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Pearse

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  1. My guess is the forum software got updated and the badges are a new "feature". Only the site admin can turn them off. I am both a "Newbie" for my first post (despite being here since 2004) and a "Posting Machine" (>500 posts) apparently so I am now paralyzed with indecision, unable to ascertain my place in the world.
  2. On leash at all times. All dogs will chase livestock and most can't be trusted to be recalled. A Border Collie will chase livestock. Livestock that is chased will end up getting hurt. Even a Border Collie that has never shown interest in stock will chase stock. When we train Border Collies to herd, it always starts out as chasing. Usually as very young dogs, always in controlled environments (like a round pen) where the dog can be stopped or discouraged from chasing or injuring stock. In an open field with an untrained dog, it's a disaster waiting to happen. I agree that a muzzle would be unnecessary if the dog is leashed. I would keep the dog leashed and not on a long line. On a leash, you can discourage chase behavior. A long line will encourage by giving the dog some room to chase. Long lines are fine in a training environment but for walking around someone else's farm with an untrained (and by untrained I mean not trained as a stock dog) a long line just gives the dog room to lunge after stock.
  3. "I did not see it myself, but I am sure she was leaning over him with her hair in his face and being too smothering as I have told her numerous times not to do." What other people have said. You can't trust kids not to do things with the puppy that they aren't supposed to do when you aren't watching - because they are children. You can't trust the puppy not to react inappropriately when kids do things they aren't supposed to do when you aren't watching - because it's a puppy. You are the one in charge and you are the responsible when bad things happen. Sorry that's not meant to be judgmental, just a fact. Don't let the puppy out around the children when you aren't there to supervise. It's not fair to the dog. Going to make dinner? Pup in crate. Just nipping downstairs to put a load of laundry in. Pup in crate. You could put the kids in a crate instead but that tends to be more problematic with the authorities. Besides, they learn slower than Border Collies. The dog will learn as it grows and it will learn faster when you are there to prevent unwanted behavior. The kids will learn too (slower because they are human children), so this isn't forever. It's like house training a pup. Crate - outside - crate - feed - outside - play - outside - crate. If you do that, the pup is house trained mostly by four to six months and trustworthy in the house by itself by 9-12 months. If you don't you're still getting "accidents" a year later. The same is true with the biting. Pups bite each other. Adult dogs bite pups. So, it's normal behavior. They learn it hurts and they learn to avoid behaviors that get them nipped. If you are there, you can correct the dog and you can make sure that the kids don't engage in behavior likely to get them bitten. If you aren't, you can't. A well known handler once told me " with Border Collies, you are always training, for better or worse." It's stuck with me. You need to teach the dog that the kids are off limits. You can only do that when you are there. You need to teach the kids that there are certain things they aren't allowed to do to the dog. You can't do that if you aren't there. So, only solution is no unsupervised kids/pup interactions until both have that figured out. Hard to do? Absolutely. Necessary? Yes. The pup most likely does not have a behavioral problem. He as a lack-of-adult-supervision problem and your kids have a lack-of-respecting-pup-boundaries problem (not their fault - they are young kids). As with most things Border Collie, there isn't a magic solution. It's all down to time, training, and consistency.
  4. I used to work in a lab that did research in this area. It was well-controlled research by people who really knew their stuff. They saw some minor effects in cell culture at REALLY high EMF field strengths but even then, they weren't consistent or significant enough to even publish. In animal studies, they saw no effect. They were looking at both carcinogenic effects (there was a lot of talk at the time about living near power lines causing cancer) and found none, and also therapeutic effects and found none. I'd save your money.
  5. Central Minnesota and we have seasons. In the winter, it can get down to -40C, although that is rare. Typical winter temps ( Dec-Feb) are around -10C (although lately it's been warmer than usual and temps are between 0C and 1C during the day). We usually get a couple of weeks of -20C and below in Jan/Feb. Spring and Fall are mild between 10C and 20C Summer is moderately hot with the average temps in the 20C - 30C range and a handful of days 37C+ It's moderately humid here too except when it gets really cold in winter when the moisture basically freezes out of the air. The dogs do well in the complete range of temps. Obviously need be careful when it gets over 75F/24C. In winter, they can work at any temp but usually by the time we get to the coldest months Jan/Feb, there's too much snow to work sheep or dogs in unless absolutely necessary, but they'll happily go for runs down to -25C with no bother.
  6. If your Border Collie wants to herd something (ducks, birds, horses, children, even sheep if you are not asking it to herd sheep at the time), then you need to teach it not to herd anything unless you tell it to herd. That sounds obvious, and easy, but it's neither. Border Collies instinctively will try to control anything that moves. In the beginning this is just chase behavior. With training, it becomes herding. If left alone, it results in undesirable behavior. Things you don't want herded (birds, ducks at the park, deer, children) end up getting bitten because the dog can't control them. Dogs who try to herd horses get injured when the horse stomps or kicks them (or the horse/rider gets injured). Sheep get run into fences or bitten or chased. Keep the dog leashed around other animals. Teach a recall (here) and a "leave it" command (I use "leave it") to teach them to ignore what ever it is they want to engage with. A good dog obedience club in your area is the best way to learn how to do this if you aren't familiar with dog training methods. It takes work but even the best sheep herding dogs are actually trained not to work livestock unless given permission to (yes they will try to cheat but they can be called off). It's an important skill for herding dogs to learn and those who don't are generally a nuisance. Even trained dogs are not allowed around livestock or wildlife unattended and off leash. Young working Border Collies are always kept on leash until the handler is certain that they can be called off stock reliably.
  7. Whoops - sorry. I did not even realize this was in the "Ask the Expert" section. Pearse
  8. I would never allow any dog, other than a trained livestock guardian dog, to be alone, unsupervised around livestock - ever. Any dog will chase livestock, over cliffs, through fences, or just run them until they drop. An untrained stock dog with a high prey drive, will "work" livestock to death. It's not the dog's fault. The dog will do what the dog was bred to do. So yes, it's entirely possible that your dogs killed the calf. They may have just run it around until it died. They may have bitten and worried at it until it died. Or maybe they didn't. Maybe the calf died of natural causes and the dogs found it that way. Either way, it's not the dogs' faults. They were doing what is in their nature to do. They cannot be allowed to have unsupervised access to livestock - ever. Working dogs need to be trained to only work stock when you tell them to, and only work the stock when you tell them to work. Even with a fully trained dog, I would not allow them to have any access to livestock unsupervised. Don't ever let your dogs run loose with stock around the place.
  9. At a USBCHA Board of Directors meeting on August 1st, the Directors considered a bylaw amendment proposal from the Rules Committee. The change would affect bylaw 4.3 concerning the term length for Directors, extending it from 2 years to 3 years and imposing a two term limit (maximum six continuous year tenure for any Director). The reason for the change is to provide more continuity on the Board. It is felt that because we are so spread out, it takes any new Director a year to get up to speed on how the board works and what the issues under consideration are, and most directors are just becoming effective when they rotate off. The term limits are to encourage more members to represent the membership on the Board of Directors. This change will be on this year's Directors Ballots which will be mailed out to all members on August 6th. The current board voted unanimously to accept the recommendation from the Rules Committee and forward the change to the membership with a recommendation that members also vote in favour of the change. Thank you. Pearse Ward District 5 Director.
  10. I was interested in an article I came across which said that keto diets were originally developed to treat epilepsy in humans and showed some positive effects. There are some journal articles with evidence that it might have a positive effect on dogs with epilepsy too. Was wondering whether or not anyone had experience with a vet prescribing it for that purpose and what their experience with it was.
  11. You don't need to be knowledgeable about judging. That's the judges job. However, depending on the judge, you may learn a lot about judging criteria. The only way you'd be "more trouble than I'm worth" is if you insist on talking to the judge all through the run. Most judges do not mind you asking questions in between runs (some do so it's best to ask the judge or have the trial host or course director do it and tell you) but the judge needs to focus on the runs while they are happening. If the timer doesn't beep on it's own, make sure you tell the judge when time is up quietly enough that the handler can't hear. Let the judge call time. The trickiest thing is to know when to start the timer because sometimes the way some handlers set their dogs up looks like false starts (and sometimes it is a bit of gamesmanship). If you aren't sure, just ask the judge to tell you when to start the timer. If you aren't comfortable with numbers, bring a calculator, or ask the Course Director to find one for you. Some trials do shed then pen, some do pen then shed, some do shed, pen, single. If its your first time, for the first few runs, put something to the left of the score sheet to remind you which one to mark first. Trials are always short of volunteers. Trial hosts are always super grateful to anyone who wants to help. Most judges are eager to help people new to the sport become knowledgeable and interested. Please do volunteer. You will enjoy yourself and you will learn a lot. Pearse
  12. I would give him a week, or two, with no running or jumping. If it's gone by then, gradual return to exercise (walking) and if it is OK after a week then gradually ramp up to normal exercise levels. If the limp isn't significantly better after a few day's rest and gone after a week or so, then have a vet look at it. If it was yourself who came up lame after a run or a hike, you'd ice the affected muscle or joint, take NSAIDS and rest until a week after the pain went away. Then gradual return to exercise over several weeks. I think you need to give the dog the same prolonged recovery period. They are super-athletes but biology is biology and a strained muscle or ligament still takes time to heal.
  13. John Wentz in Portage WI grazes his sheep on a ski area in the summer. Saves them money and is more environmentally friendly than using herbicide or mowing.
  14. I don't understand this comment. In USBCHA trialling, there is only one course (outrun, lift, fetch, drive, shed, pen) and the only variants are right-hand vs left-hand drive and shed before/after pen. The distances and sheep will vary but the course is always the same and there are people who train their dogs by going over and over that course every day.
  15. I thought a "Scotch Collie" was a bad Border Collie who drove his handler to drink.
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