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Everything posted by MickeyDogs

  1. I love watching cross species interaction. My cat, Spencer, would sit on my horse's back as she ate her grain, then calmly the horse would take the cat down into the field as she resumed grazing. Both very content. Annie, my border collie, and Peck, de cat, often play together. It starts with Peck batting at Annie as she dashes by then Annie returns to Peck circling and poking him with her nose, and darting backwards when Peck swats at her. Then one chases the other. A lot of fun to watch!
  2. Learning inside flanks is always exciting!
  3. Trish McConnel also has two other books "The Cautious Canine" and "Fiesty Fido" that may help. Check them out at her website. Check out her blog - always interesting reading!
  4. JMHO Putting the dog in a packed pen is good. Just keep yourself calm and cool to help the dog relax. One guru I extremely admire also had me calmly pick my dog up and rest her on the backs of the sheep while calmly praising the dog. Of course, the sheep need to be somewhat calm too. Keep the time in the packed pen short so there's no overload from either dog or sheep. Putting the sheep in a small area then sitting in there with your dog can also help. You're doing nothing but sitting there watching them graze, if they will. After awhile calmly call your dog and leave the area. Lie the dog down in the corner when taking sheep out of the corner. Let the dog lie there a moment to relax then either let the dog gather the sheep and put them back in the corner to do it again or call the dog off. The calmer you are the better. Quit after a short time again so there's no overload and when the dog seems to be relaxing.
  5. With Nick I wondered too like Julie whether or not he sped up as he got behind the sheep causing him to over flank. That's the MO for many dogs and stopping them on balance helps them to relax in that tight situation. As to Nancy's question it sounds to me the dog is tight and fast coming into the corner causing the sheep to lift off to the side. Of course, the dog can only get out so far because of the fence and it sounds like the dog has a lot of presence. Slowing the dog may allow the sheep to remain in place longer and lift correctly. JMO
  6. Thanks for your replies... So let me ask you this - as you have the dog drive the sheep through the course are you thinking of the shed? If so, are you studying the sheep? Other than the obvious - observing the one that hangs back or otherwise pulls away from the others - what do you observe that helps you with the shed?
  7. At a recent sheepdog trial I was sitting with a more experienced handler as we watched the competitor on the field work the shed. My companion was giving good commentary and at one time pointed out that the lamb in the group had its head down. The way it was stated signified to me that the lamb's behavior had meaning to my companion but being too shy I couldn't ask what. So, here's my question to all of you experienced (or not ) handlers - what behavior do you observe in the sheep that help you set up and successfully shed? What was the significance of the lamb having its head down? At this trial we were allowed to take any sheep, not necessarily the last one on the head. Thanks for any insight you can give me! Still learning on the curve...
  8. Wow! Such anti kid sentiment! I think the OP said tolerate not like. No, not every dog needs to like everyone but certainly in today's litigation-prone society dogs should tolerate children. If it's between a dog and a kid, guess who wins - it ain't the dog, no matter the circumstances. Education for the kids and parents is key (great suggestion - the children's book, "Don't Lick the Dog -- Making Friends with Dogs"!! Gonna go online and buy that one!). Kids don't come "knowing" how to behave around dogs, in fact, they naturally do things that can arouse dogs. We, the dog owners, need to teach them, not the parents - most parents don't know how to behave around dogs either unless they're dog lovers and even then it's iffy. Heck, most unknowing parents buy into that Lassie myth that dogs and kids naturally go together and love is all around!!! Next is helping the dogs feel as relaxed and comfortable around children as much as possible. Dogs don’t come “knowing” how to behave around kids. We need to help them. Unless you want to keep your dogs in a bubble, they are sooner or later gonna meet up with kids. I'd rather have my dog first experience with kids be when I can control the situation so they can later handle the unexpected. Having the older kids throw a ball (under your supervision) is a great way for the dog to view the kids as fun and I like the idea of having the children "train" the dogs. That gives the kids a sense of responsibility and helps them realize the dogs are not stuffed toys but living creatures with feelings. NEVER let the kids and dog alone together, no matter how bomb proof the dog - no matter how dog savvy the kid. ALWAYS supervise their interactions and always be with them when they are together. Be sure to establish "it's time to let the dog alone" rules. It will be your responsibility to enforce these - the parents probably won't. Can you expose your dogs to children before your company comes? Can you find a playground and at first keep your distance so the kids aren't tempted to come over but the dogs can observe the kids playing? Just to get the dogs use to little people that move quickly. Talk with the parents before they come and explain your plan of action on how the kids & dogs can live together in harmony during their stay. Get the parents on board and in agreement with you before they arrive. This experience can either be an unpleasant visit or a chance to develop new, responsible, if young, dog lovers. It's all how you go at it.
  9. Pan's anxiety is now gone and she is at peace, a peace she couldn't find in life. She was one incredibly lucky dog to have had you and no doubt she knows that. Peace to you all.
  10. No flaming here but what I've discovered over the years is that the border collie is one breed that especially needs early socialization and exposure to what life can bring. Other breeds don't seem to require the same effort and not every shy border collie will become the social butterfly. Innate temperament plays a big part. I have two border collies each on the opposite side - one timid, the other outgoing. Maybe it's because I'm a shy, timid person and know how that interferes with my life, I want to help them be comfortable in their skin no matter the circumstances. Depending on the individual dog's temperament that can take time. Also, the border collie being a sensitive breed, I think sometimes the owner's insecurities or anxieties can be mirrored in their dog turning a fairly normal dog into an insecure, phobic one. The downfall of the working border collie is the characteristics of the working border collie. These characteristics make the breed a versatile breed that excels in many areas. Like someone said earlier, in the 70s the border collie took over the obedience ring and the top competitors were buying border collies from working lines (then there were working border collies or pet border collies). Unfortunately, over time, some bred away from what made the breed so successful and, in my mind, created another breed. Same with agility and flyball. Again, the characteristics of the working border collie made them successful in those sports. Luckily there are people breeding to keep the working in the working border collie. It is this work that has fascinated me for over 10 years. Both my dogs work sheep. My older one also competed in agility and flyball. I think she liked them all. It was doing and doing with me that she enjoyed. This breed like all dogs is so adaptable. Would her life been less if she never saw sheep? Don't know - ya'd have to ask her!
  11. 10+ years into this I'm still working on "reading" sheep so can someone answer me this: Your dog is driving the sheep and one stops to pee. Is the sheep 1) stressed; 2) bored; 3) giving the dog the sheepy finger; 4) <enter your answer here> Curious minds want to know Thanks!
  12. Lovely, lovely, LOVELY!!!! I so love old farms <swooning here>. And YEAH for you getting it and not some ole dadburn blanky-blank developer!!! Congrats again and let me know when that fence party is.
  13. Congratulations! It sounds like you kept your head (always a challenge for me!) and helped Soda where she needed it. That's sounds good handling to me!
  14. Hey! Congratulations!!!! Won't it be grand!
  15. I can't give you the final results - I was only there Saturday & Sunday and left Sunday before Open was finished (dang day job!). I do know Gene Shenninger & Jen won Saturday (with a 93, I think), with Dean Holcomb & Star coming in second. When I left Sunday Gene & Jen were in the lead with a score of 97, I believe. They had two beautiful runs! Saturday was quite a challenging day, I must say. Hop Bottom, as most of PA, had been deluged with rain for weeks coming up to the trial and it rained off and on all day Saturday. If you've ever been to Sheepy Hollow you know the field is nestled between 2 mountains with a stream, Route 11, and a train track paralleling the trial field. With all the rain, the noise of the stream, the noise of the traffic on the wet pavement, and a few passing trains it was hard for many of the dogs to hear. Of 75 dogs that ran on Saturday 40 retired during the drive because the dog couldn't hear the handler. Wow! (A little brag here - Annie and I did get around and finished the course. It wasn't pretty but, hey! it pays to have a big mouth! ). Saturday evening a group of us worked on the entrance to the parking area, dumping stone and spreading hay in an attempt to sop up the ankle-deep mud. Luckily the rain stopped and Saturday night and Sunday were dry and by late afternoon Sunday the parking area driveway was dry enough to drive on again (those of us camping were a tad nervous about being able to get out! ). Sunday's runs went better. Cheryl & Dick & company always run a fine trial and the prep work this year was especially tough with all the rain. The sheep were great. Each of us Open handlers got 2 ewes and one lamb and I found the lambs a hoot to work. The grounds are wonderful, and the hospitality is gracious. It's always a pleasure to be there and I thank them for a wonderful weekend.
  16. Oscar worked quite a distance ahead of me and we had simple communication (I'm a great fan of the KISS method of training ). "Get" meant move away from me; "here" meant come toward me; "go" meant go ahead of me. I also taught him obstacle names. Then my boby language cued him, even if he was ahead of me. A pulled in shoulder pulled him in; an open shoulder pushed him out. An extended arm pushed him out; a hand pointing toward my feet pulled him in. So, "get, jump" with an extended arm meant move away from me and take that jump; "here, teeter" with a pulled in shoulder meant come toward me and take the teeter. All this even if he was ahead of me. So if I wanted him to take the left end of a u-shaped tunnel and he was on my right side, I would pull my right shoulder in, and say "here, tunnel". Of course, my timing had to be spot on. Using left and right as commands was just coming into vogue when I was competing with Oscar but I knew I never would be able to think fast enough to get the right directional when I needed it! (I still have that problem but now it's on the sheepdog trial field ) We competed in AKC and this method worked well for us and we were quite successful (and had a lot of fun!) during our agility career. Ah, those were the days!
  17. Very, very nice, Denise. That'll do, Holly. Good girl...
  18. She looks good to me! Be careful... this is very addictive!
  19. Hi Carol, Can you give me some tips how to handle the following? Small field with heavy pressure to the exhaust just right and slightly behind the post. The turn around the post is counter clockwise so the sheep are released to the pressure and if not handled right bolt to the exhaust. I know the turn is set up in the fetch, but how should this be handled to get the best turn at the post? Thanks!
  20. Can ya all tell us what the sheep are like? How the runs are going? What's happening????... it's so hard to be sitting here...
  21. Friends of Glen Highland Farm/Sweet Border Collie Rescue have joined together to host a benefit fun sheepdog trial at Gary and Sue Miller’s field in lovely Ephrata, PA. As trial season gets into full swing, this is a great chance to come out and get some experience working your dog at a new place and for a good cause! WHAT: Novice/Novice, Pro-Novice, Ranch and Open classes will be offered; "In Spirit” entries welcome (and encouraged) WHEN: Saturday, June 13, 2009 WHERE: Gary and Sue Miller’s field in Ephrata, PA (Lancaster County) HOW MUCH: Minimum donation: $20 per run for all classes (REMEMBER: Your donation is tax-deductible and you can run multiple times, so give until it hurts!). All proceeds, after expenses, will go to Glen Highland Farm. No sanctioning, no ribbons but payback to everyone in the form of the good feeling you’ll get for supporting border collie rescue! Because this is a benefit trial, we’re looking for lots of volunteer help to get everything done: judging, scribing, pen, set out, exhaust, score keeping, etc. Let us know what you can do on your entry form. For more information or for an emailed entry form, call or email Lisa Basial, 717-580-2751, LBASIAL@attorneygeneral.gov Thanks for your support!
  22. I'm coming in way late but sending positive thoughts from PA!
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