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Seelie Fey

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  1. I am laughing as I read this. We all come from such completely different perspectives, and that's neat, and why I like this board. To me, asking a flyball dog to run the course without tug and ball is like asking a stockdog at a herding trial to perform the exact manouvers without the sheep, just little chalk marks on the ground and whistles. It just doesn't make sense to me. I don't get it. <shrug> But I am very defensive about anyone, in any context, promoting or spreading the idea that an untrained dog or a poorly trained dog, or a manic dog, or a dog with control issues should ever be in a flyball ring. In fact, I am quite rabid about it. That's how dogs and people get hurt in flyball.
  2. Every Herding trial I have seen, the dogs hover by their owners, look at them, at least one creeps a couple of steps toward the sheep, gets told to down, thinks about it, downs. I've seen the herding dogs jump to their feet and look at their owner and take a step or two toward the sheep (or more), and been called off. In flyball the "sheep" balls, toys, dogs running around are whizzing right by, constantly. Have I seen dogs on the side watching the racing without "joining"? of course. My own dogs are getting out of their crates, exercising, stretching, practicing their tugs before a race right next to the lanes and they mind and call off just fine. But, there is no space in the runnback area and racing lanes for "just a few steps" Do you put your herding dog in a down in the median of a highway with sheep on either side and expect it to stay there just to prove how well trained it is? NO. And I don't use the narrow space between racing lanes of dogs with balls and toys and frantic people calling it as an obedience exercise for my dog. Higher expectations? No - different expectations. <<RANT ALERT>> I trust that in a tournament, if someone's poorly trained dog snarls and lunges at a trained flyball dog from two feet away for several minutes, crosses over and steals the ball from the dog's box in front of the dog, chases the dog down the lane and attacks the dog (and there are people out there who don't properly train their dogs) the dog doesn't engage. He doesn't stop running back even if the other dog tags him. And, if he is racing on the same team as the badly trained dog, he can race right after it, pass it nose to nose, and not flinch, swerve, or growl. I trust that a trained flyball dog can have a perfect stranger come out of the blue, grab it from the crate, take it to racing lanes it has never seen before with dogs it has never encountered before, have it race for them flawlessly, at top speed, even if the dog's owner is racing another dog in the lane beside it. I trust that a trained flyball dog will race the same if it is running against a pomeranian, a pittbull, a poodle, or a presa canario. It will race consistantly if it is handled by it's owner, a friend, a stranger, or a child, in open fields or concrete buildings echoing every single bark of a 100 plus dogs, on grass or matting or dirt or fake grass. It will race the same and give its all if it has been riding in a car for 10 hours, taken to a strange hotel room, taken to a strange place, fed strange food, and handled by a stranger. It will give it's all and run full out even after it has done it 25 times that day, and 30 the day before, is hot or cold, tired or revved. When you are running a dog in flyball, to be competitive, you are asking much more than that it be obedient. There are a lot of obedient dogs that trot over the jumps, go get the ball, trot back and get a "good dog" They're obedient dogs. But, to be competitive, to get your dog to continously improve and get faster, safer, more consistant, you have to ask a lot more than obedience. You ask for them to put their whole heart in it each time and absolutely trust that you will give the same to them. Honestly, think about it. Is an obedience person expecting more of there dog than you do of your herding dog when they say "down" and expect the dog to drop to the ground, none of this simply stopping, or pausing to let the sheep get a little further ahead, or when they say "here" and expect the dog to beeline to them and plant their butt on the floor, rather than arc around the flock giving sufficient space to avoid spooking or stampedeing them, or to expect their dog to attend them and work with them by keeping it plastered to their side looking up at them rather than gathering sheep from half a mile away and heeding whistles and cues to bring them in? Different sports and disciplines expect different things. I respect real stockdogs, the way they intuit and work independently, the way they cut out the select animal or move pregnant or nursing lambs with the required gentleness but can cut off stampedes. But, I don't think less of a working stockdog or think it's owner has lower expectations if it doesn't execute a 380 degree turn backwards in a perfect heel or do scent hurdles or do a perfect set of weave poles or consistantly run a flyball heat in 3.5 seconds. Why do you keep insisting that I have "lower expectations" of my flyball dogs simply because I don't demonstrate obedience exercises in the flyball ring? <<END RANT ALERT>> We value different things in our dogs: For a "biddable" herding dog, it's acceptable, even necessary, to rely on its own moxie to push and snap at sheep to move them, maybe even grip. For a flyball dog, that dog is disqualified and banned because its very dangerous and leads to dog fights. A really good herding dog isn't thoughlessly obedient. The dog interprets, judges, sometimes may even refuse a specific command, but gets the job done without injury, because it's been bred to that for centuries. It's in the genes. The first (and only) herding lesson Seelie had her tail went down, her head went down, and she was circling and moving them this direction and that. She had a whole range of instinctual behavour just waiting to kick in when she saw sheep moving. She certainly wasn't running the entire course the first time she came to flyball practice. I had to teach her every part. A flyball dog that debates, even for a few hundreths of a second, whether to get this ball or that ball, or whether to do the jumps, or whether to chase the rediculously squirrel-like puff ball height dog in the other lane or turn around and snap at the dog chasing him is a hazzard. So, they're trained and rewarded not to. Instead, they are strongly and consistantly rewarded for overiding their instincts. they are conditioned and highly rewarded every time they are in the ring, and encouraged to express enthusiasm and rewarded for it. Their enthusiasm isn't squashed because it isn't their turn. Every single time I line that dog up, I want it to be wholly commited to running down that lane and getting that ball. I don't ever want that dog thinking "but, wait, maybe it isn't my turn" or "she said no last time, so maybe I'm not supposed to." Herding uses the reward systems it has in it because they work well in the tempo and nature of herding. The dogs are bred for it, as their sole justification for existance, for centuries. I don't support dogs being bred exclusively for flyball. The same reward systems do not work in the 3 - 5 seconds a dog runs its flyball race. It's different. But it provides an avenue for my rescued border collie and my rescued shepherd mix to perform, to learn focus, to be valued for the very traits that probably led to them being dumped in the first place.
  3. Exactly. Given the choice between coming back to you and not playing any more or running again and again and again and again, most flyball dogs go for the unauthorized rerun. Some might be intrigued by the 7 to a dozen other handlers yelling and calling and swinging toys and offering treats or balls or whatever they can to get their dog to run back a hundreth of a second faster. Also, it's not obedience. For an obedience recall, my dog trots up to me and sits in front of me. For Flyball, the dog sprints back as fast as it can and doesn't slow down and stop by me, it (ideally) runs full bore, catches the tug mid sprint and goes swinging through the air on the end of the tug. Another safety issue is that if you are playing in a building or in an area with a limited runback, you want to be able to physically halt a sprinting dog in a very short distance, but you don't want to sacrifice speed before he crosses the finish line. Additionally, if the dog does miss the ball or jump, you want to get him back to you as fast as possible, turned around, and running back down the lane. A nice big looping turn doesn't cut it. With a tug, he's there, grab, spin, go, no "here doggie doggie doggie" type delays. Just my opinion, but I like tug over fetch for building interaction, because tug is usually non-verbal (well, I growl at them and they growl back, but that is another issue.) Tug is boring if one is just ripping it away from the other. Instead, you read your dog's body language and gauge how much to pull and he's doing the same thing to you. It's actually very cooperative. My bc is always bringing me bits of paper or rubber bands to tug with. If she pulled full force, the band breaks, the paper shreds, no fun. Instead, she learns to moderate and cooperate so that the game goes on and she has fun. For my shy dog, it seemed to really build her confidence and willingness to offer play behaviour (rather than submissive peeing in a frantic attempt to placate anyone she met ).
  4. Flyball, agility, experimented with herding but didn't like the way the sheep were being treated. Weird tricks and general spoilage. Kind of wish someone did dock diving near here.
  5. Ditto with Seelie. At four months, she was escaping from leashes and halters(!) to flatten herself in front of cars and try to stare them down. She got over it with training and perseverance. No shock or prong collars required, or excessively harsh correction. Just determination and consistancy. Don't let her fixate on cars for an instant it's just wearing a behaviour groove in her brain that you don't want. Don't take her out with you when you gaden if you don't have the time to side-track her. If she is within sight of cars, she's going to take every iota of your attention for awhile.
  6. They're just completely different types of dogs. Aussies are pingpong balls and border collies are snakes. I do think it's funny that <b><i>Australian</b></i> Shepherds were developed in the US. FWIW - my aussie cross has what several different vets have told me is a natural bobtail.
  7. Actually, I was having an idiot moment. I was reading USBCHA as ABCHA. The brain sees what it thinks it should
  8. Could it be an anachronistic old name for USBCHA? http://www.stockdog.com/bordercollie/clubs.htm The website redirects to USBCHA
  9. My border collie loves ice cubes. The other dog isn't so ethralled. Someone told me about icecubes when I first brought her home and was feeling a little overwhelmed. (I'm sure none of you on this BC board can relate to being overwhelmed by your new very first BC puppy)
  10. Ours started with someone who knew flyball who offered lessons. There were a lot of looky-loos and show-up-oncers, but some people stuck to it and we ended up with a team. You will need to find a way to keep people interested. NAFA is a good venue and the poster above me gave very good advice regarding their resources. Check them out. Another venue, U-FLI, has singles and pairs racing, so you can get some tournament stuff going to help maintain people's enthusiasm and give the green people and green dogs some tournament experience. New people and new dogs at a tournament can get overwhelmed and go south real fast. People get stressed and forget they are doing this to have fun. Also, I found singles racing a GREAT way to learn to read the lights and start my dog consistantly. Exhibitions also are a good recruiting method, and running your dog on an open team (once he's trained) can begin to get you in the groove. Both U-FLI and NAFA tournaments are similar in the basics. There are differences, of course, like the singles and pairs option and different ways to measure jump height, but our team competes in both fairly interchangibly. There are very nice, fun people in both venues. If possible, I would suggest registering with both to increase your tournament opportunities. Some potential recruiting resources are 4-H clubs and dog obedience clubs in your area. Don't think "ooh, that dog will NEVER do it" He might. He might not. He might suddenly get it. People with non-stellar dogs who still love participating often make good boxloaders and pass callers. Some dogs, while they will never be competitive, greatly benefit from the socialization and experience of participating in training and can make good teacher dogs. Here are some websites: http://www.flyball.org/ http://www.u-fli.com/ (The two below are mine. They are on a free platform, so they're full of advertising and gunk. There are links, videos, training ideas and descriptions of team roles at a tournament mixed in there, however. If these are inappropriate, please delete.) http://www.squidoo.com/FlyballFever http://www.squidoo.com/flyballboxturn There is a lot of other stuff on the net about flyball. Hope you have a blast with your dogs and new teammates!
  11. Awww - what a cute, hairy puppy. Zoomies are fun, and not just a puppy thing. With the commands, I would think that as long as you use the same command for the same activity and different commands for different behaviours, you're good. With agility, a lot of people use "touch" for the contact command. I use "feet" because touch meant something else for my dogs. Some people say "scramble," some "a-frame" some "walk it", some "#$%^&*()" (hey, wait to see what comes out of your mouth when you get turned around backwards and trip over the teeter) It's good if the old standards are the commonly used phrases (here, sit, down, stand, up, crate, stay, off, leave it, give) because if your dog is being watched by someone else, at the vet, or at the groomer, it will be much easier for them to manage. But, honestly, a lot of the cues the dog will pick up from you will be body language, not verbal. Mine go find a place to lay down when I sit at the computer, jump to their feet when they hear the Windows sign off, go racing to the garage door when I pick up the car keys, exit the kitchen and sit waiting in the door way when I get their food trays out, leap to their feet and start searching for a toy when I look at them and smile, go crazy when I put on my tennis shoes, come over to me and stand still when I pick up a dog brush, and wait by the front door when I get their leashes, all without verbal commands. Currently, my older dog has picked up somehow that I am planning on a long trip and is glued to me so he won't miss out.
  12. Unfortunately, I have had the experience of an off leash dog charging and attacking my dog. I'm not a wimp. I usually have been able to handle the situation on the several other times, before and after, when I have been approached by an aggressive dog. Usually, it doesn't take much more than shoving my dogs behind me and telling the attacking dog "no." Sometimes, it involved shoving a hiking boot in the dog's mouth or picking up my 60lb dog. But this dog ran right around me and my other posturing dog to attack the cowering puppy, and I was stuck in the situation of keeping my other dog out of it and trying to get the attacking dog and Seelie separated.
  13. [i strongly suspect that the charming gentleman has had several complaints about Fido already and has been yelled at by his neighbors, etc. So, instead of managing his dog properly, he continues to do the same stupid thing and expects different results. When his dog had the confrontation with you dog, he was in your face because he knew he was in the wrong and was trying to bully you out of making an issue of it. He's a jackass. You're a teenage girl. He decided you were fair game. Shake the dust of it from you feet and move on. But, please, don't walk your dog all by your lonesome at 11:00 pm.
  14. When I was growing up, we had black labs. I wasn't really into dogs, and pretty much ignored them. As an adult, I did volunteer work at the local humane society and, even though I wasn't a dog person, I hated seeing the dogs just locked up and left in the cages. So, when I realized I could take a dog into work with me and spoil it properly, the idea of giving a home to one of those abandoned dogs haunted me. I thought and thought about it, and decided that, if I were going to get a dog, I would want one that would be active and demanding and make me play with it, take it for walks, and give it the attention it needed. So, I researched and decided on an Australian Shepherd. On my birthday, I went to the pound and there was an aussie cross, so I took him home. He's been a great dog, but when I started working at a place where I could not bring the dog, he would guilt me horribly about being put outside before work. In the effort to keep the hyper driven monster entertained, I had gotten involved in flyball and other dog sports and most of the other dogs on the team were border collies. They had the traits I loved in my dog: high drive, high energy, manipulative, wanting to do stuff, demanding. He got along well with them in the play sessions after practice and they stood up to him just fine with no fighting, so, I went to the shelter and got a border collie puppy to keep him company. She's been a lot of fun - though I kind of agree with what a previous poster said about being "too easy to train." She's been a dream, but I keep waiting for the other shoe to drop or the rebellion to kick in.
  15. There was also the movie "Babe" and the rise in popularity and awareness of dog sports like agility, disc dog and flyball that border collies excel in. I haven't seen "The Day After Tomorrow" If there is a cute bc in there, I'll have to rent it.
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