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Braden

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  1. Update! Went to another lesson today, and we made significant progress. Looks like he is building confidence and we even moved to the bigger area to move sheep. Honestly the progress we made today was exponential and has made me hopeful that I can trial him. He wasn’t “all or nothing” like before (i.e. either timid or all out rushing the sheep) but rather slowly approached the sheep, crouched, made eye contact, etc. I was beyond ecstatic to see it “click”. It looks like I just needed to be patient and trust my trainer and the process. I’ll share any further progress I make.
  2. Hey there! I personally think this is another teen phase. I’ve worked with my Border Collie a lot since I’ve had him. He is really well trained, but I noticed at 6 months and a little past a year, he started “testing” me and either not following commands as tightly as before or reverting back to “bad” behavior. I read somewhere that this happens so I was somewhat prepared. I honestly just went back to training basics and reinforced the behaviors I wanted and ignored the behaviors that I didn’t like. So if he jumped on me, I turned around and ignored him, etc. I found that he quickly figured out that I wasn’t falling for it and went back to the dog I knew he was. It just takes patience and consistency. He is 1.5 years old now and really well behaved. P.S. your pup is super cute!
  3. @gcv-borderthanks for your input! This sounds exactly like what’s happening with Braden. We do quite a bit of training (obedience and tricks). So it seems like the main issue is him looking for me for approval like you described. I’ll try out your tips and see how it goes. Thanks again! @alligandegood point! I’ll see if we can try this as well!
  4. @NCStarkeythanks for the follow up and insight! Always appreciate the feedback on this forum
  5. @NCStarkey This was just the first day, but we practiced "Walk", "lie down", "walk", "lie down", "here", etc. to ensure the dog had basic obedience before joining the sheep.
  6. @Journey I meant she didn’t just throw us in with sheep. We practiced in a pen without sheep, then a small pen with about 3 sheep, then a larger pen with about 5-6 sheep. We started with a line and then letting the line go. There were other things we did as well but that was the gist of the progression. She gives feedback as well and is open to questions throughout. I also did a herding instinct test with a different trainer but ended up going with this one because she is only 30 minutes away and I had heard good things about her experience. All other trainers are close to an hour away or more.
  7. *I originally posted this in the stockdog expert section but didn’t realized it didn’t allow regular members to respond so I’m posting it here as well. Hello, I’m not 100% sure if I am writing in the correct topic area so my apologies ahead of time if I am not. I recently started herding lessons with Judith Kelly at Asher Dell Farm. I’ve had about 4-5 lessons so far and have really enjoyed it. She has been building it up slowly which I appreciate. We noticed lately that Braden (my border collie) is interested in sheep and engages with them but stops himself after a few seconds everytime. When he does this, he glances at me almost to check if it was ok to keep going which we want him to do, but it takes coaxing to get him confident to engage with the sheep again. We also just realized he is much more confident when I am holding the line then when I drop it. In the waiting pen he is also completely fixated on the sheep so I know he has interest. She mentioned how obedient he is and how he looks at me for approval and that may be holding him back, but now I feel like I may have hurt his potential to herd. Any thoughts on why he is apprehensive on continuing engagement with the sheep ? Do you have any tips on overcoming this? Judith seems confident that he will be good and said he just needs more exposure so he gets more comfortable but I want to make sure I’m not doing anything to prevent that and I also want to check if I could do anything to help him overcome it. Thanks for any advice! Additional information: He is 1.5 years old and comes from a herding line. We’ve only been going to lessons for the past month or so.
  8. Hello, I’m not 100% sure if I am writing in the correct topic area so my apologies ahead of time if I am not. I recently started herding lessons with Judith Kelly at Asher Dell Farm. I’ve had about 4-5 lessons so far and have really enjoyed it. She has been building it up slowly which I appreciate. We noticed lately that Braden (my border collie) is interested in sheep and engages with them but stops himself after a few seconds everytime. When he does this, he glances at me almost to check if it was ok to keep going which we want him to do, but it takes coaxing to get him confident to engage with the sheep again. We also just realized he is much more confident when I am holding the line then when I drop it. In the waiting pen he is also completely fixated on the sheep so I know he has interest. She mentioned how obedient he is and how he looks at me for approval and that is holding him back, but now I feel like I may have hurt his potential to herd. Any thoughts on why he is apprehensive on continuing engagement with the sheep ? Do you have any tips on overcoming this? Judith seems confident that he will be good and said he just needs more exposure so he gets more comfortable but I want to make sure I’m not doing anything to prevent that and I also want to check if I could do anything to help him overcome it. Thanks for any advice! Additional information: He is 1.5 years old and comes from a herding line. We’ve only been going to lessons for the past month or so.
  9. Hello, This question is more out of curiosity to help me decide on what I should do :). I am wondering if I should register my Border Collie (he is a little over a year now) in ABCA (parents were both ABCA registered) and/or USBCHA. For some background, I started herding lessons and plan to continue them. I am unsure yet if I will try to compete. I personally just enjoy it. Is there a benefit or preference for registration in these organizations? I have read up on them, but the information seems to be a bit disoriented. Also, are there any other organizations I should consider? Thanks for any input, opinions, advice, etc.!
  10. Hello, We are considering getting a few alpacas to add to our "mini-farm". I currently have a Border Collie that I have started taking herding lessons with. My question is whether alpacas can be used for herding in a similar manner as sheep. I've heard llamas cannot since they will "stand-up" to a dog and can be aggressive. However, alpacas tend to be more docile (at least from what I've read ) so I was wondering if anyone has any experience or insight into how they would react. We plan to get young ones and introduce them to dogs right away as well. Thanks for any tips and insight!
  11. UPDATE! So I contacted my old trainer (the one I did obedience and tricks classes with) and she offered some good tips to continue my reactivity progress that I thought would be helpful to share. I didn’t contact her before because I thought she was more of a obedience trainer rather than a dog behavioral issue type of trainer. That was my fault for assuming. I should have gone back to her from the beginning. She is great! The first thing she advised was using a clicker when reinforcing LAT instead of a word like “good” which is what I was doing. A clicker provides consistency in delivery and tone that a vocal word cannot and I saw immediate reinforcement improvement when I switched to a clicker. I previously used a clicker in the beginning when I did obedience with him but slowly stopped using it so he wouldn’t expect it, but I found that it is better to keep using it until a behavior is more solidified. It essentially helps me communicate better with Braden. The second was using a “dummy” realistic stuffed animal dog to practice on. I honestly didn’t think this would work and that he would know it was fake. However, it has helped so much! I used it from a distance and have been working to get closer and closer while using LAT to reinforce calm behavior. I have seen tremendous improvement using both the clicker and the dummy dog. Thought I would share in case anyone felt stuck like me. Let me know if you would like to know further details.
  12. @gcv-borderand @Lawgirl thanks for the tips, advice, and support. Especially about how agility training typically goes. I’ve never been but look forward to trying it out. Thanks again!
  13. @D'ElleThanks! That's encouraging. Sometimes we just need to keep going and stick with it.
  14. Hello again! Thanks again for everyone's earlier advice, tips, and support. I really do enjoy reading this forum and plan to be more active on it. So, I wanted to post an update and hopefully gather some additional advice. Braden has improved a lot and has even met new dogs he likes, however, if there is a dog he decides he doesn't like, he gets pretty locked in. To be completely honest, he is good 98% of the time as long as he doesn't have to interact with new dogs. Even off leash or walking by a dog he is fine, but if a dog shows interest in him, we still struggle with his reactivity (air snaps and baring teeth). I bought the book "Control Unleashed" and it has helped a lot, but my question is if this is something he will grow out of and/or something I will just have to manage his entire life. It's really not that big of a deal if so (although I would much rather prefer he didn't have this issue), because he behaves and listens so well otherwise, it just bothers me that this is the one area that I can't overcome. Another thing is that I would really like to put him in agility lessons, but I'm worried about how he will react in the environment with dogs running around and possibly coming up to him. He has taken herding lessons and did fine around the other dogs because he was so focused on the sheep as were the other dogs, but herding lessons cost a lot more than agility so I only do them sparingly as a fun "once-a-month" thing. So back, to my question...can his reactivity improve? Does it naturally improve with age (he just turned 1 ). For background on this issue, please read my first post on this thread. P.S. I met with another trainer who also said that he is "guarding" me and my other dog due to being previously attacked (basically I let him down before, so he felt the need to step up) which I have been told before. I have been working to show him that I have "everything under control" so he doesn't feel he has to do anything, but I'm not sure if it is helping. Any tips on how to improve on this would be greatly appreciated. As an FYI, I didn't move forward with this trainer because I didn't like his forceful technique and knew my dog would shut down with it.
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