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Bill Orr

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    Herding BCs

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  1. I'm very glad to have met you. Thanks for sharing all your thoughts about herding and the wonderful Border Collie. Our Border Collie handler's community is smaller with you promoted to the next class. Bill
  2. Bill Orr


    Lad, or as registered "Boone's Lad" (11/22/2004 - 5/30/2018), physically departed this orb yesterday. He had a good run -nearly 14 1/2 years. He was a good trial dog, working livestock dog, friend, clown, fearless protector, adaptable companion to man and their other pests. He lived with us in SC and Oregon. He lived with Shauna Wilson and Mario Galianno in Yreka, CA. All of us loved him. He was Mario's dog last, managing Shauna's sheep and overseeing her collection of dogs. Shauna fulfilled the necessary but terrible responsibility of letting Lad go when it was his time. Lad was a big, black dog. Son of my Boone and Keena Turner's Kyrie, he could move our sheep from 50 yards away with a glance from outside the pasture. He would fearlessly take ahold of nose, ear, lip, or tongue of any livestock who challenged him - no cheap grips. He came along while I was making progress in learning to train and trial, but I didn't yet know how to handle the different capabilities of dogs. Also, his training was following Boone who was a wonder. I did many things wrong and I ask my dogs' spirits to forgive me. Lad got along with all our dogs. Never cross or a bully. He competed hard for the soccer ball or ground squirrels. He won Nursery and Open sheep dog trials, placed in Cattle trials, moved and controlled goats and ducks. Travelling with him and Boone across the West was my finest moment. He had a big smile and was a comfy couch potato. What a water dog - the irrigation ditches in Oregon were an adventure for him. I'll never forget him and more than anything hope for a reunion when it's our time. ...... O Laddie Boy Oh, Laddie Boy, the trials, the trials are calling. From Red Creek Farm on down Zamora way. The summer's gone and all the leaves are falling, 'Tis you, 'Tis you must go and I must bide. But come ye back when sheep are in the meadow, Or when the valley's hushed with snow, I'll be there in sunshine or in shadow, Oh, Laddie Boy, oh Laddie Boy, I love you so! But when ye come, and all our trials are faded, If I am dead, as dead I'll be, Ye'll come and find the place where I am lying, And sit and have a thought of me. And I shall hear, though soft you tread above me. And all my grave shall warmer, sweeter be, For you shall bow and tell me that you love me, And I shall sleep in peace until you come to me! Oh Laddie Boy, Oh Laddie Boy, I love you so.
  3. I'm attaching a file with memories of a wonderful chapter in my life. Thanks to all who have been part of it. Bill Boone as I Remember.. BooneAsIRemember.doc
  4. Although I realize there are many ways to train a working (herding) border collie, I would offer a couple of caveats: 1) It may not be the most beneficial practice to have a young dog with lots of "eye" sit and watch livestock close at hand. 2)Regardless of littermates' or related animals' behavior, there can be vast differences in personalities and effective techniques. What works for one, may not work with another. I have tried both the "sit and relax" and the "packed pen" practices. It might confuse a young dog when you take it to penned sheep one time and you want it to chill while you read a book and have a cup of coffee, and yet the next time you go, you want the dog to work (move, stop, control) the same livestock. How does the dog know? Look for a book and cup in your hand? Putting a keen young bc in a crate in a pen full of sheep seems almost mentally cruel. A lot like tying the dog to the inside of the pen with sheep in it. The dog learns how strong the crate and rope are, but not much about working with you. If I wanted a LGD or barn cat to relax in close proximity to livestock, I think the chair, book, and tea might be the method of choice. Since I want the dog to WORK WITH ME, I'm going to have a stop on the dog, some idea that it's working with and on me, and some idea that it respects my authority. Notice that Holland's (pg 154) very thorough description of close work does not come at the beginning of training. A related exercise that may help is when you go into the field with the dog on a lead and walk toward the sheep, stop, turn at least 90 degrees and tell the dog "that'll do" and start walking away from the sheep until the dog yields to your redirected command. Do this several times before starting to work. The idea is to get the dog attending to you at least a little instead of attending to his overpowering desire to get to the sheep on his own terms. (passed along from Judith Kelly to me years ago with my first dog.) Obviously there is no one-size-fits-all. Improvement and learning are progressive (Holland, Stephens).
  5. I think I MAY see Tea's confusion. (as I had it too while reading the helpful suggestions) I'll bet Tea and I think that the "reward" for the BC is the work itself. We've seen that concept with the herding dogs we work or trial with who have been selected because of their inherited skill to gather livestock AND please humans. The work ethic and instinct is what makes it possible to do work out of sight and half a mile from the human. No toy or treat reward is necessary. The work itself is "fun". Consider this possibility for the non-herding BC. You'll like it, if you can get your mind around it. I've had BCs that wouldn't give a hoot if it was cookie time or any other treat; but take them to stock and they would work themselves to death (literally) for you. They would only take the treat to please me I think. B If you have a BC that has this work ethic passed down from some herding ancestor, why not take advantage of it? If you have a wonderful BC that does not have it, then you'll still be able to train it with more non-intrinsic reward methods just like you would any non-working breed. It seems to get down to no one-size fits all. Read the dog before you read the advice.
  6. I read the original post because I too have a young BC who is shy and distractible. Although we are herding enthusiasts, I found your post contains some of our similar concerns. CptJack's response was great and very helpful to me. It reinforces the thought directions I plan to follow with my young dog. Anything I can do to focus the young dog on me (what I'm doing) is where I'm going. A respected friend noted that he has found that with his inexperienced herding dogs that he can get their attention three times as fast if the animal has a leash on instead of running around on its own. Not to say that the dog doesn't get free-run exercise, but very limited play with other dogs or just sniffing. Once he is more mature and trained, he'll get more freedom. Just like human animals, right? I don't know how you are, but when I'm asking the dog or trying to get a response I think I have maybe verbally praised but not changed my expression (I'm not a great smiler and sometimes too intense). Now after 12 years of intensive dog exposure, I think I see a response to relaxed, smiling facial expression in my dogs. Temple Grandlin I think talked about the minute expressions that animals recognize. Anyway I'm still learning what works better for me. Another very successful trainer once told me that you can change whatever you have the patience for. I have had my dog of a lifetime and also pups that we have raised who were easily trained and focused. I'm hoping that this dog will have a better life because of the effort we're going to take to get there. Thanks CptJack. B
  7. All due respect to trainers who quote or refer to Bobby D. and his "long line", they are not Bobby D. It's a real talent to effectively use a long line to effectively correct a border collie on live stock...no silver bullets for the rest of us. Good comments from Donald C. and Julie P. . Doesn't make a difference if the World Champion has this or that .. it's the dog in front of you that matters. Antidotes are interesting, but not necessary useful. That two party rope trick isn't going to work. You're just getting a bigger hammer to hit your finger with. The horse on a lunge line is an example of lack of understanding. Acceptable in a novice, but not in a good trainer. I guess I'm a little perplexed about the concept of not judging what I saw on the video because it was a video. Were there visual, high tech tricks used to make it look like it did? One needs to carefully think about fear in young animals. I can make any dog lie down or get back from sheep, but once I've done that, it's not probable that I can "make" it walk up. Read Temple Grandlin. Most of the good advice on gripping says we have to figure out why (probably) the dog is doing it. I would vote that more weak dogs, ie ones that may have be made weak are likely to grip that those that have be taught to work livestock. Anyway, few dogs get trained online or on the phone Alfreda, but if you want to call me 541-831-6957, I'll sympathize. You can start them too early, but rarely too late. B
  8. re the video... It is a testimony to the instinct to work and their desire to please man, that these dogs ever learn to help us herd. We label them, put them in a pressure environment, don't develop their respect for us before going to stock, and whack them or "jerk them off their feet" when they show the enthusiasm we hoped for. The first part of the video with Otto on the leash walking toward the stock doesn't teach the dog anything about herding, nor does it bring out his intrinsic instincts that you want to shape and control. Probably makes him frustrated. He is a real warrior to do that "exercise" and still want to work sheep. You can see him turning his head away and then go back when called to following the sheep on the leash. Your two person exercise in the first post won't work. One thing you can do with two people is let one hold the leash/rope until the TRAINER is near enough to the sheep to block the dog (see V. Holland pg. 49 - 60). Keys: get the dog to the opposite side of the sheep; nearly continuous motion; stop the dog only on balance. Short sessions. RED FLAG alert. If you've been doing what is illustrated for "5-6" times, do something else. A rule of thumb is if what you're doing is working, keep doing it. If it isn't working STOP and do something else. Otherwise you're just teaching the wrong behavior and hurting your and the animal's confidence. (also applies to most of life's problems) A good goal for this dog might be to start seeing some relaxation (and not just because he is exhausted from a long, pressurized session). With the number of times Otto has changed direction in the video, you could have taught him his right and left commands. As it is I can only imagine what he thinks "Good boy" means for him to do. Stick to the commands you've taught or teaching and corrections. The work is rewarding enough for a keen dog like Otto. The chatter while the dog is on stock is just static for him to ignore, which you don't want him to learn to do. Remember you're teaching him to learn. In addition to Holland's book, I highly recommend you find the seven part series of articles published in the Working Border Collie magazine titled "Training Skills" by Kay Stephens Sep/Oct 2005 - Nov/Dec 2006. That bush in the middle of your round pen makes for a worst training venue. Have you worked on a lie down off of stock? I really like your dog and hope you have great success. The time necessary is worth it. Don't blame the dog; don't label the dog. Find a way to get the results you want. Sincerely Bill
  9. Nothing will give you more satisfaction than to train your dog to ITS highest level without the prejudice of negative OPINIONS. Over the years that I have training and trialed my dogs it has dawned on me that a lot of the talk ABOUT this dog or that dog based on some "big hat" or breeder's opinion does more harm than good to a less confident trainer and their untrained dog. We hear "too much/not enough eye", "soft", etc. And then when we take our dog to stock, what do you think we look for first? That's right, the negatives that we've heard from others. Be careful who you listen to. Unless this dog makes you unhappy, forget about its breeding. Learn to observe what it actually does in training. If it doesn't do what you want, figure out how to work on that problem. Don't blame the dog until you're sure you've accurately observed what is happening and the probable causes. Give a lot of thought to how you're going to train. There are many more poor trainers/handlers than there are unworthy dogs. A lot of beginners want to get the dog to do something once and they think it is trained. A very few dogs are that way, but most of us require various degrees of repetition. With enough planning, persistence, and patience you will probably do better than a lot of the people who feel the need to get the son/grandson of an imported champion and think it will be an out-of-the box winner. I sincerely wish you and your dog great success - go to work! It's a great ride.
  10. Very sorry for your loss. Tess had a great run at life and you are the benefactor. Sincerely, Bill
  11. How do you correct them when they do other things you don't like? If it works, do that. If it doesn't, for each dog find it's motivation to be obedient. Be consistent and persistent. Dogs in a kennel don't have to bark all the time. Give the youngsters a chance, but expect them to make progress as the learn. What you permit, you teach. Good luck.
  12. I'm glad I got to meet her at the Bad Lands in ND and Roy Johnson's trial in VA. What memories you have of her.. Our best, Bill Orr
  13. Twilight by Luan Egan (a tribute to Molly, a good Border Collie) Fall is upon us. Leaves flash crimson, Then fall to nourish new life. In the twilight of an old dogs day I sit beside her feeble form I watch her dream of balls and sheep. I reflect on what has gone before How lucky I was that she found me She changed my life. Starting that journey Full of vibrant energy and enthusiasm Long walks, exploring life and new adventures All the things we worked through, Together. Soon, too soon She will be lost to my touch As she moves beyond my existence Into the realm of dreams, forever. Soon, too soon I will have only my memories To comfort me, to remind me Of how special she is What she means to me. The time is here old friend, To say goodbye That'll do, one last time Until we meet again In the realm of dreams. Wait for me. ****** She's lovely... Bill
  14. A good website for searching property in the West is www.windemere.com. You can enter acreage and min and max price along with other criteria. All due respect to my former neighbors in the SE, but your access to trials in NC is nothing compared to Oregon. We moved from upstate SC 5 years ago to SW Oregon and love it. Acreage really depends on the nature of each specific piece, but I can' imagine a decent working arangement on less than 5 acres. Just like sheep, you'll never have exactly what you need for training (unless maybe your favorite uncle is Ted Turner). Get in contact if you decide to pursue Oregon. A lot of strangers (at the time) helped us. B
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