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RMSBORDERCOLLIES

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Everything posted by RMSBORDERCOLLIES

  1. Excellent post Carol. And very informative in the training aspect also. Thank you.......Bob
  2. You've got a long road ahead of you getting this dog to stay on it's feet but it will be worth it if you can........Bob
  3. I tend to agree with the person who PM'd you to let go of the line a little to keep the flow. At Meeker every year there is a strong draw or pull back to the set out constantly and if you are trying to hold that nice tight line you will pay, pay, pay in lack of forward movement. It is a very fine line between just enough control of the sheep and too much. The dog that wants to go to pressure constantly to "keep control" is forever stopping them when what we really want is for them to stay on line and keep moving. Very intricate and requires the dog to take every slow down or stop we give. In training for this type of work we teach the dog to just get to pressure enough to keep the sheep moving forward but not stop them. This also requires a lot of work and patience to get what we are looking for out of the dog. You need to have that "handle" to get him to the right place on either side of the sheep and just hold them on line and still moving. On range sheep or some of the heavier types of sheep this will require a dog with a good degree of presence and one who will listen very well at the same time. Going to the head all the time not only causes the sheep to stop but, quite often, will also cause them to challenge the dog a lot. I'm sure that you are trying these things Julie but possibly you may be trying to hold that line a little too well and creating a fight that you don't really want to get into. There are times when we need to give a little to complete the task and this is probably one of them. Much better to be a little off line and finish than too try and hold the line and not move! Hope this helps some because I have experienced the same problems many times as I like to run with straight lines and tight turns and it is hard for me to give on line and I need to learn to do this myself. Bob
  4. There are those dogs out there who will only listen to certain types of people. I don't really feel it's a male/female thing. I think it has more to do with the individual's character and whether it matches the character of the dog. There is no good or bad in it, it's just what works. My wife has trained two dogs very well that just wouldn't listen to her when they got to the trial field. She has also trained a couple very well that I would never have been able to handle in a lifetime, nor would I have wanted to. Not to say that they were not good dogs. They were but they didn't match my genetic make-up. In other words, they were probably too sensitive for me but my wife, bless her little pea pickin' heart, has the patience of Jobe and brought these dogs along just fine with no problems and never lost her cool once. The other two that I inherited from her are running fine for me and I am quite happy with them. I have seen this quite a bit over my years of training dogs and, as a trainer, I need to know how to train most types of dogs, but there are some that really challenge me that are awful good dogs but I can honestly say that I would rather my wife train them as she is more suited to that type. Bob
  5. Go to Greg Ackland's site and read it. It is very informative and gets away from all the BS. Bob
  6. OK, I think I am getting the picture now. I think you are probably letting her fetch the sheep to you without commands. If so the flanking out to one side or the other is just her trying to hold the sheep straight to you but they are probably moving a little too fast for her to control them. Probably the reason she is getting to to 3 or 9 o'clock is the desire to get them slowed down. Working a hill is much more difficult for young dogs to manage balance, especially if they are not used to that topography. It would appear to me that she is trying really hard to keep them straight and in control but doesn't really know anything about pace yet. Your walk abouts are good practice for balance work and it sounds like she does that really well and it is a good exercise to do at the end of a training session to keep the balance in your dog. However, you need to start controlling the speed of the sheep by 1) teaching her to lift properly with nice soft presence approaching the sheep with patience and firmness turning them toward you and walking on towards you. If she is lifting them hard and getting things into motion too energetically the mistake has already been made and will get worse from there on. Once you have taught her to lift nicely, then control the speed of the sheep by slowing her down and keeping her at a distance from the sheep so that they are moving but comfortable. This is different for each dog and you will get to know where that place is soon. I think you will find with her that once you get the proper pace on the sheep she will be able to hold the line to you as it would appear to me that she has a good desire to do just that. It certainly wouldn't hurt to give her a few flanks if needed but having a dog that will keep sheep on line is very desirable. You can do this by moving yourself at the bottom of the field to change that balance point if needed. This will keep her thinking and knowing where you are all the time. Once you have this nice straight fetch then you need to move into the harder stuff getting her to listen, slow down when asked, flank when asked and yes even flank her around in front of the sheep and push them back where they came from. She must learn, that even though she can hold a line well, she must take commands from her handler. Be sure to mix this up so that you don't lose that nice desire to keep her sheep on line. There have been some other very good hints and advise from other folks on this forum too and I agree with everything they said. Have fun with your young dog and keep up the good work.....Bob
  7. Maybe you could be a little more specific as to the position of the dog on the sheep on the fetch. Forget the hills etc. and concentrate on what the dog is doing in relationship to the sheep on the fetch and maybe we can help. From what I am understanding from your description the dog is way off the sheep and not behind them (maybe doesn't need to be) I don't understand your meaning when you say you've taken her out on foot and four wheeler. Taken her where? Are you not sending her on a gather to fetch the sheep to you. Please try and give a little better description of the problem and actions of the dog and sheep and we'll get to the bottom of this....Thanks....Bob Also, in case you feel I am flaming, I am not. Sometimes I may be a little too much to the point but I am merely trying to understand the problem better. Bob
  8. Nancy and I use "Revolution" as a tick and flea control as well as heartworm control. We travel all over North America with our trialling and in and out of heavily infested tick areas and have found that this works best for us. One time application per month (systemic), different doses for different weights of dog and we have never run into tick problems since 2001 using this. We used to go to the North American Championships in Tejon, CA in June which was absolutely tick infested by then and were treating with just a spray of some kind which did not work at all. At times we would pull as many as 50 ticks off some of our dogs. Some seemed to be more succeptible than others. Since then, with the start of using Revolution, we have not had any problems with ticks. Bob
  9. I'll answer this post but really I am answering all of them. Pearse has covered most of it quite well but just a few things that I would like to add. We all start out teaching our dogs to fetch in a straight line and a dog that will hold that line is very valuable. However, the dog is required to take commands from the handler which means he may be told, for whatever reason, to change the line that he is on. If the dog doesn't do that he is not a trained dog. I have judged many a trial where there is a straight fetch through the fetch panels from the set out to the handlers' post and the dog has done well and scored well and then into the double lift final with a dog leg fetch on both fetches and he's fighting the handler all the way because he has never been trained to take flanks and do as he's told on the fetch. It wouldn't be any different with a farmer wanting to get sheep from point A to point B with a dog that wouldn't take flanks on the fetch. Not going to hit a gate anyplace or maybe wind up in a pond someplace. Leaving the dog natural and not overcommanding are fine and a desireable trait but the dog still must do as he's told at all times. I use the term that the handler must be in control but not controlling! The dogs that point the best at trials are those dogs that have enough presence to move the sheep, read the sheep, listen well and do as they are told. The dogs that get the job done well on a ranch or farm are also pretty much the same but are probably left a little more on their own to do chores that, quite likely, have become somewhat habitual. Leaving dogs to bring sheep or cattle straight when they need to be going somewhere else is an exercise in frustration and is not getting the job done. Bob
  10. Good post Carol. Training the dog right the first time is the best method. If he is not allowed to do it wrong to start with, this is works much better than corrections all the time. I always put a good stop on any young dog I start to train before we start. I find that it saves a lot of mistakes and keeps me in control most of the time. If a flank or outrun or any other exercise is trained properly to start with we don't need all these other "correction commands" like "out" and "get away" etc., etc., etc. If the dog is going to do something wrong I stop him and make him do it right. If we don't establish bad habits to start with we can spend more and better time bringing the pup along with a lot less stress. Bob
  11. I'm sorry. I thought you said you were travelling this summer but it looks like you meant next summer. So you have plenty of time yet.
  12. If you haven't already started you are probably too late for travelling in the summer. You have a 7 month process to go through before you are allowed to travel beginning with having your dog microchipped and vaccinated for rabies. Go to the Defra site and read the whole Pet Travel Scheme from front to back and understand completely what is needed. There are quite a few folks in the States who have done this and if you are near anyone who has travelled to the World trials they will be able to help you immensely. Everything must be done absolutely correctly, no mistakes, or you will be flying your dog back pretty quick. I would recommend highly the use of a travel broker who is up to date on the whole process and knows the ins and outs. I have been three times now and was the first to take pups to Scotland on the new scheme and it was not a nice experience the first time. Worked out but with some problems which were costly. I have used a broker each time going over but not always coming back as some airlines will fly back to North America with the pet as excess baggage. You cannot go into the UK other than cargo which is expensive. Download all the info from the Defra Web site to do with the Pet Travel Scheme and try and contact someone close to you that has been. If that doesn't work well for you get back to me and I'll help all I can........Bob
  13. First of all. She's not doing anything different than most gathering dogs do. Plain and simple, she loves to fetch the sheep to you and isn't interested at all in driving. So, what has to happen now is you have to get her to fetch the sheep to you, then send her around until she is on the same side of the sheep as you are and ask her to walk up while you pat your leg and get her to come into the sheep. Lots of encouragement needed here and when she has approached the sheep enough to get them moving with your help you walk beside her, still encouraging here to keep walking into the sheep. Lots of "atta girls, you walk up", in a very happy, confident manner. Go with her for a bit (15 or 20 yards) and then leave the sheep and call her off. DO NOT LET HER FETCH THE SHEEP TO YOU!!!! If she likes to push the sheep past you on the fetch then let her and you turn around and ask her as she goes by to "walk up" and let her start driving again with you by her side. As she gets the idea then you start to drop back a little so she starts to understand that she can do it by herself. IT IS EXTREMELY IMPORTANT THAT YOU DO NOT LET HER FETCH AT THE END OF THE DRIVING EXERCIZE AS THIS WILL DEFEAT THE IDEA THAT IT IS OK TO PUSH SHEEP AWAY AND TEACH HER, TO THE CONTRARY, THAT IT IS OK TO KEEP BRINGING THEM BACK. If you want to do gathering then bring her off the sheep when you finnish your drive and walk back down the field and send her to gather. Try this for a while and when you get her to the point that you can back off quite a ways there are a few more things that will work to get her to drive. Remember, patience, no anger, and lots of encouragement! Bob
  14. I just wanted to share "my stockdogs' year" and hope others will also. I'd love to hear what your yearly cycle is like. Thankyou for your very informative post. This is very indicative of the abilities that dogs attain when doing "real work". I have always found that the more real work I can give my dogs along with training the quicker and better they come along. You obvioulsy believe that you need "refresher courses" throughout the year to keep your dogs tuned and to learn new stuff that may come along and also to deal with problems that may come to light during your day to day operation. When, and if, you do get to a point in your busy life that you may be able to trial, you will have that knowledge base to progress very quickly in your trialling career. Meanwhile, you are enjoying a life with your dogs and cattle that very few of us are able to and you are gaining knowledge that you could not buy at a dozen clinics. Bob Stephens
  15. Hi there. In my opinion the only reason to neuter a dog is if you don't want to breed him. Nothing wrong with neutering but I feel that the dog should be fully mature and that could be anywhere from a year to three years old. I don't believe that dogs should be neutered before 18 months as they are not physically mature until then and it could affect when they reach maturity (probably later than if they had not been neutered). Neutered dog sometimes become a little more biddable if they were relatively biddable to start with. I don't believe that neutering an aggressive mature male will change things at all just prevent him from being a sire. Some of the other posters have stated that it could affect his confidence and that is quite likely true but nothing is written in stone. As a trainer it is your or your trainer's responibility to bring the dog to his genetic potential confidence level which is different for every dog. As long as he is capable of reaching a level of confidence sufficient to move stock capably then neutering shouldn't really affect him much but don't do it before he is mature. Bob
  16. Hi you SOJ gals and congratulations on your great showing. You are right in saying that Pete Carmichael and my good friend Gerald Bunney are hard to beat. They've been doing it for years and been doing it successfully too. You have just learned that if arena trials are run in the right way that the best handler and dog will still win. It's not about speed. It's about correctness and the good steady dogs and handlers will always do well, just as you folks did. Enjoyed reading all your posts and, once again, congratulations on your fine success.......Bob and Nancy Stephens
  17. Hi Denice. I'll answer your last question first. Taking sheep off a fence(right up against it) is not the same exercise as just getting the dog to walk up on the sheep in a field or walking beside him while driving. It involves the dog pushing in behind the sheep quietly and learning to have the confidence that he can do that. It is quite scary to some and it will, at times, create havoc with some dogs. A lot of them don't like to get in close to their sheep like that and will either fly in with tails up or refuse to go in. This is where the handler must insist (and not give up) that the dog go in on the sheep on the side he has been asked to go on. When he does finally give in and move in behind the sheep it is important that he is not let fly in and grip and be stupid about it. Make sure that you move away so the sheep have a place to go and the dog can bring them to you. This is very important. You are showing him how to be strong and quiet about his work and that is the way it must turn out. Corners are good for this as it is easy to change sides and the dog doesn't have to move too far to do it. When the dog does this with confidence and in quiet control the sheep will learn to trust and respect him and things will be much more in control. A dog that has done this repeatedly will have the confidence to lift pretty well any sheep, keeping in mind his genetic potential of which I talked earlier. You need to get further away from him as he progresses so that he becomes less dependant on you for his courage and confidence over a period of time. To get back to your dog being quite cautious, it is important when running this kind of dog that you encourage him and keep him moving as much as possible. You say he doesn't like messes and you are right. However, you need to get him to make a few messes and recover from them. Get him to go in and do some heel bites if needed and this will also teach him that the SHEEP MUST MOVE. Try working a little closer when training him just to give him that edge that you are there. Slowly over a period of a couple of weeks get further away and ask him to walk up on his sheep. You keep backing away all the time so as not to stop the sheep. Try to run him with as few commands as possible to loosen him up and don't be to picky for a while until he loosens up. He is probably very obedient and biddable. These dogs usually are so it is quite easy for them to become too biddable and dependant on you as that is their nature. If he walks in nice and straight on his sheep when he is starting to drive, that is good. What you need to do when he gets into the "bubble" is urge him on and let him be a little nasty to start with. It doesn't hurt this kind of dog to get a little grippy as long as they are not cheap shots. What you want to do and your goal is to make a bit of an "animal" out of him and then bring him back to a place between where he was and that "animal" stage. The fence and corner work will do this and so will letting him make a few messes and recovering from them. Don't expect this to happen overnight. You are attempting to change this dog's character somewhat and it will not be easy or quick but it will be worthwhile. Try it, you'll like it! Bob
  18. Hi Lora. I don't ususally sell dogs on just because they have one small problem. As a matter of fact I don't usually sell dogs on period. I don't learn much by doing that. The lift, in my opinion, is not a hard problem to deal with. It is usually quite easily remedied by either encouragement or control. This kind of problem can, in my opinion, pretty well always be remedied. This is not to say that all dogs can lift all sheep. After all I don't think that with all the training in the world that I could beat Muhammed Ali in a boxing match. We do have our genetic limits. Our job as trainers is to figure out the best way to train certain qualities into our dogs in a manner that will stay with them. We start training the lift the first day we take our dogs to sheep. In my opinion the dog must be under control (stop and recall) when we go to sheep. I know lots of other folks who don't feel they need this but when you go to sheep with a strong dog you need control. When the dog is sent to gather, which is his God given gift, we watch the way he does it and learn something about the dog. That first few times on sheep will determine the method of training you are going to use. If he has a lot of eye and you see him stalling and "eyeing" on the way out you know you are going to have to use a lot of encouragement and keep the dog moving to loosen him up. These are all going to be general statements as there is not enough time to get into specifics answering this question. If he comes on strong and wants to bust everything at the top or goes straight in then we are going to teach him that we are in control and show him how we want it done. You get between the sheep and him at a reasonable distance with you closer to the sheep. Shuss him either way and push him out.( I guarantee you that this type of dog will need pushing out) When he starts coming to balance start backing up so the sheep have a place to go and the dog can lift them with very little pressure. If he is coming in too fast then check him without lying him down. (this is done by giving him the lie down command but before he actually stops walk him in on the sheep) Don't worry too much about any flanks, as a matter of fact, don't give him any flanks. Just move around at the bottom to make him stay to pressure and balance the sheep to you. Use your lie down for pace on the fetch. You will find that most strong dogs will get into what I call the "dynamo fetch". Once they get the sheep moving they want them to move faster and faster all the time. This is where you must be vigilant and control the dog's pace. Not usually at the lift but just after it. Don't get too excited about slowing the dog too much and let him keep pushing even if a little too fast. Remember, you want the dog to win and think he can do anything but still listen. You are training, not trialling. It isn't just about straight lines and tight turns. You are also building character into the dog and confidence. This is what is going to make the difference on the lift between the dog that has not experienced all types of sheep and conditions and the one that has the confidence to "feel the fear and do it anyway". On the other side if your dog tends to be a little cautious or has a lot of eye it's your job to bring him to his genetic confidence level. Recognize the fact that there are going to be times during his training that he is not going to be able to move his sheep. That's where you come in. With this type of dog you need to do a lot of fence and corner work with the dog bringing sheep out of the corner and off the fence. Make sure that the sheep always have a place to go when doing this. You don't want to put the dog in a position that the sheep can't move and he has an immovable object in front of him. This will not build confidence. Send him behind the sheep and you back away from the fence quickly so he can bring them to you. Every time he is able to do this he gains a little more confidence and becomes more dog. You keep doing this getting further away from him and sheep each time until he can do it at 100 yards or better. You are still training the lift when bringing them off the fence but you are also training in confidence which is what the lift is all about. Don't worry if the dog starts pushing a little too hard on the fetch. That's what we want this dog to do. You can take care of the pace after you have the confidence. That's all for now. Have to go feed......Bob
  19. Hi Bill. I've been following this thread for a while now and thought I would give my two bits worth. When I start training a young dog to lift, which is right away the first day he's on the field, I let him figure it out. I don't start a young dog until he has a good stop and a recall so that I have some semblance of control when we go to the small field. If he leaves some behind he gets a "look" and is not allowed to bring the others until he picks up the straglers. If he's a really strong pushy dog I, of course, will have to control the lift somewhat but I don't stop him or get on his case hard if he's having a little fun up there. I'll just move around at the bottom so that he has to flank to stay on balance and that will usually slow him down. If he's a bit of a cautious pup, I'll leave him alone at the top and really encourage him to get in and take control. No commands, just shussing and atta boys. Don't really care if he bites or not as long as it's not viscious. If he gets thinking that he's a real power house and starts to get a little pushy that's good. It's a lot easier to calm it down a bit than put something in you've taken out. I try to bring the pup along with as many types of sheep I can get on once he's got a pretty good handle on him and my job as a trainer is to bring him to his genetic potential level of confidence. We sometimes, in the interest of gaining a nice smooth lift, which is beautiful to watch, forget that all sheep and conditions are not the same. A dog that has been left to figure out what kind of sheep he's working will eventually be able to lift pretty well any type of sheep as he has been taught throughout his life that the sheep MUST MOVE to get them to the boss. The dog in question, as you say, is not a fearful dog but he obviously did not "know" what to do when faced with sheep that wouldn't move. If he had been brought along to "know" that he had to move them no matter what, he quite possibly, could have done that. We sometimes tend to take some of the 'PRESENCE" out of our dogs in order to get this nice smooth lift. I remember a statement that Ralph Pulfer said a few years back. I think it was on one of the Finals tapes. I quote: "Don't ever take anything out of a dog that you might need down the road". I have been trying to adhere to that for a lot of years. Sometimes I'm successful and sometimes I really screw up but not for lack of trying. Usually from lack of knowledge and sometimes patience. Leave your dog to work and figure things out and you be the guide. Be in control and not controlling and I think you'll find that if God gave you a good one he'll stay a good one. Bob Stephens
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