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Nancy Bovee

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Everything posted by Nancy Bovee

  1. I think I'm just in the mood for arguing today ;-) I think agility is VERY useful. Most of the obstacles are reminders of obstacles that would be encountered by police or search and rescue dogs. Just last week I asked my dog to "table" on a log to get up there so he could move some goats. Quite effective.
  2. I don't see anything wrong with breeding for sport. Just as I don't see anything wrong with breeding for work. I know ranchers who breed working dogs of mixed "breeds" to get the kind of work they need done. What I have a problem with is people who breed for one thing and say it's another. ie. breeing for looks and saying it's breeding for work. Anyone with a really great herding dog will most likely breed for herding which wil keep the best continuing on. What does it matter if the less than great herding dogs get bred for great flyball dogs? Who does it hurt? There are too many sport breeders out there breeding for things other than herding ability. They are breeding for sports and using the bc to breed the mixes. I am not saying it it right but it is the way it is. I give all the bc owners that are trying to keep them for what they were originally bred to be and I am sure they will succeed. It just won't be easy since so many breeders are breeding for other venues now.
  3. It's also difficult to explain to those of us with many training challenges!!! I had pictured the sheep actually against the fence and thought I would be asking him to run directly into the wire..... duh. So now that I think I understand I have another question: I've done an exercise like this when the dog was young asking him to flank to the open field with the sheep actually against the fence. What does flanking toward the fence do differently in terms of changing his notion of how to initiate flank? Thanks, the not just e challenged but all around challenged Nancy Hello all, So sorry for the confusion. I'm not very good at e-training. To square up an outside flank against the fence. You are at 6 o'clock. The sheep are in the middle of the clock, and the dog is at 12 o'clock facing you and the sheep. If the fence is on your right, it will be on the dog's left, and you will be flanking him come-bye into the fence. To square up an inside flank against the fence. You and the dog are on the same side of the sheep. The dog is in front of you between you and the sheep, and let's say the fence is on your right, and the dog's right. You are both facing the sheep. You would then flank him away-to-me into the fence. Either way, if you give him the flank and his first step is forward, give a correction, then lie him down and try it again. The correction should cause him to want to widen, and to do that, he will have to square up. This assumes that your dog is very solid on its flanks. If it's not, don't try this. You'll have a mess. Also, I don't mean that you should all be hard up against the fence. There should be some room for the dog to maneuver. But, when the first step is square, it's easy to tell, because it's straight toward the fence. Another note of caution. This is a lot of pressure, especially in a round pen, and I don't do much of it, and I do it very carefully. Cheers all,
  4. I understand the second part (and since I'm trying to work on inside flanks, this is great) but I don't understand where 6 and 12 o'clock are on your first one, or what you mean by "flank the dog into the fence" - it's really hard to draw and/or understand diagraams with just words for me. Do you mean the dog is just inside the fence? Thanks if you can help straighten me out, uh I mean square me up. Nancy I have an exercise that I do with dogs that have come to me trained, but slice inside. The dogs that I start are taught to be right from the beginning. Once the dog is confident enough to flank between sheep and a fence, put the sheep against one with the dog at 12 and you at 6 o'clock. Then flank the dog into the fence. He will make his first step forward, and you can correct him for it. When he squares up directly toward the fence, it's very easy for you to see, and you can let him have his sheep. If he turns tail, you've over-corrected. It's a fine line. Once, you have mastered this technique, (or if your outside flank is already plenty square,) reverse it and make it an inside flank. Put the sheep against a fence, only this time the dog is between you and the sheep and you are both at 6 o'clock. Again, flank the dog into the fence. His first step will be forward. Depending on the dog, I might at that point down him, walk between him and sheep and kick him out before trying it again. I might just give him a voice correction, or I might go back to an outisde flank and work on that a bit more. In any case, once he flanks squarely into the fence, I let him have his sheep. Sometimes it's easier to perform this exercise in a round pen, and please take my warning VERY seriously. This is not for the uninitiated. If you don't feel comfortable with this, don't do it. It's a LOT of pressure, and if done poorly can cause big problems. You have to know when to correct, how much, and most importantly when not to and when to quit. Cheers Laura and best wishes for Taz
  5. I rewrote the words to a Bonnie Raitt song for my Earl: Turn 'round the flock, turn 'round their heads I sent him away, and off he sped. Lie down for me, don't try to rise Just hold them to me, don't make them fly - don't make them fly. I'll close my eyes, then I won't see The respect you don't feel when you're fetching to me. Moving them toward me, you're picking up speed I try to stop you, but you just will not heed Well you just will not heed! Chorus: 'Cause I can't make you like down if you don't I can't make your head hear something it won't Here in the open, in these gathering hours I will blow on my whistle and I'll feel the power But you won't, no you won't 'Cause I can't make you lie down, if you don't....
  6. I'm no trainer, but I did succeed in teaching my tough dog (who still won't always down) to stand. I started off sheep and gave him the command FROM a down (that way they are different commands indeed) and I use it to also stop the tendency to jump into a run at the walk-up command because he stands slowly from the down and just stands there. Just as people train pups to down when it's already comfortable to down, I'd find the situations where everything is still and ask for the stand. I'm looking forward to the real responses!!! ;-) Nancy
  7. We live in California amidst many bay laurel trees. None of my animals (dogs or cats) get fleas. Actually, they sometimes bring them home from places, but the fleas don't last. I've actually thought of bottling bay essence spray. I'm sure my dogs get a bit each day as they run around. It doesn't seem to repel ticks, however. I use a low dose of biospot for that when they are dropping from the shrubs (the ticks). Nancy B
  8. Hi, I have an almost deaf (a leetle bit of hearing remains in his left ear) 3 year old border collie. One thing to keep in mind is that it is we HUMANS who are most reliant upon voice and sound, not the dogs! If you watch them play, they give lots of messages with subtle body language. I think of the number of times I tell my hearing dog to "Listen!", well, you just need a signal to the deaf dog to "Look!" (that's where the vibrating collar comes in, but people have used lights (I flash the back door light to bring him in at night). Gus is still training as sheep dog. I've used a vibrating collar on him, but the best effect is my effusive body language. His recall is MUCH better than my hearing dog. All dogs are capable of disobeying. You just need clear signals for any message you want to deliver. He doesn't know he can't hear anymore than we don't realize all the sounds the dogs hear that we don't. Good luck, Nancy & Gus
  9. I just have questions. First off, defining the "lift"? I have a dog who moves sheep from a distance (looks like a wild coyote) so when they're up against a fence (and that's what I've been practicing somewhat) the sheep naturally start to move at a right angle and not towaards me as soon as the "bubble" of comfort is pierced. I don't see how a dog could ever lift at 180 degrees unless the sheep were well off the fence, or didn't react to the dog at all as he was moving along the fence. Thanks for any comments, Nancy
  10. What are bull panels? How heavy are they and where would I get them, how much do they cost. I don't really live in a ranch area - mainly just a horse area. Thanks,
  11. Hi, I need to go back to some round pen work and I don't have one. The smallest corral I have is too large, with too much draw to a stall and two nasty corners the sheep like to stick in. I'm not at all sure that just a roll of sheepwire pulled around will hold the sheep (a few are escape wizards) and I want a calm area, not a disaster zone. I can't deal with anything permanent or very heavy, but I know someone must have mastered this challenge before me. Any help? Thanks, Nancy
  12. I would really like to hear more about this - maybe it's a good one to move to the 'expert' file as well. Neither of my dogs responds to a 'that'll do' the way I'd like to see it. My younger dog will stop and come to me, but usually with a "just a minute I have to look back and check because I'm not sure and maybe I should still be holding my ground" and it takes a bit of walking before I get the happy gallop of true release of work. My older really a handful dog (who also scares sheep, but now actually scares sheep, too). often hears the "that'll do" as Time for one last blast at that come-by laggert!, and then he happily calls off. This is the same dog who will readily call off if his outrun hasn't started right and he zooms back with a happy, "Want it different?" attitude. It tells a lot about their relating to me, but go ahead, I an take it... Nancy
  13. You put it in one hand and every time an involuntarily movement creates a 'click' the other hand feeds you a piece of cheese.
  14. Thank you both for helping me to see something I've been doing at the pen. I'll share my mistake and then go work on it. I couldn't figure out why my dog would work so nicely and quietly at the pen, making subtle moves and then suddenly take off on a huge fast flank as I whispered an "away". Well, duh, your description of the calm power needed by the human gave me a picture of myself speaking calmly and waving a BIG STICK! Actions speak louder than words... ;-) Nancy
  15. At this trial the dog was walked around the grounds, walked among the dogs, allowed to watch a little, in his crate, walked, walked among people, crated, etc. Of course, I was probably quite tense by this time, too.... he is used to being tied during shared working sessions and waits quite calmly. But he is also used to being allowed to run at least some time in the day. Nancy
  16. Hi, I've run into a problem I didin't think I'd have with my young dog, but we are running novice and/or pro-novice and are always near the end of the day. Many places have only leash walk exercise available. At the last trial, my normally calm dog was so pent up that he took off and fetched like a mad man and only settled into the run after the first panels when it looked like it dawned on him "oh, we're just moving sheep here..." I'm going to a trial tomorrow with the same situation (although we run in the middle of the day, not the end - still I have to be there by 7:30am) Anyone have any tips as to how to get the "buzz" off the dog? Nancy
  17. Hi, I thought this deserved its own topic. Getting a stop on my dog has been the best advice I've had from good trainers. But it's not easy. I've trained my dog not to stop because of his personality and the situations we faced (I don't have a great choice of sheep or fields). I have never figured out how to enforce a stop when the dog is on the other side of the sheep. My difficult dog will stop when we are on the same side (when he is driving) but not on a fetch. He always comes in too close, and the sheep are aggitated or moving past me. So, when I ask for the down and move towards him to enforce it, he sees the sheep moving and takes off to regather. Ask, repeat, lather.... I'm sure he sees it as a game he can win if he just runs even faster. I've never figured out how to use a line from this angle. If I try to use a corner he will blast past me when I try to block him. I'm not sure I'll ever get it on this dog, but I sure don't want this again (I have a seeminly endless row to hoe), but I have yet to have anyone explain to me how to enforce a stop, when the rewards of not stopping for the dog are so easy to implement. "It is your responsibility, as a trainer, to teach the dog to stop properly. So, from this day on, your dog is not allowed to take one pace more after he has been told to stop. With aggressive dogs, I like them to stop both on their belly and on their feet, so it would be wise right now to get him on his belly and later on teach him to stand. The reason for this is that he has less presence on his belly than on his feet and we have to soften things up here in order to manage the sheep properly. Listen very closely as I want to emphasize emphatically that this dog has to stop NOW!!!! If you tell him to stop and he takes 4 more steps he is in the wrong place and so are the sheep. Get after him by going toward him in an assertive manner ( a little anger helps also in these cases, but don't stay angry) When you get to him chastise him in your own way and make sure he's ashamed of what he has done by not obeying you and take him back where you told him to lie down, tell him "LIE DOWN" in a firm sharp voice and go back to where you were and complete your gather making sure you use enough firmness in your voice to ensure that he lies down when told right now! Don't lower your expectations of the dog lying down every time it is told. This is the most important command in the book for the owner of this type of dog. If you can't stop him, you can't run him! It's not going to happen overnight but it will happen if you want it to. If the dog needs a little more firmness to get the required results, when you get out to him, pick him up by the collar, chastising him, take him back where you told him to lie down and again "LIE DOWN"! in your firmest voice and carry on with your training. If you are diligent with this you will have your dog stopping in about 3 or 4 days. If you let him get away without stopping every time you will have a long road to hoe. Once you get the stop on this dog, things will be much more pleasant and you can carry on with training your dog to change his manner in his approach to his stock. Get the stop first and then we'll go on with the rest. Until you have the stop nothing else will change. You must be the master. This doesn't mean you have to be a tyrant. It just means that you have to be in charge. If you find yourself yelling at the dog a lot to get your point across, don't worry about. You'll be able to stop yelling when the dog does as he's told. On the other hand, don't keep yelling at him over and over and do nothing about it. If he's not on his belly after the first or second command you better going out to him as fast as possible so he knows you will back up your commands. They catch on pretty quick to those folks who just keep talking and don't enforce their commands."
  18. Thank you for the reply and thanks for being on this forum. I learn a lot from all the questions and replies, and want to learn more about training (once you ruin that first dog I guess it's quit ar get even more determined....) Earl (that's the dog) seems to be described by Virgil Holland's personality types as an extremely pressure-sensitive dog with a huge amount of presence. I want to talk about his attitude toward sheep. You are correct in advising me to get a down on him at any cost (that's been the advice of some very good trainers and clinicians) but even when he is down, most of the time his eyes are gleaming with that "if you even twitch, sheep, it's rodeo time." I got a little bit of education this week when my 27 year old son (big, strapping lad) came out to see the dogs work and asked if he could try and first worked with my younger dog who very carefully and quietly moved the sheep around and through panels for him. My son said, "How do I get things going, I want some action out here?" And I told him he should work Earl. Bingo. I realized how much alike they are!!!! I tried to coach this boy in a couple sports and got nothing but disrespect, but the most rough, general-like coaches had him completely in line and begging for more. Of course, he goes out with Earl, the sheep are running instantly, but he asks for a down and Earl complies. My son doesn't know the names of flanks and changed his call mid-flank a couple of times, and Earl just doubled back on himself to obey. However, neither of those boys (my son or Earl) had the sheep's well-being in mind. The dog and I have had good trainers and he hasn't been abused. He is the kind of dog who could be hit on the head with a 2x4 and he might wince but immediately ask, "....and now????" I'm sure that the key to him is not harshness, but some kind of exuded confidence. I just wish he didn't think of the sheep as giant dog toys which are easily self-activated. Nancy
  19. As the one with the dog (I think) the difference in whether his presence is 'great' or 'aggressive' depends upon how he uses it (look up the definition of 'charisma' sometime). Your question really helps my question. Since sheep alert to my dog at such a great distance, it has been very difficult to figure a way for him to use this - except when he is totally out of my sight behind some hills and somehow gets sheep that I considered long gone. I'm beginning to understand the difficulty a little more now. In a scenario where he is far enough off sheep to not disturb them he is Waaaaaaay beyon my capacity to interact with him. ie he will circle at a great distance, but won't stop, he will only stop when he gets in too close and then the sheep won't stop. AaaaaYYyyyyy. And then away we go again to gather..... My dog is not truly aggressive. He doesn't even really grip sheep let alone take them down, but he will blast into them and that's dangerous enough. Nancy
  20. I could finally start my own breed as I thought I could do 50 some years ago. I had recently read, Justin Morgan Had A Horse, about the one, singularly talented horse which started a breed. I had what could have been cast as my first Border Collie by looks (a medium coated tr-colored medium sized very smart dog) but who was actually the result of a mistaken and chance breeding of a smooth coated fox terrier and a springer spaniel. All his puppies were in great demand. It wasn't until I discovered the horrors of inbreeding that the efforts ceased. Now, if I could only come up with a chase scene - hey, we're talking dogs here, a chase scene would be easy - I'd have my movie. Young girls, dogs, forbidden intercourse, competitions in obedience and pride, oh, and the evil enemy would of course be...... the KENNEL CLUB!!
  21. I have a mature dog (6) who I continue to work with because 1. I like him, 2. he has some talent and 3. He presents such problems that I'm sure I can learn a lot from him - more than my easier young dog. I assume I'm addicted, so want to learn what I can. When I'm tearing at my hat and asking "what are you THINKING?" I'm really trying to figure out what he might have been thinking. He works for authoritative males much better than for me, and probably would have done much better with one of them (but he's our family dog). What I'd like to ask about today is a dog's consideration of sheep. He has a powerful affect on sheep from a distance. Sheep take notice when he is far off - that affected his early training, because I could never find a situation where sheep would hold still. Now, he tends to come in too close and I can see that puts him under great pressure. Although he will circle wide when he has enough room, it's as if he's saying, "yes, I will do this, but I'm not really doing anything" and when asked to pick up sheep, tends to slice and get them running really fast so he can zoom past to the other side. Often opening his mouth sideways, but he doesn't really grip. The only time he acts like he can be nice and respectful to sheep is when taking them out of a corner. So my question is (as quite the novice) is how does one change the respect a dog has for sheep? Or develop it if it isn't there. I've tried just sitting with him in a stall with sheep and he relaxes, but it doesn't translate. Any ideas or reflections? Thanks, Nancy
  22. I think I might be making a little headway. Actually, there are two corrals connected by a gate in the center with another long narrow corral in the back. Each corral has a stall so I can put the old sheep in one or several of these. My older dog who is intense and tends to blow up has an injured toe, so I've been taking him into a stall with the three old sheep and we are learning to just walk around them or just relax in the stall. It's weird how he only gets 'buzzy' on the come-by side - even in a stall! But he and the sheep are gradually learning it's not freaky and almost boring to be moved just slighty around the stall. I haven't really worked the old ones otherwise except to let them out to go through the center gate because the young workable four just DON'T want to go through the center gate alone and I don't want to train them that they can break apart and back (which is what they've tried). I'll certainly let you know if I have any success! Nancy
  23. The stall is about 10x10 feet. the looooong fetches are something different that Virgil recommends in his book. I'm just doing little walk around the stall walls by my side. Sorry if I was confusing.
  24. My six year old challenge is injured (dislocated toe) and while he is restricted I thought I'd use the time in a small stall trying to get things calm in there. He tends to slice and dice (an open-mouthed run-by, not a true grip) on the come-by side. Well, guess what, in the stall, he will walk around gently on the away side, stand or down and relax, but as soon as I try to walk him on the come-by side he is nervous and wants to dive in. I think this walking and sitting in the stall is going to be helpful, but I'm amazed at how different he seems psychologically when the sheep are on that one side! Virgil Holland recommends looooooooong fetching keeping him on the come-by side and not letting him switch around so that he will relax on that side. Interesting to see it so up close and personal. He also is a wizard at making a sudden move so that he's back on the away and then calmly walks again. I guess the only advice I want is whether I'm insane to be in such close quarters with him (seems ok so far). nancy B
  25. It sounds as if he is considering needing to bend out wider (which might also be part of his slowing down). What is his head doing? Turning one way or the other. I don't think there is a "'wrong" lead - I often see my dogs running on the outside lead when they are out playing and running huge curves. When one of my dogs changes leads I know a slice is coming!!!! Somewhere, sometime long ago I read about race horses being kept on the outside lead for stability - I'll see if I can find something. Nancy B
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