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airbear

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Everything posted by airbear

  1. I am so sorry for your loss. Incidentally, I have never met a bad dog named Cody, and it sounds like yours upheld the tradition.
  2. Sorry, I think my response might have been a bit too short. What I meant by this is that my dogs, who participate in both herding and agility, have no trouble with the different ways they are trained and handled in each. When they are walking into a field with sheep, they slink beside me, head low, eyes scanning for sheep. When I raise my voice, it means I'm not happy and you better put your listening ears on. When we walk into a ring of agility equipment, the heads are up, there's generally quite a bit of bouncing, some barking, and a whole lot of goofy. If I raise my voice, it means I'm probably lost on course. I don't believe dogs understand concepts like work and play, so I'm not going to draw human parallels, but the energy that they bring to each activity is completely different. I think that's pretty cool. Me, I'm pretty much the same in either, except in one, I've a whistle, and in the other, I have a dog toy. My trainers are pretty good too. And a lot of what they tell me does have similarities to sport dog training. They state that "we believe that consistency, clear communication, continuity and compartmentalization makes learning fun and intuitive for both the dog and the trainer." That description certainly could be used by an agility instructor to describe her classes. Where the herding/agility paths deviate, in my experience, is that the young sheepdog is asked to make choices, and if it's the right one, he is allowed to work, and if it's wrong, he is asked to make another choice before he can have his sheep. As in life, there are poor choices, and if you make one, you will get feedback. This is not, again in my experience, a soul-crushing event, and most dogs do eventually make a choice that earns them the right to continue to work sheep. When watching a really good trainer with a young dog, these corrections are so subtle and quick, you might not see them, which I think is the point. It's a conversation between the trainer and the dog and it ought not be any more obvious than is required for the dog to get the message. I have been told that people are trying to train sheepdogs without any corrections, and I honestly wonder if perhaps there is a misunderstanding of what a correction is. When I say that my dogs can take a correction, I know that some sport dog people think that means they bend their knees to absorb the hit. For me, what it means is that they can be told that what they're doing isn't what I want, make another choice, and they don't crumble into a pool of sadness. And that's what it's really all about! Enjoy the journey!
  3. I was at the meeting, and there wasn't one person who there who didn't think this was fabulous. In fact, there was a hearty round of applause. Well done, ABCA. If only the 'champions of the purebred dog' had the same philosophy.
  4. Agreed. I do both, with the same dogs, and it's chalk and cheese, as they say. The dogs have no problem switching from one to the other. I think it's the people who get hung up trying to find parallels consistent with their beliefs.
  5. Aww, that looks like fun!! Mine like to do team tunnels. Sometimes, the dog that goes in the tunnel first isn't the one who comes out first. They're kind of like ferrets.
  6. I thought she looked really nice. Her pace is lovely and the sheep like her. I've never done AHBA, but as Gloria said, it's nice to see that it's being held in a nice big field where the sheep and dog can have enough distance from each other. My only thing would be to say watch your stick at the pen. When you were asking her to exhaust the sheep from the pen, you waved your stick twice and she turned tail both times. It would seem that she is sensitive to the stick (that's ok, some dogs just are, and no, I don't think you've hit her ) so just be aware of that. Congratulations on a lovely run!
  7. Yes, the knick knack removal totally helped! Had them removed the week before The Bluegrass and he has not stopped to chat with a set out dog since. He even won a Nursery buckle at the Bluegrass. Yay for no knick knacks! When I said that he works the same, I was referring to everywhere else. He has not lost any power/strength/courage or whatever since being neutered. He has just stopped visiting the set out dog. And in Bar's defence, he only did that twice, but it was two too many times for me. I don't know if this link will work for you, or if you're even concerned about the whole nuts-neutering-power thing, but if you are, go to about 5:39 of this video to get one guy's opinion on the matter.
  8. Intact male sheepdogs can be confused by castrated pet sheepdogs and may try to mount them at the lift, where the castrated dog is the set out dog. Source: My dogs, so many times. OP, I neutered my youngest just after his second birthday and while better, he is still a pisser. He acts the same, works the same. I guess the only difference is he's much nicer to look at from behind.
  9. I almost always crate out of my truck, but when I can't, I use a variety of soft crate type things because I clearly have a problem with Amazon Prime and impulse control. This tent weighs less than 2lbs and fits nicely in my suitcase. I took it to Tennessee for Cynosport. It's nice to have a second crate when you fly, so that you can keep one in the car. It's also big enough for two dogs (assuming they get along, of course). This poor little pop up crate has seen better days, but it still works. Mostly. [ This pop up tent is 8' by 8', and I can get 4 crates and a chair in it, though it's a little crowded. This photo is from 2014, before Bar, so there's only three crates in it. Did I mention I prefer to crate out of my truck?? Size-wise, my large border collie (24" at the shoulder) gets either a 36" soft crate or he shares the sport tent with Wick. The smaller collies (all around 20" at the shoulder) have 30" soft crates and they seem fine.
  10. And yet this thread is called "Future Sheepdog Seeks Position with Sheepdogger (or Sheepdogger-in-Training)" and in the original post, you write: Also, One Man and His Dog is a BBC show. You'd like it, I think. Top handlers and their dogs in picturesque settings. There's usually a castle. Here's Johnny Wilson and Spot.
  11. Well, I'm confused too. I'm confused that just a few months ago, you were looking to place your 7 year old, because you were going to move into assisted living, and most of those facilities don't accept dogs. Then you got the dog certified as an assistance dog, so that even if you did move to assisted living, you could bring your beloved dog. Then you adopted a young dog and she was going to be the kick in the pants you needed to get active again so that you didn't need to go into assisted living. Then, you decided that you would take the young dog for an instinct test and if she showed good instinct, you would find her a working home. I don't have a problem at all with rehoming dogs. Of the six dogs I've owned in my life, only the first one was purchased as a pup. The next two were adult rescues, the last three were purchased as trained adults. I have no doubt that dogs can transfer their affections quickly and without emotional harm. What I don't understand, I guess, is this romanticized notion that the young dog has some sort of genetic destiny to fulfill and that it would be a great disservice to her if she were to live a sheepless life. From your description of her, it sounds like what she needs is what she has with you: stability, leadership, boundaries, and safety. I have three sheepdogs and one sporter collie currently. Two of the three sheepdogs learned to do agility after they learned to work sheep. I don't think that they really prefer one activity over the other. I don't think dogs work that way, I really don't. When I load them in the truck, I don't think they are talking amongst themselves, hoping that we're going to the field instead of the barn. Wherever we are, that's where we are. They are with me, they are hoping it's their turn, whatever that turn might encompass. And sometimes, we do nothing. For days. Weeks, even. And that's cool too, because we do silly tricks to amuse ourselves, we take funny photos, we just hang. I sense that you might be overwhelmed. Two dogs is a lot of work, especially if you have limited mobility. I don't think anyone would judge you for looking at options for Maid that you feel would be in her best interest. I just hope that you can let go of this idea that only a working home would be appropriate for her. While it looks so lovely on One Man and His Dog et.al., the life of a working dog isn't always unicorns and rainbows either.
  12. We're afraid it's only got a few more years left in it.
  13. We have a very nice mother and daughter who are known for their trial chairs. The ladies of Pink Mountain bring these: Very few people steal their chairs.
  14. Same thing with us and the chute. I put the thing out, then while I was looking for something to hold the cloth part open, Bar flew through it multiple times. Put the chute in a little sequence and he did it fine. So. Check that off the list of things to do!
  15. This. I have a large SUV with a custom built dogbox in the cargo area, where 3 of my dogs ride. My fourth dog rides with a Kurgo harness in the back seat. If I made the seatbelt tether as short as some advocate for maximum safety, the dog wouldn't be able to get up and turn around, and I suspect that he would be quite unhappy. This year alone, we have driven over 8,000 km to trials, and that's a long time to be tethered to a 20 cm strap. I bought the biggest truck with the best safety record, I try to drive defensively, and I have my dog in not-the-highest-rated seatbelt on the market with a tether that is too long. It might not protect him from a massive collision, but if we roll over, he won't go flying out the window. And I'm at peace with that.
  16. I was at the meeting, and I know that everyone was very pleased to hear of this initiative and all of the other initiatives aimed at keeping the working border collie healthy. Kudos to the ABCA board for all that they do for this wonderful breed.
  17. I really like training weaves, which I thought I'd never say since my second dog was a HORRIBLE weaver for the first 6 years of her career. What made a huge difference for me was having a place to train whenever I wanted, so if we were having a bad day, I could just come in, have a snack, and try it again later, rather than trying to cram training into whatever barn time I had. Bar trained up pretty much as quickly as Rex, though I used a slight variation on the 2x2 training method (Mary Ellen Barry's method vs Susan Garrett's). He hasn't trialled yet, so I can't speak to how well his poles will hold up in a trial.
  18. My current competition dog did, in fact, learn 12 poles in 12 sessions. We followed the Susan Garrett 2x2 DVD, and he seemed to get it quite quickly. I do have a fairly large yard and the equipment, so we could practice regularly, in short sessions. I wouldn't say his weaves are completely independent, because I can't send him to weave all 12 while I go another direction. I can be laterally 20 metres away, but the direct send has eluded us (and some would say that could be fixed with a wee bit of practice ). He rarely faults poles in trials, and he can make hard entries, tolerates severe crosses before and after poles, and generally is a good weaver. He's not blazing fast in the poles, but he gets 'er done.
  19. I have a bunch of soft crates, but my favourite is the Boots & Barkley pop up crate from Target. It cost less than $30 and fits in the front pocket of my suitcase. It's ridiculously light and portable. However, it is incredibly flimsy so your dog MUST be crate trained (and not just "yeah, he goes in a crate and doesn't fuss too much"). If your dog likes to lunge at passing dogs, then the Boots & Barkley is not for you! I recently bought a dog tent on Amazon. It takes literally seconds to put up and take down, and Wick and Lou share it on the rare occasions when we're not crating in the truck.
  20. I love teaching weavies. It's my second favourite thing (after dogwalks - can't wait to get started on Bar's running dogwalk). Bar learned using Mary Ellen Barry's 2x2 method. It didn't take very long to get the hang of it. This video is from his first training session after taking a month or so off. My bases are broken and not staked, which I should rectify as he is starting to get faster, and I don't want him to think he can plough his skinny shoulders through the poles.
  21. I shouldn't admit this, but I totally bought cutesy toys at the Klamath finals! It was a plush log thing that had little plush squirrels in it. I also bought a couple collars, a really nice leash, water dishes for the crates, some jewelry ... I bought a lot of stuff! I've only been to two finals, both in Klamath. There were great food vendors, obviously I found lots to buy and it was really fun to watch the big dogs doing their thing. We'll be running at Alturas, and looking to buy more things!
  22. I trained my most recent dog with the Mary Ellen Barry method of 2x2s. It was super easy and my dog was weaving 12 poles in the same number of sessions as it took my last dog using SG's 2x2 method.
  23. Lou can do this. I ask him to get back, which makes him run in a little arc away from me, then ask him to walk, and he walks up on me in a very stylish manner. I don't think I taught him this, he is just that awesome. None of my other stalking dogs will do it.
  24. I had Bar neutered about a month ago. He sniffed the set out dog and had a pee at the top during a trial and that was it - no knick knacks for you! (I don't breed my dogs, so he was going to get snipped eventually - he just accelerated the process). He is a little over 2 years old. About a week after his neuter, we travelled to the Bluegrass Classic, and I noticed that he was squatting instead of hiking his leg for his morning pee. He ignored the set out dogs, and in trailer park land, he didn't mark every post and tree. He never was studdy or a jerk around other dogs, and he still isn't.
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