Jump to content
BC Boards


Registered Users
  • Posts

  • Joined

  • Last visited

Everything posted by ajm

  1. This doesn't really fall in the area of sheep dog training, but I 'd put him outside, so as not to annoy your visitors. Amanda
  2. You can improve your timing. Running up the side anywhere, indicates you have failed to stop your dog in time to prevent it. He indulges his inclination to gather to you and voila, The absence of that sharpness on your part, will slow down his understanding of the job too. If your dog is not made to understand the job, he cant help with the holding of the line, which cleverly trained dogs learn to do. There is the advantage of the experienced hand doing the training. But you are on this job to get the experience, so good on you. Perhaps you could start by stopping him before you think you have to and therein demand that he fall in behind and take the drive line. I like to walk in eye shot of the young one, so that he doesn't have to look around at me, as you say yours does. I stroll at right angles to the job and expand that distance as the training progresses. But for the time being, stay with him. Keeping the lines short will always help but be sure that the lines are true and straight. Wobbling around keeps dogs from grasping the nuts of bolts of the drive.
  3. I am sorry Joanne I missed this. I thought the ones ahead of it, that got moved, were the ones ones that needed tending and all the time it was you. I apologize. It sounds as though you are in good hands however, with Jack coaching you, your first time out with the youngun. When I start them, really start them, not just checking to see if if they are interested, I like to go daily for a few weeks. The pup gets a day to meditate on his training session, something on which to build a dream, just like the song. I would not expect to start him at the clinic and then just let things ride. I would be out the next morning, and the morning after that and after that. The sessions would be very short, but sessions nevertheless. Dogs that are eager and get tried, without follow up. can be frustrated. Don't frustrate him. Please him, with regular satisfying visits to sheep. Sheep become a part of the young dog's day. A celebratory part of a young dog's day. Buttressing your daily sessions with visits to clinics to lead you onto the next phase will be very helpful. But occasional clinics do not replace daily work with sheep. Young dogs will tell you when they are ready. That age varies from individual to individual. Seven months old sounds fine if your dog has the mind to tolerate training 18 months old is also fine, if they have not shown the inclination to work before then. Good luck with your young dog
  4. I am sorry to be late to the discussion. I checked the forum religiously for a while and no one was asking any questions. Thank you Eileen for transferring this question to general discussion. It is not a sheepdog training question. But it does sound like a high energy dog gone wrong. Some people say that Border Collies should never be in pet homes. I do not agree. Border Collies make great interactive pets with compatible owners. Some would say that working such a dog might solve his problems. I disagree there too. Neurotic behaviour has no place in a good work dog. It is hard enough to train them, without them being weird on you. Unlike many contr
  5. That is such an enjoyable mental picture "he's afraid of them until they run then he goes mental wanting to chase." Nine months old is often the age where an earlier epiphany with sheep becomes a full fledged obsession. Nine months will likely bring you his worst, most out of control self. If you can work through his demons till he gains control again, and without your neighbours gunning him down, he will likely emerge from teendom as a decent canine citizen. You need to decide where you want it to head, If you see a chance for using him as a stock dog occasionally, maybe you better find ways to be training him. He could then settle down about the running sheep as a more sophisticated dog will tend to do. That will be quite a bit of work. As a sheep dog hand, of course, I feel well worth it. If you plan for him to be a companion, for whom it will be a an inconvenience for stock chasing to top the agenda, then your shock collar will likely work. Don't change your mind after its use and want the stock worker back. Be sure at the outset.
  6. The questions you are asking are good ones and point to a fundamental difference between UK dogs and ours. UK handlers get their dogs out in the morning, often before a trial and take off the rough edges. In North America, we are usually on the road for five or six hours the day before, with nowhere to school on the day of. It makes demands of the temperaments on our dogs, not particularly tested on dogs from the UK, where an hour is a long commute to a trial. My own dogs have suffered on extended road trips where mostly they just do not get to hang around and behave like dogs. It is stressful in the long haul, being on the road for more than a month, and sometimes two. If you plan to be a serious roadie, make sure your dog does not spend the entire day hanging around, being a dog. Get him accustomed to crate time and down time. They should accept confinement as part of a normal train of events. Take him on short trips in the car, so they see automobile rides as no big deal. Take the very young with you on road trips so that they too get the hang of it and see it as normal. At the trials, take the dogs for a long walk. It will help them relax and take their trip in stride. Cultivate friends, on your routes that don't mind if you stop and exercise the dogs or put them around some sheep briefly. Play that cool. Never abuse such a privilege, or pay down the road. Don't have your dogs pissing or pooping anywhere near their houses or gardens, creating pissing matches between and the home dogs.
  7. It says you are in Maryland--location affects the advisability of some breeds of sheep. I like Scottish Blackface, Shetlands, North Country Cheviots, or Border Cheviots. Do not get a mix. Get one type. These are breeds that stay relatively free, even after being dogged to death. Buy ten. Three is not enough with which to train a dog. Ten is pushing your luck. I haven't bought ewes in a while but my last price check was about $300 a ewe. These are fleece breeds. They should not have to have housing but they will think otherwise during freezing rain bouts. So if you have it, good. They should be able to thrive on grass and hay. I don't know what hay costs in your neck of the woods. That is variable regionally. You will have to get them shorn, and worm them on the expense side........$10.00 each a year?? Having lots of acreage gives you more training options. Forget the ducks. Sheepdogs need practice handling sheep, as do sheep dog handlers. I hope that helps
  8. Whistles are there to be heard at greater distances than voice. go for it. Amanda
  9. On this list, we talk a lot about generalities and I try to answer, based on what you tell me. People new to sheep dogs, can be poor reporters. I have often speculated that such is the case, and suggested you consult a pro. A pro is coming to the Northeast and now is you chance to have your problems scrutinized by one of North America's best handlers, Haley Hunewill (formerly Howard). Haley has been a top hand since she was sixteen when came on the scene in Klamuth Falls Oregon, winning the National Nursery Finals with her home trained Diona. She won again, a few years later, with her dog Ross. She is a pro at bringing to the fore a dog's strengths and down playing their liabiliites--just the sort of trainer we all want to be. Her manner with dogs is demanding but quiet. She will be at MIlbrook, New York in conjunction with the Finality Farm Sheep Dog trials in two weeks from now. She is not east often. An opportunity!!! Time to go out and lay it on the line, in a clinic situation, and then report back, about how it helped you. And watch the Finality Farm Sheep Dog Trial too. That is my expert tip for the day Amanda
  10. Not all dog partnerships are made in heaven. However, we are largely programed by our pet culture to keep dogs forever, instead of letting some move on, that don’t suit us. While I keep my collies in as pet like circumstances as anyone, I do not accept dogs with whom I do not get along easily. The importance of this concept for the novice handler should be multiplied many fold, because such handlers rarely have the timing or the discipline to handle difficult dogs. I am not a dog pro. I always think when I see an impossible dog to train, that there is the sort of dog some one would send me to train—one incredibly willful and single minded, like you describe. It keeps me at my day job. I have not had a dog like the one you are describing. I have been lucky in my breed, having ones that are easily trained and pretty easy to work. I never want to have to start my day duking out with a combative dog. If I think a dog is being willfully disobedient, I will be severe, but it had better only be occasionally or that dog and I will have to part company. When I am consulted about them, I always tell the hand to move such a dog on, if they really want to make headway as a sheep dog handler. Such dogs hold you back. You are so busy settling chaos and fights, that you never get to the heart of the sheepdog handling which would lie in its finesse. Perhaps more importantly, think of the sort of handler you want to be. Most of us and there are lots of exceptions, don’t want to be tough on dogs each day. What is the point? It is possible to be a benevolent kind of trainer and handler but you have to have the right dog. You do not speak of how old your dog is. One assumes he is three or four with the history you present. In the same breath, you say you hope to compete in novice, before he dies which must be six or seven years away. That is a long time to invest your time in a hard head. Get your easy handling pup now and get it going. Better still, acquire a easily handled trained Border Collie, and learn to run it. Think about parting ways with the rough one
  11. I recommend you get rid of that dog. Nothing can be worth compromising the safety of your child Amanda
  12. First of all, I do not think you have done him any damage. I like to start pups if they show the inclination. Having said that, what I do with them is mostly affirming the ideas of what they want to do, so very little pressure. I give words to what they are already doing or quite likely to do. I don't mind doing little things with a six month old. I make sure the sheep I use are easy and preferably slow. Such young dogs really are not ready for major responsibilities and no one should demand any of them. Kinda like a kindergarten kid--there is only so much they can manage. Pleasing a young dog however, is always rewarding, both you and the dog. The losing interest would make me put him away immediately. Just wait. Dogs have to be enthusiastic to learn. Sometimes they can do like an obstreperous teen and buck, a rebellion to authority. Being mature can help them figure it out--the steps to life fulfillment for the motivated Border Collie. Try him every couple of weeks to take stock of his mindset. Start again when his eagerness returns. Good dogs survive all kinds of gaffs and still become serious, sophisticated, canine citizens. If he wanted to start, no problem. Now he would rather not, no problem. Everything comes to she who waits,
  13. I like to get to the trial early if possible and that is not always possible. Having someone walk the course is definitely valuable. More important to have some one walk, than walk it yourself. The way it looks from the post is more relevant than what you can see from the cross drive. I like to check out how the pen works. It is a terrible nuisance to be surprised there. I clarify in my mind the pattern of the course. No one likes to turn the post the wrong way deliberately. I do not get different dogs ready in any particular way. My whistles are the same, lucky for me. I like to see runs. It cannot be a disadvantage to know more about the sheep, where they are leaning; how much dog they like; how much handler they will take at the pen. Some sheep like people. My dogs tend to be very capable sheep spotters so there is no need to get them out early. If the outrun is tricky, sure, I give them a gander. On the other hand, they are very relaxed watching other dogs working so there is no worry for me there. I get them when it is convenient. My plan is to bring in the sheep in an orderly fashion and hit all the gates. I do examine the drive line from the handler's post to drive away. Being aware of it, improves my chances of a good post turn, with a line direct to the drive away, dog stopped in precisely the right spot to effect that. I can plan all I want, but the best handlers forsake all plans and get flexible and responsive to immediate circumstances at the moment they present. Timing is everything. Preparing yourself with good timing reigns.
  14. Sorry not to have been on job, I have been away and you guys always catch me up as a slack expert. Slap slap. Glad to hear that maturity ironed out your balance problem. But I tend to think the silent gather thing is a little overrated. When young dogs pull up at the top, I like to say "lie down" regardless, as an affirmation of the job, as much as a direction. It is natural training opportunity missed, if it is not given a word. Likewise, when they list left, I say "come" just because that is what they should do, Same when they list right, I say "way", because that is what they are likely to do. Words for their natural inclinations. Amanda
  15. Sounds like you are doing fine in the boosting her confidence category. Your hill work might have lead her into situations you could not see, where she got chased off by a ewe who identified her weakness. If you can avoid that for a year, good. You sound honest about her shortcomings which will help. Remember, some dogs might not make it through to a gritty enough dog for the work you are describing. While you should prepare yourself for failure on her part, you can keep trying for a while. Jim Cropper likes to shut them in a stall with truculent ewe and let her learn to defend herself--a do or die sort of thing. I like to have recruits--dogs I know can really help and when my weaker one looks troubled, I bring in the heavy artillery to really let them have it, and for the timid one to see how it is done. That has helped. The fly bys are cheap shots of sound and fury signifying nothing. You are correct to dislike them, but they show real frustration on her part and wit's end. You can't help but feel sorry for them when they do that. Make her practise being successful. Hopefully she will learn how it feels and expand it. If after she was three or four, and had made no particular headway, I would think of moving her on to one who she will disappoint less.
  16. Jackall??? Good God. I thought I had trouble with wolves. The fifty goats caught my attention. Cut that in half or less to make it easier for you to break through them and get her out if you must. It sounds like you must. The cat and the goats are not so related as the no pun intended, getting the grip. It sounds like she is running a bit wild on you and needs to be reminded of her moral obligation to do as asked, including not grabbing the cat.
  17. Jackall??? Good God. I thought I had trouble with wolves. The fifty goats caught my attention. Cut that in half or less to make it easier for you to break through them and get her out if you must. It sounds like you must. The cat and the goats are not so related as the no pun intended, getting the grip. It sounds like she is running a bit wild on you and needs to be reminded of her moral obligation to do as asked, including not grabbing the cat.
  18. Ejano I can't help but be skeptical of your dog's "natural inclination to drive". If you feel you are making progress, OK. But it sounds as though he is being disobedient in the extreme. If your "laps" are helping you out, then carry on. Being a novice runner and your own critical reporter don't really go together. Your bio information indicates your are from Pennsylvania. There is no shortage of knowledgeable dog runners in Pennsylvania. find one who will be an on site diagnostician and get your progress assessed. The experienced dog hand can give you a course of action with which to proceed.
  19. If you can't get a young dog to look at the sheep, throw a frisbee towards them. Dog will go.
  20. You are describing a one sided dog, with whom you are indulging her most joyous natural inclination by continuing to let her go right, instead of mixing it up and making her go left. Since it has gone on for while, you will have your work cut out for you demanding a left cast. Yes it is bad that she crosses over. Crossing over is always dreadful. Never let a crosser get on with the job. Of course you shouldn't point, but neither should your dog look at you as it sets off for sheep. It should be looking at its sheep. This is the classic point where an obedience raised dog, trained to eye ball every move of its hand, is suddenly asked to look elsewhere, violating all its ideas of modus vivendi to date. You are presented with a couple of problems to solve, if you wish to get on with sheep work. Your dog has to stop looking at you in the presence of sheep. You have to free it up and encourage her to watch the livestock. Never send your dog from a distance, going left. Get yourself very close to the sheep and force her to the left. As she learns to accept left flanks, you can stretch this out little by little. Her brain will be struggling, so only work in this a little bit every day, five minutes. Build on small successes. Break it up with freer work to the right, where she can succeed. Sixteen months is young, so you can fix this. But don't let it go any further.
  21. You are telling me a sea of information upon which I could never connect the dots without watching. The trouble with a forum like this is that I rely on the accuracy of your reporting, or speculate that something else might be at play and then can be all wrong. Novice handlers often need a strong stop in a dog. If the dog stops and events ease up, a novice hand can have a precious moment to think. A breather. The dog you are describing is not giving you time to think, so while you want the sophistication of a dog pouring onto its work, the pacing is eluding you. Wanting so much may be too much, for where you are with your dog. You have to make her stop, so that you can catch up with the work. You speak of a reasonable pace. Taking sheep in a quiet controlled fashion is reasonable. Anything unreasonable should not be allowed as you are letting her practise doing wrong. Practice makes perfect for wrong as well as right. No dog takes sheep around the course without a hand. That is not the way our game is played. Your bitch will have to make adjustments for you and you make some for her. I suggest you take her to the clear-sighted eyes of a good pro and have them assess your progress and make recommendations about how you should run on. Your bitch sounds clever and she should not be setting an agenda with which you cannot keep up. It doesn't really do to have a dog best you. You make it sound as though she is running around you, instead of for you.
  22. I doubt very much if you have done anything horribly wrong with your dog. Good dogs survive all kinds of mismanagement and come out on the other side like real sheepdogs. People bumble along with dogs but sometimes slow, no pressure, is the best policy, so it all turns out. You can accelerate your training with good supervision and conversely, the lack of supervision will let you stray in unproductive directions. Don't take this too hard but I am skeptical of your assessment of your dog. I don't know of dogs who get less eye. They usually mature into more. Eye isn't something you encourage. Dogs bring it to their work innately. Having too much, would mean they locked themselves up on it and refused to accept command through it. Stuck. Not having much eye can be an advantage so long as a dog maintains good balance. For instance, western sheep adore a dog without much eye. The plain ones are their favourites. More than sounding like your bitch has less eye, it sounds like she has less interest, when you couple that with her disdain for pushiness. Maybe something has soured her. I will make a possible list. Your sheep are dull and uninteresting. Your routine is excessively repetitive. Your demands are more obedience oriented, than synced up with a job that your dog can understand. She sounds bored. Spice things up. My remarks come from an armchair, without seeing you in action. There is no replacement for an assessment from a serious handler, in a clinic situation. Not even me being the expert
  23. [ Sorry to be tardy with this. I watch every day for weeks and no one asks anything. I look away for a day or two, like over Christmas, and get caught every time. Start with the Northeast Border Collie Association, (NEBCA) and find some one close to you, hopefully. Make your training sessions easy to do. The instructor should be a successful competitor at a high level, not novice. His or her skill will bring insight into the development you make with your young dog. Chose carefully, sorting by trial successes at the outset. You will have to get along with your trainer so make no long term commitments at first. See how it goes. Your trainer may not want to keep you either, so get the feel for one another. If you like it, go with it. Help yourself. Watch trial runs with special attention to the audio track, where the handler gives direction to the dog. This is a resource never available to me when I was starting but a huge advantage to the new handler starting out now. Runs are all over the internet. Dave Imas vimeo is particularly useful--lots of good runners running good dogs for all the world to see. It will help you see where you are headed. Make sure your dog lies down and comes when it is called and is otherwise a decent canine citizen before you embark on a training program. Being turned loose on sheep can be a liberating epiphany for a young dog. It makes training swifter and easier if it draws upon some basic obedience, to get going. Be prepared to work. No one ever got good at sheepdogs without a lot of work quote name=newbcgirl' timestamp='1356148556' post='431707] Hi, Cali came into our family when she was she was 8 months old. She is now just over 3 years old and my husband and I would like to add some sheep to our small farm. I would like to find a trainer/mentor nearby to work with us so that Cali and I can work the sheep together. We live in Upstate NY- Red Creek. Any information that you could pass along would be greatly appreciated. If you need/want more info from me, let me know! Thank you!
  24. Yes to your summary of what to do. Outruns are developed early on in the training, beginning when they first cast around the sheep and stop at twelve. You just keep making them bigger. I always hope I don't have to tamper with an outrun. Bobby Dalziel said something once that caught my attention, however. He said dogs that did not have a natural outrun, were often easier to redirect on outruns since the non-naturals ran out with less conviction. He'd know. You sound like you are doing fine. If your dog lets you down, get him back promptly. lie him down where you started the wrong outrun. Walk closer to the sheep to make yourself an enforcer and send him out further.
  • Create New...