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Posts posted by alligande

  1. My older dog is still competing in agility at 9 and amazing people how old he is, we are stuck in grade 2 due to huge inconsistency and only being able to compete on a limited basis due to living on an island,  to move up we don't just need clears we need some serious speed as well, our last point gained in agility was done at 4.6 meters a second which earned a point towards going to the Spanish championship but not progression.  My youngster is 2 1/2 and although entering competitions hasn't completed a full course as competition environments make his head explode and he forgets all his skills so it's all about making it fun, luckily in Spanish FCI we can take a toy in the ring to train. My focus is entirely agility, they do get to work sheep a couple of times a month which has been a great experience for all of us.

    I am amazed how much training I am doing with my youngster to get the skills I want, when I started competing with Rievaulx coming up on 8 years ago, we went to class once a week and did a little at home, with Fen it's at least 4 times a week at the club between running contacts, independent weaves, strong verbal commands for a multiple variety of turns etc etc the list of skills just seems endless and we slowly work our way into them both learning more and more, while Rievaulx is also still learning new skills alongside his baby brother, while I learn to handle an even faster and more responsive dog, when I started to run Rievaulx I compared the difference between him and Brody as going from a chevy to a Porsche, now I have an F1 car! 

  2. As soon as I saw the title of this post I had a really bad feeling. Mr McCaig contributing so much to the world of Border Collies, I read Border Collie wars when I first joined these boards and although I had an understanding of the fight, the dedication that went into the fight was was inspiring. 

    I will miss his insightful comments and simply his love of dogs. 

  3. Nothing on their website says breeding for working ability, they are breeding pretty dogs for pet homes. Any time you see duel registered AKC/ABCA it's a red flag, I did not look at all their dogs but none where working sheep. 

    This board supports breeding border collies for one purpose, working livestock, those dogs might go and be pets and sports dogs but their origins are livestock work. In the US it's hard to tap into good working dogs but the members of this board can help point you in the right direction.

    As others have said rescue is a really good option, you get some amazing dogs coming into rescue simply because their owners did not realize what owning a border collie meant. Our first three border collies were rescues, first two were adults when got them and my older dog was a puppy, all were/are great dogs with very little baggage, some weird traits but all border collies have those. My youngster is an ISDS pup from Scotland and a lot of thought went into getting him, and why I wanted a pup from a breeder (I compete in agility and wanted to minimize the risks of dysplasia and other health issues, my current and previous border collies had dysplasia) 

  4. I reckon your gut is right, as someone else said the comment about needing sheep and herding is a big red flag. If you both enjoy training at home but not at class, then don't go, there are loads of online courses like Fenzi Academy to provide structure. Or watch Kikopup videos. Border collies are notoriously sensitive, my young dog is developing into a great agility dog _ at home_ in a competition environment he is stressed by all the activity plus the travel and sleeping in strange places. Every competition we go to he improves and shows a little more that he capable of. I am very patient, make sure he has success and don't ask to much of him. 

    PS both my dogs have awful leash manners its just not something that is that important to me, as long as I can walk them I am happy, but they both know loads of agility skills and the youngest is developing some great running contacts because that is what is important to me.


  5. I would have to agree with Gentlelake, there just is not enough information about the severity of the bite history. Shelters when adopting walk a fine line and cant win, they get bad press in a case like this, but on the other side shelters have been publicly lambasted for adopting dogs out that have gone on and bitten. The rescue I used to volunteer with would take border collies that had bitten but were very careful to understand the context of the bite before agreeing to take them on. There was a scary incident where a dog who we knew had shown aggression but the rescue boss had evaluated him a year earlier and thought in a new home he would be fine, first family would not agree to give him up then, but a year later they realized they could not cope, his first night with an experienced fosterer he went for her, her forearm needed surgery. We all still believe that if he had come into rescue a year earlier at 18 months he would have been fine, but another year in his original home made things worse and had a very sad ending. 

  6. Maybe take an online class so you can teach the basic skills at home, and later you can take him to school and he will already have an understanding of how to learn. My pup was home schooled, two or three times a day we would work together for 5 minutes, it was in a calm environment and he had the chance to learn about learning. Even though he is a relatively calm dog school would have been to much for him when he was little.


  7. I agree with everything that has been said. Border collies are highly trainable and usually very sensitive, I would not dream of using one unless it was a life depending situation. Find a different trainer. I had a lovely little foster dog that left me sane, or as sane as any motion reactive border collie and she came back two years later crazy and unadopatable, we found out the adopters had been using an invisible fence in the house. 

    Consider that in the UK they have been banned for training purposes. (in england and wales they can still be used for fencing) 


  8. I think having two dogs is much better. They have each other for company on walks, they can play together etc. 

    When we got our puppy our older dog was 7 and had been an only dog for 3 years (due to planning a move to Europe) he had been very depressed when our other dog had died far to young, but he also blossomed and became his own character, when he was young he was a sidekick and a bullied sibling. 

    He and I are also very bonded (he is my agility partner) and initially when we got Fen his character kind of faded away, going back to being a sidekick but at some point having a puppy around became the new normal and he came back to being himself. 

    Both dogs are jealous of the time they spend with me, but that is just tough, I don’t work with Rievaulx any less than I did before I just now have two dogs to train. 


  9. What the others have said is good advice, from your description it sounds like your dog is what is called over threshold and can't think hence the frustration. My older dog was my second agility dog but first to love the sport, he is nine and still really loves the game and is still very fast. I went through all sorts of issues with him, had stand up drag out arguments with my trainer as she thought the solution was neutering him and I also needed to slow him down, neither of which I did, but I learned a lot without losing his desire to fly. I was lucky as just when he was becoming really nuts I met Amanda Shyne from Data Driven Agility, who told me she adored my dog and would loved to have had him and I had the opportune to train very occasionally with her which kept me really focused on learning what my dog needed to be the best he could be. 

    Some ideas for you:

    Explore a concept called "capping drive" a member here introduced me to it and it really suited my over the top dog, really helped him to learn while his brain was flying high.

    Although you are just starting out, you know your dog and stand your ground with the trainer. Over the top excitment in a chase game is normal, going in for the grab and bite is not and should not be encouraged. It is usually frustration and can be a nightmare to stop if allowed to continue, one of our former club members allowed this to happen and it has literally taken years for her handling to improve enough that he can focus on the game.

    There are loads of ways to train agility, my younger dog doesn't have the over top attitude but I realized that when I use a toy he is not thinking just doing and the game doesn't sink into his long term memory, so now I start teaching him the basics of an exercise using a manners minder and use shaping techniques, then I use a toy which adds speed. With my older dog I would also introduce new concepts with food but would have to spend less time before moving onto using a toy. 

  10. On 9/18/2018 at 5:14 PM, reploidphoenix said:

    i honestly feel she may be better with just starting with the equipment. I feel she would understand better what i want from her? 

    There is a logic to all the silly foundation games, it helps with your training skills, clicker timing etc, teaches her about running with you, and many other things. It is great to read about a facility doing true foundation skills as lots of places rush into equipment as they feel that's what people want, and as they are in business they need happy clients, it is actually hard to find somewhere that is training like you are being.

    I completely messed up the my first agility partner because of bad foundation training, I started agility with the intention of competing and would have done anything to get there but did have any knowledge. Both my dogs have been through similar foundation work that you are describing (accept the cones which I can't picture) my older dog is now 9 still competing and still competive and still loving the game, the younger one is two and just getting into his stride. 

  11. Regarding coming in front of you, you never want to reward in front of you, always at the side, this encourages the dog to come to your side not your front, something you never want in agility and can be hard for border collies as many naturally circle. So when you reward with a toy, they first grab it at your side and then you can start a normal game of tug. At this point I would not worry about going between the jump uprights learning to drive through them is a more advanced skill and I am sure the instructors will help you. It's good to here that you are starting with the fundamentals as to many places rush dogs onto equipment.

  12. I had insurance on my older dog when he was a puppy as he was a rescue and you never know what might crop up. I never insured our older dog at the time he was 5 and had no pre-existing conditions. This a decision have always regretted, Brody had a serious of illnesses that were unexplained and we lost him at 8 1/2 with insurance I would have been able to explore more options. Over that time his vets bills were over 6000 more than covering the cost of the insurance and deductible.

    Both dogs are insured now, my biggest fear is orthopedic issues as they are both agility dogs. 

  13. I fully agree with what everyone has said and will add I have found border collies to breed snobs. None of my border collies have enjoyed playing with rough and tumble breeds, think labs and pit bulls. They do enjoy the company of other border collies and dogs who respect their style of play which is different. My current two will wrestle and get very physical with each other but would never play that way with a stranger not even a strange border collie. I believe it is simply a matter of trust.

  14. I just had a look at the site Parly linked to and I would say a lot of what is written is a deliberate attempt to discourage someone getting a border collie. Now we no longer have Mum24 to give the UK prospective let me see if I can add something useful. In the U.K. Collies are very common, and very cheap. Working collies are not rare, and are often still simply farm bred without papers, it's obvious when you look at the Facebook group for sheepdog puppies. 

    There is much less of a divide between working and show dogs as the Barbie variety are rare, when I went to the border collie classic which was in England last year I only saw one barbie collie. When I go for walks when visiting my mother I never see show dogs and when I chat to people about their dogs they are usually rescues or from a farm. What all this means is loads of families get one when they are completely unprepared and as a consequence lots end up in rescue. Obviously you get sports and pet bred ones but from my hunt for an ISDS puppy two years ago they cost a lot more than a farm dog, in fact that became a warning sign! You can buy an unpapered farm puppy for £200 a Labrador without papers is going to cost you three times that. 

  15. I am very new to working my dogs and I wasn't even working them, the trainer was, when I went backwards over a tractor tire that had been sliced in half. I was admiring my dog driving the sheep and suddenly realised he was very kindly bringing them to me! I managed to bruise my ribs, a thigh (which is still lumpy) a knee and an ankle, as I landed spreadeagled over a very lumpy tire! Luckily for me there was no handy phone!

  16. Reactivity in border collies and all herding breeds is very common, look for a book called "controlled unleashed" by Leslie mcdervitt, you want the puppy edition, same material just written better. 

    Border collies thrive on mental stimulation, the best advice I read when I also accidentally fell in love with a pretty face at a shelter, was that you get the dog you create, if they get 2 hours of intensive activity every day then that is what they need, if they get a leisurely walk for 40 minutes they will be happy with that. Dogs relax with a walk, let them sniff, smell and pee at their speed, if you spend the same time playing ball, they get amped up and don't relax. The best example is one of my dogs who was 3 when we got him and had never really been made to think, 10 minutes of learning a trick would exhaust him, while he could hike all day. 

  17. I think it's one of those yes/no answers. They are usually biddable and want to work with you, but they also require patience and a calm attitude that tougher breeds don't. Border collies sulk and can simply refuse to do things if you upset them. My two are very different, one over thinks everything and is so slow and questioning while he figures out the puzzle, the other hurls himself at the problem and always thinks he is right which leads to some interesting choices on an agility course! But in the end they both are fun to work with. 

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