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About FlyByNight

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  • Birthday 01/24/1986
  1. Great posts from everyone. CMP, glad to hear "yeah, yeah, it's scary, now deal" is an acceptable attitude - it's most certainly one I subscribe to. I do travel in mostly sport/pet circles when it comes to BCs. And in those circles, these things crop up from time to time and everyone acts as if they must be treated with kid gloves. I think it is perhaps the mistaking of sensitivity with fragility. Sadly, of the multiple farmers I know, none uses a dog for work. Perhaps because I'm in New England and farms are not that large. I know more hunters who seriously work their dogs. I'd love to see a "take no prisoners" BC.
  2. I do have a cur/hound that would work as hard, but he might eat the ram instead of facing it down. : P I'm stereotyping of course though. I'm know there are gritty dogs among the breed - but I'm not talking specifically on stock either; I'm speaking more broadly, i.e. day-to-day living. A better question might be: In a given litter, how many pups will be (environmentally) bombproof, and how many will have reactivity issues at some point in their life? If you were to average the litter between those two extremes, what side would it tend to fall on? All I'm positing is that there are some breeds that exhibit great resilience in the face of upset and are known for it - they take things in stride and not much ruffles them. And there are others where stimuli need to be introduced more slowly and/or carefully. It's neither good nor bad; just a propensity. As a less patient and often sloppy handler, I wouldn't be a good fit for the latter. I would actually argue that you must be a better handler to deal with that temperament.
  3. Same issues yes - but at the same rate? Not in my experience (see previous responders assurances that this is normal and not atypical of the breed). I have also seen territorial/resource guarding dogs who are pushy. This is typically coming from a different place than one who is afraid, and therefore lashing out. The pushy dog resource guarding is on the offensive. The anxious one is on the defensive. In reading these boards, it seems most Border collies are on the defensive during these periods.
  4. I will admit, that much as I admire and respect the breed from a distance, this sort of thing is why I will probably never have one. I am much, much better at working with a pushy, test-the-limits dog that needs to be told to knock it off and deal, than one that is actually afraid of things. I'm don't think I'm patient enough, and would ruin it. Are there any "gritty" Border Collies? I've never heard one described as such, anyway. Maybe an ACD for me... !
  5. Hi All, If you saw my other post in livestock management, you know hubby and I are moving soon, and that I plan to buy land in Maine and begin small-scale farming. As we search for property, we've been living and working in SE Pennsylvania. My folks live in the area as well, and in my spare time I've been working with their herding-something mix. They never did much with her, so I've been impressed with her progress. She's very smart, and wants stimulation; right now we're doing house manners and agility. Here's my quandary - when we leave the state, do I leave her behind? I'm starting to get a little attached, I'll admit. And my two current dogs will be "useless" on the farm - one's an old chow mix, the other a Plott Hound. So I got to thinking and figured if she's decent enough around stock, maybe I could use her. But how will I know? Which leads to my questions: - Is it ever worth trying a 5/6 year old mutt on sheep? - She's killed a raccoon before without hesitation; will she just attack sheep? (she does live with cats) - If it is worth giving a shot, who in SE PA could help me assess her? Disclaimer: I know nothing about training sheepdogs. Forgive me if the answer here is obvious. All thoughts/comments welcome -
  6. Hi everyone, I wanted to make a quick post and see if there is anyone in Maine who could advise/mentor me on small scale farming with sheep. I'd be happy to work, or just shadow, or whatever arrangement would be doable for the farmer. As background, hubby and I are moving to the western mountains of the state in June(ish). I plan to start a small diversified operation, with room for growth. I'm serious about doing this - the plan is to go full time if the market is there. Otherwise I'll just feed us and family/friends. I'm looking at hair sheep - Katahdins - but am open to other suggestions. I'm just not interested in wool. We're in the planning stages so what I need right now are locals who can give input on stocking rates, slaughter and shipping options, pricing, etc. We've also started looking at land so I'm hoping for help assessing property. It's a lot to ask; farmers are busy people. But I figured if anyone had suggestions, it'd be the sheepdog folks. Thanks in advance !
  7. Any system, no matter the good intentions behind it, will end up corrupted and abused by those with other motives. The SV in Germany is the ruling organization that controls the breeding of German Shepherds. All Shepherds under the SV are required to pass a breed survey certifying the quality of their conformation, must have their hips checked, and must pass a working component - at least up to the level of Schutzhund I (the lowest level of the working test designed for GSDs). But what's happened is that there is still a clear split between those Shepherds bred under the SV rules who are primarily show dogs, and those who are working dogs. The conformation on many of the show-variety SV Shepherds is horrendous, and their temperaments have been steadily watered down, with dogs attaining the working requirement for breeding at "midnight trials" with easy judges and on familiar fields. The Sieger show this year was proof of just how bad it's gotten with the German show-bred Shepherds. The SV Sieger show is the single largest German Shepherd specialty in the world, it's Crufts for GSDs. All of the dogs there have already gotten top ratings for their structure and have supposedly attained a Schutzhund III, the highest level working title available. And yet the bitework phase this year, meant to demonstrate a dog's courage, drive and strength, was pathetic. The dogs were weak, scared of the handler when he actually pressured them a little, and were looking at the whole thing as a game. Several actually ran away. For those familiar with Schutzhund, you can watch the video of this year's Sieger work here: ... notice the cookie-cutter effect going on as well. No ruling body will preserve working quality and health without the people under that system valuing those qualities as well. As soon as breeding becomes big business ("show quality" show-bred German GSD puppies go for $3500 and up), it's all downhill regardless.
  8. Yeah I actually do see something rather setter-y about her, which could well be Brittany since they're not spaniels at all, they're actually closer to pointers and setters. It's something about that low elbow, narrow chest, straight shoulder thing, with the deeper barrel but narrow waist and a bit of an arch to the spine. They also tend to carry themselves very upright.
  9. Another vote for trying out Wellness Core. My mutt does really well on it and she's a picky eater who has a hard time gaining weight too. It's the only thing that keeps her from getting super itchy/dry in the winter as well and I like that even though it's grain-free, it's a little less intense on the protein side.
  10. I read it as a kid as well, loved the book. I also really loved the Albert Payson Terhune book, The Heart of a Dog. He wrote a bunch of stories about lassie collies, before there was lassie.
  11. In my situation, a prong collar worked for me where a choke chain failed. And I know very well how to use both. My late German Shepherd was fairly dog reactive and after building a foundation in focus work and self control with only a flat collar, we were finally able to start taking pleasant walks around the block. In my neighborhood, electric fences are quite popular and many of them go RIGHT up to the line of the sidewalk; in these cases the resident dogs would usually run up and down their perimeters barking their fool heads off and posturing at us as we walked by. For the most part, my dog was able to tune himself in with me well enough that when I would begin to see the small signs that he was going to react, a verbal reminder was all he needed. But there were those times when he needed a physical reminder as well. At those points, a choke chain did not make enough of a physical impression on him for him to come back to me and stay calm, unless I cranked out a hard pop. Which was not what I wanted to have to do. A prong collar, on the other hand, enabled me to give a light jiggle of the lead - not even a tug, just a fluttering of the leash really - and that was all that was needed to remind my dog to stay calm. The prong collar most definitely delivers a much stronger sensory experience to a dog with very little movement on the handler's part than a choke chain, which is exactly what I needed in my case. I needed there to be enough feeling to get my dog's attention w/o hurting him. There is a time and a place for almost everything.
  12. Just wanted to make it very very clear that no, in no way, shape, or form would it be good for Ed Faron to still be in business. He was stupid and ethically lacking in a huge number of ways, and it cost his dogs their lives. What I think is so disappointingly unfortunate is that even after the success of the Vick dogs, the HSUS is still fast to condemn dogs from "game lines" without giving them so much as a chance once national media isn't watching. ESPECIALLY considering there were a number of well established, experienced, reputable rescues willing to take some of the dogs in and place them.
  13. The HSUS was also instrumental this week in the destruction of the 147 Pit Bulls seized in a bust on Ed Faron of Wildside Kennels' yard on charges of dog fighting involvement. Adults and puppies alike were euthanized, despite the offers of five different well known rescues such as Best Friends and BAD RAP to take on some of the dogs for rehab and adoption.
  14. I remember a few years back when the "Panda" shepherd first appeared ... the GSD boards discussed it ad nauseum for a while. In the end it appears to be a coat mutation, that's been exploited by a bunch of breeders looking to make a profit on it. The original litter of pups were DNA ID'd to confirm the parents. White patches are not uncommon in GSD's, even on solid blacks. And there have always been the occasional strange colored GSD's out there ... blues, livers, whites (which became their own division eventually), etc. Way back during the founding of the breed, GSD's even came in brindle. What seems to have been the difference between those off-colored GSD's and the new "panda" shepherd, in my view, is mostly marketing. Someone made a big deal out of a funny color and started advertising. For a better example perhaps, and sticking with this breed, look at long coated Shepherds, which are currently faulted in the AKC and disqualified in the SV (original German registry). Coating is a simple Mendelian recessive, it was easy for many breeders to "specialize" in fluffy GSD's for the pet market, and they've done so for many years. Since normal coated dogs frequently throw coated pups, there were also plenty of very talented, working, coated GSD's who couldn't get breeding rights in the SV - therefore pups bred off of them could not be registered. What's happened though, is that the SV is going to be accepting long stock coat GSD's starting in 2009; they'll be shown in their own division but can be Kor Klassed (breed surveyed) now. I should say, the SV did at one time accept long stock coats (dogs with a long coat but who still possess an undercoat) and then changed the rules. So this is technically more a reversion than a switch. The SV requires dogs to pass a breed survey before breeding in order for puppies from said breeding to be registered. They must have their hips scored, be graded in show, and demonstrate a certain level of working ability (Schutzhund I or IPO I title). Has it worked to preserve working ability in the German Shepherd? Meh. The SV dogs aren't in nearly as dire a state as the American AKC ones, that's for sure ... but there are plenty of SV dogs who are primarily suited for show and wouldn't cut it in a real working environment and never get higher ScH titles than is required to breed, and sometimes get even those under sketchy circumstances. So there's still a division btwn. working and show dogs in Germany, if not as great a schism as that in the US. There is also a blurred middle where some dogs do cross over and do very well in both aspects of show and ability.....
  15. There is a BBC program that has been posted to YouTube in six parts, all focusing on the internal rot going on in pedigreed dogs via genetic disease, etc. REALLY fascinating, and heartbreaking at the same time. Personally, I'm thrilled that someone's exposing the dirty side of conformation breeding/showing, and I also heard that the BBC is considering no longer broadcasting Crufts!! Here's Part 1: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-1LyjlX4Mp8
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