouraging her own dogs over others. My bad!)

  6. You're definitely right, everything is a risk.

     

    Your breeder may be perfect, but if the *breed* isn't perfect, what's the point? As your trainer, she should be willing and able to help you find a proper prospect, of any breed. I question why she, as a trainer, is pushing you towards a BMD when they are almost unheard of as service dogs because of their health.

     

    BMD's range between 22 and 25 inches at the shoulder, Goldens range between 20 and 24. BMD's are between 75 and 80 lbs, Goldens between 65 and 75. The difference is minimal. Golden are extremely common as mobility dogs, and some lines are even larger than the AKC standard. There's not a single golden I know that I would consider geriatric at 8 years old. Most SD's work until 10 or 11. BMD's just have a slow, early decline. Goldens are the most popular breed of service dog, we would not invest thousands of dollars on a dog who won't hold up to the work. They clearly fit the bill.

     

    I also second Maralynn's suggestion of health insurance for your next dog.

  7. I'm glad other people voiced their concerns about BMDs. I thought about responding, and decided it wasn't worth it.

     

    I know you say these dogs are living to 11. (Still too short, IMO). But consider when their WORKING career ends. You don't work a geriatric dog, and these dogs hit that stage anywhere between 6 and 9. Take 2 years of training off and that leaves you with 4-6 working years, if you're lucky. And even if most are living to 11, you said some are dying at 8 (like every single other Berner I've known). Are you willing to hedge your bets that your dog will live longer than that? Not a risk I'd be taking.

     

    You ought to check out some service dog groups on Facebook, they have fantastic advice. I won't harp on BMDs any more, as it's not my decision. But I've given my two cents. You can absolutely get a golden or a lab to do mobility, and I think that would be a much safer bet.

  8. I'm so sorry to hear this, I was really rooting for you and Hazel. :(

     

    I'm sure you'll do your best to keep her comfortable. Don't give it a timeline just yet, she may be in the most painful part of the degenerative changes. She may have many years in front of her with a little bit of management. I'd keep her on supplements, keep her weight LOW and keep her muscles strong, get her regular chiropractic/massage sessions, and worth with a physiotherapist. Dysplastic dogs can do amazing things, even if they're severe.

     

    I know you were considering a larger breed for mobility tasks, but if you decide on another border collie, I think you'd be safe by going through a VERY thorough checklist for breeders. There are too many fantastic dogs who are sound of both mind and body for it to be impossible to find one. It's definitely not a bad idea to look for an older dog though. Perhaps a working dog flunk out? Some dogs just aren't strong enough to make working dogs, but they absolutely have the rock solid temperament to make a service dog prospect. Many of them have been very well socialized, too.

  9. He didn't learn through any traditional method, 2x2s, WAM, etc. Our trainer has an interesting method, I'll do my best to explain it.

     

    Basically she starts with a full set of weaves, with guides. The guides are on the ground though, so they're basically just a visual cue for the dog rather than an actual block. She started with her holding him on one end, and me at the other end completely in line with the weaves. Then, it was a type of recall. I basically threw a party and did my best to encourage him to come while she used the leash to block the forward motion. She'd basically use nothing but the leash to block any direction other than going between the weaves. It really worked to make him think his own way through the weaves, rather than relying on a physical trait of the poles to encourage him to weave. I did a very brief stint of V's to help him find his footing a bit, but he basically just understood that the point was to go between the weaves from the second or third lesson. I made my own set a little over a week ago, and he's skyrocketed since then!

  10. To me, the stare means one thing: MOVE!!!! A silent, but clear, command to do something. As you probably know, border collies find movement to be extremely stimulating and satisfying.

     

    But I completely concur, it needs to stop now.

     

    I have major issues with people saying their dog "herds" by staring down their kids, cats, horses, feet, cars, shadows, whatever. No, the dog is just being an ass. It's innapropriate behavior no different than a dog staring and barking at all the above things. Just because the behavior may coincide with something productive (working stock) doesn't mean it's the complete behavior (herding). That would be like saying a GSD biting and barking is doing Schutzhund. Just, no.

  11. On Keeper's collar I have my number, my mother's number, and "microchipped-reward". I very much appreciate when dog's have an address on their collar, I've walked many dogs home. Once I'm done moving around I'll be adding that to his collar. I don't know that it would do much, but I'd like to think it would be a slight deterrent in case anyone ever found him and thought about keeping him. It may be nothing, but it lets me sleep at night. I also put his name on the collar, I know people say it can make a dog go with a stranger more quickly. But considering Keeper went away with a total stranger and obeyed an out-of-sight down stay for ten minutes (friends of mine...) I'm pretty sure he'd listen to any name someone gave him within five minutes. I also think the name on the collar is a badge of honor, because I'm a sappy SOB. :(

     

    I have no issue with my personal information getting out in order to get my dog back. Here! Take my SSN! Anything to bring him home!

  12. Hahaha! The picture of the evil little papillon sabatoging here sister is giving me the giggles.

     

    Keeper's smart thing is mostly just instinctual, but I find it funny. He was totally solidly potty trained at 10 weeks old, and no, I'm not kidding. He was a potty training genius. That said, he has NEVER been punished for pooping in the house. So one night he must've really had to go for some reason, and he couldn't wake me up. I woke up to him having pooped in the bath tub in an effort to keep it out of the house. His little face was so ashamed. I rewarded his ingenuity.

     

    But really, Keeper's amazing trait is how he deals with my brother. He's pretty moderately autistic, and he has anger outbursts with some regularity. Keeper has earned the name PeaceKeeper because he can tell when Andrew is getting upset long before any of us know it. He can tell by the way he walks, if he takes a deep breath, anything. And he can hear it when Andrew is clear on the other side of the house. Keeper will bolt up and run to Andrew and jump up and paw him until he bends down and gives him attention and eases up on the anger. It has been the greatest thing to teach self-control, and it can stop an outburst in its tracks. Pretty cool, really.

  13. Now I'm peeved. I've never had a vet ask to scan my dog, even when I switched vets last year. I had never even given thought to it, but it would be ridiculously easy to steal a dog and never have a vet question it. And I'd bet my eye teeth that no vet would even question me if the name/number on the chip didn't match mine. "Yeah, that was the old owners. They rehomed the dog and I never changed the name."

     

    I, personally, ask to have my dog scanned every time I go in. I don't know, I just want confirmation that the chip hadn't migrated. They're always happy to do it, but they have to go get the scanner from in back.

     

    I had Keeper chipped at the local shelter, and they entered my information right in front of me. It was nice to know my dog was registered as soon as I got the chip, they needed at least two addresses and phone numbers to contact. It seems like that is, by far, the best way to ensure that chipped animals don't go forgotten when it comes to registering them.

  14. To confirm, Blackdawgs, AKC is still very uptight. It's by far the most prolific venue in my area, and I watch often. Unfortunately, I will end up trialing there too. It's where my trainer trials (flat coated retrievers), and I'd much rather start trialing with her and her students there with me. Once I'm comfortable with trialing, I hope to move to other venues.

     

    AKC is most common here, then NADAC (which I personally don't really care for), and USDAA only has three trials here this year with one being Regionals. I haven't even seen anything CPE or UKI around here, but I could just not know where to look. They don't have anything in my close area, that's for sure.

  15. Ok, my dog is awesome. Our trainer thinks we'll be ready to trial by this fall.

     

    He's seriously so honest and reliable, she says she couldn't pick a better first agility dog if she tried. He's not super fast (yet), she actually is having to tell me to relax and let the speed come naturally instead of trying to pressure him.

     

    He totally nailed his weaves tonight, he only missed one out of 9 or 10 tries, and it was at the very start. We did several of our first rear crosses too! He was so much better on his contacts, he was racing down to the bottom consistently.

     

     

    His two problems are:

    - The Teeter

    - His Handler

     

    I still feel like I'm watching the course happen before my eyes, instead of controlling it. I'm not smooth yet, and Keeper definitely backs odd when he senses I'm confused. But we're rapidly improving, and I'll be jump setting at a trial all weekend in two weeks, I'll get some time to soak things in!

     

    We ran the entire warm up to the AKC Nationals, in bits and pieces of course. But still. :) We are consistently putting together 7 or 8 obstacles, and we're comfortable after one or two reps.

  16. As someone who has spent waaaaaaaaaay too much money on cheap things that crap out a few months later, I wholeheartedly second GentleLake's comment.

     

    I saw a pair on facebook the other day, and unfortunately I don't have the brand name. But I stead of being like swim goggles or sun glasses, they looked more like the glasses you'd wear in a chem class. They were entirely flexible though, the single large lens was a flexible plastic material. The sides were also made of a breathable fabric, and the whole mask sealed over the face. They looked pretty promising. I'll try to find them again.

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