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Donald McCaig

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Everything posted by Donald McCaig

  1. Dear OP, Your puppy is deciding your shared house is his DEN and instinctIvely he won't foul his DEN. It is not a good idea to confuse him with less important matters (leash, special potty place) before the basic idea is firmly fixed in his mind. Donald McCaig
  2. Dear Doggers, I hoped those seeking a Border Collie "Breeder" might consider what it would take for a doggy person w/o stock or stockdog experience might need to invest and achieve to become the breeder they're looking for. Alas, my notion was ill conceived and muddled. I apologize. Donald McCaig
  3. Inquiries from those seeking a Border Collie pup are frequent here and for the most part, the inquirer wants a healthy, well nurtured, had all his genetic tests pup primarily as a companion but might do some dog sport even “herding” and the breeder must be within an hour of their home. The innocent inquirer is, I fear, often disappointed. Turns out they’re looking for a will-of-the-wisp or they’ll have to travel half a day to someone who may or may not have pups for sale and the usual advice: “attend local sheepdog trials” must seem odd and over-complicated for someone who can pick through dozens of Border Collie puppies on the internet. Since the innocent inquirer doesn’t know what a Border Collie Breeder is, nor how one gets to be one, nor why it is so difficult to buy a pup from him/her, nor why said breeder may be indifferent to some/all scientific tests and may be unwilling to take back a pup if it doesn’t turn out - (the innocent does know the identifying marks of :”a responsible breeder”), it might be reduce the confusion to describe in greatly oversimplified form how one becomes a Border Collie Breeder. Disclaimer: Definition: A Border Collie breeder is someone I might buy a pup from, intended for the highest levels of sheepdog trialing, without my knowing or seeing the sire or the dam - knowing only the breeder. Border Collie Breeders are rare - no more than a handful in North America and perhaps twice that number in the UK. Selecting the correct sire for a bitch down many generations is an art, not a science and most handlers who regularly win open trials cab’t do it. Most handlers do as I do and breed “good uns” to good uns”, while studying similar matings, previous matings and trying not to double up on faults. Most handlers breed only when they seek a replacement. Hence more than two litters a year is uncommon, more than thirty pups a year lands you on the ABCA list of “High-volume Breeders”. In 35 years we’ve had 4 litters. Further Disclaimer: In the real world, almost all Border Collie Breeders have a lifetime of complex livestock and stockdog experience and my cursory sketch is written for a person w/o stock experience who’s had a pet Border Collie or two who aspires to become a Border Collie Breeder: 1. In year 1 attend every regional trial within a five hours.. Watch every run. Find a willing mentor. 2. With his/her advice buy two of the best trained trial dogs under 4 years of age. Expect to pay 10-20k for them. Buy 100 sheep and what’s necessary to keep them. 3. Begin attending clinics, coaching sessions and trialing your dogs. Breed so your first litter comes in the winter. 4. Breed your sire as often as you have requests but don’t breed your bitch again until you assess those first pups. At every trial watch every run with your mentor, evaluating dogs. At home, train dogs every day you’re not trialing or busy with sheep duties. 5. After you’ve been trialing for three years, you and your mentor can evaluate those first pups (sold to working/trialing homes) as well as others your dog has sired. If most of your pups, or most of those from your litter have real merit, repeat that breeding and study any grandpups. If your sire’s pups aren’t toppers, sell him, breed your bitch to a different sire and study those pups in year 6. By year 10, you should be winning a few trials and placing regularly. By year 15/20 after you win a big trial (kingston/meeker/National Finals etc) top handlers will ask about your pups. 7. If the grandpups from those early matings are winning trials, by year 20 you may be known as a Border Collie Breeder. Donald McCaig
  4. Dear Doggers, We sheepdoggers take pains that one whistle is utterly clear and unlike any other. At best they "drift" over time and the dog must adapt. Why deliberately confuse any important command so the dog won't understand it if you have bronchitis? Donald McCaig
  5. Dear Doggers, Anyone who expects PERFECT house training in any dog at any age expects more of dogs than humans. Donald McCaig
  6. Dear Ms. D'elle, We tried. Mr. Smalahundur is mistaken: names matter. Which is why companies spend fortunes defending their trademarks. I once asked the AKC Board what they'd do if I started a dog registry called it " AKC" and started registering dogs. "We'd sue". Fortunately, the show dogs formerly known as "Border Collies" are often called "Barbie Collies" - an accurate reflection of the values they embody. Donald McCaig
  7. Dear Doggers, Working sheep, cattle, poultry and hogs. Agility, obedience, Flyball, Dancing with dogs (AKA Freestyle?) Frisbie. In the UK they're the S&R dogs of choice, less so here. Have I missed anything? Donald McCaig
  8. Dear Doggers, Ms. Bridges asks: "What did the Jack Russel folks know or do that the working Border Collie people didn't?" Trademark law. Donald McCaig
  9. Dear Ms/Mr Dragoon, You wrote: "I first saw him when his foster brought him to see if he had any herding ability, and he was a little over the top, but that can be dealt with. The initial plan is plenty of obedience classes before he is even considered for herding or agility." and later: "AKC agility unfortunately is the only game in town, so I will have to get him a PAL number. AHBA requires some type of registration number to track the dog's performance in trials." I'm confused. Do you have livestock? You can run an unregistered dog at any traditional sheepdog trial. Novice classes are often offered at USBCHA trials. If you intend to work livestock, why obedience classes? Donald McCaig
  10. Dear Doggers, I retire my trial dogs at 10. Yes, some might trial for another year but others can't and I've seen more dogs retired too late than too early. It seems like yesterday they were pure promise. . . Ten year old Fly is slowing down on her morning/evening walks and sometimes when the ground's very rough she rides home on the ATV. Donald McCaig
  11. Dear Doggers, Dick Russell invented "open field socialization" where 20 dogs accompanied their masters through a meadow, gaining confidence s they went. As I recall they weren't on leash though maybe some were. Although the leash gives the owner a (sometimes spurious) sense of control it cancels the dog's ability to flee a dangerous situation and may make it more fearful and likely to snap. New dogs are introduced to my pack outdoors and if at all possible offlead. Donald McCaig
  12. Dear Roxanne, Reading pressure signs isn't that easy. Depression might be Lyme. That's the first thing I check for when a dog is really off his stride. Eating grass might be tender tummy might be stress. One I missed: Visiting Manhattan in July with two dogs: June who'd been there before and Fly -straight from the country. I was going to meet my agent in CentralPark so I reserved a spot in a nearby parking garage. 100 degrees in the city and my garage, it turned out, wasn't a basement garage, it was a five story garage and of course it'd be hotter up top. I had to take the dogs and was terrified Fly was going to bite someone on crowded lunchtime 5th avenue. Nope. She lowered her head to the greatest library of scents in the world and never raised it. Whew! It was only later, at Penny Tose's Mardi Gras Trial I ralized that when Fly's glued to the scents and inattentive to everything else, she's really, really stressed. Live & learn. Donald
  13. Dear Roxanne, There's pressure and inappropriate pressure. Life is stress and unavoidable but in dog training one hopes to up it in increments so (a) the beginner doesn't really notice it and b. the experienced dog thinks "Oh goody, I'm going to learn something new." You're right to spot increased depression as evidence stress is being misapplied. Other evidence(pet dog) might be flight, zoomies or even a bite. Donald McCaig
  14. Dear Doggers, Roxanne wrote, "Sorry to be sounding argumentative again, but if it was obviously stressful then I don't understand how it can also have been positive." At my very first Jack Knox sheepdog clinic I took Pip (my first sheepdog) to, Pip stressed and jumped over the snowfence in the little ring , squiggled underneath my VW and wouldn't come out. Pre-novice McCaig thought it was clever of him. Stress and Relief, Pressure and Release. Or as Jack Knox put it, "Allow the right. Correct the wrong." Donald McCaig
  15. Dear Doggers, The best trick I know to end counter surfing is to stack many tin cans next to/in front of food the dog will want. Don't let the dog see you setting the trap. Dog surfs, cans fall/clatter, all hell breaks loose. Dog is taught surfing is dangerous and unpleasant Donald McCaig
  16. Dear Mr. Foster, Goats be fine. Donald McCaig
  17. Dear Ms. Shandula, I'd think your best bet is Ontario which boasts some world class handlers. Contact the Ontario Border Collie Club for contact info. Donald McCaig
  18. Dear Mr. Foster, The best way to know if a dog is a Border Collie is to wait until he's 6-8 months old and take him to sheep. Donald McCaig
  19. Dear Panthers, For years when I put out food for two guard dogs, with a curled lip the dominant bitch would push the inferior off the food . When she had eaten her fill she went back on duty and the other dog finished what was left. When I put out bones for sheepdogs and guard dogs they all get one and polish them off QUICK. I don't think I've ever seen a dominant bitch having finished her own bone chase an inferior off theirs. Nor has there been any squabbles. I've noticed, however, that some inferiors disappear into the bushes as soon as they get their bone. Donald McCaig
  20. Dear Ms. Chick-N-Picker, If you are having success with your clicker, by all means continue with it. I've always taught my working sheepdogs their stay by looming over them (they'll submit) with open hands followed by a quick okay so they can zoom for a moment before repeating the lesson. A couple short sessions. Next day repeat, back up slowly a few feet repeating the stay, blocking with hands) release. Lengthen the distance and time. Finally, when there are ewes and lambs in the barn, bring the dog into the corner and put him on a stay. The ewes will threaten and stamp and he'll want to scurry off so keep an eye on him and don't make him stay too long. Once he learns they can't get out of their pens to hurt him, he'll stay all day. The stay is useful when training another dog. It is useful in the big world when loading the car in the motel parking lot or needing the dog to stay in the vet's reception while I leave and go around the corner to use the facilities. It isn't hard to train and there's lots of ways to do it. Donald McCaig
  21. Dear Maja, The USBCHA hosts a "cattledog finals" and a "sheepdog finals". Both are open to any breed, either sex, registered or unregistered. Not all cattledogs nor sheepdogs are Border Collies. The vast majority are. Donald McCaig
  22. Dear Doggers, I have seen a few dogs who are dog language challenged and refuse to believe another dog's "Piss off!" I assume these dogs were removed too young from their mother, but that's merely assumption. In dog parks and the like, rude dogs usually belong to rude owners who may need a swift, simple correction. A friend's lab used to pester June again and again -ignoring her discomfort, snarks and polite snaps - until I would intervene. One day lab was visiting and tried his "Duh, I'm an entitled dog" moves on our 125 pound sheep guarding dog. Learned the lesson upsidedown. Donald McCaig
  23. Dear Doggers, Owners trying to fix non-problems create problems. Donald McCaig
  24. Dear Doggers, The OP wondered "Will herding lessons magically settle him down for other activities?" "Magically?" No. But if the dog has the instincts and the instructor is competent, and you can train every other week or so, I'd say yes. Success in something so fundamental to the working sheepdog's makeup should improve pet dog behavior. I can't predict whether this better behavior will translate into improved agility runs. Mannerliness, yes. Sport? Dunno. Donald McCaig
  25. Dear Doggers, There's much wisdom in Denice's post but I particularly note; "I simply let her know there were rules and expected behavior here. She had a simple choice do what I wanted she was rewarded do it the way she was used to she got in trouble." and "Dogs will rise to the occasion if we have high expectations of them." Donald McCaig
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