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elementbcs's Achievements


Newbie (1/14)

  1. So I've decided to start Moss, my 21 month-old boy, in agility this fall, with the goal of getting him in my instructor's beginning agility group class in January-ish. He has primarily done stockwork and a little bit of basic obedience and manners training. He also knows a few tricks. Moss is a bright, athletic boy that I think could have a great future in agility. He's well socialized and very well-adjusted. He is also out-of-his-mind obsessed with toys, something I've never had to deal with (to this degree) before. I've probably encouraged, or at least not discouraged, a lot of it because it's only a problem when I'm trying to use the toy to teach him something. He doesn't try to drag the toy out of my hand (he's too polite for that), but will circle me, stare only at me while I'm holding the toy (instead of focusing on what's around him), and just gets really excited. I'd like to find a way to temper this manic behavior and channel it into something positive. I'm just not sure how to get there. Are there any tips, tricks, or games that y'all might know about that can help him to learn better focus and to get him to work WITH the toy instead of obsessing over it? haha. The goober-head himself: Thanks!
  2. My Boston Terrier is named Scully... and someday, I'd love to have a male smoothie BC named "Fox" .... I'm a complete X-Files freak; I even used to write...fanfiction...back in the day. haha! I own all the seasons on DVD (and a couple on VHS, haha) and am currently making my way through the whole series again from start to finish. It's so great. What a smart, well written, innovative show. I was so upset when it was over. And the last movie was complete garbage... I was so disappointed. ... but I still bought it on DVD!
  3. Goals/Dreams: - Complete my Masters Degree - Not go insane from all the work and stress of FT school and FT teaching. - Give Moss the opportunity to work sheep more consistently... i.e. hopefully be able to swing sending him for a few more months of training this fall/winter. - Become confident and experienced enough to move out of N/N. My dog is ready, I am not - Compete w/ Cedar for the first time in agility and obedience and kick ass... er, I mean have a positive experience. Or both. - Get my blog looking how I want it to. - Finish my thesis well in advance and totally rock my defense :-P - Qualify Moss for the Nursery Finals. - Finish the novel I'm working on :-P - Buy some acreage to start the process of building our own (sheep-friendly, heh) property! It looks like this could actually become a reality. Yay! (Those of you who have sheep and work dogs, what do you think is the minimum amount of land you need to be able to keep sheep and work your dogs? What would be the ideal amount of acreage?) Aspirations: Be happy.
  4. Forget purely positive or correction-based methods... there's always this tried and true way of training. ...I kid :-P
  5. Personally, in that situation, I think the kitten's safety should trump the dog's feelings. A verbal correction AND removal from the area is what I would do. Kind of like a little kid drawing with crayons on the wall. Simply removing the child from the room would not stop him from coming back and doing it again. Expressing your displeasure AND stopping the activity seems more effective to me. Just my 2 cents
  6. I am so excited that I just had to share! Some of you may know about my girl Cedar, and all the "issues" she has on stock. She has not been the easiest dog to train, especially since I don't know what the heck I'm doing most of the time! Of course, I do not help things at all... being a newbie and whatnot BUT... last Monday we had a breakthrough! Our first legit inside flank! After a week and a half off (I am in the depths of grading English 101 papers), I went out to Dianne (Deal)'s for a lesson. I spent some time getting Cedar to relax, slow down, and listen; mainly doing outruns and working on pace on the fetch. Easy stuff like that. Her outruns have really been improving in recent months. I am so proud of her. Towards the end, though, we worked on driving. That was going really well (I was having her drive the sheep in a big square around me, both directions), so I decided to try something different/brave/whatever. She was on my left, driving the sheep parallel to and a bit away from me. I walked behind her to the other side, and then gave her an quiet "away" command with her in front of me. Lo and behold, she took the flank, and went wide and soft in a beautiful inside flank! I had her drive the sheep a little closer to home and then quit. I know it's kind of small potatoes... but it's a big deal for us I'm pretty dang ecstatic! Thanks for letting me brag
  7. Thanks I just love him.... and yes, I'm so thankful to have such a sweet, wonderful, talented puppy He's still my goofy boy, though... See the resemblance?
  8. I was able to bring my (crappy) video camera out to Dianne's today and managed to get some decent footage of the Moss Man when she worked him He's only been in training for 5 days, but is doing pretty awesome. He's still a puppy in a lot of ways (just 10 months old), but he's so natural and biddable, he makes it look easy! Dianne told me that in a couple months, I'm going to have to pry him out of her hands I'm so excited!
  9. For me, this thread hits particularly close to home, and I am (perhaps foolishly) compelled to post. First, a little background for those who don't know... I began showing dogs in AKC conformation when I was ten years old, starting with a Belgian Tervuren and ending with Brittanys. For years, I was completely wrapped up in the AKC world (I refuse to call it "ACK"... I have many good friends that are ethical, awesome people who love their dogs as DOGS first, not just because they are pretty, or some nonsense like that) and competed successfully, achieving national rankings, at the highest levels of conformation shows. I also dabbled a bit in performance events with my Brittanys, and got to see what a good working "field" dog was like by attending hunt tests and field trials. I have always had a great appreciation for seeing a dog do what it was bred to do, and well. Even competing in conformation, I knew that there were more important things to a dog than just having good structure, lots of coat, or whatever. I doubt that you could find more than a few (ethical) people in the AKC world that would dispute that. A few years ago, after three years of dreaming and research (and additional experience with BC rescue), I bought my first Border Collie from a rather well-known show/versatility breeder. Cedar is half ISDS working lines, and half British show lines. To tell you the truth, the working side of her pedigree appealed to me more as I have always preferred the look of the working Border Collie. I thought I could have it both ways.... a pretty dog that could work. (Un)fortunately, what I got was a dog that wasn't really bred for (or good at) either stockwork or conformation show stuff. Now, don't get me wrong, I love my girl... she is the most amazing dog I've ever had the pleasure to be around. We are so bonded that we can almost read each others thoughts. She is fabulous at obedience and agility, and is a wonderful pet. Most importantly, she has been my introduction to something that has become perhaps my biggest passion: stockwork. I have faith that she will end up being a “useful dog” on stock someday, but we have certainly gone through a lot. Granted, a lot of our problems are totally my (newbie) fault, but she is not the best, or most natural dog on sheep. I know that most of her reoccurring issues are genetic. She tends to be tight, reactive, slicey, and panics easily.... but she always tries to figure out what I want. There have been many times that I wanted to just give up because it didn't seem worth it to struggle this much over something that we may never be good at. It is interesting to look back and see how far we've come since we started, because it's pretty amazing. She is basically a different dog now than she was, and our relationship has completely changed for the better. My intentions with her were to do primarily performance stuff (agility and obedience, and I wanted to "try" herding, HAHA) and maybe do some showing on the side. I had done some research into the ABCA/AKC debate, and, I suppose understandably, originally sided pretty much with the AKC as the idea of a "versatile" dog appealed to me greatly. I honestly did not know any better; as far as I knew, AKC registered dogs were the best way to go. What I didn't 'get' at that time that I understand now, is that the working dogs do not need to be bred for conformation specifically, because in order to do their jobs well, they have to be functional both physically and mentally. Living proof of this is SO apparent that it's freaking maddening that I didn't get it before; the majority of working-bred dogs that I've been around are much more functionally built and sane than show-bred Border Collies. And they also are able to do what they've been bred to do for centuries. Anyways....when my girl was a little over a year old, I emailed her breeder and asked who in my area would be a good person to take her to see how she would do on sheep. I was curious to see what she'd do. Her breeder told me that Patrick (Shannahan) would be a good person to contact, and he led me to Dianne Deal. Five minutes into our first lesson and I was hooked... even though Cedar was kind of scary.... gripping and panicked (she was NOT like the “bounce bounce bark!” fluffballs...). I got to see several other (working line) dogs work that night, and thought that it was the most amazing and beautiful thing that I had ever seen. By my second lesson, I knew that I would never own another Border Collie that was not working bred. What I was seeing just felt “right” to me. Since it first caught my interest, I have completely immersed myself in the sport, and read everything that I could get my hands on. I have attended numerous lessons (several times a week) and trials (just to watch, so far) and tried to learn as much as I could about everything relating to sheepdogs. I also joined this board, but have felt too inexperienced to post much thus far. I should say that have learned SO much by reading these discussions, though. I must say that I do appreciate the honesty of a lot of the people on here. I do try to stay away from drama... my life is full of enough of it already! I learned pretty quickly that the working crowd is (pretty much) all opposed to anything to do with the AKC, and since my girl holds AKC papers, I try not to bring up her background. Thankfully, most people don't ask. I would hate to think that people would judge me and/or my dog based on where she came from. Yes, she has been called a “Barbie”-- to my face, no less. It should be all about the work, right? So far, everyone has been SO great at helping us get on our way. Even though I am still incredibly new and awkward at this “sheepdog thing,” I love this sport more than anything I have ever done with dogs. The amount of training, work, natural talent, partnership, and TRUST that goes into molding a great working dog is so amazing. I can't even eloquently put into words how great I think it is. I guess, basically, I am completely in awe of this breed, and the dedicated people that campaign for the “true” Border Collie. ... and now, my first working-line pup has just started training
  10. Thanks I can't wait to work him again on Friday. Hopefully the hubby will come along and take pix/video
  11. Just a small brag... I went out for a lesson with Dianne today, and finally got to work Moss myself! :dance: He really was beyond great. I guess I shouldn't be surprised, based on his breeding and all, but Man, I can't tell you how much fun it was to actually get in there with him and try him out. I'm so proud of my boy! I think that his only major issue will be dealing with ME and my dumbass-ish tendencies. I put him in a few situations/ "oh sh*t!" moments (got too far away from the sheep or some other stupid thing) that I thought would end badly, but I guess I really didn't need to worry because he picked up my slack pretty well. I'm pretty blown away. It's one thing to watch someone else work your puppy, it's a whole 'nother thing to be in there with him. We circled a little bit and them did some fetching in the big arena. He pushed on me a little bit but I think I did an all right job of backing him off. Probably not enough, though. Oh well, something to work on, right? He was rating himself really nicely, and Dianne says he's a natural outrunner. I know it's pretty "small potatoes" stuff, but to a newb like me, it was really fun. Moss is so relaxing to work because he's so natural and doesn't seem to have the tendency to get pushy, fast, or slicey like Cedar does. With him I was able to actually enjoy myself a bit. I think I must have been smiling the entire time I was out there Thanks for letting me share!
  12. Yeah, the more I've been looking into it, it seems like Orijen might be my best bet to try, even though the price of it makes my eyes water. But it seems like she would be eating about half what she is eating right now (Diamond) so it might just about even out. I am just sick of her having soft stools (and occasional blowouts) and tummy issues. Her coat and condition are great on Diamond, however. The cost would be worth it to me to have her healthy and happy. She's my special lady
  13. I am looking to switch my girl Cedar over to a different food as she has been having some digestive problems lately, and has always had trouble keeping weight on. I want something that will also be good for her skin/coat and joints. I found a new local store that carries a couple really good brands of food, including Orijen, Instinct, Innova, Evo, Acana, Taste of the Wild, and Dog Lover’s Gold. I think I've narrowed it down to EVO or Taste of the Wild... in your experience, which of these have worked the best for you? Or should I also consider those other brands? I've heard good things about Orijen as well. I am leaning more towards Taste of the Wild at this point... is it a good food/worth the price?
  14. Well.... I have recently come into possession of a rescue dog. To make a long story short, I found my first Border Collie, "Marley" (whom I rescued from the shelter several years back and then ended up placing in a new home two years ago) advertised for adoption on Craigslist. His former owner hadn't made any effort to contact me which made me sad, but she did agree to let me take him back. Soooo...... she dropped him off tonight. And he is FAT!!! Aside from green beans and exercise, any other tips for helping him to slim down? Thanks!
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