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Everything posted by blackacre

  1. GREAT idea! However, I'd like to limit it to dogs of our own era, because, while Cap 3036 (aka "Wartime Cap"), for example, was undoubtedly a brilliant dog and a hard core contributor to the genetics of the breed, none of us ever saw him run. Sadly. Actually, not many saw him run even in his own era, because of the war. And, if you could add a few words on why you would choose the dogs you did, that would be fascinating too. So, here's my list: Alasdair's Nan. See above. Kent's Bill (some would say a great trial dog but not necessarily a great dog. Limited breeding, being a carrier in the days before DNA testing). I loved that dog. He had a way with sheep. Bobby Dalziel's Wisp. Great breeder. A lot of dog. Berhow's Nick (I already told a story about him that I think exemplifies what was great about him). I'll have to think some more, but that should be enough to go on with. A
  2. Again, I find myself agreeing with Denise. Remember, we are talking about the difference between a good or even a very good dog and a great dog. In other words, are most of you setting the bar too low? A top-quality handler can make an indifferent dog look pretty good. That doesn't make the dog great, however. There's something about the dog that the top handler is able to showcase. Let me quote, roughly, something a National winner said to Alasdair MacRae after watching his winning run with Nan at the Nationals in Virginia. Essentially, he said something like, "I always knew Nan was a very good dog, but today, she just proved that she was a great one." Does a great dog have to be a great breeder? Not in my view, but still, it's a perfectly legitimate position to take. I agree with Marilyn, though, that some UK handlers put a lot more effort into their breeding decisions and that that will affect how many good breeding dogs you see over here. Nonetheless, a lot of the consistency in, say, Bobby Henderson's dogs can be ascribed to the fact that he is line breeding to some extent. Glyn Jones would be another breeder who produces consistent dogs for the same reason. Blwch Hemp, (really Ceri's) for example, produced himself to an startling extent. I saw one when I was in MO last year that was his spitting image in work style and looks. More than a coincidence, and really not something you see much of over here. Here's a name to conjure with: Bobby Dalziel's Wisp. A fiend to manage on the field by all accounts, but one that proved to be a quite tremendous breeder--in the second generation. (I'm speaking purely from hearsay here). A dog that was bred to fairly randomly over there, and here, that is, to all sorts of bitches, but one who fairly consistently produced pretty good dogs. A real contributor to the gene pool. What do we make of him? Do we put him in the "great" category? Not many could have handled him. He didn't show his greatness as a breeding dog until his sons and daughters began to produce. A
  3. I like what has been posted so far. Philosophically, I guess I'm closest in my thoughts to Denise when she says that there is a 'transcendent' quality to a great dog, that is something that is in some sense " beyond and outside the ordinary range of human experience or understanding; [or] exceeding or surpassing usual limits especially in excellence."* Along those lines, I am reminded of a story Stormy Winters tells about Bill Berhow and Nick (much better than I can, but then, he tells his best stories far more often ). Anyway, an essential element of this story was the preternaturally tough course and sheep at this particular trial. The set out crew had been struggling all day, to the point that it was unrealistic for the judge to award reruns for the sheep bolting before the dog arrived if he wanted to finish that day. So, dog after dog would arrive at the top with the sheep having already departed, and being awarded an automatic 20/10 and told to continue as best they could. Finally, it was Bill and Nick's turn. Their sheep, true to form, bolted just as Nick was coming around the top. Then, recounts Stormy, the sheep just . . . stopped, well before the fetch panels, allowing Nick to catch up, take control and complete the rest of the run without the loss of more than another couple of points. To Stormy, roughly, it was as if they had turned to each other and said, "hey guys, hold on. That's NICK. No worries, mates". Now, whether that happened or not, I have no idea, but it really does capture the almost mystical quality of a great dog, don't you think? Anyone else have a story like that? Andrea * Source: Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary (1913)
  4. OK, here's the background: The editor of our local newsletter and I were having a delightful, slightly tipsy lunch the other day and ended up having a raucous (but wholly amiable) discussion about what elevates a dog from being merely very good to great. Well, the upshot was that I, somehow , agreed to write an article for our local rag on the subject. Apparently, I even agreed to solicit input from others of my acquaintance who might have views worth quoting. This would be, inter alia, YOU--all of you, my fellow Open handlers. And anyone else who cares to contribute. Kind of a neat topic, don't you think? So, what do you say? I'm pretty flexible on where I go with this, but certainly some discussion of critical characteristics will figure I would think. I'm also interested in specific past or present dogs that you think would qualify, and why, ether here or in the UK. Would there be ONE thing that marks a great dog? Is it the same thing for each great dog we can come up with? Is a Supreme International or National winner necessarily great? Do you have a great or potentially great one in your kennel right now? I'd love to hear from you, and if you'd rather NOT be quoted by name, tell me that too. Andrea
  5. Ummm, is that what Virginia looks like right now? Coz if so, you're breaking my heart. We had over 2 ft of snow this month and it's snowing again. Never mind, I'll be down there in March. Think you might go to Verna's on the 15th? But, to my main question: how do you like her so far? Is she what you expected when you did the breeding? A
  6. Where to post, where to post? Rather tedious communicating with Gary via Amy, but, never mind, I expect he's reading. No directors in sight either, but I expect they're reading too. So (duplicate of as yet un-posted missive to Sheepdog-L): I find it notable that no one on the Board of Directors has weighed in, even if only to tell us that they hate the idea--or that they like one of the alternatives suggested, or have a better one. Or that they feel it has not been brought to their attention through the right channels or . . . something. In other words, you've got me half-way convinced Gary. Yikes! Andrea
  7. Wow, "Mr. Regards" is now just Gary? He must want this badly. In any case, I invite Gary to come here and discuss it if he wants to comment--or justify. No one wants to give Eileen more work. Adding a topic heading, however, should not be too onerous. Or we can post on the existing Yahoo group. IF the board wants to go that way. Andrea
  8. Well, I am certainly in favour of having the agenda for upcoming meetings posted somewhere, as well as having access to the minutes following meetings, which it is also reasonable to expect will be posted on a timely basis. This would allow members to have a reasonable sense of what is going on with their organization. A forum for members to provide input to their directors and the board at large would be nice too, but that could certainly be accommodated here on the Boards. I really don't think it's appropriate to require the directors to provide real time access to their deliberations. I'm also reluctant to sign on to what appears to me to be an end run around the Board by one or two members with the apparent intent of presenting them with a fait accompli, in the hopes of pressuring them into signing on. If it's an idea worth their (and our) consideration, it should be presented in the usual way, by adding it to the agenda of the annual members' meeting, where the appropriate wording to amend the constitution and/or by-laws can be voted on and input can be solicited. If the motion fails there, your right and privilege is to elect a more compliant board--if you can. Don't get me wrong, I am favour of a certain degree of transparency and accountability, but it needs to be done the right way. We're a small organization of volunteers, and alienating the people we've elected is not the way to go about making a change. Andrea
  9. Is this your idea Amy, that you hope to present to the Board as a useful device, or does it come directly from the Board? Curious, since we already have this: USBCHA yahoo group that hasn't been used in years, probably since Mike Canaday's time. Andrea
  10. Good one! The most stylish dog I ever had (on other dogs) was also the most useless on stock. And I mean USELESS. Sure looked pretty "working" at the park, though. A
  11. <shrug> Like I said, I could be wrong, but you're pretty well the last person in the world in a position to tell me so. And don't think people aren't going to notice that you refuse to answer my questions. And that's my last reply to you, although I am more than willing to discuss it with anyone else who is prepared to discuss it thoughtfully and not by way of a vendetta. But . . . tomorrow, eh? I've had enough for tonight. Andrea
  12. Kelpiegirl, Before we get back to you and what YOUR agenda is, I have now asked for and been sent the minutes which you claim to refer to. Here is the only reference to full recognition of the Kelpie by the CKC: "If we apply for full recognition by the CKC for the Australian Kelpie, then after 5 years we would be able apply for changes to the Kelpie breed standard as recognized by the CKC. Currently the CKC has adopted the FCI standard for the breed in Canada, which is the standard for the Bench Kelpie in Australia (parent country)." [Emphasis added] Nothing further arose as a result of this statement, except that in my recollection (and another board member's), I did at this point voice my opposition to full recognition (again, of the breed.) And here it the only motion, which passed unanimously: A motion was made “to pursue recognition of our club as the parent club for the Kelpie with the CKC so that we may support the development of the Working Kelpie in Canada”. All in favour. I'm sure I don't need to spell it out to anyone who can read, but as you can see, the only motion on the table was one to pursue recognition of the club by the CKC. Now, back to you. In my earlier post, the one which evidently aroused your intense hostility, I was finally driven to point out exactly what your experience with working dogs has been, since you are a frequent and vehement contributor to discussions involving what makes a good working dog. You're also keen to join in the hunt when the AKC is discussed. Therefore, I thought it was only fair that others be apprised of your level of experience and your competence, as otherwise they might have a quite mistaken impression of your experience and knowledge. You may not like it, but there it is. As far as I am concerned, I am trying to do the right thing by the Working Kelpie, as I have tried my best to do by the border collie. That doesn't mean I'm right, necessarily, but I'm trying my best. For you to suggest otherwise is scurrilous and malicious. How about you? What are YOU doing, other than posting your opinion on what makes a good working dog on every list known to man, and then attacking those who question your opinions? At least I've finally induced you to do it publicly, rather than by vicious and threatening PM's, which I have experienced personally and which I am told you resort to with some frequency. A
  13. I haven't seen the minutes Kelpiegirl, but then, I am only a member and wouldn't expect to. I wonder how you got them? In any case, if you want to publish the minutes, you should probably ask the board of directors for their permission. You know who to contact? To reiterate, alll I can say is that to my recollection, full recognition was not a topic of discussion at all, or if it was, it was made clear that there was no need for the club to apply for full recognition (ETA: of the BREED) in order to be recognized (ETA to add: as the National club). If there is a contradictory reference to that in the minutes, then I was either not in the room during the discussion and vote or the minutes are in error. Take or leave it. Andrea
  14. Julie 1. You're wrong. I supported the formation of the club and the general premise that the club, once formed, should consider applying to be recognized by the CKC as the National club. If the minutes say otherwise, they are in error. 2. Yes, I am supplying my legal services pro bono to incorporate the club. A
  15. Julie P., Yeah, I know. I worry about that too. And it may well be that I have taken the first step on that road to hell that is paved with good intentions. Even so, my choices in the matter are curtailed by the reality that the Kelpie is already recognized as a miscellaneous breed. As you may know, the Animal Pedigree Act (Canada) will only recognize one registry for a breed. So, in order for the breed to be "saved" from the CKC, a group would have to marshall enough Canadian Kelpie owners to take over the breed registry and displace the CKC. Much like what the CBCA did many years ago. So, in reply. First: I suggested it and didn't get the support. Second: Even if I got the support to pull it off, would it make any difference? Sadly, as we saw recently, keeping the registry was not enough to prevent the CKC from recognizing the border collie as a miscellaneous breed anyway--which is where the Kelpie is now. So, possibly a meaningless course? Third: the breed can stay in the miscellaneous class indefinitely, which, while I'm not enthusiastic about, I can live with. I would NOT support any move to full registration. At least the way things are now, I feel that by forming a club with the focus being on the working dog, I and other like-minded individuals will have a say in what happens to the breed. I'm taking it a step at a time--there may well be a decision made at any time that I will be unable to support. As I say though, I'm open to input and am by no means rock-solid in the decisions I've made until now. A
  16. Actually, I'm not. I would certainly oppose full CKC registration, and feel pretty ambivalent about the breed's current status as a miscellaneous breed, which, as you point out, is a done deal and has been for some time. You may be alluding to the fact that there is a club being formed, by people I know, that may at some future point apply to be recognized by the CKC as the national club for the breed. The club is called the Working Australian Kelpie Club and consists exclusively of individuals who own working Kelpies. Yes, there are arguments for and against this. My personal, albeit reluctantly held view, at this point anyway, is that it's PROBABLY better to be the club recognized by the CKC as the sole representative of the breed, rather than leave the field open to some other group that doesn't give a rats' ass for the breed's working ability. I have by no means made up my mind yet, though. I assume from your last that you do have a contrary opinion which you are panting to impart? Andrea
  17. Good. Just wondering what your plans were for your half-show bred bitch. Happy to hear that you have no plans to breed her. Of course, you DID buy her from a non-working dog breeder. Perhaps before you knew better? No PM's please. Andrea
  18. Hmmm. Are we REALLY speaking in the abstract? I'll say it again. Why on earth would you even consider breeding anything less than stellar to anything else less than stellar when there are so many classy proven working dogs? Yes of course some working breedings will turn out duds that couldn't work sheep out of a paper bag, and the occasional half- or quarter-bred dogs will produce something decent, as happened here. But the odds are better when you do it right. Which brings us back to my other point, which is that supporting show and sport breeders by buying from them enables them to stay in business. Breeders that now and then can produce something half decent only by coat-tailing on the genetics of genuine and proven working dogs, dogs that were the result of breeding for the work over innumerable generations. A
  19. Absolutely. And I would add that buying from a show breeder, even if it is a product of an outcross to a working bred dog, only encourages and justifies poor breeding practices. Much like buying from a puppy mill or a pet shop. And it becomes even more ridiculous if you contemplate the fact that you can buy a top quality working bred prospect, from working parents that you can see work, for a mere pittance. Besides which, you have now provided the original breeder with a rationale to continue breeding, since now one or two of the offspring can actually do a little something. Not to mention the fact that a working/show or working/sport cross, while it may by chance turn out to be a reasonably good working dog, might end up being bred to again, leading to a dumbing down of a vulnerable working gene pool, since it is highly unlikely to produce anything worthwhile, given the availability of indifferent genes in its own makeup. A (Not to take anything away from the un-named handler who, we are told, didn't know any better at the time, and has gone on to prove herself and the dog at the highest levels. Kudos to her)
  20. Half Toller? He's orange enough. Either way, I'm besotted. But you knew that. A
  21. Strangely enough, the fact of the matter is that of the border collies that I have observed among NON-pet people that I know, it is evident that the employment of what you choose to describe as 'corrective training methods and dominance theory' are producing perfectly well adjusted, easy to live with dogs. Who's denying that? Huh? Breeding for work creates weird dogs with behaviour issues? How does that follow? And how does that take us directly to the use of click/treat stuff? <shaking head bemusedly> Because, um, they're actually RARELY seen in stockdog circles, let alone every day. A
  22. One more. Shedding again. This one works on the same principle as musical chairs. Take turns shedding in a shedding ring. Start with the whole flock. Draw for position. Modified international rules ie you STOP the ones you want to keep and let the chosen ones go. You must let go 1/2 the flock and keep 1/2 the flock, within a sheep or two: your friends will tell you if you did. (Yeah, you might have to count). Or, if you don't have enough sheep for that, you must not let more than two-three go until that's not an option because of the number of sheep remaining. The shed off sheep are no longer in use but can be allowed to hang out in the vicinity for added interest. Rejoin disqualifies you. Next person comes up to shed, same rules. Etc. The first one who can't get it done within the allotted time is eliminated. Last one standing is the winner. I haven't worked out all the details on this but I think it would work. The Le Mans: set up four or five drive panels around the field. You stand in the middle and can't leave the post. Option: you can pick where you set your cone. You must do a drive through each panel (ie no pull-throughs) but can start at any panel. Once you settle on a direction, you must continue either clockwise or counterclockwise through the panels. Judged on points/time. I HAVE done this one. It's fun. A
  23. Yeah, I love that one too Julie. I actually do that where I keep my sheep. The middle field has a pond and is wooded. The far field has a dip in it, so the sheep are effectively hidden and provide a blind outrun. None of the gates are in line, so the "fetch" has multiple dog legs. I got the idea from reading about what hill dogs are often required to do to go from the home farm up onto the hill to bring in the flock. Shedding at a distance is courtesy of Scott Glen. Louise and I added the cooler and chair refinement. Another idea: the "W": four gates (or cones) in a row, 7 yards apart, about where you would place the fetch panels. Bring the sheep through the first gap, drive back through the middle and home again through the far gap. A
  24. You could try a team event. First handler does the outrun, lift and fetch, second handler the drive, third handler the shed and pen. Sheep are brought to a cone near the post and dropped there for the next dog to take over. Other stuff: Penning at a distance: pen gate is propped open, handler must work them in while standing at the post. Set it up so that each handler has to gate sort his/her own group out from the flock before proceeding with the run. We specified two ewes and two lambs at one trial. Alternatives: a black sheep, a hair sheep, like that. Have the sheep go through a chute set up at right angles in front of the post. You stay at the post. Settle the sheep in a ring, catch and flip one of them. Use two or more adjacent fields with offset gates: stand on the hill where you can see everything, direct the dog from your feet, through all the fields, and bring the sheep back the same way. Armchair shedding at a distance. Sheep, the whole flock, should be at least 100-200 yards away. While sitting in your chair, preferably with a cooler in your hand, line them out, call your dog in, drive the one group away from the other. Silent gathers are always interesting. A
  25. Hah! Good opportunity to get a new dog. Trade in a Huntaway for a bonus. Seriously, I'm impressed. 700 in a morning seems pretty decent, especially with a baby on your hip. A
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