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Donald McCaig

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Everything posted by Donald McCaig

  1. Good to know. I've no enthusiasm for franchise dog training and know nothing about this outfit. Their FAQ's seem sensible and if one wackado casts doubt on any organization few orgs would be left standing. How much dog training is required before you hand out your shingle. K9 says 21 days. I've seen noforce trainers with a year. I suppose I started helping neighbors train sheepdogs after five years training my own dogs. More after ten years after I won my first open trial. Never charged - wasn't how i wanted to earn money. After 20 years I might have hosted small occasional clinics but there was always someone better nearby to recommend. And while I'd studied dozens of dogs, real trainers had seen hundreds. Donald
  2. Dear Roxanne, Thank you for the clip where, at the last Dr. Mech describes how alpha packs are produced from unrelated animals - like most multidog households. While too much has been made of alpha and too little of its shifting complexities, my dogs have a clear, mostly firm pecking order. Donald
  3. It's not about our dogs, it's about us. Different training methods deliver different defaults. If you train on leash intending to go offleash later, you'll always feel safer with that leash. If you treat train, you'll be uncomfortable w/o a treat bag and despite trainer brags, ecollared dogs are rarely without them. With infrequent exceptions, sheepdog training is offlead, so that's my default. I trust my voice/body language to communicate with my dog - as does every other sheepdog handler.My dog is on lead only when I'd be arrested or unsafe/chaos creating if he weren't (hotels/motels/airports/parks/suburban sidewalks/streets okay; interstate median strips, chinatown and drag strips not). I trust my voice as you trust your leash.My dogs wear collars for the ID tags. As you begin, so shall you go.
  4. Dear Aspiring Sheepdoggers, Ms. Shelly writes, in part:" Our six month old is so focused on his black and white soccer balls and behaves exactly like they are sheep that he is herding." There are one or two slight differences between sheep and a soccer ball, viz: the ball is easier for the dog to read. Donald
  5. Dear Smalahundur, "Donald" or "Mr. McCaig" suit. I wince at "Don". In my corner of rural southern Appalachia, if I work for you, I'm "Donald" and you're "Mr.". High status individuals are "Mr. Donald" or "Miss Anne". After a lifetime a few become "Uncle Donald". I'm not him but my wise wife is "Aunt Anne". When I was trialing I found it useful to sharpen my whistles by practicing when I was driving somewhere w/o a dog. Donald
  6. Sorry sir, I try to be polite but it's all I can do to keep the Mr.s and Ms.s straight. Donald
  7. Mr. Smalahundru's distinction is well-taken though "dialect" and "accent" blur where they meet. The lowland Scots I was just talking with in the beer tent become incomprehensible when local pals gossip. The sheepdog's whistle comprehension is mysterious. Because I am unable to accurately replicate a new dog's recorded whistles I change them over to mine. Some get it on the first or second try, others take weeks. I've seen Jack Knox work a young dog on whistles: flanks, stop, walk up, although that dog had never been previously trained to whistle commands. Donald
  8. We all use several different dialects: home town, family, professional, special venue (aka: sheepdog trials). Every handler's whistles migrate. They change over time and handler and dog adapt. Once I bought a cool buffalo horn whistle to replace my Boring! 2$ plastic one and introduced it at a little trial. Gael executed an impeccable outrun, lift and fetch but when Gael began her drive she fell apart at my first whistle. Later, the judge asked, “What the hell happened to her? She hadn’t lost a point until your drive!” A friend had videotaped the fiasco and when I blew my new buffalo horn whistle, Gael stopped to stare at me and if a dog can knit her brows, Gael did: : “Are you speaking Portugese? Aramaic?” What I could say with plastic I could not say with buffalo horn. Wrong dialect. Donald
  9. Finger whistles reach farther and allow subtler variations. I'm told. I can't finger whistle. The brass blasters are louder but taste foul in my mouth. Donald
  10. Roxanne noted: "Wiston Cap won his first international supreme championship (sheepdog trial, not conformation) at less than 2 years old. An immature dog couldn't have done that. " Cap was the exception that tests the rule. Scottish Mantra: "A dog is ready for a (an open) sheepdog trial when it has as many years under it as legs." Donald
  11. When traveling sometimes dog parks are the best choice for exercise. Seattle, Charlotte, Atlanta, New York City, San Fransisco. None were perfect, all exercised my dogs.That I'm a mean, dog protective SOB and look it has avoided trouble. Donald
  12. Nice pup. Too tight but proper distance will come. Didn’t understand the grass nibble. Donald
  13. No. Although I have taken pups back, I can think of circumstances where I wouldn't. Some respected sheepdog breeders only reclaim talented, unruined pups. Donald McCaig
  14. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/animalia/wp/2018/08/29/grain-free-exotic-dog-food-linked-to-heart-disease/
  15. The first time I worked range sheep at the Sonoma Wine Country trial I noticed some were raggedy-ass unsheared. Why? "We couldn't catch them." Predators, sure. Shepherds working off horseback not on foot. Never being handled in small groups.Youth. Donald
  16. There’s plenty of good Irish handlers. Find a trial at the isds website, attend, meet, learn. Donald
  17. I've never had a good dog who'd abandon his sheep with a single "That'll do." Standard remedy for good-but-keen and part-trained alike is a hard down as the hander circles to the same side of the sheep as the dog. Keen dog won't happily down on the OR either. The dog who drops when he's almost off contact may not listen when worried of losing control. Donald
  18. If you cannot recall off sheep you have no down and can’t use Derek’s method for widening the outrun. It’s hard to learn everything at once. Donald
  19. You’ll need a good down and the willingness/ability to know when your dog is going wrong. Donald
  20. Many young dogs come in too tight, up the middle, circle at the top and many novices correct them w/o leaving the post. The c-shaped OR results. The outrun is the sheepdog's psychic motor and it is much easier to screw up than improve. You can, and some have, pattern train the OR with a fence. You can, and most farmers do, simply let the dog figure the outrun on its own because dopey outruns MAKE THINGS HARDER for the dog. Most will get there in the end. The only effective, safe outrun correction I know is Derek Scrimigeors. It is also useful for redirecting a more complex outrun later. The instant the dog starts to go wrong, he downs it - sometimes five yards from his feet. He walks to the dog, saying" Down, down" so dog doesn't restart, gets between the dog and the sheep, blocking the dog and smites the earth on the error side and resends. If the dog goes wrong further out: repeat. Donald
  21. You’re not pushing the dog out, you’re releasing it. Donald
  22. https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/humans-are-dumb-at-figuring-out-how-smart-animals-are/
  23. Trademark? Yep.tried that. Donald
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